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Is it impossible to get around Tampa without a rental car?

Is it impossible to get around Tampa without a rental car?

Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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Is it impossible to get around Tampa without a rental car?

Our local airport has deals for $19/each way to Tampa, very hard to resist. We would fly into Tampa, stay 3 nights, and maybe spend a day at Busch Gardens. It is $200+ dollars for a rental car for 3 days. I'm only considering this trip because its so cheap so that price may be a deal breaker. Is there an area of Tampa where we could catch a hotel shuttle from the airport and then restaurants would be within walking distance?
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Don't they have taxis in Tampa? I would think you could find an area with hotel and restaurants close together and could take an occasional taxi for less than the $200.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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I was there for a convention. There are a few restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. There is also a streetcar line that goes out to other areas such as Ybor City where we enjoyed a great dinner at the Columbia. I went another time by myself to visit the farmers market and have lunch. We also found a guy with a small electric mini bus who took us to Ybor city for a reasonable price. We took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel. I'm not sure how you would get to Busch Gardens but you might also look into day tours with the bus company.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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It's impossible to visit Tampa without a rental car. I live here--take it from me. The bus system is confusing and time consuming. Busch Gardens is not near any other attractions, such as Ybor City, the Aquarium, shopping, the beaches... I wish it were otherwise.
Where are you thinking of staying, pianogirl?
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 09:01 AM
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Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Ybor and you'll be within walking distance to many restaurants, bars.There is a street car that runs around the neighborhood. I believe the hotel provides free airport shuttle. Busch Gardens taxi will cost a little but still way under the quoted rental deal.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 09:34 AM
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NewbE, not sure where we are staying yet. I'm still in the early planning stages, although we would be leaving in a month if we go.

AAFrequentFlyer, I have a hilton honor card, so the hilton garden inn is a real possiblity.

I think as someone else said, the real problem is going to be getting to busch gardens. I didn't know how much taxi trips might add up to.

Thanks everyone.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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Try Priceline.

$200 for 3 days is ridiculous.

I paid MUCH less than that from Avis direct over Christmas.

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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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Ditto. Priceline your car rental.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Check out rental car rates at off airport locations. When you decide on the hotel, test pricing at a nearby rental location. Rentals from the airports have facility fees that radically increase the total price.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Testing the North Dale Mabry location of Enterprise that is at most a 15 minute cab ride from the airport, you can rent from compact to intermediate to standard for $31 to $35 to $37 a day.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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It is possible, but involves a bit of walking, to see the sights in Downtown Tampa without a car (Florida Aquarium, Tampa Art Museum, Henry Plant Museum) if you are staying in the area. You can also take a streetcar from the Aquarium to Ybor City. But Busch Gardens, Big Cat Rescue, Lowry Park Zoo, Adventure Island, and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) have to be reached by car or taxi.

Note that while the immediate Ybor City strip tourist area is OK, it's not advisable to walk outside of here, especially at night, as the area surrounding the strip area is not safe.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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hotwire is your answer. Have used them often for Tampa - which is one of the best airports re: car rental facilities.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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The Tampa Museum of Art was razed months ago, a new one is under construction. The collection (or most of it) is not housed downtown but in West Tampa, off Howard Avenue.
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Old Jan 18th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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NewbE, thanks for the update, as the last time I was in Tampa the Museum of Art was alive and well in what was apparently its old location downtown.
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