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Travel Tips

Budget Tips for Big families Staying in Orlando

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Budget Tips for Big Families Staying in Orlando

If you are planning a trip to Orlando and are looking for budget tips, let me help! I have gathered some great tips for saving some money for big families staying in Orlando this summer!  You might be going to sight see, shop, visit LEGOLAND, Disney, or whatever else, these tips will come in handy for any of them! 

Some of my fondest memories are taking family vacations, but I know now how hard it was on the budget for my parents. Traveling is a great way to break free of the daily grind, but it can be pretty expensive, especially with a big family! If you eat meals out that alone adds up a lot, and then you gas, hotel stays and more to add in to the costs. Check out my list below for some ways to save in Orlando for bigger families! 

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Ways to Save Money In Orlando For Bigger Families 

Meals At Theme Parks

Meals at theme parks can be pretty pricey! So, trying to eat meals outside the park is a great way to cut costs. You can still get a fun snack while you are there, but not having a full sit down meal can save you a lot of money. You pay a premium price for meals and snacks, but they are delicious. So consider limiting how much you eat at the theme parks when you are visiting! 

Extended Stay America Hotel

We received a complimentary stay at an Extended Stay America in Orlando, Florida close to Universal Studios to help facilitate this post and I was very impressed with everything.  The room was spacious and clean, the staff was friendly, and it was perfect for a family of five to sleep comfortably and save money by cooking our meals before and after the parks.

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At Extended Stay America Hotels you can Stay for a day, week or longer!
You can find multiple locations of these hotels that are right by popular attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and more. Best of all they have a full kitchen, so you can buy groceries and cook your own meals to save money!
Plus head down and grab free breakfast items in the lobby before a busy day exploring Orlando!
Also many of the Extended Stay America hotels have free wifi and a pool for play time fun! 

Outlet Malls 

Orlando is packed full of amazing shopping options! They have three huge outlet centers that are near Disney World! These outlet stores have items discounted up to 65% off, so you can score some great savings, if you wanted to do some shopping! They have brands like Polo, Gucci, DKNY and more. 

Daily Deal Sites For Deals

Depending on the attractions you will be doing while you are in Orlando, consider looking on daily deal sites like Groupons and LivingSocial! Both will share deals on dining out, attractions and more. If you plan your trip a little you can buy tickets to a show for a cheaper value, or a day at Universal Studios! It is a great way to still enjoy fun attractions but at a fraction of the price. 

Buy Tickets to Events in Advance

When you are planning your trip, I highly recommend buying your tickets in advance. Preparing for the shows or theme parks you want to visit will help you to ensure you get to go, and you can save money. This goes somewhat with the option above for shopping deal sites for discounts. Even ordering on Universal or Disney’s website you can still get discounts on tickets from time to time! 

Pack Essentials 

Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, refillable water bottles, rain ponchos, and such. If you are hit with a downpour and buy a rain poncho you could pay twice as much at a theme park! If you have younger children and have room consider packing a stroller so you don’t have to rent one when you are out. The reusable water bottles are great, so that you can keep refilling them while you are out. Buying a new bottle of water each time with a larger family can really cut into expenses! 

Buy Snacks 

If you can head to a Walmart, Target, or other grocery store. Pick up some snacks for your family to have during the day. This is great for a day at the pool you have snacks handy, and you aren’t paying a ton for something you can buy for less. If you stay in a hotel with kitchen like the Extended Stay America Hotel, making meals in, can save a ton! They have a fridge and stove, so it can feel  more like you are at home! 

I love cutting cost where I can so we can spend more money on attractions! A vacation is a great way to create memories that last a lifetime! I hope these tips can help you save some money and have an amazing stay in Orlando! 

5 Tips for Saving for a Summer Vacation

This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

5 Tips for Saving for a Summer Vacation

Saving for a Summer Vacation

It is officially the start of summer!  Even though down here in Florida summer seems to have started several months ago.  For my family and I, the best part of summer is traveling.  We love taking road trips over to Orlando, or spending long weekends at the beach.  However, as a family of five, traveling can add up quickly.  So, it is important for us to save ahead for all our vacationing plans.

