As you're planning your next family vacation-but keeping an eye on your budget-look no further than Florida this winter. Yes, it's a popular (warm!) destination for winter travel with the kids, but it's also a great wallet-friendly choice-provided you play your cards right. Plus, there are ample flights from all major cities, a mix of theme parks and beaches, and a variety of lodging choices that can fit almost any budget and trip goals.
The best parts: You don't need a passport, and you're not faced with pre-trip medical testing or re-entry worries like with international travel these days. So why not head to the Sunshine State for some ocean vibes, beachy fun and quality time with your family? We've rounded up six resorts to consider-plus some insider tips to trim your vacation expenses.
Tips to Stay on Budget While Traveling With Kids
JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort
This family-friendly resort is close to Walt Disney World and other area attractions and is ideal as a home base for an Orlando trip. Beyond parks, try onsite fun at the resort's pools, kid-splash play area, and the indoor and outdoor Kids Conservatory-with a mini garden golf area, a rock wall, and arts and crafts.
To snag a deal at this hotel, consider The Family Connecting Room Package, which offers adjoining rooms which include one king room and one room with two queen beds. The package boasts savings of up to 25% on the second room compared to those who book two rooms separately. The deal also includes free parking.
This family connecting room package is available through March 31, 2022. Use the Code MAJ when you book.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
The west coast of Florida should be on your family's radar, and the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is an upscale resort on 25 waterfront acres where families can take in nature and fun. Partake in bird watching along the boardwalk, walk with kids on the nearby trails, cool off in the resort's pools, play on the artificial beach and wind down the day by the cozy fire pits.
The resort offers a variety of room categories including spacious suites with water views, and boasts kid-friendly onsite restaurants.
Be sure to rent a car as it's a short drive to many Tampa-area attractions like Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and The Tampa Riverwalk. The beaches are about 45 minutes away, ideal for a day-trip idea.
Book a stay by December 21, 2021 to enjoy up to 15 percent off rates through April 30, 2022.
South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island
A tropical island getaway, South Seas Island Resort is an iconic Florida destination, and welcomes families to its secluded shores. Located off the coast of Fort Myers, the 330-acre retreat is nestled among mangroves and more than half of the resort is a wildlife nature preserve. Children can play along 2.5 miles of private beaches, sail to neighboring barrier islands, watch dolphins, or embark on shelling adventures. There's ample pool fun and water play areas, an onsite ice cream parlor, a 9-hole golf course, daily organized children's activities, and dining options with family-friendly choices.
Grab a free night from the resort's Fly, Drive or Float Offer, and book by Dec. 31, 2021 for stays January 2-April 30, 2022. Families enjoy a fifth night free when they stay four consecutive nights, plus 15 percent off food and beverage the resort outlets. Nights must be consecutive and restrictions may apply. Resort fees and room taxes are additional.
Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton
Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton boasts endless fun and experiences that the whole family can enjoy. From scavenger hunts and nature walks, to playing on a private beach, Baker's Cay will keep kids of all ages busy in authentic Florida Keys fashion. Plan time to enjoy s'mores on the beach, frolicking in the pool, and then enjoy family time with parents and grandparents during movie screenings and trivia nights.
A great money-saving offer is the Cay Kids package for up to 25% off regular rates, plus kids eat free from the resort's delicious kid-friendly menus. Terms and conditions apply. Based on availability, some blackout dates may apply. Minimum two-night stay required. Up to two children (ages 12 and under) per paying adult eat free off of the kids' menu.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
This oceanfront family resort boasts year-round programming for families, with a dedicated program called Loews Loves Families, which specifically caters to parents and children. Additional family amenities include SOAK Cabanas which are a great way for families to spend the day, since each cabana has its own private bathroom with showers and full AC and TVs.
In terms of dining, each of the resort's eateries has kid menus and Preston's Market even has a kids' buffet. And, the Leave it to Loews program gives families an array of loaner options like nightlights, movies, books, baby bath tubs and other needs. The resort amenity program also includes an amazing perk-a complimentary photo session with professional photographers. The pool is very kid-friendly and there's also has pop fountains for added fun.
A great way to save money is to take advantage of the Weekend Perks promotion offering free parking and a food and beverage credit, plus premium Wi-Fi so that families with multiple devices can easily connect. A second promotion is the Eat, Drink, Our Treat that offers a $75 daily food/beverage credit that's a great savings for families.
Isla Bella Resort, Knight's Key
Skip the throngs (and the prices) in Key West and head to Knight's Key this winter, where you and your family can reserve the "Friends of Isla Bella" offer at gorgeous, white-sand-surrounded Isla Bella resort. With the offer, you get exclusive perks: Save up to 20% with no blackout dates, and get flexible cancellation up to seven days prior to your arrival. The offer is only available on Isla Bella's website.
Beyond these resorts, here are some expert tips for reducing travel expenses.
Be a loyalist.
Cindy Richards, spokesperson with Travelingmom.com says if a resort you're considering is a part of a major brand with a loyalty club, join before you book. "You'll earn points for your stay and being a club member means you can get access to the best prices and often will get perks such as free Wi-Fi and late check-out," she says.
Consider package deals.
If you always book your flight and hotel separately, reconsider."Packages that bundle flight, hotels, and car rentals are sometimes a better deal-just make sure to compare prices to a la carte options," says Molly Fergus, spokesperson with TripSavvy.
Check your credit card perks.
Fergus says some premium credit cards offer perks for travel or at specific hotels, including upgrades, food and beverage credits, or even cash back on your booking. "Check your specific credit card benefits; those savings can sometimes offset a more expensive hotel," she says.
Call the hotel.
Sometimes simply calling the hotel can net you a deal. Ask to speak to a sales manager or the general manager of the hotel, says Fergus, and ask if they have any special deals or discounts. "If your schedule is flexible, mention that," she recommends.
This is always good advice, says Fergus, but with kids' vaccinations rolling out, more families are expected to travel in 2022, which means it will be even harder to find deals at peak times like spring break and summer. "Book earlier than ever for the best chance of finding availability and good deals," she says.