Florida Guide > Hints and Tips
Travelling to the USA
When you are planning your trip to the USA make sure you have all the correct details of the baggage allowance, these have recently been changed and are smaller than they were. If you intend to do lots of shopping some airlines allow you to book extra bags online when you check in and this is usually cheaper than doing it at the airport when you arrive to check in to return home once you have found that you have bags that are way over the allowance after all that shopping !
Before you travel to the USA now you must complete an Esta form. These can be completed online and are very easy to complete - once you have done this you will be given an ESTA number and be able to print off the completed form. These originally were meant to replace the old green Visa waiver forms but at the moment they are still being used as well as the new Esta forms. You need your passport number and also the address of where you will be staying in Florida at hand when you complete the form. These are valid for 2 years and you can update them at any time online . At the moment this is free to obtain your ESTA number.
When you check in at the UK airport will be offered a Visa Waiver form to complete, these are also available on the plane. As a UK citizen, you are eligible to enter the USA for up to three months as a visitor. By completing the form and signing the declaration you are ready for Customs & Immigration when you land. These must be completed carefully, no mistakes or anything crossed out will be accepted. You must declare it if you have any kind of criminal record, have been a member of any organisation likely to be of interest to the security services or even if you have ever been detained in connection with certain offences, you are not eligible for the visa waiver scheme. If this applies to you, you should contact the American Embassy to ask their advice before you book your holiday. The UK & America share information, and you could be refused entry to the country if you don' t have the necessary visa.
When you travel to Orlando you will arrive at either Orlando International Airport or Sanford International Airport, both are easily accessible to the villa that you will be staying.
Once you land, your first stop is at immigration. The immigration control people are the front line in keeping terrorists and criminals out of the country and they take it very seriously. The holiday feelings a tourist coming off an 8 hour flight and ready to start their holiday doesn' t always wear well with the job that immigration have to do, and things can sometimes get a little stressed. All the members of your party need to arrive at the desk together, and answer all the questions, which are asked. These people do not have a great sense of humour and who can blame them!
Once you have gone through the immigration and the customs ( don’t forget you are not allowed to take any food stuffs into the country there , just the same as when you arrive in the UK. Anything else that is likely to be prohibited (knives etc) will already have been confiscated at the airport if you tried to take them on holiday with you. If you are on medication it is as well to inform the immigration of this on your arrival.
You will then go to the appropriate carousel to collect your luggage. If you are arriving at MCO ( Orlando International) there is a short monorail ride to the main part of the airport. Everything is signed well with directions as to where the baggage claim and various Car rental hire areas are.
Once you have collected your luggage you will probably be picking up a hire car. Most of these are situated in the airport and again there are plenty of signs around telling you where to go for the car particular rental desks to collect the keys and paperwork, it' s worth pausing to buy a newspaper or drink on your way to ensure that you have change for the tolls. There are several of these on the way out from the airport Until you are used to them, I suggest you stick to the manned tolls as you can get change, and they are slower moving, so you have more time to check your directions and avoid driving in the wrong directions. You are also able to hire Sat Nav with the cars now and sometimes this can be a help if it is your first time there and you are a bit unsure of where to go. Most villa owners provide really good directions from the airport to the villa.
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