Many people ask “How do I plan an affordable vacation in Florida?” Depending on where you want to go and what you plan to do, it can be fun and easy.

Followers of our blog know we are a senior couple traveling the Sunshine State. We don’t do the big theme parks. However, we have found a treasure chest full of hidden gems just waiting.

Florida Loves Vacations

Where to Go

Do you like the beach? Florida has more than a dozen coastal designations. There are nature beaches full of wildlife along the Forgotten Coast. White sand and blue water are the rule along both the Atlantic (except for Cocoa) and the Gulf. On the Gulf from Fort Myers to Sarasota and on the Atlantic from Miami to Fernandina Beach – not to mention the Panhandle.

Hightower Beach just north of Melbourne is a wonderful place to enjoy the Atlantic coast.

There are also funky little towns inland that are a lot of fun and that are brimming with points of interest. (Hint: Look for the brown signs with the “Historic Downtown” designation.)

Deland is a delightful place with plenty of shops, restaurants and entertainment opportunities.

By using TripAdvisor to research the area, we can find all kinds of different parks and beaches. And it also lists malls, stadiums, museums, attractions and various points of interest of which we were nwot previously aware.

The International Car Collection is a museum full of historic, vintage, custom and specialty cars that will evoke memories for everyone.

We use TripAdvisor to find out first what is in the area and second, how these things rank with other travelers.

How to Save

But how to experience them without breaking the bank? By researching the area you want to visit. That makes for smart travel. One thing we have found is that staying offsite can be a real money saver.

A big beachfront hotel can be a week’s salary or more. However, there are hotels not-so-very-far-away where the prices drop like a rock. The lower traffic means the rooms may not have had as much use. In short, better accommodations at lower rates.

There are lots of great hotels with all the amenities that come at a fraction of the cost – if you just look about.

Plus, when you stay a bit away from your target, the drive in gives you the ability to scope out restaurants and points of interest you have found. That enables you to maximize the fun on your vacation.

There are other things you can do, joining a rewards club can help you shave dollars off a stay by using bonus points. Also, look at off season travel and check to make certain if there are parking fees for your lodging faclilty.

There are many ways for getting the best deal on your motel.

Research is the Key

The key is doing your research ahead of time. It pays to read the reviews. Mrs. Funmeister always likes to look at the low ranking reviews to see what kinds of problems people have had. In some instances, it has been a cranky desk clerk or slow service that has caused a facility to be marked down.

But that did not reflect a problem with the accommodations themselves.

However, sometimes there are very real concerns about the cleanliness of the room, the lodging or the neighborhood. Those things ultimately have steered us away from a place. We have a whole section on Hints & Tips for a great vacation. One quick one is that we buy a gallon of purified water for our morning coffee in the room. It makes all the difference in the the taste of the coffee or tea.

Finally, Florida is Fun

So the bottom line is this. If you are headed for the theme parks we cannot help a lot. However, if you want to try the beaches or some of the fun and funky towns in the Sunshine State – look around our site. Take advantage of TripAdvisor to see what is in the area you want to explore.

And most importantly – Take Your Fun With You.