Travel Tips from Me to You

20140112-154253.jpgWhile it’s been awhile since I’ve been “home”, I just got back from the sunny Florida Keys. That trip gave me some general travel insight that I though you readers could benefit from.

1. Renting a car: I’ve rented a car several times now and there’s one thing I’ve learned: unless you are looking to go fancy with convertible, or you need a lot of space with a minivan or SUV, rent an economy car. Yes, they try to scare you out if the by telling you you’ll get a Chevy Aveo or similar and the car will hold 2 adults, 1 child, and 1 suitcase. Now, the last time I rented an economy car we got a Mitsubishi Galant, which is really a mid sized car, think Ford Fusion or Chevy Malibu (hey, I’m from Detroit, I pay attention to cars). This last time, we ended up renting a Kia Soul (that’s the car they advertise on TV with the hamsters). It’s a small crossover that got great gas mileage (we got 40 mpg in that car and now I kinda want one) and as advertised, had awesome speakers. It wasn’t a huge car, but there was enough room for us three adults and our luggage. I heard from someone who works at a rental car company that they don’t carry a lot of economy cars so 99% of the time, you will get upgraded. Of course there is still a small chance you will end up with that Aveo (although I don’t think they make those anymore, so maybe it will be a Fiat instead) and please don’t take it out on me if you do.

2. Renting a house: For this trip it was my husband, my mom, and I and we rented a 2 bedroom house in Marathon, Florida. What I liked about it was that we had our own space. Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you but I don’t think I would’ve been able to go a whole week in a hotel room with you. Obviously, we had a kitchen which allowed us to save money on food, even if you’ll just make coffee and have cereal for breakfast, this convenience will save you money and hassle that a hotel room would not. Also it was nice having the car right by if we needed something quick. Obviously on property hotels have their advantages, but if you have a bigger family or a multigenerational group the extra space and privacy you get from a house can’t be beat. And we have no affiliation with any of these sites but vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and FlipKey.com (which is affiliated with TripAdvisor) have photos and reviews you can browse and many are available to rent for just a couple of nights to monthly rentals. And I should probably mention that a lot of the houses are actually cheaper than the Disney Value Resorts and not too far from property. Just something to think about.

And my final tip
3. Choosing an airline: If you’re like me, when you travel you probably look at those big travel sites like Expedia or Kayak for flights and really, you just want a reasonable price, right? Ok, other factors may influence your decision like departure time, flight time, any layovers, etc but unless you’re one of those people that have frequent flyer miles with a certain airline and are brand loyal, most of us are just looking for the cheapest, reasonable option (no, I don’t want a connection in Dallas). Because of the pursuit of the cheap, we ended up flying budget airline, Spirit which has a major hub in Detroit but flies to limited locations in the Americas, Orlando is one of them. Well, here’s the thing about Spirit, they are really a no frills airline. Want to choose your seats? You better pay for that ahead of time. Want to carry on a suitcase (they do allow one “personal item” for free)? It’s going to be more than checking a bag and if you try to bring it on at the gate, it’s going to cost you $100. Want a soft drink or snack on board? Get out your credit card. Do you want to sign up for their credit card? Because apparently part of the flight attendants job is to get you to fill out an application . And here’s the one that got me, all other airlines have a 50 lb max for checked bags. Spirit’s is 40 lbs. So, what’s my point here? Don’t fly Spirit? Not exactly, because if I was going for a cheap trip, I would probably book them again. But, if you shop around like me, read all the airline’s policies before you book. Yeah, Spirit may be the cheapest, but once you figure out all the additional fees, it may not be the best deal out there. Also, I should mention that SeatGuru.com says that Spirit’s Airbuses have the most uncomfortable seats out of all the airlines. Just so you know.

I want to hear from you! Have you rented a house near Disney or gotten eaten alive by airline fees? Leave a comment! Hopefully I’ll be back to you soon, whipping up some more Disney recipes at home! 

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One Response to Travel Tips from Me to You

  1. Emily says:

    It’s not an economical option, but we recently booked a Treehouse Villa for our trip and it was lovely. Our group was 5 adults – no children, and everyone got to have their own space, there were two big bathrooms, and there was a shared kitchen/dining room/living room so we weren’t eating breakfast in the park. It’s a very good option if you want to stay on property but would like a place for everyone to be able to enjoy themselves without being on top of each other.

    The deck was also very nice – we had a few breakfasts out there – but terrible golfers can ruin your day with an errant ball.

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