Having now travelled extensively, I can’t imagine ever taking a trip without thoroughly planning out several parts of the trip in advance, but this awareness has only come to me through trial and error. While I have been on enough airplanes and stayed in enough hotels to have had my fair share of mini travel disasters, my biggest learning experience when it comes to traveling occurred as the result of a trip I once took to Orlando, FL.
When I was 20 I decided I wanted to go to the amusement park capital of the country and had a free flight, so I earmarked $1,000 to take a trip. Due to the fact that up until this point I had not extensively traveled on my own, I booked my flight and my hotel, patted myself on the back, and promptly hurried back to the television show that was on commercial while I planned my trip. I’ll break up the events that followed along this mishap of a voyage, in hopes that someone might find my story not only interesting but also useful in avoiding some travel planning mistakes like I made.
FULLY PLAN OUT TRANSPORTATION:
Since I was under the age of 25 when I took my trip renting a car was out of the option. So I mapped the distance from my hotel to the amusement parks, saw that the distance was only about 4 miles and figured I could rely on public transportation. What I learned once arriving in Orlando is that the happiest place on Earth has a happy little monopoly on the public transportation and taxi system in the city. Each round trip taxi ride from my hotel to the amusement parks was $75. I chose my hotel because it was around $25 per night cheaper than the resort hotels, worst mistake ever.
PLAN YOUR TRIP AROUND THE WEATHER:
Having been born and raised in California I for some reason had it in my head that Florida would for some reason be extremely comparable to California climate wise and so I figured it would be okay to plan a trip there anytime of year. So I planned my trip to Orlando for mid September. I found out after being off the plane for about 10 minutes that this was a bad choice. I would say that the two hurricanes that were strong enough to make their presence known as far inland as Orlando were a welcome relief from the 90 degree, 100% humidity weather, except one of them ended up making my trip to Universal Islands Of Adventure only last 2 hours. Fortunately it cleared up about 10 minutes after getting back to my hotel, unfortunately I didn’t feel like shelling out another $75 for the round trip fare to the amusement park again and back.
VENTURE OUTSIDE THE TOURIST AREAS:
Due to the previously mentioned public transportation monopoly I never got to experience any part of Orlando during this trip except for the tourist trap restaurants, nightlife, and overall experience. I left with the impression that the whole city was a giant tourist trap. I have since gone back to visit Orlando, and planned my trip much better the second time around. The biggest difference I experienced was that Orlando is a really cool city with a lot to do and a lot that doesn’t center around the amusement parks. Since I learned this I have made it a point to go beyond the typical tourist areas wherever I visit and most of my best experiences on these trips have been off the beaten path.