Hope over to our attractions page for a complete breakdown of all the things you can see and do in Florida. You certainly won’t run out!
If you require cash, all banks and many supermarkets have ATM machines (Cash Machines). Common opening hours are from 9am to 4pm and drive-through banking is often available. Remember banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays and all public holidays.
Listed below are several numbers you may find useful if you lose or have your card stolen:
- American Express 1800 992 3404
- Master Card 1800 826 2181
- Visa Card 1800 336 8472
Most Floridian supermarkets, stores and restaurants accept dollar traveller’s cheques; however they may not accept them for a large amount. You will receive change from the traveller’s cheques just as you would cash. Be prepared to show identification when cashing your cheques in Florida.
Opening a bank account in Florida is a relatively simple procedure. If you are thinking of buying a home over there at some point, then it may be a good idea to open one in readiness. Just walk into the bank, most of them will only ask to see your passport as identification. Checking and savings accounts should be available to you.
Want to see more of Florida? Then renting a car is the best way! We recommend rentalcars.com. To hire a car you must have your driving licence, passport and a credit card. The minimum age for car hire is 21, but some agencies will charge more for drivers under 25 years of age. Major companies will allow you to pick up a car in one location and drop it off in another (for an extra charge). Most major companies also have programs allowing customers to utilize the TOLL-BY-PLATE electronic collection system wherein tolls, plus varying service fees, are automatically charged to the credit card used to rent the vehicle. For details, including pricing options at participating car agencies, visit www.sunpass.com/rentalcar. You can generally make reservations before you leave your country, either by phone or online.
If you have children under age 4 or less than 40 pounds (15 kg), remember to arrange a child
car seat with your rental company.
If you decide to rent a car please also see our tips on driving in Florida.
If you require cleaning services during your stay, these are usually available by request to your management company and a charge will be made for this service.
When driving in Florida, please remember the following:
- Of course, remember to drive on the right side of the road.
- Carry your driving licence, car rental papers and insurance with you at all times in the car, as this is required by law.
- Legal speed limits are posted on the right side of the road. Watch your speed; the police are very strict in Florida and frequently use radar to catch speeders.
- If you are fined, you must pay the fine before your departure. If you do not, you WILL be stopped and arrested on your next trip.
- You may turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop, unless a sign indicating “no right on red” is posted at the intersection.
- Headlights must be on from dusk to dawn, as well as in fog or rain. Turn off windscreen wipers when stopping at toll booths.
- When law enforcement vehicles are in one of the “break-down” lanes, either assisting a motorist or pulling over a speeding vehicle, you must move to the far lane, away from the police or slow to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.
- Law requires wearing your seat belt. In addition, children under age 4 or less than 40 pounds (15 kg) must be in a child car seat, usually available from your car hire company.
- Driving while drinking alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Appoint a “designated driver” in your group who will drink only non-alcoholic beverages and drive home safely.
- Drivers may dial *FHP on Florida interstates and highways in an emergency to reach the Florida Highway Patrol (state police).
- Some interstate highways have tolls – for example, the Florida Turnpike (Ocala to Homestead), Alligator Alley (1-75 between Miami and Naples) and the Bee Line Expressway (Orlando to Cape Canaveral). Many coastal islands have bridges, at which a fare is also charged.
- Motorists who travel Florida’s Turnpike in Miami-Dade county will pay tolls via an all-electronic collection system. Officials caution motorists that under no circumstances should they attempt to stop in high-speed electronic tolling lanes.
- Watch out for cars overtaking on either side of you in Florida. Generally, slow traffic should keep to the right.
- It is against Florida law to wave somebody on in Florida as it is believed to cause accidents. Simply indicate when changing lanes.
- If you see a School bus stopping with red flashing lights, you must stop even if you are on the other side of the road. This does not apply if you are coming the other way on a dual carriageway.
The electrical voltage is a lot lower in the US (110) than the UK (240); therefore please adjust all electrical appliances you have brought with you. Adapters can be purchased from any supermarket, such as Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, etc.
None of us expect to need this information but in the event you do you often need it quickly! We recommend you either print this page and take it with you or add any of the following numbers to your mobile contacts. Don’t forget to add in the area code from the UK as you will need this if calling from a UK mobile.