Top Tips for Saving for Summer Travel

Plan ahead: I try to plan our summer travel a couple months before school let out for the summer.  This gives me plenty of time to search around for the best locations and the cheapest travel dates.  This will help save you money and also give you an idea of exactly how much you need to save.

Sell Old Stuff During Spring Cleaning:  With 3 kids, our house gets cluttered quickly.  While we are spring cleaning each year, I declutter every room in the house and items that are sellable are either brought to a local consignment store, sent to online resale sites like Thredup, or we hold our own yard sale.  This is a fairly easy way to earn a chunk of the funds you’ll need for your vacation.

Make your Credit Cards Work for You:  I hate having debt, however I have several credit cards that work to save me money.  Two examples are my Disney Chase Card and my Hilton Rewards American Express Card.  I use these to buy everyday essentials like gas, groceries, and medicine throughout the year and then make sure I pay them in full every month.  In turn I earn reward points towards free travel.  I save my Disney points for trips to Disney World and I use my Hilton Rewards on a lot of our hotel stays.

Cut Down on Your Monthly Expenses:  Try buying in bulk or shopping your local farmers market to save on your grocery bill.  Walk wherever possible during the nice spring whether to save on gas costs.  By taking a close look at your average monthly spending and tightening your budget, you should be able to take a small chunk of money to set aside for a vacation.  When you’re on your dream vacation, you won’t be thinking about the $4 coffees you gave up.

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Save on Diapers: Having children in diapers is a huge expense!  We had 3 in diapers at one point and I remember counting down the months till they were all potty trained, so we would have a raise in funds.  However, there is easy ways to save on diapers like switching to Luvs.  Once the twins came we made the switch and our wallets thanked us.  

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Why Luvs are a great diaper option:

  • Features Super Absorbent Leakguards and NightLock Plus™, its largest absorbency area ever, Luvs Diapers lock away wetness and absorb even more than regular Luvs.
  • With large refastenable stretch tabs, fastening Luvs diapers is super easy for parents, plus they can rest assured knowing that they’re giving baby a secure, snug fit again and again.
  • Luvs knows that between laundry, play dates, snack time, and nap time, you don’t have time for leaks. Luvs makes life easier for busy parents by helping to keep leaks in the diaper where they belong, so baby stays dry and comfortable, even overnight.  
  • A contoured shape hugs baby for a great fit and a super soft cottony material and it softer than ever before so it feels gentle on baby’s skin.
  • The Luvs Money Back Guarantee: Luvs feels so strongly about their diapers that they guarantee them! If you aren’t satisfied with the leakage protection of Luvs, they’ll refund your money.

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Luvs is sharing the luv this summer and offering a great money-saving opportunity with a $2 print-at-home coupon!

The expire 30 days from the date the coupon is printed by the consumer.  You can use this coupon at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are sold. All Luvs Diapers are included in this particular offer, except trial/travel sized diaper packs.

Now that you have tips to start saving, where do you plan to Vacation?

A Traveler’s Must Have! Travel Wise Packing Cubes

Product sample was submitted for review; all opinions are my own.

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Whether your an over packer like me, or just want to keep everything organized, these are a must have when packing!
I used them over the Thanksgiving holiday when we went to South Carolina and my packing went so much smoother.
I loved arriving and being able to just move smaller cubes around the room.

Do you have a Traveler on your holiday list?
Then this is the gift idea for you!

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TravelWise Packing Cubes – 3 Piece Set

The TravelWise 3 piece packing cube set is a travel essential that allows clothes to stay folded and neat when packed in their own “small drawers”. The cubes are fantastic for staying organized on both short and long travels and help avoid over packing. Constructed of lightweight, durable nylon, these multi-sized cubes allow you to compartmentalize similar items such as shirts, pants, swimsuits and electronic accessories to streamline packing. The open mesh top makes searching for misplaced items a thing of the past and our five color choices allows each traveler to have their own individual set. Available in five colors, BLACK, SILVER, RED, TEAL and PURPLE, each set includes (1) small, (1) medium and (1) large cubes to organize different sized items when traveling.

At only $9.95, the 3-Piece Packing Cube System makes a great gift for anyone in the family.

