Booking your holiday is the biggest and most stressful part, so this post is going to be pretty long as I talk you through the steps that have helped me in the past. The most important thing to remember throughout the process is you budget, you may need to be slightly flexible but you need to have a pretty good idea of what your budget is going to be before you start to book you holiday (and don’t forget that you’ll need to budget for the time that you’re on holiday as well). My family have always booked everything separately, but packages are available and I will talk about those as well towards the end.
The first thing that my family has always booked is the flights. This is probably the most important part as it will determine when you will need accommodation for, for example; if you book a flight that leaves on one day but lands the next you won’t need the accommodation until the day you land. The best thing to do once you have a rough idea of the dates you want to go on your Magical Holiday is to look around different websites to see what dates and times are available as you may have to be slightly flexible. It’s also good to look at multiple different websites as you can find the cheapest flight, which helps if you are on a tight budget- make sure to turn off cookies on the internet as this can sometimes impact prices. By doing this, last year I was able to fly Premium Economy for the cost of an economy ticket- this was booking in late November for a holiday towards the end of June. It’s best to look for flights as early as you can as this is when they are the cheapest, but look around for a few days first. In the UK sites like Kayak and Skyscanner can help you to find cheap flights as well as looking directly on company websites.
Once you have booked your flights and know the exact dates of your holiday you can start looking at accommodation. First you will need to decide what type of accommodation you want; a villa, hotel or a park hotel e.g. Disney or Universal (park hotels tend to be better value when booked as a package). I have always stayed in villas as for long holidays it gives you more personal space to relax in, but I have always wanted to stay in a Disney hotel and I’m hoping to for my next holiday. Staying in a villa means you can choose the location as well as the number of bedrooms to suit your family as well as the price you are willing to pay, and you can book them through travel agents in the UK or independent sites where people list their own properties (we booked independently last time and stayed in the most amazing villa- I will try to find the link to the website). Booking independently means you can talk to the owners themselves and there can be some leeway in price (but don’t go overboard)- always make sure to look at reviews and check the site is legitimate before paying any money. If you have a larger family or feel like you always get on each others nerves at the best of times then I would definitely suggest a villa to make the trip less stressful and more magical. However, if you want the magical feel of a Disney or Universal hotel as well as the perks they can bring then a package deal could be the way to go.
Package deals are where you book both the flights and accommodation (and sometimes tickets or car hire) at the same time. I would advise package deals for park hotels as they sometimes offer deals on the park websites that make it cheaper than booking separately. Disney especially offer many deals throughout the year, including: days and nights free, and free dining plans (this can come in very useful if you want to stick to a budget and will mostly be eating within your hotel or the parks- I will go into more detail in a future post). These deals can save you quite a bit of money and it can be less hassle than booking everything separately but it may still be more expensive. I would advise regularly checking the Disney World and Universal Studios websites for deals. Perks of these deals can include: discounts in shops and restaurants, free transport options, and early park admissions.
Extras that you need to book will include: insurance (always look at comparison sites e.g. compare the market which offers perks as well), car hire (if required), airport parking back in the UK, as well as any park tickets or days out you want. My next blog post will be about tickets so I will go into more detail then (this can be done at any time of your booking process), but for everything else the best thing to do, as with everything, is to look around at what’s cheapest. You don’t need to be paying crazy prices for these extras when you can find them cheaper. For insurance make sure that you put down all the information needed in case you need to make a claim. For car hire make sure you have a car big enough to transport all luggage or you may be stuck at the airport. Airport parking can be either in one of the airports own car parks or using a meet and greet service (again check it’s legitimate).
I hope that this post is helpful, and I will go into most of these things in more detail in future posts but this is an overview of everything you will need to book. Any questions feel free to get in contact.