Florida Guide > Travelling
Car Hire in Orlando
When booking a holiday/ vacation to the sunshine state it is always best to book a car as part of your package. It is possible to go to Florida without getting car hire, but I would not recommend this as you are then tied to bus timings reducing the flexibility of your stay. There are 2 ways you can hire a car in Florida, as part of a package ‘Fly Drive’ or by booking through a rental company, US Car Hire, Dollar, Alamo etc.
When booking the car you need to often check that the price you are quoted is the all inclusive price and that extras are not added when you arrive at the airport. This is one of the main points people do not check when they book. With companies like US Car Hire, Alamo, Dollar they give you the option to book the insurances, taxes when you book, this in my view is the best option. When you arrive at the airport you will almost certainly be asked to upgrade your car, this can be good if you reaslise that the car you have is too small for your luggage. Most of the time you do not need to upgrade as the cars in the US are much bigger than back at home.
From previous experience I would also go for the option that allows you to return the car empty. This is normally called the ‘Gold’ Option. In my view there is nothing worse than having to fill up a car when you are rushing to get back to the airport.
To hire a car in the US you need to be a minimum age of 21 years old. This will incur a little bit more insurance costs. The minimum age that does not incur these extra insurance costs is 25 years old. Remember to bring some ID and your driving license, otherwise you will not be allowed to pick the car up.
There are many cars that you can hire: Compact (for up to 3 people), Medium, (3 -4 Adults), intermediate (4 adults), MPV (5 – 7 people), minivan (8 +) and convertible (2 people). Most are bigger than the cars in the UK and as such you might not need to get a bigger car than you think. One point to note is if you have large cases you might have to put some cases on the back seat to fit them in, we came across this when we hired a convertible and had 2 large hard cases. One of them had to go on the back seat as it would not fit in. Generally for families of 4 I would go for the intermediate or maybe even a MPV. The MPV is nice and spacious inside and can be better in the real hot summer months. Which ever car you go for the petrol is much cheaper than we get back home, to fill up a large MPV comes to around $55, which should be good for 300 miles.
Other extras you can now get are Sat Nav systems, child seats etc. The sat Nav is a great way of getting round if you have never been to Orlando before and is well worth its salt in saving you time and petrol getting you to your destination first time. It can be easy to navigate around Orlando, but can take a few hours to get used to the large motorways.
One thing is for sure, if you are going to Florida, there is no better way of getting around than using your hire car, why not visit the coasts (Daytona, Clearwater and maybe the Keys), here you will find the real Florida and break up the time at the parks.
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Page added on: 12 May 2007
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