Sunday, March 26, 2017

Orlando & Universal Studios Spring Break Budget

We are heading out on Tuesday for Spring Break, heading to Orlando and Universal Studios.  The budget for this trip is a bit out of control so I'm doing one last once over before we head out.

Airfare & Car Rental - $927
This is what started the travel planning.  I got a great deal through Allegiant. Round trip nonstop airfare for 4 from Cleveland to Orlando, 1 week car rental, 2 pre-paid checked suitcases, assigned seat fees and taxes

Carry on - Later added an additional Carry on suitcase for $30

Airport Parking - $63 
The airport is an hour away and I don't want to bother family to drive us back and forth so parking in the least expensive lot and riding a bus to the airport will cost us $9 a day.

Hotel - $430
I originally booked our hotel in a package with our flights and car rental.  But then realized I booked a holiday inn and I had almost 100,000 Holiday Inn points through a credit card.  So I canceled that reservation.  Purchased additional points for $430 in order to have enough for 7 nights at this particular resort and rebooked using my Holiday Inn credit card.

Hotel Parking Fees - $84
Nothing annoys me more than having to pay to park at a hotel but the resort is really nice, just remodeled and has a water park on site so I am sucking it up and paying it.

Universal Studios -  $980
Universal Studios had a deal where we could purchase tickets for 2 days then get 2 days free, so I jumped on it.  My dilemma was whether we should get park hopper tickets or not.  The only way to ride the Hogwarts Express is with Park Hopper tickets but that added $200 to our ticket cost. After days of deliberating, reading plenty of reviews, watching videos of the ride, etc.  We decided to go for it.

Undetermined Expenses 

Resort Fees - $200
The resort has a water park plus daily entertainment by the pool, activities for kids and shuttles to the amusement parks.  They charge a ridiculous $28 per day resort fee because of this.  This adds almost $200 to our bill.  I wasn't aware of this when I booked but vaguely remembered seeing something about not having to pay resort fees since we purchased our stay with hotel points but I can't find that and now I'm not 100% sure.  I hope to come in under budget in other areas to make up for this expense if we get stuck having to pay it.

Gas - Budgeting $300.  
I think this is overkill so hopefully we are way under in this category.

Food - Budgeting $1,000.
Hopefully we don't need it all.  Our hotel has a mini-fridge and a microwave but not a full kitchen. I plan to bring snacks and pick up groceries for quick breakfasts and lunches in the room.

Souvenirs/Misc. - Budgeted $600.
Again, hopefully we are way under in this area.  This would cover any other entertainment expenses we incur.  But with 4 days at Universal already paid for,  the plan is to just chill at the water park on our off days.  There is an orange orchard I kind of want to tour.  The girls have both been saving their birthday money and allowances to be able to purchase their own souvenirs.

Universal Studios Parking - $80
At $20 per day, this ads up to $80 in parking fees.  The resort has a shuttle but I haven't decided if the savings is worth the inconvenience of having to plan our days around the shuttle service.

The hotel, airfare, car and Universal Studio's tickets are already paid for.  The rest of the money is sitting in our Savings account.  If we spend every bit that I have budgeted for, this trip will have cost us $4,494.  Knowing that up front.  I probably wouldn't have booked it.  I find traveling with my family an extremely valuable experience for myself and my kids.  It can be educational and fun and provide great memories.  Its worth the expense but this is definitely on the high side for us.

I'm challenging myself to come in under budget as much as possible.  Hopefully shaving about $500 off that total through watching our spending, limiting the amount of eating out we do and alcohol we purchase, and utilizing free entertainment will make this attainable.

I'll let you know how we did when we return.

1 comment:

  1. We've learned souvenirs are a big expense we cut out. A t-shirt perhaps, something iconic but for Florida, you could find low cost. We take tons of pictures which later we put in a frame or two for kids. Good at the parks is insanely expensive so make sure to bring water bottles and we often bring pretzels as they help ward of hunger and fatigue.Hard to save on good but you have a good plan.

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