4 weeks.
3 kids.
1 million memories.

This is how one self-employed family of 5 from Ontario spends one month in Florida on a budget. You can too!
cocoa beach
Cocoa Beach is a 1 hour drive from Orlando

Tips for a great vacation

A little preparation can make a big difference. Here are some things to consider…

Book with VRBO

Hotels are expensive. To save a bundle but stay somewhere amazing, we use VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner). Condo owners post the availability of their units, a description, pictures and rates. We have had a great deal of success booking incredible condos using VRBO.com. We used it to book our stays in Reunion, and Southwest Florida. More…

Drive or fly?

We have done both. My husband drives down our minivan no matter what because renting a van for a month is expensive. $300 in gas/hotel gets you from Ontario to Florida in two days. We check out flights from Buffalo airport where we have found flights for as cheap as $70 + tax a seat (don’t fly out of Pearson YYZ! You’ll never get away with less than $300-$400 per seat). At that rate, it might be worth it to you to fly.

Where to stay?

Doing Disney? Stay at Reunion Resort. 15 minutes from the gates of Disney, Reunion offers gorgeous 3 bedroom condos, dozens of pools and 3 top-rated golf courses for as cheap as $100 a night. More… Not doing Disney? We like Southwest Florida. The gated communities of Naples, Bonita Springs, and Marco Island give you access to miles of beach, fine shopping and dining (or not) and more

Do 10 days of Disney

Disney is expensive if you do it for 3 days. Disney becomes much more affordable if you do it for 10 days, or buy an annual pass (which cuts the cost of Disney in half). Don’t forget Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the two Disney water parks! How can you afford it? Here’s how. And did you know there are lots of things you can do at Disney without paying a cent for Disney? More on that here.

Pack iPads

What?! iPads?! On vacation? Yep! On the plane, in the car, or for homework, you can’t beat what an iPad (etc.) can offer. We loaded ours with (mostly) educational apps so that the time they spend with their faces stuck in a screen is time wisely spent. Here are some apps I recommend.


Photos are my thing. They lock in your memories. Two indespensible tools I use to take my photos above just-okay are Instagram and Over. Instagram adds filters to your photos to improve them and give them different looks. Over lets you add text and symbols to your photos. Quick and easy to use with incredible results!


Throw your phone into airplane mode! I found out the hard way that turning off your phone’s cellular data doesn’t actually turn it off. Buy a U.S. Travel phone package ($90+) for texting/data. Or only keep in touch by using your unit’s Wifi signal. Make sure cellular data is turned off. As an extra tip, take out the sim card. That guarantees you aren’t using data!


Taking your kids out of school for 3 extra weeks in March requires permission. Clear your extended vacation with both the principal and individual teachers. Then, ask for a homework package. And make sure you do the work. 30 minutes in the morning (don’t do it after a long day) will keep your kids caught up.

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Some of the ways we spend our time
  • Doing homework 10% 10%
  • Swimming 90% 90%
  • Fun in the sun 100% 100%
  • Relaxing and lounging 50% 50%
  • Disney 40% 40%


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