No matter where you go in the Sunshine State, traveling to Florida requires several essential items: summer clothing, sunscreen and plenty of fluids. And while local gift shops and theme parks are more than happy to sell such supplies to travelers, visitors will pay a premium for sunscreen, bottled water or even a rain poncho if they purchase these items at the airport, on International Drive, any of the Orlando theme parks or a gift shop near the beach.
One way to load up on supplies without paying tourist prices is to pack your own sunscreen and rain ponchos ahead of time. And since loading up on pre-filled disposable water bottles can be an impractical solution, be sure to bring your own refillable bottles for the trip. Walt Disney World has plenty of water fountains available for a refill, and if you load your water bottle with ice before you reach the park, you can keep that water at a nice chilled temperature.
Shopping with the locals is another way to keep costs down. By visiting the local Walmart or Publix grocery store (with locations throughout the state of Florida) you can stock up on snacks, drinks and the that all-important bottle of sunscreen. Here’s another money saving tip: although the spray-on sunscreens are easier to apply, they are always more expensive than the sunscreen lotions and do not last as long.
While everybody associates Florida with sunshine, rain ponchos can actually come in handy during the rainy season of the summer months. Carrying along a purse sized umbrella can be helpful when those afternoon thunderstorms break out, and they are much more portable than a rain poncho after it has been unfolded and put to use during a particularly drenching storm.
If you are traveling with a stroller and are worried about it getting drenched at the outdoor stroller parking “lot” at one of the theme parks during a downpour–a rather frequent occurrence during the summer months–bring a couple of large garbage bags to place over the stroller to minimize the amount of rainwater that soaks through. A garbage bag that’s large enough for lawn clippings can serve as a stroller protector or rain poncho for a fraction of the cost.
And since just about everything on vacation has to cost something, think of all the little ways you can save some money, by bringing along any restaurant gift cards you received during the holidays (Orlando has plenty of chain restaurants) and avoiding ATM fees by using your credit card or only using ATM machines that are affiliated with your banking institution. Either way, it’s good to have a little bit of extra cash in your wallet when you return home–if only to have enough to pay the cab driver who brings you back home from the airport.