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Family vacations can be fun. At the Travel Agent Next Door, we have a few options to help you manage and budget for your vacation. I can help you plan, book, and manage your family's vacation – even if it is not until next year!  


One of my favourite places to visit is Florida. Having been to Florida numerous times I highly recommend it. When most people think of Florida they think of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, or SeaWorld. These are all amazing but there is more to Florida.  


One of my favourite areas to stay and explore is Old Town. There is a Red Lobster, a Dollar Tree, a Denny's, and an amusement park. It also has transportation to the major theme parks. Celebration Area and International Drive are two more places where you can always find free or inexpensive things for the whole family. There are loads of outdoor activities, places to visit, and things to see that fit all budgets.  


The important thing to do is decide as a family what the priorities are, then work with a travel agent who can get the plan in place to ensure the vacation is a success. Yes, there can be delays and life happens, but that is why planning and working with a travel agent are key. If an issue happens your travel agent is there to help.  


When a family become my clients, I look for not only the best price but also the best flights. One of my families have kids are not morning people. So, I made sure they were on a mid-day flight.  


Travel can be fun and exciting.  


Avoiding long layovers and preparing for lost luggage.  


Know when the busier times are at the airports you will be passing through and work around those times. You may pay a few dollars more but avoiding flying on major holidays is worth it. It is on days like these that delays and missing bags are more likely. Remember to pack your patience.  


Pack the most important items in your carry on. Don’t forget to include a few items of clothing in your travel mate’s suitcases. This way if dad's luggage is delayed, he doesn't have to wear mom's clothing. I always pack my swimsuit in my carry on. This way I can enjoy the pool or beach while waiting for my suitcase to arrive.  


All-inclusive vacations include flights, but I still make sure the travel works for the family. When booking flights within Canada it's important to understand "cheaper" is not always better. Sometimes you luck out and get a cheap flight, but if the flight gets delayed or cancelled you may have to forgo the game you were going to see. It’s in part for this reason that I encourage my clients to let me book flights a day or two before the big game or cruise, especially during the winter season. But even in the warmer months delays happen.  


Where are you staying? What are you doing?  


I like to give families as much time as possible to plan, book, and pay for their vacation. The first thing I do when planning a Walt Disney World or Universal Studios family vacation is find the best resort for the family. Value resorts like Disney's All-Star Music and Universal's Endless Summer Resort, or moderate priced resorts like Port Orleans Resort Riverside and Universal’s Cabana Bay are great options. You can book one of the deluxe resorts like Polynesian or Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls, but don't forget that you will spending the days at the parks or the pools.  


Transportation to and from all the Disney parks, resorts, and Disney Springs area is included whether it is via the Disney buses, monorail, Sky liner, or ferry boats. At Universal transportation is just as fun and included if staying on property. I recommend to first-time families that they stay at either Universal or Disney.  


After my clients have made decisions, I can start building their vacation with a deposit to hold the resort. From here I build the package with flights, park tickets, and sometimes dining packages. Renting a car – a favourite of mine when going to places like the Kennedy Space Center, Gator Land, Wild Florida, and Lego Land – makes getting around easy and fun.  


Another option in Florida (Orlando) is staying at a Good Neighborhood resort, like the Holiday Inn Express (Lake Buena Vista area). They are close to main attractions, offer a great free breakfast (and yes, they have Mickey waffles!), and close to great shopping and restaurants. You don't have the transportation included as you would staying on property but it's close to everything and just a quick LYFT drive away (add the app ahead of time). Going to supper at the Cheesecake factory in the Vineland Premium Outlets or House of Blues in Disney Springs are a must.  


When it comes to your all-inclusive down south vacation the package will include flights, return transfers, rooms, food, drink, and some great activities (depending on the resort). Working together we can find the best option for your family. 


Regardless of where I book vacations for families, I like to start as soon as possible. That way I make sure to take care of all the "little big things." Planning, booking, and managing your vacation from start to finish is what I do. Having been to the destinations I book; I can share tips and tricks to make sure you have your best time.  


Can I make it stop raining? No, but I can tell whether being at Disney for ‘rope drop’ is worth it? It is!  


If I don’t know the best all-inclusive resort in your budget, I have a team of people that I can ask. Your hard-earned money and quality family time is important. Let's make sure your vacations are worth it and the latest one is always ‘the best yet!’  

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