Guess Where I’ve Been?

Magic Kingdom!

That’s right. Only the happiest place on Earth: Walt Disney World!

I went to Orlando on business (first time to say that)

to attend a psychology convention.

I knew I would be attending this convention about a year in advance.

This allowed me to save $100 each month to pay cash for everything.

I was there for 5 days and my entire vacation cost me only $750.

Here’s how I did it:


I bought my airline tickets 7 months in advance to get the lowest cost.

I traveled non-stop on Spirit Airlines,

an absolutely no-frills airline

(read: pay for your carry on).

To save money, I did not pick my seats (an extra $10 each way)

and purchased my luggage fees in advance.

My options for each way were to purchase the advanced purchase carry-on: $30,

or the advanced purchase checked bag: $28.

Trying to save $4 (round-trip) I checked my bag.

Total airline cost: $229.58

I rigorously stalked the daily deals sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) for Orlando deals.

From these sites I purchased a car service to pick me up from the airport for $39

and a shuttle van to take me back for $17.

During my time in Orlando, I purchased

an unlimited ride 5 day trolley pass from the I-Ride Trolley for $8.

Very safe trolley mainly used by tourists


I took a cab twice totaling $24.

Total ground transportation: $88 + tip


The whole reason of traveling was to attend a convention.

$70 for students

Conference bags filled with SWAG


As a firm practitioner of the always-searching-for-better-deals science,

upon my web browsing I found that

if you go to any of the Disney theme parks after 4pm,

admission price is reduced from $89 to only $52.

However, you must purchase this ticket in advance.

A great deal since it is open until 11pm,

giving you 7 hours of child-like romping.


I split a hotel with three other women from my grad program.

They stayed one day longer than I did.

To keep my bags in the room longer for my evening flight,

I paid for an additional night.

My portion: $101.50.

This comes out to $20.30 a night!


I had a food budget of $200 for my trip,

divided out to $40 per day.

The hotel had free breakfast

which allotted me $20 for each lunch and dinner.

I stuck with my budget and even came home with $80 left!

If you are wanting to plan a vacation

but are afraid of the cost,

do what I did.

1. budget airline. Why pay $100 extra for free pretzels?

2. split hotel with friends/budget hotel. I usually go for inside doors for safety.

3. use daily deals sites for savings. The sites are great for hotels, ground transfers, and restaurants.


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