When’s the best time to go?
Whether you’re looking to chill out with the glitterati on Miami Beach, treat the family to the wonders of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, or get stuck into some serious retail therapy, the Sunshine State has something for everyone. If you’ve never been before, the best Florida travel advice we can give you is to make it your next holiday destination. However, some months are better than others for Florida holidays; it all depends on what you want to do.
While June, July, and August offer the highest temperatures, with thermometers climbing into the low 30s°C, it’s also the time you can expect the most rain. Don’t worry too much, though, as rainfall in Florida is usually pretty short-lived. For cooler sightseeing conditions with minimal rainfall, book your holiday to Florida for the shoulder months of May and October, when the temperature averages around 27°C and peaks at 30°C.
What should I pack?
For anyone taking a holiday to Florida, sunscreen is one of the warm weather essentials. However, when it comes to clothing, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Outdoors, it can be very warm and quite humid, so it’s worth packing shorts, t-shirts, and light and airy clothing. However, practically every indoor space, from hotels and shopping malls to restaurants and theatres, is air-conditioned to the max. With this in mind, it’s worth bringing something warmish, just to keep the chill off.
Adaptor plugs are a good idea for those who can’t bear to leave their gadgets behind.
Sunglasses and swimwear are always useful, and flip-flops can save you getting your feet burnt or filling your new shoes with sand.
Passports and visas
Do I need a passport?
The USA has very particular requirements when it comes to entry permits, so it’s worth checking before you fly to avoid being turned away at the airport. For further information on Florida passport requirements, before you book your Florida holiday, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements
Do I need a visa?
Most British passport holders can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation through the Visa Waiver Programme. Replacing the standard USA Florida visa, this allows the bearer to stay in the States for up to 90 days. However, to apply for this, you will need an e-Passport that has an official e-Passport symbol. To find out more about visas and the Waiver Programme, look at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements
Health and Safety
Should I get travel health insurance?
The United States doesn’t operate a state-funded health service. To protect yourself against the substantial cost of a medical incident (even a small one), travel health insurance is essential. It offers you protection against the costs of medical services, covering everything from medical bills and medicines to repatriation back to the UK if required. However, not all insurance policies cover everything you need, so it’s worth double-checking to see what protection you get before you travel.
Any other tips?
- Trips to theme parks are almost mandatory for anyone visiting the Sunshine State. However, if you’re thinking of going, preparing in advance can help you make the most of your day out. Plan the attractions you want to see and book tickets in advance to avoid the queues (which can be eye-wateringly long: not good if you’ve got young kids with you). Multi-day tickets offer much better value for money than single day tickets and give you the time to see as much as you want.
- The USA is the land of road trips, so hire a car. Florida is vast and the public transport systems can be confusing for first-timers. With slower speed restrictions than the UK and well-maintained roads and highways, a hire car is the most convenient way of getting around.
- Tips are a way of life in the USA, so factor in an extra 15% to the price of your bill in restaurants.
- Don’t pass up a chance to visit the Everglades. In stark contrast to the glitz and glamour of the theme parks, these primaeval swamps are the perfect place to see Mother Nature at her best.