(Please note - the travel information on this page and the web sites are aimed primarily at British
visitors, travelling to Florida from the UK)
You've found a private vacation villa to rent, with a wonderful lake view, in an ideal location right up close to Disney and the
other Orlando attractions and shopping, but choosing and booking the villa yourself means that you'll also have to arrange your own flights
and car hire.
You might think this will be a lot of work, but remember that by doing it this way, you get to choose which airport you fly from,
the airline you fly with, and at what time of day you'll fly!
Some airlines even allow you to choose your seats when you book online.
Car Rental |
There are many different ways to fly to Orlando. You can book directly with the airlines, or book through a travel agent
in your local high street, or you can search on the web for the cheapest flights from one of the many resellers, including the
companies listed below - Airline Network offers a good selection of flight options - but be
aware that they don't always beat the price direct from the airlines for the same route, and the lowest fares can involve long detours and
long stop-overs, occasionally taking longer than 24 hours! Be careful to check the flight times before confirming your booking!
First Choice, Monarch, MyTravel, ThomsonFly and XL offer direct charter flights from the UK into Sanford International Airport (SFB),
but they do not fly every day, or all year round, and they're not always cheaper than the scheduled airlines - some have a bad reputation for
long delays (and the legroom on Monarch planes is less than on other airlines, which is not good for a long-haul flight) - always bear in mind
that you get what you pay for. The queues at immigration at Sanford can be very long too, and it takes more than 1 hour to drive from
Sanford Aiport to the villa. Flying into the main airport - Orlando International (MCO) - on a major airline is more convenient (the
villa is about 25 minutes from the airport), and a scheduled flight normally shouldn't cost you much more than a charter flight! The
fares charged for direct flights to Orlando can be quite high in peak season, so as an alternative you might consider flying from London
Gatwick with US Airways via Charlotte/Philadelphia, or with Delta via Atlanta, or fly AA/BA/Virgin from London Heathrow or Manchester to New
York, and then with JetBlue/Aitran/Continental from New York to Orlando, or fly with BA to Philadelphia or Baltimore-Washington Intl, and from
there to Orlando with AirTran - there are other possible routings too, but this is not an option for the inexperienced traveller! Make sure
you allow AT LEAST THREE HOURS at a stopover if you are changing airlines, to allow for flight delays, immigration (you will go through this
at the airport where you first arrive in the USA) and probably having to take all of your luggage to another terminal. If you have any
questions about flight options, or if you'd like help with finding the best fare and routing, contact us,
and we'll do our best to help!
Several rental car companies operate out of Orlando International Aiport and Sanford International Aiport. If you're looking for
a major Car Rental company, with a convenient on-airport location, years of experience has taught us that you can't do much
better than Avis - if you book using the Avis UK web site, they will quote a highly competitive
price inclusive of all the insurances and taxes necessary for worry-free driving in the USA. Yes Car Hire is another
company offering low rates, inclusive of all the necessary extras, but we have no personal experience of hiring from them.
Car Rental companies offer cheaper prices to foreign holidaymakers than they do to US citizens, but to get these rates you MUST book in
advance, you MUST have a UK/EU driving licence, and you MUST book using the UK website of the rental company.
Get quotes from more than one company - but make sure they are clear about exactly what's included in the rate quoted.
ALWAYS make sure that the rate quoted includes Collison/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) and Additional/Supplementary Liability
Insurance (ALI/SLI), or you could end up with a bill for several thousand dollars in the event of an accident, even if it is not your
ALI/SLI is important because holiday travel insurance policies DO NOT cover theft of or damage to rental cars - rental cars are a
special case, and your travel insurance almost certainly won't cover you if the other party in a car-related accident decides to sue
you for the cost of their hospital treatment, which can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds, and could bankrupt you in the case
of a serious accident.
Be aware that not all car rental companies have a convenient on-airport location (Hertz is off-airport at Orlando Intl, so you'll have to
take a trip by bus), and some will quote a low headline rate, but if you read the small print, you'll find that taxes and necessary
insurance (eg, CDW/LDW/ALI/SLI) are not included, and you'll have to pay extra for them when you arrive in Orlando, which could leave you
with a nasty surprise at the start of your holiday (please note - none of the companies listed below do this). Finally, use the
guidance on the rental company's web site to make sure the car you select is big enough for everyone in your party, and all of their luggage!
For non-US citizens, travel insurance is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL when holidaying in the USA.
Unlike in the UK and Europe, it is difficult to get free medical care in the USA, and there are very few hospitals run by charities
that offer free medical treatment. Just a trip to the doctor for a minor problem can turn out to be very expensive,
and costs may run into many thousands of dollars if you or one of your family is seriously injured in an accident, and requires
long-term, complex treatment, or even an air ambulance to bring you home. If you fall seriously ill, you may have to prove to a
hospital that you can pay for treatment before they will admit you beyond the emergency room. By taking out a travel insurance policy
before you leave the UK, you can limit your medical costs to the small excess payable on a claim. You should take your insurance
documents (or at least the insurance company’s emergency contact details) with you to Florida, as proof of your ability to pay. From
shopping around, we've found that Norwich Union and InsureAndGo both offer competitive travel insurance policies, for either a single trip,
or annual cover, but you should get quotes from several other companies, and compare the cost and the level of cover offered - always make
sure that you are being quoted a price for a policy that specifies worldwide cover including the USA, as some companies also offer
"worldwide" policies that EXCLUDE travel to the USA, which might be cheaper, but are of ABSOLUTELY NO USE for a holiday in Florida!
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