Florida Guide > Hints and Tips
Useful Tips for Visiting Florida
Florida seems to have it all – endless beaches, warm seas, year-round sunshine and world-acclaimed theme parks offering days of family fun. When you scratch beneath the surface, Florida has even more to offer. Natural Florida can be experienced on the Everglades, one of the natural wonders of the world; historic Florida can be seen at St Augustine, the oldest continuous settlement in the US and rebellious Florida can be seen in Miami during Prohibition!
Food and Drink
Food and drink in Florida is much cheaper than in Europe .
Soft drinks have free unlimited top-ups at most restaurants.
Tipping is customary at 10-20% in restaurants and beauty salons. Although we normally leave about 12 – 14%. (An easy way to work it out is to double the tax they have added and use that as the amount to tip). Never tip 15% of the whole bill, just food before tax.
Restaurant portions are huge, but it is customary to ask for a box and take the remains home with you.
Many supermarkets and shops are open 24/7; there are no Sunday trading restrictions in Florida.
Sales tax is added to taxable goods at the checkout so that two dollar item is likely to cost around $2. 12 or more, unlike in Europe where prices always include the sales tax. Usual amount in Orlando varies, but is usually 6. 5% or 7%
Starbucks and other specialist coffees are pricey at $3. 50 for a grande latte and $1. 95 for a grande brewed coffee. Other places serve unlimited coffee with a meal for around $1. 50, and a similar price for soft drinks.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road and is a little different from European driving. On multi-lane highways in the USA, cars are allowed to overtake on either side of you, so keep an eye on both wing mirrors. It is compulsory that all traffic comes to a halt when school buses are unloading children with huge fines for those who don’t.
Cost of living in Florida
The cost of living is low in Florida, cheaper than other States and much cheaper than the UK. A burger meal at MacDonald’s for example is just over $5, and remember that includes a massive soft drink with free top-ups. Remember to top up your drink as you leave, like the locals do, and get great value for your buck. An upmarket steak house or good restaurant will charge $11-$24 for an entrée, but it is usually big enough to share or take half away with you. This is a common practice in Florida, so don’t be embarrassed about asking for a box.
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