Florida Guide > Planning your Trip
Preparing for you holiday to Florida
Are you looking to book your first trip to Orlando in Florida? First let me tell you about a few misconceptions.
1. Orlando is not by the sea. Many British people seem to think that Orlando is a seaside destination, whereas it is actually in the centre of Florida and almost equidistant to both the East and the West coast (approximately 85 miles in each direction to the nearest beach).
2. You can not be near, Disney World, Sea World AND Universal Studios. You can only be NEAR Disney World OR Universal Studios OR Sea World. It is approximately 18 – 20 miles between Disney World and Universal Studios (depending on which entrance to Disney World you calculate from) and approximately 12 miles between Disney World and Sea World.
3. Busch Gardens is not in Orlando it is in Tampa on the West Coast and not within easy reach of Disney World - you need to plan a separate day to visit Busch Gardens.
The reason I mention this is because first time visitors to Orlando ask for villas near to all of these places so I thought it best to explain the problem. One family asked to be near Disney World and the Shopping malls, again 18 miles apart from each other.
So now you have found your accommodation, booked you flights and you are ready to go ... all you have to do now is wait, get excited and look forward to all the fun you are going to have. Well no, not quite.
Firstly, make sure you have at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires at the time of the END of your trip. So if you holiday ends on, say, 28th August 2015, your passport must not expire before March 2016. They will not let you in with less. Remember too, that even new born babies need a passport now.
Secondly, apply for an ESTA. This is mandatory to enter the United States and is simply applied for online and costs $25. (Just Google ESTA and you will get all the information you need). Or if you are booking through a travel agent then they will apply for it for you or tell you how to apply. Be careful make sure you go to the official website of the US Customs and Border Protection site. There are dubious sites that try to look official so double check
Thirdly, if you are hiring a car you must carry your driving licence for all drivers at all times on your person or in the car. Even if you are not going to be driving it is useful to have for ID as you will be asked for this on many occasions when buying goods in stores. Otherwise you will need to carry your passport for photo ID which is not advisable in case it gets lost. It is much easier to replace a lost driving licence when you get home then a lost passport.
Fourthly, take out holiday insurance, getting ill or injured in America could bankrupt you! Literally, if the illness or injury is serious.
So, NOW you can relax and look forward to you holiday, safe in the knowledge that you have everything covered.
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