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Kanoo Travel, a franchise partner of American Express Travel Services, specialise in tailormade luxury holidays for the discerning traveller.

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Saturday 11 June 2011

The Sunshine State

Florida is renowned for being a holiday haven for groups, families and couples alike; the ultimate holiday destination with just about everything from some of the world's greatest theme parks, to malls capable of keeping the Carrie Bradshaw's of the world happy for days on end.
I had my first experience with Florida at the age of 8 and after almost 13 years since a fix of a Sizzler buffet, a Shamu show and the acceptance of wearing a bum-bag in public - I felt I had waited more than long enough to revisit the sunshine state of Florida and began my preperations for my travels across the Atlantic. With under two months to plan my indulgent break with award-winning sands of Clearwater and all things Disney to cover, my preperations were carried out with military precision which left me care-free for the holiday with my Minnie Mouse ears poised and ready before even touching down at Sanford Airport.

With minimal time for preperation, finding a hotel was as simple as finalising your needs - I specifically looked to find one of the International Drive as this is a prime area for resturants and access to the highway. If you prefer more relaxed surroundings, I would recommend looking for accommodation around Kissimmee, Florida. The International Drive is perfectly situated however for those like me who like to stumble across an IHOP or an all-you-can-eat steak dinner for $7.00 every ten yards.
We eventually chose and booked accommodation at Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld. It's good reviews along with competitive prices and in a location perfect for exploring the Parks, it had everything we needed including comfortable rooms and a breakfast buffet to keep us bright eyed for the day ahead.

A nine-hour Thomson plane journey, two Cosmopolitans and a demolished Toblerone later, we found ourselves in Florida. We had hired a car with Alamo a week prior to our holiday; with the amount of ground we planned to cover, having our own wheels and air conditioning we didn't have to share was a blessing. However if you don't have the option of car rental, Kanoo offers a range of airport transfers to your accommodation, hotels in the International Drive area often have complimentary transport to the parks.
As my brother got to grips with driving on the other side of the road, I also found myself gripping the dashboard as we made our way down the I-4 highway. Our first port of call after inspecting the delightfully satisfactory hotel (any accommodation which welcomes you with warm cookies is always high on my list), was Wal-mart to stock up on the necessities for our stay.
After wandering round open-mouthed at the novelty food available -("Matthew look! Look! Oreo ice-cream! There's Oreo's IN the ice-cream!") Were only some of the comments made by myself to my brother who acted as though he didn't know this obvious tourist - we filled the trolley with gronola bars, water, fruit, nuts and potato chips which we would take with us to the theme parks to provide us with the energy that ice-cream and lemonade slushies just wouldn't.

From the supermarket you can also pick up a booklet of coupons which provide vouchers for participating restaurants guaranteeing you 10-20% off meals. The majority of restaurants in Florida are purse friendly with great quality food, from the Sizzler's to Ponderosa - also head to; The Outback restaurant, an Australian style bar and grill with (in my opinion) the best steaks around, great service and prices which won't leave you sharing a main meal.
If you feel like treating yourself after a hard day of feeding dolphins or exploring Hogwarts - I recommend a trip to The Hard Rock Cafe located at Universal's City Walk, an amazing restaurant with a wide selection of food and enough music and dancing to keep you entertained throughout your entire meal.

With so much to do whilst you're in Florida, it's hard to imagine having the time to see and do it all. Focus on the main attractions you want to visit; Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios is a perfect ccombination of rides, shows and simulation coasters to keep both thrill seekers and movie lovers happy each visit. Walt Disney World has so much to see and is magical for all ages with rides to suit all - but make sure you take a few days out of the holiday in between exploring to visit the Gulf Coast where you can relax and unwind on soft powdered beaches all set for the next full day of rollercoaster's and exciting shows.

I've noticed people planning on going to Floridahave had issues with knowing how to manage their money whilst there. From experience my advice would be to set a certain limit of money to spend per day, whether it be on meals, drinks or novelty souvenirs - if you keep within your daily budget, you'll find you're able to manage the entire holiday without finding yourself having to use your credit card which is best left saved in case of emergencies...or to use during the Abercrombie and Fitch spree before you head home.

I've learnt from my holiday that's it's beneficial to plan ahead of your trip - for all of your holiday requirements from airport transfers to hotels and park tickets; Kanoo travel can ensure you a tailor made package at great value to fit all of your needs to guarantee you a perfect holiday. If you have any queries or would just like some more information, don't hesitate to call on 0800 458 3412 which will lead you straight to a skilled team of travel consultants dedicated to helping you get the holiday you've dreamed of. With mouse-ears optional and a state based around extraordinary visions, Florida is a holiday of a lifetime for everyone.

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