This page aims to answer your Florida holiday questions, but just e-mail us if you can’t find what you need, and we’ll get back to you. Just click on each heading to go to the answer.....
Apartments Compared to Villas & Hotels - there’s no doubt that Hotels offer value for money, convenient locations and good communal facilities, whilst Villas enjoy privacy, space and that “home from home” feeling. However, we believe that our Terrace Ridge Apartment combines the best of both these choices, giving you the flexibility of how YOU want to spend your holiday.
Driving in Florida - CAR HIRE IS RECOMMENDED FOR THIS TYPE OF HOLIDAY, as public transportation is limited.
In the US, you drive on the right, so all the cars are left hand drive but other than that, it's fairly simple. All rental vehicles are automatic, and have power steering, and air conditioning. As in the UK, seat belts are compulsory and children under 4 years of age must be safely installed in a child seat. Roads here have numbers as well as names and run either east to west or north to south so plan your journey carefully.
Many road signs are suspended above the road - the sign facing you is the road you are crossing, not the road you are on. Highway exits tend to come up on you rather quickly so drive slower and you'll have a little more time to get in the correct lane. At tolls, always use the green lane marked "Change and Receipts" where there is always somebody who can assist you. Remember the speed limit on most major roads is 55mph and speeding fines here are expensive. At stop signs, you must come to a complete halt.
Making a right turn on a red light is permitted unless otherwise posted but only after coming to a complete halt and checking carefully to see if the way is clear. An important Warning! Never make a left turn at a junction without first giving way to all oncoming traffic. At some intersections, a green arrow is used to see you safely across. Only a green arrow gives you the right of way. A normal green light does not. A normal green light means you must watch out and give way to oncoming traffic! Wait for all cars to pass before turning left!
Although slow traffic should keep to the right, speed bears little relation to lane. Overtaking on the inside is common practice, so watch out for cars on either side. If you do have to stop for any reason, always pull into a well-lit petrol station or convenience store - do not stop on the highway for anyone other than the police. In the unlikely event of an accident, you must call the police as failure to obtain a police report could void your insurance coverage.
Money Matters - it’s best to take both US Dollars and US Dollar Travellers’ Cheques, which you can use in most places as if they were cash. Most US ATM machines will allow you to withdraw money from your UK account, but check first with your bank before traveling. UK issued credit cards are widely accepted.
Sales tax is added onto most purchases in Florida, so be prepared to pay around 6% more at the checkout than on the price ticket.
Telephoning the UK - generally speaking, when calling the UK from the USA, you should add 01144 and drop the leading zero from the UK number. So to call, for example, 01273 123456, you would dial 01144 1273 123456.
Although free local calls are included in the cost of your accommodation, international calls are not, and are expensive from mobiles or public phones.
One possible solution would be to bring a laptop which has had “Skype” installed. The free internet connection provided in the apartment would then enable you to contact other Skype users in the UK at no cost. Please contact us if you need more information on this option.
Time Difference - most of Florida runs on Eastern Standard Time, which is five hours behind UK time. So, for example, 3pm in the afternoon in the UK is 10am in the morning in Florida.
Practically, this usually means that UK visitors wake up very early for their first few days in Florida, and that jet lag is usually only a minor problem when returning home.
Tipping - A 15% gratuity is normally given for food and beverage service (not self-service). This is definitely the rule rather than the exception, as waiters and waitresses rely on gratuities to make their living. As the sign says, 'Tipping is not a city in China!' Take the hint and remember it's okay to send your steak back if it's not exactly as you ordered it - in the US, the customer is always right!
Weather in the Orlando Area - it’s called “The Sunshine State” for a very good reason - winter daytime temperatures (November–February) average in the low's 70s, and during the summer season, the central Florida weather is very tropical (low 90s) and can be humid. Short bursts of heavy rain in the afternoon are common in the summer, followed by clear warm sunshine.
As for hurricanes, Orlando has never been hit by a major hurricane, and the last big storm in 1960 caused little impact because of the high construction standards.
When to Visit - if theme parks are your main consideration, try to avoid major US holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Summer and Spring Break - particularly quiet months are January, September, October and the beginning of December.
If sun or golf are your priorities, between Easter and the start of US summer holidays is ideal.
Having said all that, there are some experiences, like EPCOT on New Year’s Eve, or Halloween at Busch Gardens, that are worth braving the crowds for !
Just contact us if you want more advice on this area.