Get it on Amazon.com

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The Ultimate Central Florida Bucket List

The Ultimate Central Florida Bucket List

The ultimate central Florida bucket list of family fun activities, attractions, and restaurants.
Florida is packed with places to have fun and make memories with your family, here is a list of some of the best.

Gulf Coast
Visit Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Become a Pirate aboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise
Run through the sprinkler park at The Florida Aquarium
Feed the animals at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Shell on the Islands off the Gulf Coast
See some mermaids at Weeki Wachee State Park
Tour Solomon’s Castle
Check out the art at the Salvador Dali Museum
Ride the roller coasters at Busch Gardens
Celebrate sunset at Pier 60
Listen to the bells at Bok Tower Gardens
Beat the heat at Adventure Island
Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse
Tube the Rainbow Springs
Get hands-on at MOSI
Kayak out to Caladesi Island
See the birds at Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
Take a ride on Wild Bill’s Air Boat Tours
Take a spooky ride up Spook Hill
Tour the SS American Victory
Race the kids at Grand Prix Tampa
Take a ride on Tampa’s Streetcar System
Experience the Big Cat Rescue
Check out the art at Dunedin Fine Art Center
Climb up high at Verticle Venture
Hike around Honeymoon Island
Dig for fossils at Dinosaur World
Swim with manatees at Crystal River
Check out the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs
Ride the Sun Coast Trolley
Catch some rays at Indian Rocks Beach
See some majestic animals at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary
Swim with the fish at Rum Fish Grill
Tour the Gulf beaches on the Dolphin Racer
Snorkel at Egmont Key
Have an adventure at Empower Adventures
Ride a Fun Coup around the beach
Walk the boardwalk on Madeira Beach
Take some selfies at the St. Pete Urban Mural Tour
Visit Alligator Attraction on John’s Pass
Pose with the Hulk Hogan statue outside Hogan’s Beach Shop
Visit the flamingos at the Sunken Gardens
Feed Giraffes at the Giraffe Ranch
Relax on Pass-A-Grille Beach
Splash around at Kiwanis Sprayground
Taste the donuts at The Mini Donuts Factory
Horseback ride the Beach
Ice Skating at the Mall in Clearwater
Taste the sugar at Cotton Candy Palace
Get your imagination flowing at Glazer Children’s Museum

 

Orlando Area
Pick out a pair of Havaianas at Disney Springs
Become a Prince or Princess at the Bibbidi Boppity Boutique
Visit the mouse at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
Take a ride aboard Disney’s Monorail
Become a Pirate at the Pirate League
Eat (and Drink) around the world at Disney’s Epcot
Take a Safari at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom
See the amazing views from atop the Eye of Orlando at I-Drive
Get up close to the Alligators at Gator Land
Sip on some Butterbeer at Universal Studios
Kiss a dolphin at Discovery Cove
Eat Dinner with Belle and Beast at Be Our Guest
East everything in The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream
Have a Dole Whip
See the Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom
Explore the Holy Land
Take a Master Builder Class at Lego Land
Experience The Great Escape
Skydive at iFly Indoor Skydiving
Join the Fans at ESPN Wide World of Sports
Watch Cirque De Soliel’s
Blue Man Group
Tour the town of Celebration
Have fun with color at the Crayola Experience
Visit the big M&M at M&M World
Sip some tea at Infusion Tea
Lunch at the American Girl Bistro
Eat at the Krusty Burger in Universal Studios
Get your dolls hair done at the American Girl Salon
Visit the Orlando Science Center
Explore WonderWorks
Get Wild at Wild Florida
Have Fun at Fun Spot America
Play at Disney Quest
Golf at Pirates Cove Adventure Golf
See the unbelievable at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not
Explore International Drive
Snorkel at Devil’s Den Spring
Take a selfie with celebrities at Madame Tussauds
Relax under a tree at Big Tree Park
Satisfy a sweet tooth at World of Chocolate Museum
Take a trapeze class at Orlando Flying Trapeze
Walk Disney’s Boardwalk
Snorkel with sharks at Typhoon Lagoon
Get Chilly at the ICEBAR
Plunge down some water slides at Wet n’ Wild
Race at the Magical Midway
See a dolphin show at Sea World
Get wet at Aquatica
Learn about the Titanic at Titanic the Experience
Visit the Sea Life Aquarium
Eat at the Biggest McDonald’s
Relax in the lazy river at Blizzard Beach
Explore the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Learn about Dinosaurs at Extreme Dinosaurs: The Exhibition

