Before

You Go

Forward planning is essential to any successful trip. Be prepared for all eventualities by considering the following points before you travel.

Passports and Visas

British citizens, members of EU countries, and citizens of Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa provided they have a return ticket and their stay in the US does not exceed 90 days. However, they must register online with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at least 72 hours before departure. It is advisable to complete your ESTA application well in advance of this deadline. There is a small charge for ESTA.

Canadians need only a valid passport. All other visitors must apply for a non-immigrant visa before travelling. Contact your local US embassy for current requirements.

ESTA

esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta

Travel Safety Advice

Visitors can get up-to-date travel safety information from the the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, US State Department, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Certain neighborhoods in some big cities have a reputation for being less safe. Take the usual precautions against petty crime and avoid walking around at night.

Florida is occasionally at risk from hurricanes. The hurricane season is generally June through November, with the most activity in September. Advance warnings alert locals and visitors if there is any danger. Ready has a useful page for hurricane information and safety precautions. Visit Florida is a good resource for keeping updated on the weather.

Australia

smartraveller.gov.au

UK

gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

US

travel.state.gov

Ready

ready.gov/hurricanes

Visit Florida

visitflorida.com

Customs Information

Nonresident travelers will need to complete a Customs and Border Protection Agency form upon arrival to the US.

Prohibited goods include cheese, fresh fruit, and meat products. Foreign visitors to the US may bring in or take out up to $10,000 in US or foreign currency. Amounts higher than this will need to be declared.

US Customs and Border Protection Agency

cbp.gov

Insurance

Getting emergency medical insurance is highly recommended for international travelers to the US, as costs for medical and dental care can be very high. Travel insurance against trip cancellation, air travel delays, theft, and loss of belongings is also advisable.

Vaccinations

No inoculations are needed for Florida.

Money

Most establishments accept major credit, debit, and prepaid currency cards. Contactless payments are becoming increasingly common, but cash is usually required by smaller shops and businesses, street vendors, and on buses.

It is standard practice for car rental companies (which generally do not accept debit cards) and some hotels to take a “phantom” sum from a card. This should be automatically restored to your card when you return the car or check out.

Reserving Accommodations

Room rates vary enormously depending on the time of year, with prices in tourist season often 30–50 per cent higher than in the off season. In south Florida, the high season runs from mid-November through Easter, while in the Panhandle and the Northeast, where it is cooler in winter, hotels charge their highest rates in spring and summer. Wherever you are, however, expect to pay peak rates over national holidays and school vacation periods.

Travelers with Specific Needs

US federal law demands that all public buildings be accessible to people in wheelchairs, although some old buildings are exempt.

A few car rental companies have vehicles adapted for people with disabilities, and some buses have “kneeling” wheelchair access – look for a sticker on the windshield or by the door. Amtrak and Greyhound offer reduced fares.

Mobility International USA offers general advice for travelers with disabilities. Visit Florida issues a useful services directory, and Walt Disney World® Resort has its own special guide, both online and in print form.

Mobility International USA

miusa.org

Language

The official language of Florida is English. Areas of Miami are home to large Cuban communities, meaning Spanish is also heard on a daily basis.

Closures

Monday

Some museums close on Monday, though the majority are open daily.

Sunday

Most banks close in the afternoon and smaller businesses close for the day.

Federal and State Holidays

Museums, public attractions, and many businesses close, especially for major holidays.

Need to know Before You Go

At a Glance

CURRENCY

Dollar (USD)

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Average daily spend

Need to know Before You Go

CLIMATE

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Summers are long, hot and fairly humid. Temperatures in July hit 82°F (28°C ).

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Winters are mild. Temperatures can sink to 61°F (16°C) in January.

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Short, sharp downpours are the norm in the wet season (May –Sep). Hurricane season is from June to November.

Need to know Before You Go

Electricity Supply

Power sockets are type C and E, fitting C and E plugs with two or three prongs. Standard voltage is 230v/50Hz.

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Need to know Before You Go

FEDERAL HOLIDAYS

Jan 1New Year’s Day
Mid–JanMartin Luther King Day
Late MayMemorial Day
Jul 4Independence Day
Early SepLabor Day
Nov 11Veterans Day
Late NovThanksgiving Day and
Thanksgiving Friday
Dec 25Christmas Day
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