When calling the US from a UK mobile add (+1)
- Emergency calls 911
- Emergency Weather Update 407 872 7200
- Orlando 407 825 2001
- Sanford 407 322 7771
- Kissimmee 407 847 4600
- Heart of Florida 863 422 4971
- Celebration 407 764 4000
- Florida Hospital 407 897 1940
- Smile Crafters 352 243 1441 (toll free (888) 223 3771)
- Celebration Dental Group 407 566 2222
- Kissimmee 846 3333
- Davenport 863 419 3306
- Sheriff 348 2222
- Highway Patrol 846 2333
- Campbell City 933 5370
- Haines City 419 3305
- 200 South Orange Avenue Orlando
- Tel : 407 426 7855
It is advisable to have your address written down near the telephone during your stay, just in case you need to call 911. If you have a non-urgent medical problem, you may simply walk into the nearest walk-in clinic. Please remember to contact your insurance company, as they will also advise you as to what sort of clinic you should go to. If you are asked to pay after having medical attention to a minor problem, you may claim off your insurance on your return home to the UK.
Most villas come complete with washing machine and dryer; washing detergents are readily available from all supermarkets.
The water provided in Florida homes is perfectly safe to drink, yet may taste different. This is purely due to the chlorination. If your fridge does not offer filtered water, you may prefer to purchase water from the local supermarket. Please do not leave water running if it is not required as water is metered and is expensive in Florida.
There are some dangerous creatures in Florida, so exercise caution. Your villa should be pest free, of course, but remember to keep doors closed if you want avoid unwanted visitors.
Florida is home to two dangerous spider species, the brown recluse and the southern black widow. Take care to shake out your shoes and clothes before use, and seek medical attention if you think you may have been bitten.
Fire ants are much more common and have a painful and irritating bite, which can lead to infections. Take care with children playing on the ground.
Bodies of water can contain sharks, stinging jellyfish and alligators. They will generally keep their distance unless provoked, but take care with children in open waters.
There are 6 types of snake in Florida which are venomous and a danger to humans: copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins), coral snakes, plus Eastern diamondback, timber and dusky pigmy rattlesnakes. Again, seek medical attention if bitten.
It is rare to run into Florida black bears, wild boars, or Florida panthers, but it is possible. Keep your distance, as all of them can be dangerous, and boars can be particularly aggressive.
The easiest way to send your postcards and letters is to go to the nearest post office where they will check your air mail rate. Alternatively, you can also buy a book of stamps at your local supermarket (stamp machines are more expensive). For more information on your postal needs please call 1800 222 1811. If your home does not have a mailbox and you are awaiting post from family or friends, your post will be held at the local main post office.
If this is your first time to Florida, then you may underestimate the potential severity of the Florida sun. Remember your sun block and keep fair and young skin well covered. Sun burn and will spoil your fun in Florida, so be sensible! Please note that topless sunbathing is not permitted in Florida.
If you require a supermarket or pharmacy chain, look out for any of the following brands:
- Winn Dixie
Swimming pools are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in Florida. Even though all homes should be equipped with pool safety alarms and/or protective fencing, do not underestimate the potential dangers around the pool. If your pool has a cover on it, DO NOT allow your children to walk on it.
Most Villas have a pool heat facility however this facility is usually payable in advance. You can arrange this through the owner or management company of the villa you have rented.
Most services you receive should be tipped for. Many restaurants automatically add on the gratuity to your bill. Please remember that wages are low as they are based on a high level of tipping, so please tip your waiter/waitress according to the following guidelines:
- Waiter/waitress 15 to 20% of the total bill
- Taxi Service 10% of the fare
- Valet service 10% of the total cost
Unlike the UK, the pipes in Florida homes are quite small and cannot handle anything else but toilet roll. Please do not put anything such as baby wipes or personal hygiene products, cotton wool, etc. down the toilets.
If you find you have a blocked toilet, your home should be provided with a plunger. Please try this before calling management as you may find a management company will charge a call out fee for unblocking a guest toilet if it is due to their misuse.
Most homes have a standard cable service to them. If your picture turns ‘fuzzy’ the cable company will rectify this ASAP. This is usually caused by a thunderstorm, construction work, etc. If the problems persist and the picture on your TV does not restore then contact your management company.