Enjoying Florida - How to Enjoy a Holiday in Florida

Sounds simple. How could you possibly not enjoy a holiday in Florida? Try too much driving, too many theme parks, too much sun, too much food, shopping until you drop (how come we're back in the Florida Mall again?), too much chilled white wine (only joking!).

Do that and you'll end up back home wondering why you've just had a great holiday and you're absolutely exhausted with only winter and more work to look forward to.

First off, learn to chill out a bit. Many residents of Florida are quite good at that. It doesn't have the same frenetic pace as New York and that's why many people go there to holiday or to live.

Tip number 1 Make a conscious effort to remember that you're on holiday

You ARE losing the plot if you've just come from the UK and you think that people in the US are deliberately taking too long / holding you up / using up your valuable time because you haven't got any to spare.

Tip number 2 Don't try to do it all.

Make some decisions before you go. There is far too much to do in a 2 week holiday, so make up your mind what you are going to do and more importantly, what you're not going to do. Get agreement from everyone in advance. We usually get everyone in the party to nominate one thing that is their choice for the holiday. If you then decide to add one extra thing it's viewed as a bonus! When we're travelling we always think it's good to leave a place with some things not done anyway. Makes coming back all the more interesting.

Florida is not just theme parks and buying trainers. Yes, it's the best place in the world to do those things, but if that's all you do then you're missing out on other things it has to offer.

Tip number 3 Vary what you do.

Alternate between theme parks and days that are a bit more relaxing. That way you make more out of a theme park day by going from dawn to dusk, and you enjoy the in between times as well.

Tip number 4 Plan to maximise your days.

You might think that I'm suggesting that you just do a little of what's on offer. Far from it. Make sure you get Park Hopper tickets so that you can go from one place to another on the same day. As an example you can get to Animal Kingdom early (be the first there!). You have just about the right amount of time in the car for everyone (except the driver) to get sun tan cream on while you're getting there. Finish in Animal Kingdom late afternoon (you can do everything if you get Fast Passes and don't mess about), then go to Blizzard Beach. You'll find space as some people will be starting to leave. Stay there until it closes then go to Hollywood Studios for something to eat, a wander round and a shot on the Rock n' Rollercoaster to finish the day. Everyone will enjoy doing something different the day after.

Tip number 5 Tire the more active ones out.

Standing in theme park queues doesn't burn off the energy even if you come home tired out. For the more active there are activities they will enjoy, particularly wakeboarding, or how about a day at Cocoa Beach and a surfing lesson. Easily done, and once you've done it once, hire some boards and put in "time on the board" practising before another lesson. Keeps the costs very reasonable for a great day out.

Tip number 6 If you've come from the UK try to stay with the time difference.

You'll waken very early, great time to get up, have an early morning dip as the sun comes over the horizon. It's my favourite time of day. Fresh fruit and coffee for breakfast by the pool. If you're a jogger, now's the time before it gets too hot. It gets dark and a lot of things close quite early in Florida so heading to bed relatively early suits well. If you manage to keep it up, your clock will be marginally more in time when you get back home.

Feel free to ignore all of the above. It works for us, but it's your holiday after all!