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How to pack the perfect “Mommy’s Road Trip Survival Bag”

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TwizzlersSummer #CollectiveBias

Road trips have become my favorite way to travel as a family.  I love the freedom of packing up the back of the van and choosing what time we leave, where we stop along the way, and how long we stay.  In the past when we would travel by plane, I hated the fact that I couldn’t stay in a particular city for an extra day or two if I wanted to because the airlines would charge over $100 a ticket if I tried to reschedule our tickets home.  My favorite part of family road trips has to be being able to stay that extra day whenever we get the itch and not having the stress of rushing to an airport is great too!
 
Last June we took our first long distance family road trip.  We traveled from Boston, Massachusetts to Clearwater, Florida.  Stopping for a couple nights in South Carolina and Boca Raton and Orlando Florida for a few nights each. 
 The kids did so well and we had so much fun, that when our Christmas vacation to Charleston rolled around we immediately chose to drive.  We were able to get from Boston to South Carolina in one day, however on the way home we took our time and stopped in Atlantic City and New York City.  Now we are planning a third family road trip for August and we will be traveling from Boston to Orlando with several stops planned out along the way.
 
As much as I love road trips, they can easily become a nightmare if I don’t pack well and plan out ways to keep my kids entertained.  We always leave before the sun comes up, usually by 4:00am.  This way the kids are all still sleeping when we put them in the car.  The early start combined with the car motion usually keeps my kids snoozing until midmorning.  Then once they wake up its time to start pulling things out of my road trip survival bag.
 
Are you heading on a road trip this summer?  If so, this is what I recommend keeping in a bag close to you.  This way you can hand things out as needed in intervals through out the trip and also keep track of things each kid has which helps prevent the car from becoming a huge mess.
 
1) Electronics – no matter what your parenting style is when with  electronics when it comes to being on the road for 12+ hours with kids, electronics can make everyones life a whole lot easier.  We pack a portable DVD player with a variety of DVD’s, Ipads for each of the kids, Nintendo DS’s and Ipods.  It may sound excessive but having numerous electronics allows us to swap them out for charging and as the kids get bored.  Plus headphones are always a must!

2) Coloring Books, Crayons and Notebooks – The kids will get tired of the electronics and get ancy after a while.  My kids all love to color and draw, so I am usually able to keep them content with some crayons for at least an hour.  Its also good to take them into restaurants along the way.

3) Small Toys – I like to go down the party favor isle at Walmart or the dollar and clearance areas and pick up small easy to travel with toys that will keep the kids entertained for a little while.  Some toys that have worked out great are; Playdo, handheld games, sticker books, etch a sketch’s, mini puzzles, exc.
4) Sweatshirts or Blankets – The kids can start complaining about being too hot or cold every hour so I like to keep sweatshirts or blankets on hand incase one wants the air conditioner on and another is complaining their cold.
5) Refillable Water Bottles – Spill proof bottles work out the best for us.  The kids are always thirsty during our road trips, so I like to keep a drink redaly available for them however we learned quickly that if there wasn’t a cover attached to the drink it would end up all over the place.
 
6) Yummy Mess Free Snacks – My go to is Twizzlers Twists, the kids love Twizzlers candy and I like that its an easy snack that is mess free!  There’s no melting mess or risk of spilling and they still taste delicious.

Plus Twizzlers Pull N Peel candy is one of my guilty pleasures.  I could devour an entire bag of this yumminess in one sitting, so I try to keep a bag of it tucked away incase the kids get rowdy and I need a few minutes to escape into my own little world.
 
When we start packing for our road trip, its crunch time and as busy moms we don’t have any time to waste.  Luckily I am able to pick up everything I need to fill and refill my Road Trip Survival Bag at Walmart.  This is very convenient because Walmart is everywhere along our road trip route! 
What are your summer fun plans?

 



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