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Old 04-27-2013, 10:29 AM   #1
ceecee
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Has anyone flown into Tampa?

We plan to fly and will arrive in Tampa at 10:30 pm (we are going to Clearwater before WDW) how bad is the traffic? We can't check into our hotel at the beach until Sat. should we do a Priceline in Tampa or just drive into Clearwater that night. SIL said there is not a lot of traffic but I've heard otherwise. I'm spoiled with Orlando's easy rent a car options too, so I'm hoping Tampa will be just as easy.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
We plan to fly and will arrive in Tampa at 10:30 pm (we are going to Clearwater before WDW) how bad is the traffic? We can't check into our hotel at the beach until Sat. should we do a Priceline in Tampa or just drive into Clearwater that night. SIL said there is not a lot of traffic but I've heard otherwise. I'm spoiled with Orlando's easy rent a car options too, so I'm hoping Tampa will be just as easy.
have flown into tampa many times. huge airport, very nice though. rental car was easy. (as is all car rentals in Florida, imo)

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Old 04-27-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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Just flew into Tampa on the 20th.
We used Enterprise for our rental, and based on our experience, I do not recommend them.

This is the only time we have ever had a real issue with a car rental.
We were walked around the entire lot of cars as the rep pulled down each trunk to determine what type of car it was.
Tried to put us in a compact class when our rental was for an intermediate.
Had I not challenged him on it, we'd have been cramming into a ford focus.
In the end, we ended up back where we first started on the lot, and he gave us a corolla with no remote, and the key won't open the trunk.
We did the visual inspection for noting damage, and there were numerous areas on the car with damage.
He tried to say they were dirt smudges, when it was obvious they were marks where someone had scraped into other objects and damaged the paint severely.
The other problem was, the garage is so dark, we couldn't even see all of the damaged areas.
It took about 45 min from start to finish to get out of there with that car.

When we got out of downtown Tampa, we stopped to make sure the gas was actually full. It was about 1 1/2 gallons light. We were also able to see the rest of the damaged areas on the car, since we were in the sunlight.

Definitely won't be using these guys again.
Back to Alamo where I'm in and out within 15 min and have never had the shady stuff we went through with Enterprise.
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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WOW! We booked with Alamo. I've had trouble with Enterprise here and won't use them again. They offered free pick up at my house and THEY were a half hour late so they charged ME for an extra day.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:04 AM   #5
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There is no significant traffic at that time of night around Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete...unless there is a freak accident.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:07 AM   #6
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This is exactly the case. During the day, especially on weekends the drive to Clearwater Beach can be a bear. That time of night it should be smooth sailing.

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There is no significant traffic at that time of night around Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete...unless there is a freak accident.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:04 AM   #7
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We went to clearwater beach last night (saturday) around 8 pm and the traffic was horrible! We live in clearwater and it took us 1+ hours to get over the bridge. It didnt let up until almost midnight when we left to go home.... so hopefully if you are arriving on a week night it should be ok
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:00 AM   #8
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We fly in at 10:30 pm on a Friday, so we could stay in Tampa and go into Clearwater Saturday morning or just try to get into Clearwater Friday night...that is what I'm trying to fiqure out. I hear Sat mornings are very congested getting into Clearwater. Thanks for the replies!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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I think we rented from Enterprise in Tampa. They tried to put us in a 2 seater Smart Car - there were three of us. We had to pay for the next higher class of car to get one that would fit three people, which I thought was ridiculous.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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I flew into Tampa a couple of weeks ago and used National. I'm in Emerald Club (it's free to join) and could pick any car on two rows. There were full size, intermediate, vans, mini-vans and SUVs - all for the same price, which was practicaly nothing.

I would definitely recommend National for rentals in the Tampa airport!
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:55 AM   #11
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Ww flew into Tampa last month

And we arrived at 1 am so we stayed at the Marriott that's right in the airport. It was awesome; we landed at 1 am and kids were tucked in by 1:30. Very nice and comfortable hotel too. We used Marriott points. Plus we saved a day's car rental expense by not needing a car til the next day.

Maybe it's cause it was spring break but I thought car rental was insanely expensive. We ended up renting from the National at the Westin about 20 minutes away. We spent $20 on a cab to get there but saved about $200 on the car rental by not paying all those airport surcharges. HTH!
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:37 PM   #12
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I live in Clearwater, at this point in the year the traffic starts to pick up especially since Clearwater Beach was rated the #1 Beach Town in Florida by USA today this year. I will suggest driving over that night because traffic at night will be MUCH better than traffic on a Saturday morning or afternoon.

Make sure you take the time to visit Pier 60 on Saturday evening. 7 days a week they have the "Sunsets at Pier 60" festival with crafters and street performers but weekend nights are always better. I believe they also show movies on the lawn on weekends starting at dusk. It is a great time, I go frequently and have lived here all my life. If you have questions about Clearwater Beach, feel free to ask!
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:23 PM   #13
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If you go at night it should be easier than in the morning. You just have to exit the airport towards SR60 West and keep going til you hit the beach. But I drive that route frequently on Saturday mornings and I go early - 7 to 8 am and have no issues. Later afternoon is bad.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaRae87 View Post
I live in Clearwater, at this point in the year the traffic starts to pick up especially since Clearwater Beach was rated the #1 Beach Town in Florida by USA today this year. I will suggest driving over that night because traffic at night will be MUCH better than traffic on a Saturday morning or afternoon.

Make sure you take the time to visit Pier 60 on Saturday evening. 7 days a week they have the "Sunsets at Pier 60" festival with crafters and street performers but weekend nights are always better. I believe they also show movies on the lawn on weekends starting at dusk. It is a great time, I go frequently and have lived here all my life. If you have questions about Clearwater Beach, feel free to ask!
If you are coming into Clearwater from the East via I4 is it best to just take 60 all the way to the beach? We have been several years and we typically take day trips over and while we prepare for it, the traffic is kinda brutal. I'm just wondering if that is really the best and/or only route over. We typically stay on the beach close to Pier 60 so we can run to a nearby patio for lunch, but is there a better place to be?

Also, so not to totally hijack the thread.........I've flown into Tampa several times over the years and I find it to be a nice airport and easy to navigate. On site rental cars were pretty easy too and unlike other PP I've had good luck with Enterprise, but my company does a HUGE amount of business with them so maybe my reservation gets tagged.
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:19 PM   #15
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If you are coming into Clearwater from the East via I4 is it best to just take 60 all the way to the beach? We have been several years and we typically take day trips over and while we prepare for it, the traffic is kinda brutal. I'm just wondering if that is really the best and/or only route over. We typically stay on the beach close to Pier 60 so we can run to a nearby patio for lunch, but is there a better place to be?
Taking 60 is certainly the most DIRECT route and shortest mileage wise to get to Clearwater Beach.. But during peak season I prefer a less direct route which tends to have less traffic but is technically a further drive, it usually takes less time than sitting in stand still traffic over the bridge though.

Take SR 60 to US 19-turn left (south).. Take US19 to the East Bay exit-turn right (west) onto East Bay and follow that all the way, it takes you to a bridge (Belleair Beach Cswy) which will hit Gulf Blvd. Turning Right on Gulf Blvd will take you to Clearwater Beach, turning left will take you in the direction of St Pete Beach, it can be a nice drive to explore a little as well. Going this way also avoids the dreaded round-about that nobody seems to be able to drive.

I personally prefer Clearwater Beach over the other local beaches because of the amount of things to do, shops to visit and places to eat.
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