Florida Guide > Travelling
Travelling to Florida for the First Time?
Once you have booked your flights and villa you need to make sure that you will be able to travel and so you will need to sort out your visa. Most holiday makers will probably travel on the visa waiver scheme and will need to apply for an ESTA, however, if you have ever been arrested or refused entry to the USA you will need to apply to the Embassy for a visa. You apply for an ESTA online at https://esta. cbp. dhs. gov/esta/. This will last for 2 years but there is a now a fee. It is wise to apply for this early just to make sure that you will be allowed to travel. The good news is that there is one less form to fill out on the plane before you arrive.
Your airline will also require you to fill out their Advanced Passenger Information before travelling.
When you have booked your car hire it is worth checking if you can pre-register your car hire to save time when you arrive. This process varies from company to company.
The flight is a long one but the entertainment systems on the planes are improving all the time. If you are travelling economy then extra blow up pillows are worth considering. We sometimes find, depending on where we are sitting, that the temperatures on the plane are quite cool so we keep a jumper on hand in case it is needed. If you have fussy eaters in your group it is worth taking snacks with you as there is not a lot of choice for the main meals.
When you arrive you will have to queue to get through immigration before picking up your bags. You will then have to hand in your customs forms and may be asked to have your baggage checked. This will not take long.
If you are arriving at Orlando International Airport then you will have to abandon your trolleys to get on the shuttle to the hub. You can either elect to take your luggage with you or you can put it into the system. If you can manage to wheel everything yourselves it will save waiting for your bags to arrive.
When you go to pick up your car it really is worth spending some time familiarising yourself with the controls. The hand brake may actually be a foot brake. You certainly need to be sure where the windscreen wipers and lights are. This may sound very basic but it is very tempting after a long journey to jump in and drive off. I know we have done this and regretted it!
There are several possible routes to the villas but I would strongly recommend using the 417 toll road. It is a quiet road that allows you to get used to the car and driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It is helpful if you have some smaller notes for the tolls but they will give change. Unless you have paid for the SunPass it is best to keep to the right as you approach the toll booths and look for the one that says “change”. You will soon feel at home on the roads.
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Page added on: 20 January 2012
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