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Four Tips To Help Plan Your Last-Minute Florida Vacation

Peaceful-paradise-awaits-in-Florida Peaceful paradise awaits in Florida.

Spring break has been on school calendars for months, and many parents and college students have been planning their trips for just as long. So, if you’re traveling this spring, you might find that available hotel rooms are in short supply or that the flight you’ve had your eye on has filled up.

Don’t worry, that Florida escape is still possible!

Time-by-the-pool-is-always-time-well-spent Time by the pool is always time well spent!

Be flexible in your destination

If you have your heart set on a specific spot and don’t have reservations already, you might have to shell out some serious cash to make that vacation dream come true. However, if you’re open to trying out a new city, you can put the power of Google Flights to work to save you time, money, and stress.

Here’s how:

  1. Visit google.com/flights
  2. Choose CVG as your starting “where from” airport
  3. Type “Florida” as your “where to” airport
  4. Enter your desired travel dates
  5. Press the Search button

Its-easy-to-find-new-places-to-fly It’s easy to find new places to fly!

Google Flights will display every destination in Florida you can travel to from CVG using nearly every airline. It will also show you the lowest cost flight for each city and nearby airport options (i.e. flying into Ft. Lauderdale / Hollywood airport to get to Miami). If you want to check flights on Southwest, visit their site directly, as their routes are included but do not display the price.

Using this method, you might find a new Florida destination you hadn’t previously considered!

To learn more about attractions, restaurants, and hotels available, hop onto TripAdvisor and type in the name of the city.

Orlando-offers-more-than-theme-parks Orlando offers more than theme parks (although those are pretty great). Check out Rock Springs Run just north of the city.

Adjust your departure and return dates

Sometimes changing your itinerary by as little as 12 hours can significantly change the price of your flight. Using the same method mentioned above, try leaving a day earlier or a day later. Do the same for your return flight as well.

A few minutes of having multiple browser windows open on your computer can work wonders!

Now-thats-a-room-with-a-view Now that’s a room with a view!

Consider using Airbnb, VRBO, or other short-term rentals instead of a hotel

We’ve stayed in a half-dozen Airbnbs and VRBOs across the country. From a secluded retreat with a waterfall to a stream view condo in the mountains, each has been a uniquely fabulous experience. Plus, you get to meet some cool people along the way who serve as hosts!

Here are a few tips to help book the right place for your family trip:

  • Use the “show total price” option One of the things that used to frustrate many people about Airbnb is that it would display a cheap nightly rate and then, upon checkout, tack on multiple fees and significantly increase the cost-per-night. However, Airbnb recently updated its app and website to show the total price (before required taxes) to make it easy to compare listings.

  • Find the right amenities for your family We really appreciate having the comforts of home while traveling, especially with a small child. Being able to prepare a few meals in a full kitchen, having a washer and dryer in the unit, and having multiple bedrooms so everyone has a little privacy are just a few advantages over a hotel. Use the filter option on VRBO or Airbnb to find amenities like free wifi, pool, beachfront, crib, or even electric vehicle charging.

breakfast-while-on-vacation We love being able to prepare meals, especially breakfast, while on vacation.

Check The Reviews

Don’t just look at the rating itself; examine how many reviews the listing has. If a place has a 4.8, 4.9, or even a 5.0 with 50+ reviews, it’s likely to be a pretty good choice. Airbnb and VRBO reviews can only be left by people who actually stayed at a property, so they tend to be pretty accurate. We aim to book properties that are as close to a 5.0 as possible.

run-errands-on-vacation No one wants to run errands on vacation, right?

Save time by using grocery delivery or pick-up at your destination

You know the supermarket at home like the back of your hand and can get in and out in 10 minutes. But when you’re on vacation, it can sometimes take hours zig-zagging the grocery store to find everything your family wants.

To spend more time at the beach and less time searching for the yogurt aisle, consider using a grocery delivery or curbside pickup service. Services like Instacart and Shipt will, for a fee plus tip, deliver to your Airbnb or hotel. (Check with the front desk to see how they handle deliveries; some will allow drivers to come to your room, while others will ask you to meet the driver at the front desk.)

Florida grocery stores like Winn-Dixie, Walmart, and Publix offer both delivery (verify with your hotel if they accept grocery deliveries) and curbside pickup options.

St.-Augustine-Florida-1 Europe? Nope. St. Augustine, Florida!

Jay’s Top Five Florida Destinations

  1. Orlando It’s one of the nation’s top family destinations for a reason. There’s literally something for everyone, and with multiple nonstop flight options from CVG, you can get there for less!

  2. Florida Keys There’s nothing quite like the Florida Keys, and each one offers a different vibe. Rent a car and drive the incredible bridges all the way to the southernmost point of the continental U.S.

  3. St. Augustine St. Augustine is one of the oldest settlements in the U.S. and maintains that charm with cobblestone streets and a lot of history. Plus, it also offers stunning beaches!

Hobie-Island-Beach-Park Enjoy cycling along Hobie Island Beach Park in Key Biscayne, Miami Beach

  1. Miami There’s a reason Will Smith wrote an entire song about this place. There’s delicious food, shopping, sporting events, and of course beautiful beaches.

  2. Fort Myers Beach / Sanibel Island* This would normally be my #1 spot. However, the entire area is still recovering and rebuilding after Hurricane Ian destroyed many homes and businesses. Give it time, and I know things will be even better than before!

Turquoise waters welcome you to Marathon, FL in the Florida Keys Turquoise waters welcome you to Marathon, FL in the Florida Keys

Have a favorite Florida destination you’d like to share? Tell me all about it at @JayKruzOfficial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I’ll see you in flip-flops in Ft. Lauderdale! -Jay