Orlando on a Budget: How to Visit Without Breaking the Bank

October 10, 2019

When you think of Orlando, you envision over-the-top thrills, dining, and entertainment. And while it can be expensive, your vacation doesn't have to break the bank.

Whether you're a huge Disney or Universal fan, an outdoor enthusiast, or love local charm, you and your family can enjoy Orlando on a budget. Discover the best ways to save below with these top tips.

Orlando on a budget

RGruber / Pixabay

Visit During the Off-season

Because of its world-renowned theme parks, entertainment, and weather, Orlando can become quite busy and therefore expensive. However, you can visit Orlando on a budget and still have a fantastic time. We recommend booking flights, hotels, tickets, and reservations early, as well as looking into vacation packages. When visiting Orlando, consider going from mid-January to early March or September to early December. The parks will always draw heavy crowds, but considerably less so if you don't go during late spring or summer. If you can't miss school, consider visiting in late July to mid-August.

Additionally, when booking flights, look into alternate airports like Orlando Sanford Airport or Tampa International Airport. Yes, they are more out of the way, but you can potentially save rather than booking through Orlando International Airport.

Invest in an Orlando Explorer Pass

The Orlando Explorer Pass enables travelers to visit top attractions across the city with 30 days to use from the first scan. Choose from or five attractions from over 15 such as The Wheel at ICON Park, the Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland, WonderWorks, and SEA LIFE Aquarium! You can save up to 35% versus gate prices, enabling you to enjoy Orlando on a budget. Further, the pass is digital, so you don't have to carry a physical ticket when entering the attraction. Simply show the pass and have fun!

Orlando on a budget

Rain0975 / Flickr

Take Advantage of Free & Cheaper Things to Do

We do recommend visiting the theme parks because they are truly unique in regards to thrills and entertainment, but Orlando offers so much that people don't know about! Find something for everyone in this Floridian city such as kayaking in a local park, biking around Lake Eola, touring Winter Park, and visiting a local museum. We outlined some of the best options below.


  • Kraft Azalea Park
  • Mead Botanical Garden
  • Tibet Butler Preserve
  • Blue Springs State Park
  • Little Big Econ State Forest
  • Kelly Park
  • Wekiva Springs
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens

Local Museums & Galleries

  • Cornell Fine Arts Museum
  • CityArts Factory
  • Grand Bohemian Gallery
  • Skeletons Museum of Osteology
  • Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

close up of Winter Park Farmer's Market sign on brick building in Orlando, Florida, USA

Downtown Orlando & Winter Park

  • Lake Eola
  • Winter Park Farmer's Market
  • Park Avenue shops and eateries
  • Tasty Tuesdays
  • Popcorn flicks in Winter Park
  • Lakeridge Winery
  • Orlando Brewing Company
  • Fred Stone Theater
  • Immerse
Orlando on a budget

David Broad / Panoramio

Navigating the Parks

Visiting Orlando's theme parks can charge you hundreds of dollars, even for two individuals. We recommend booking tickets early, taking advantage of discounts via Tripster, and accessing resident and military discounts when possible. Additionally, don't buy souvenirs at the park if you can find them elsewhere online.

Related Post: Educational Summer Vacation with Kids - Orlando

Eating at the parks and don't want to pack a lunch? First of all, if dining at a full-service restaurant, make reservations in advance in order to avoid long waiting times. In addition, realize that prices tend to raise during the holidays, so once again, you can save money by visiting during the off-season. Further, the parks offer numerous choices in terms of dining in Orlando on a budget. You can swing by snack cafes to grab value eats like hot dogs, fries, and burgers. Also, look for fruit stands to save and eat healthily during your visit, try to split meals when possible, and keep your drink cups for refills.

Orlando on a budget

Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commona

A Short Drive from Orlando

Orlando lies close to the state's east coast, so you can enjoy the beaches down Highway A1A such as Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and Daytona Beach. Relish the sun, waves, water sports, entertainment, and top attractions like the Kennedy Space Center and the Ron Jon Surf Shop. Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and Daytona Beach lie about an hour outside of Orlando.

Look into Alternate Transportation

If you don't want to rent a car when traveling, we understand. Daily fees add up and become pricey quickly. Fortunately, you can traverse through Orlando on a budget using options such as local public transportation or ride share options like Uber and Lyft. Families can utilize the Lynx Bus Service that transports passengers across Orange County and others, the fare-free LYMMO Downtown Circulator bus, and the SunRail train. Furthermore, the I-Ride Trolley enables travelers to explore International Drive and costs a maximum of $2 per ride. Another option is to Dockless bike sharing, which allows users to rent bicycles around the city. Also, you may be able to access shuttle options depending on your hotel choice.

Consider Cost-Efficient Dining Options

While eating at The Three Broomsticks is tempting, dining at the parks can get pretty pricey for those visiting Orlando on a budget. Of course, the best option remains shopping at a local grocery store like Publix or Walmart and making meals throughout the week, but you should treat yourself too! After all, you're on vacation. Consider these cost-friendly, diverse options:

Orlando on a budget

Jeff Turner / Flickr

Save with Tripster Orlando Discounts

Hotels don't have to cost an arm and a leg when visiting Orlando on a budget. In fact, Tripster Orlando offers premium discounts on hotels in the area, enabling families to score quality amenities and close proximity to top attractions. Whether you prefer efficiency rooms, resorts, condos, or vacation homes for large groups, we have you covered.

palm tree and spring flowers with Epcot and Walt Disney World Monorail System tram in the background in Orlando, Florida, USA

Discover the Greatest Ways to Visit Orlando on A Budget

With so many choice locations to visit, you won't run out of options on your trip. What are your top low-cost things to do in Orlando?

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