Orlando, Florida is one of the top vacation spots in the entire world. This is clearly reflected in the traveler volume passing through Orlando International Airport. The Airport serves about 32 million passengers every year. That’s an average of 90,000 daily travelers making their way through this enormous airport.
With these kinds of crowds, it’s important to plan carefully when you are traveling by air to Orlando, Florida. This guide will help you make the right choices when you are planning for your trip, leaving for Orlando, landing at the airport, and then later returning home.
Planning For Traveling by Air to Orlando, Florida
The first step to making sure your flight goes as smoothly as possible is appropriately planning for the flight. This means taking into consideration both cost and logistics.
Pay Less for a Flight to Orlando
Sometimes it can be very difficult to find an affordable flight to Orlando, Florida, especially during peak season. However, that doesn’t mean that with a little bit of ingenuity and patience, that it’s not possible. Consider the following dos and don’ts when buying your airline tickets.
DON’T travel during peak season. Try to be flexible with the timeframe of your trip. If you can rearrange your work or school schedule so that you can travel at least partially into the fall instead of the summertime peak season, you could realize some significant savings.
DO shop around. If you are traveling during peak season, don’t buy the first expensive tickets you find. Wait a while, and constantly monitor sites such as Orbitz, CheapAir, CheapTickets, Cheapflights, or Hotwire. Sometimes unexpected deals will appear out of nowhere for a limited time. If you catch it, even during peak season, you could save a fortune on your air tickets.
DO buy direct. It is a misconception that you can only get the best deals from distributors like Orbitz or Hotwire. It is very common for airlines to provide amazing deals of their own, often including entire vacation packages including the hotel. Major U.S. airlines that service Orlando include Delta, Continental, American Airlines, jetBlue, and Southwest.
Planning for Your Trip
When you are preparing for your trip, there are some important things you should finish before setting foot inside the airport in order to make the process of checking in and boarding the plain much less painful.
1. Make sure to obtain proper identification, not only for yourself but also for your kids. Since they may not have a driver’s license, a birth certificate will do.
2. Get flu shots for yourself and the family far ahead of the trip. You’ll be much less likely to fall ill from the germs floating around public airports.
3. If you are bringing gifts, ship them to your destination rather than carrying them with you.
4. Take photos of your bags as you pack them. This whey if and when they get lost, you’ll have evidence of the items lost when you fill out a claim form.
5. Be at the airport two hours before your flight. Also, just before leaving, check the airport website for any reported delays or alerts for that day.
6. When packing, remember the TSA’s “3-1-1” rule – place any liquids or gels in 3 oz containers and place these into a 1-quart, clear, zip-lock bag.
7. You’re going to have to take off your shoes going through security at the airport, so wear shoes that don’t have laces and are very easy to slip off and on.
Following the items above will ensure that you fly through customs and are able to board your plane on time. One additional item to make your arrival in Orlando more convenient – if you are visiting Orlando to go to Walt Disney World, take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express.
Magical Express will allow you to attach special tags to your luggage when you check-in at your airport of origin, and you don’t have to ever think again about your luggage until you arrive in your hotel room at any Disney resort. Disney handles making sure that your luggage arrives at your hotel room safe and sound. This single perk makes flying to Orlando tremendously easier.
Arriving at Orlando International Airport
Once the plane lands at this impressively large airport, the process is fairly straightforward. But it’s important to keep your wits about you and ignore the crowd. Simply pay attention to the signs.
First follow the signs to baggage claim. You’ll have to ride a monorail to the main terminal. Crowds move fast, so if you’re with kids, make sure they’re ready to go when the doors open.
The Main Terminal is a huge lobby with gift shops and a foot court. If you’re hungry, many of the restaurants here are actually a very good place to dine. Additionally, if you look up while walking through the main terminal, you’ll notice a hotel is inside this building. This is the Hyatt – its hotel windows look directly into the main terminal.
Keep following the signs down to the baggage claim area, and then continue down one more level to the transportation area. There are elevators available if you have a lot of luggage that would make it difficult to fit down the escalators. Follow the signs down to ground transportation. This is where you’ll find shuttles to all of the local hotels and a number of taxis. Additionally, this is where the lines are for the Disney Magical Express shuttle buses.
Additional Helpful Tips
Flying is often a very enjoyable experience. Other times it can involve a painfully long wait or a cramped and physically challenging plane ride. There are a few things you can do to make the ride more enjoyable.
1. Once you get through security, there are often dining areas where you can purchase water which you’re allowed to bring onto the airplane with you. Buy a bottle for each member of the family, and even buy an additional bottle for your carry-on.
2. Cabin temperatures on a plane can vary. When the plane is packed or it’s in the middle of the summer, the cabin can get hot. Most of the time, however, the pressurized air is cool, and you may need heavier clothing. Bring along a warm sweater you can pull out of your carry-on bag and wrap around you if it gets chilly in the cabin.
3. Sitting for a long time can cause leg cramps, muscle spasms, and even blood clots if you are immobile for a very long time. Make sure to stretch before and after the ride. If you have an opportunity during the flight, take a quick stroll to the lavatory, even if you don’t have to go. This will at least give the blood in your legs a chance to circulate a little bit.
4. If you are bringing children with you, do not forget lots of snacks, coloring books, and games to keep them occupied. The initial take-off will be very exciting for young children who are flying for the first time. But once the novelty of this wears off, you will be stuck in a cramped space with a small, bored child. You don’t want to be left empty-handed.
Orlando, Florida is a beautiful place to visit during every season. There are theme parks, attractions, amazing hotels, and spectacular dining all throughout the region. The flight is only a very small part of your vacation, but it is also the very first part of it. It’s important to plan for the flight carefully so that your family’s vacation gets off on the right foot, and everyone is excited and happy when they arrive.