If you are trying to decide between taking a family holiday in a private villa in one of the top European destinations like the Costa del Sol; or flying stateside to experience a holiday in the sunshine state of Florida perhaps our guide will help to show how these options differ. Both destinations top the list of family holiday favourite’s year on year but they offer very different experiences. Which one will you choose?
The obvious difference between flying from the UK to a European destination and flying to Orlando in Florida is time. If you are heading to the Costa del Sol flight time is usually around 3 hours, whereas you can expect your flight to Orlando to take anything up to 9 ½ hours.
For some people getting on a long haul flight is all part of the experience and you get better inflight entertainment, meals and drink included in the cost of your ticket. However, if you are flying with young children a 9 hour flight can seem like a VERY long time. Longer flight times and a 5 hour time difference can also interfere with sleep patterns when you arrive so if you don’t want your child to get out of their routine you may prefer a quick hop over to the Costa. The cost of flying to Orlando is vastly more expensive than flying to a European airport, but then you would expect this as it is thousands of miles further away.
Whilst flights to Florida are far more expensive than those to Malaga, the cost of renting a Private Villa with a Pool in Orlando is greatly cheaper than renting a similar property of the same size and quality in Spain.
Orlando holiday homes are all built and equipped to pretty much the same standard with air conditioning, cable TV and high speed WiFi as standard. You may pay more to be on a resort with better facilities like a gym or a clubhouse, but realistically to rent a 4 bedroom villa with private pool in August would cost around £650 per week, half of what you would pay for a 4 bed Villa with Pool on the Costa del Sol. However, if you like complete privacy by your pool then Florida may not suit you as homes tend to be built pretty close to each other with just a ‘lanai’ net over the pool as a barrier between you and your neighbour.
Choosing a villa on the Costa del Sol is so much harder because each villa is built individually and each has its own character and features which is why you pay more for all those added little things you fall in love with when you find your ideal holiday home. In Florida all of the villas look pretty much the same which keeps prices on a very even keel and it stops owners from being able to increase rental rates as well. It is likely that you will spend more time in your villa on the Costa del Sol as families travelling to Florida generally spend lots of time out at the attractions so taking longer to make sure the villa has all you want is to be expected.
The array of places you can eat out in Orlando is huge, however the style of eating out is very much the same. If you like to drive to a restaurant, eat a big meal and then get home you will enjoy eating out in Florida. Most of the restaurants and diners are located off the main highways so you don’t really have any other option than to drive to get to them. Americans are big on red meat and big on portion sizes too but the steaks are excellent and eating out is also pretty cheap over there. When you order your meal you are asked a whole list of questions about what ‘sides’ you want, how you want your meat cooked, if you want cheese with that? It can get a little mesmerising. Having said this you can’t beat an American-style breakfast at one of the many diners in Orlando.
Europeans have a different attitude to eating out. If you go for a meal in a restaurant in Spain it’s not uncommon to spend the whole evening sat at your table, leisurely enjoying food, coffee and alcohol. Eating out in Spain is a social occasion. It is also more likely that you can find somewhere to walk to eat out or get taxis (which are always readily available) so you don’t have to hold back on the wine with your meal!
If sitting outside at a restaurant enjoying a meal is all part of your holiday experience then dining out in Florida may all be a bit rushed for you.
Where do we start when it comes to the array of activities on offer in Orlando… Disneyworld may be a good place. Everyone knows that Orlando is the ultimate holiday destination if you want to visit theme parks, waterparks, animal parks; basically anywhere with lots of rides and lots of fun.
If you have children going to Orlando its an unbeatable experience. There are just a few things you need to consider before you book your trip though… The main thing is cost.
You can buy ticket packages which keep the cost of entry to the parks slightly lower but the cost of getting a family of 4 into just one of the parks can cost upwards of £200, it is not a cheap day out. If you are travelling with kids please also think about what time of year to visit. Temperatures from April through to September can easily reach the mid 30s. If you plan to spend all day at the theme parks make sure you cover up and take the sun cream because it is HOT! Having said this, if you can afford a holiday of a lifetime then no one does it better than the Americans so visit as much as you can while you are there and enjoy the ride.
If you are travelling to the Costa del Sol the chances are most of your holiday will revolve around the beach or pool. The beaches along the Costa del Sol are family friendly and the cost of a bucket and spade is minimal compared to the cost of entry to a theme park.
If you do want to enjoy rides, waterparks or zoos the Costa del Sol has all of these things on offer but on a much smaller scale than in Florida. Adults can keep themselves entertained with golf courses, tennis clubs, hiking, mountain biking, or simply lazing by the pool. Orlando has all of these things on offer as well which lots of people overlook because they feel they have to fit in as many trips to the theme parks as possible. If you visit Orlando try and explore some of the fantastic nature around the area or the many activities on offer that don’t cost a fortune.
The Costa del Sol and Orlando are both great family holiday destinations. If you want great value accommodation, the best theme parks in the world on your doorstep and huge steaks for dinner head to Florida. If you want a more relaxed holiday with a shorter flight time, great beaches, tasty cuisine and evenings spent relaxing on your terrace then the Costa del Sol may be the better choice for you. If you are going to spend the money on taking your kids on a holiday of a lifetime to Florida one thing I would recommend is waiting until they are old enough to enjoy the parks and remember just how magical Disneyworld is. If you have younger kids a family beach holiday in Spain will be just as exciting for them and it will cost you a fraction of the price.