Tampa/Orlando airports

Oct 28th, 2008, 07:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 188
Tampa/Orlando airports

I have a choice of flying into either Tampa or Orlando airports to visit my friend in Sarasota. Of course, Tampa is closer.

However, I am TERRIFIED of bridges and would need to drive from TPA via Brandon to Sarasota to avoid the 2 bridges. The flight lands at 4:10 PM so I will probably be on the road by 5 PM (peak evening rush hour) Will I encounter extreme traffic on my way to Sarasota going this route?

I need to fly out of Orlando and was wondering if it would make more sense to fly round trip Orlando and drive the extra miles from Orlando (lands ar 4:16 PM- again on the road around 5 PM) to Sarasota? Plus the airfare is a little less and I won't get slapped with a one way car rental fee.

(United does not fly from Denver into Bradenton which would be the closest to Sarasota so this airport is not an option)

Please help. Thanks
JudyADenver is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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I am sorry to say that traffic at that hour (on a weekday, I assume) will be bad. How bad you'll think it is depends on whether you are from, say, DC or a small town! Avoiding the bridges and going through Brandon will be worse than the direct route. I'm not very familiar with the Orlando area, so I don't know if that would be better or worse, traffic-wise.
NewbE is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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FYI, most car rental companies do not charge extra for dropping off you car at a differnet FL airport.

I would fly into Tampa. Car rentals are right there, and easier to get on the road even with taking 75 instead of 275 and the Skyway. IMO (even with the construction)

milemarker0 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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TPA, without a doubt. It's a great airport, and much more convenient to Sarasota obviously.

Gekko is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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I have rented a car recently at TPA and enjoyed being able to walk from baggage to the car rental desk and then walk a feet extra steps to the car.

I have carefully checked car rental rates and they are substantially higher to return to a different location.

The difference in airfare and car rental is over $100 by not flying Orlando round trip.

Does anyone know if there will be rush hour issues departing the Orlando airport enroute to Sarasota?

Driving extra miles doesn't make sense unless the time works about to be about the same.
JudyADenver is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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I have never had a "substantial" difference in dropping off car rentals at different major FL airports that I arrived from.

As an example, I just used Dollar entering an arrival of 11/4 at TPA and departure of 11/10 at MCO. They show the same rates whether I return the car to TPA or MCO.

Is this over a busy holiday time?
milemarker0 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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When I fly to Florida I usually let the airfare be the judge of whether I fly TPA, MCO, or SRQ. Had a great price last week of $55 one way to MCO, so I took it, rented a Budget car for $30 something, and turned the car in at Sarasota. There was no drop-off fee but some others are charging those special fees.

Orlando to Sarasota is about one and a half to two hours. Tampa is about a little over an hour.

You could change planes and fly into Sarasota but I don't know what the airfare would be on that.

As to rush hour from Orlando I would take the toll road from the airport, then get on I-4 and then down to I-75. The drive is not bad at all especially if you can get a great airfare!!
LN is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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This trip is not until March 10-15 so I am sure it's too early to see good airfares and care rentals. It's so hard to predict with dropping oil prices and the weird economy. Maybe when the time gets closer, the car rentals will be more reasonable and I will not be penalized for the one way rental.

Thanks to everyone for such great input.
JudyADenver is offline  
Oct 28th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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That is Spring Break week. Don't count on cheap flights or cars.
tchoiniere is offline  
Oct 29th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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Oh NO! What horrible news about spring break. No wonder the airfares are close to $500 already.
JudyADenver is offline  
Oct 29th, 2008, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288
You'll be able to check out Southwest's prices soon. You should be able to do much better with Southwest.

Also when checking car rentals - ignore those with drop-off fees.
LN is offline  
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