Once upon a time, if you wanted to Travel to Walt Disney World, if you had the option to choose, you either flew if you wanted to save time, or drove if you wanted to save money. Now with fluctuating prices for both gas and airfare, deciding on how you’re getting to Disney isn’t quite so simple any more.
Still, flying is probably the most popular choice for transportation, but getting the best price will require diligence and hopefully the ability book well in advance of your vacation. While your mileage may vary, generally the lowest airfares come out about 4 months in advance, and then again around 6-8 weeks prior. If you wait and book within the last 2 weeks, you will pay the most, and sometimes if you book too soon, you may pay more as well. Consider, if your travel plans allow it, to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday for the cheapest fares, and avoid Friday and Sunday nights. Traveling during holiday seasons or weekends? Do not wait, and book as soon as you can: waiting will probably mean paying more…if you even get a seat.
As to airlines, I suggest doing comparisons through sites like SkyScanner, Kayak or Airfare Watchdog. Realize though that some of the “discount” airlines like Southwest may not be reflected in your options, so be sure to get a quote directly with them as well. And I always recommend that folks register with each of the airlines you are considering: you may get special email offers that often provide some pretty sweet discounts…but you need to be prepared to grab them fast, as they usually don’t last long.
And don’t forget to “get social”! Follow your favorite airlines on Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms, as you may find yourself learning about a great special well before the general public. Remember too, that you are not seeing all of the businesses you “like” in your Facebook feed, so be sure to actually visit their pages, or set them up to receive notifications so you don’t miss anything important!
What about airports? Most folks fly into Orlando International Airport, and if you do that and are staying with Disney, you can use their Magical Express buses to travel to your resort, thereby eliminating the need for airport transfers.
But this is not always the most economical, and some folks like to consider nearby airports like Tampa, and Jacksonville, or even Sanford, which is a smaller, regional airport that some smaller airlines use. Clearly, doing this will necessitate the cost of a rental car, or shuttle, so you need to do the math to see if your airfare savings will be negated by the cost of paying for transportation…but sometimes, especially during holiday travel, it is just worth it. Same thing goes for at home: if you can, see if you have other airport options to fly out of and see if you can get a better price using them if you do.
Don’t forget to check for additional “fees” such as cost for checked luggage (gotta love those 2 free bags on Southwest!), or additional booking fees that may be added if you are using certain online booking engines. When choosing an airline these days, those extra bag fees can add up, especially if you have to pay the fee and THEN your bag comes in at over 50 lbs. Many folks have found it to be cost effective to just ship items directly to their resort hotel ahead of time, to be waiting there when they arrive. Or, pack lightly and only use a carry on.
Happy travels to you!