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Flying into MCO (Orlando) to stay in St. Petersburg/Tampa??

Flying into MCO (Orlando) to stay in St. Petersburg/Tampa??

Old Jul 4, 17, 11:54 am
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Question Flying into MCO (Orlando) to stay in St. Petersburg/Tampa??

I have a meeting in Wednesday - Sunday February 2018 in Tampa and am planning on spending the weekend before in St. Petersburg. Non-stop flights are easier to get from SFO to Orlando. Is it a nutty idea to just get a car and drive the two hours (i.e. traffic, hassle, etc.)?? Is there much around St. Petersburg that is worth having a car for?

Is there any reasonable transportation between Tampa and St. Petersburg if I just fly into Tmapa (uber, shuttles from TPA to St. Pete etc)?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Jul 7, 17, 10:31 am
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It's really not a bad drive from MCO to TPA.

Generally speaking, TPA has fewer flights arriving, but the fares are often lower. I've used it as an alternative when the fares to MCO are high. TPA is a much smaller and easier airport to navigate.

If you can, I would fly to TPA and drive to St. Pete.
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Old Jul 7, 17, 10:33 am
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TPA seems like a nice airport. MCO is filled with kids visiting the mouse so that lounges are packed, there are long lines, etc. I would try to avoid MCO even if going to a meeting in Orlando.
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Old Jul 9, 17, 8:51 am
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Thanks for suggestions. I was concerned about both the drive to Tampa, but also the fact that MCO was likely to be a zoo of an airport. The fact that I could easily fly there non-stop was the big draw, but probably not worth the hassle.
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Old Jul 9, 17, 1:19 pm
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Traveling from MCO to TPA on a weekend should be very easy. No hassle at all.

Just make sure you join and use the loyalty program of the car rental company you choose. Some companies are notorious for aggressive upsell tactics. British visitors are easy prey to this stuff.
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Old Jul 9, 17, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Thanks for suggestions. I was concerned about both the drive to Tampa, but also the fact that MCO was likely to be a zoo of an airport. The fact that I could easily fly there non-stop was the big draw, but probably not worth the hassle.
The drive should take a little more than an hour to TPA. MCO isn't quite the zoo you think it is. Yes, it's very crowded, but I go through it a few times a year and don't find it any zoo-ier than any other major airport. Actually, my home airport is EWR, and the people at MCO are far better behaved
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Old Jul 10, 17, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by Mary2e View Post
The drive should take a little more than an hour to TPA. MCO isn't quite the zoo you think it is. Yes, it's very crowded, but I go through it a few times a year and don't find it any zoo-ier than any other major airport. Actually, my home airport is EWR, and the people at MCO are far better behaved
That's kind of a left-handed compliment. My apologies to all southpaws.

We will use MCO for the ability to book direct TATL flights despite the fact that it's a 5 hour drive from home. I would rather spend the 5 hours driving and stay overnight with nearby relatives than the added time and expense of flying from our local airport.

I don't mind it, although I always get turned around inside and find myself headed for the wrong parking lot after 2 weeks away.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 3:15 pm
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Thanks again for input. I think I will just see what airline and schedule make the most sense and even if I drive from MCO it does not sound bad. I am actually going to St. Pete first, but on a Saturday so hopefully not too bad either.

And after my last experience with Avis, who had cancelled my membership/loyalty number and had me stand in line over an hour at LIH, I am sticking with Hertz Gold. 25+ year member there and worth the extra $$. Life is too short!
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Old Aug 14, 17, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Thanks for suggestions. I was concerned about both the drive to Tampa, but also the fact that MCO was likely to be a zoo of an airport. The fact that I could easily fly there non-stop was the big draw, but probably not worth the hassle.
mstraveler - you may already know, but UA did start a nonstop SFO-TPA flight. It's only 1x/day so if the time doesn't fit your schedule it may not work, but it would be convenient if it fits your timing and you are much closer to final destination.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by CruiserCLE View Post
mstraveler - you may already know, but UA did start a nonstop SFO-TPA flight. It's only 1x/day so if the time doesn't fit your schedule it may not work, but it would be convenient if it fits your timing and you are much closer to final destination.
Thanks CruiserCLE; somehow I had missed that. Unfortunately the fare is really high, but might consider it anyway. Have gotten to the point where I will do just about anything to avoid connecting flights! Or maybe if I just wait a few days flights will get cheaper depending on Irma's path. Or sometimes just the idea of weather or political turmoil make places "undesirable" to leisure travelers.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 3:02 pm
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I have flown into MCO many times and stayed in Tampa area. If you rent a car and have a GPS, the drive is not bad outside of "rush-hour". Both MCO and TPA are fine airports so the choice may come to : connecting flights and cost of non-stop to chosen airport.
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Old Sep 7, 17, 9:31 pm
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If you are flying UA SFO-TPA NS vs. SFO-MCO NS, a quick single peek into United search engine (for me at least) shows SFO-MCO more expensive (~$500 RT) than SFO-TPA (~$425 RT).

For me out of LAX, I see LAX-MCO NS @ $292 but there's no non-stop to TPA, so LAX-SFO-TPA RT is $404.

Good luck!

David
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Old Sep 8, 17, 9:55 am
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Thanks all. The United NS is close to $1200 when I am going in February, so am checking out Frontier (a friend has flown them and thought they were great).

And of course all of this may shift depending on Irma
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Old Oct 10, 17, 2:27 am
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Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Thanks all. The United NS is close to $1200 when I am going in February, so am checking out Frontier (a friend has flown them and thought they were great).

And of course all of this may shift depending on Irma
Why would something happening in February "shift" due to a major hurricane? Florida has been hit many times by hurricanes and know how to recover. Except for some tree debris cleanup, we are already back to normal a month after Irma passed us.

Puerto Rico is a different story with Maria as it is an isolated island with not much infrastructure support as we have in Florida.
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