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Orlando Tips

Tampa International Airport: A New Alternative to MCO Orlando International Airport?

by Ben Stubbington 06 Aug 2023

 For most families, a magical trip to Florida usually starts with arriving at Orlando’s international airport. With being in the heart of Orlando, its close proximity to local attractions, and its exceptional service, why wouldn’t you fly to Orlando? Well, now there could be a reason. Tampa, International Airport!

Tampa International Entrance Sign

In July 2023, my family flew to Tampa airport instead of Orlando which turned out to be a decision that exceeded our expectations, providing us with both cost-saving benefits and a better overall experience. From the moment we landed at Tampa International Airport, we were impressed with the efficiency and ease of navigating the facilities.

One of the main advantages of choosing Tampa was the significant cost savings. The flight tickets were noticeably cheaper, allowing us to allocate more of our budget to other aspects of our trip, such as accommodations, dining, and activities. This meant we could explore and enjoy more during our vacation without worrying too much about breaking the bank. The car rental prices were also a whole chunk cheaper with was a nice added benefit.

Beyond the financial aspect, the airport experience itself was fantastic. Tampa International Airport has a reputation for being well-organized and hassle-free, and it certainly lived up to its name. The check-in and security processes were swift and smooth, allowing us to breeze through without unnecessary delays or stress.

Tampa Airport Shuttle Train

The airport’s layout was intuitive, making it easy to find our way around. There were plenty of signs and helpful staff available to assist us, ensuring that we always felt safe and understood. The amenities and services provided were top-notch, from clean restrooms to a variety of dining options to keep us fueled before and after our flight. Basically, Tampa Airport had all of the perks of Orlando Airport and more.

Tampa Airport Layout Model

The one caveat is the location. Tampa is around an hour and 20 minutes away from Walt Disney World rather than the shorter, 40 minutes to Orlando International Airport. The benefit however is that traffic was extremely light and it only required a few road changes to get to our destination as the majority of the trip was on I4. Overall though, a small price to pay for the huge other benefits.

Another plus side to Tampa was the calm and relaxed atmosphere of the airport. Compared to the hustle and bustle of larger airports like Orlando, Tampa provided a more laid-back and enjoyable travel experience. It was a welcome change, especially after a long flight, as it allowed us to start our vacation on a positive and stress-free note.

Tampa Airport Flamingo Art Work Statue

In retrospect, flying to Tampa instead of Orlando was a decision that we would make again without hesitation. The cost savings, efficient airport experience, and convenient location made it a no-brainer. We enjoyed every moment of our trip, and this experience has left us with a newfound appreciation for Tampa as a gateway to the wonders of Florida.

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