Welcome to Orlando: A Quick Backpacker’s Guide to the Sunshine State


There are loads of detailed travel tips and guides to travelling to nearly every destination on Earth but I don’t wish to bore you with a huge amount of facts and figures. I’m going to give you the nitty-gritty-need-to-know info that will not only make your next journey to Florida awesome but also, affordable.

Backpacking definitely has its perks. For one, you aren’t confined to schedules and travel times, you can travel where you want, how you want and stay as long as you want (or as long as your Visa allows…there are some rules we just have to follow) and with that freedom as well as Florida’s steady popularity, you can always find cheap Orlando flights from popular airlines and fly out whenever your heart desires (and pocket allows).

So here’s a quick guide to having a world-class trip to Orlando with no muss, no fuss and some extra cash in your pocket.

When to Hit the Road

There is no sure-fire way to avoid crowds in Orlando because it is such a wonderful place to visit but there are times during the year that are quieter (after school has started in late August) then some places are easier to navigate and sometimes offer discounts to visitors that choose to visit during the off-peak seasons.

Where to Fill Your Belly

Most of the major fast food chains are represented in the Orlando area and usually (well at least for me) the food budget is the biggest and yet is depleted the fastest when I travel, so I like to stick to my general rules when it comes to eating. Try and get an inclusive breakfast (and a buffet breakfast is even better) that way you can have a hearty start to the day and this will stop your cravings to snack (and spend money) during the afternoon. When it comes to the evening, lookup a local joint that offers healthier options to a regular fast food establishment, so instead of going to Taco Bell for your Mexican fix, why not try Rocco’s or Gringos Locos in download Orlando. The food is fresher, healthier and tastier.

Where to Lay Your Head

Always plan as much in advance as you can, that way you’ll know roughly where you’re going and can find cheap but nice accommodation near the attractions you plan to experience. There’s no use finding a cheap place but the things you want to see are across town, so look at reasonably priced rooms. I went with around $60 – $80 a night, this guaranteed a good breakfast and a clean room (I check the beds for ‘everything’ that generally befouls a dirty hotel). The Extended Stay America chain have a number of locations and offer the best value for money.

How to Get Around

I found Tampa International to be a cheaper landing and also it suited my route because I was travelling from the west coast, down south to Naples, across to Miami, north to Orlando, then Daytona and then ending in Jacksonville where I took my return flight. But there are over fifteen international airports and hundreds of local airstrips that will be close to where you want to travel and get you where you want to go fast. I used a rental car for a fair amount of the way, just because where I wanted to go wasn’t on any popular bus routes (definitely check the routes and see if they match your plans). The rental cars are cheap (but look around, don’t take the first deal that comes your way…or the first car a rental salesman wags his eyebrows about) so I hit the road and made some memories.

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