These quick pointers will still save you time and money, and make planning your Florida holiday a breeze.

Secret shortcuts

These five quick tips will make your holiday go even more smoothly:

1. Fly to Tampa

The Gulf coast’s biggest city has an international airport served by a direct British Airways flight from Gatwick. It is smaller and less busy than the hubs at Miami and Orlando, which makes for a faster path through immigration. 

2. Fly to Fort Myers

There are no direct services from Britain to Southwest Florida International Airport, but with Silver Airways offering flights from Orlando and Key West, this regional hub could save you a drive to the Gulf.

3. Take the ferry 

For families who want a two-centre break without driving far, the Key West Express is a gift – a daily (passenger-only) catamaran service, which sails from Fort Myers to the southernmost Key in three-and-a-half hours.

Price: Adult single fares from £50, returns from £70; child singles from £12, returns from £23. 

4. Take a delivery 

Parents staying on the Gulf coast isles of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key or Siesta Key will wonder what they did without Fun And More Rentals, a local firm that delivers everything from kayaks to toddler toys and cribs. 

5. Play your cards right 

Save money in the big cities by using discount cards. Orlando has the Magicard (free), which offers discounts on 40 attractions, including Legoland Florida. Miami has the Go Miami Card (adults £38 per day, children £32 per day), which gives cash off at 33 local hotspots, including Jungle Island.

How to get to Florida 

There’s a wealth of direct flights from the UK to the Sunshine State. British Airways serves Orlando and Tampa from Gatwick, and Miami from Heathrow. American Airlines flies to Miami from Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic heads to Orlando from Manchester, Gatwick and Glasgow, and to Miami from Heathrow.

Charter specialists are a further option. Thomson uses Sanford (a less well-known airport 25 miles north-east of Orlando), and flies from Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, East Midlands, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. All flights are seasonal.

Similarly, Thomas Cook Airlines flies to Sanford from Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast, and is launching a service from Manchester to Miami in May 2015.

Useful contacts

Travelbag are Florida specialists and can tailor-make your holiday to suit your family. Travelbag’s Florida packages start from £539 per person, call 0845 543 6615 or visit travelbag.co.uk and let them create your ideal holiday today.

Florida specialists

These expert travel operators will help you plan a holiday ideally tailored to your family's needs. 

America As You Like It 020 8742 8299

American Sky 0843 249 8445

British Airways Holidays 0844 493 0787

Funway Holidays 0844 557 3333

Kenwood Travel 020 7749 9220

North America Travel Service 020 7499 7299

Thomson 0844 871 0878

Thomas Cook 0844 879 8442

Timeless Travel 0844 809 4299

FIND OUT MORE

Florida tourism 

Brand USA

Visit USA Association 

Explore Georgia

Louisiana Travel

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