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  1. Default Florida December

    Hi, we are planning a trip to Florida for my wife's and my friends 50th birthdays (17th and 23rd)
    We arrive on the 10th at Miami with two nights booked in Orlando to visit Universal. The aim is to go from there to Daytona beach, on to New Orleans then head back after a couple of days via Panama City.
    Leave Panama heading to Tampa or St Petes ( taking in Busch Gardens) then on to Fort Myers area followed by the Everglades. We would like to know any recommendations for places to stay and things to do here.
    Leaving the Everglades area we head to key largo for a night (23rd Dec) before going down to key west for xmas eve and Xmas day. Leave key west on 26th to get back to Miami airport for our flight at 21:00

    Any thoughts on places to go or places to avoid? Oh and there are 8 of us 4 adults and 4 teenagers (1 x boy ) 16,16,14 and 13.

  2. Default

    Forgot to say, we are all together in one rental van. Chevy Express I think.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Various Things to Consider

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    At first blush, it seemed as though you were trying to pack an awful lot into your two weeks, but the agenda you've laid out should actually be quite doable. The one thing I would urge you to build into it though is some down time, one day every four or five where you've got nothing planned and everyone is free to do what they want, most notably get away from each other.

    The other possible pitfall is with your rental van. Every rental reservation will contain the words "or similar" giving the rental company some wiggle room to substitute an equivalent vehicle (or 'better') depending on what they have in their inventory when you actually show up. But your needs are rather specific. Even if they have a Chevy Express available, you're going to want it in a particular configuration - as an eight passenger van. If it's set up as a twelve passenger van luggage space, entry/exit, and leg room will all suffer. About all you can do, however, is talk to the Miami airport rental people directly a week before you arrive, and then again a couple of days prior, so that they are clear on what you are expecting and need.

    I'd also suggest that for places to stay, you look into the three major motel chain reward programs: Hilton Honors (Hilton, Doubletree, Hampton, etc.), Marriott Rewards (Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield, etc,), and Choice Privileges (Comfort, Clarion, Quality, etc.). If you can find one program with enough lodging choices (location and amenities) to suit you all, signing up for their program should net you a free stay or two during your travels.

    Finally some suggestions for things to see along your route. At the moment it seems to be a bit theme park heavy, so my proposals are going to be more education and nature oriented: Kennedy Space Center, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve would all fit easily into your current route and are worth checking out.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The FL map

    You might like to consider contacting the FL tourism authorities and ask if you can have one of their State issued road maps. It is one of the most detailed I have seen, and will show you everything the local authorities think worth of a visit, as well as many other attractions along the routes you plan to drive. It will also show you which are scenic routes, and grade all highways accordingly.

    I am not sure if they send it overseas, but it is always worth asking.

    Maybe ask for more than one, so the teenagers can have one each to follow the route and make suggestions of what they would like to see.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    At first blush, it seemed as though you were trying to pack an awful lot into your two weeks, but the agenda you've laid out should actually be quite doable. The one thing I would urge you to build into it though is some down time, one day every four or five where you've got nothing planned and everyone is free to do what they want, most notably get away from each other.

    The other possible pitfall is with your rental van. Every rental reservation will contain the words "or similar" giving the rental company some wiggle room to substitute an equivalent vehicle (or 'better') depending on what they have in their inventory when you actually show up. But your needs are rather specific. Even if they have a Chevy Express available, you're going to want it in a particular configuration - as an eight passenger van. If it's set up as a twelve passenger van luggage space, entry/exit, and leg room will all suffer. About all you can do, however, is talk to the Miami airport rental people directly a week before you arrive, and then again a couple of days prior, so that they are clear on what you are expecting and need.

    I'd also suggest that for places to stay, you look into the three major motel chain reward programs: Hilton Honors (Hilton, Doubletree, Hampton, etc.), Marriott Rewards (Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield, etc,), and Choice Privileges (Comfort, Clarion, Quality, etc.). If you can find one program with enough lodging choices (location and amenities) to suit you all, signing up for their program should net you a free stay or two during your travels.

    Finally some suggestions for things to see along your route. At the moment it seems to be a bit theme park heavy, so my proposals are going to be more education and nature oriented: Kennedy Space Center, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve would all fit easily into your current route and are worth checking out.

    AZBuck
    Thanks very much for your reply, I am a bit confused on the 'theme park heavy' comment? We are only going to visit Universal and Busch Gardens during our trip so 2 parks in 15 days seems light to me.
    Good idea for the hotel chains though and the contacting of the rental people, thanks for that will definitely be doing that.

    Lynky

  6. Default

    Thanks for the reply, Again a good idea. I will be emailing soon after finishing this reply!

    Cheers

    Lynky

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