Florida is one of my cherished destinations, I mean that it is « my old home » that I am still discovering. If you did not know, you can always learn more here.
I am sharing here some of the things that I keep in mind when I am dealing with Florida. Here are my 7 tips especially for first time travelers there.
- Consider “extra fees” when booking a hotel. It is particularly true for South Beach, Miami for instance. Don’t be surprise that the price of the room in the end is different from what you saw at first you get to pay for tax (for the stay) plus resort fees (usually it is per day). Typically those resort fees cover the services that are included (not really “free”) such as beach towels, shuttles to the airport and other advantages like common services with other hotels around discounts to some night clubs …For that reason staying oustide this area, in downtown or Airbnb could be better options in terms of prices, still it really depends the kind of activities and experience you are looking for.
- Water, water, water and …water. This is to be taken very seriously. It is surely your best mate there. It is no joke. I am from the Caribbean and used to the heat and I have some bad memories, lesson learned. Trust me when I say bring and/or drink water everywhere you go because you never know it happens quick. You feel dizzy and the next minute you pass out. Big time. It happened to me since then I am extremely careful. I witnessed myself a lot of people passing out in amusement parks. Never stay too long laid on the beach or the pool in the heat and then get up too quick. When feeling dizzy, go inside, stay in AC places.That type of things are preventive recommendations.
- Talking about AC. Be prepared for “AC” everywhere. Ahah! Should I precise that AC is for Air Conditioning. In vehicles, in stores, in hotels, everywhere. I personally needed time to get used to that. I bet I am not the only one!
- A car is very likely essential and very common. I highly recommend to rent a car unless you plan to stay in one place and resort such as in Disney World, the good new is everything there is taken care of. Transportation is flawless. Otherwise you will be literally handicapped. And since Florida is home to different activities in different locations, the best way to discover every aspects of Florida is taking the road. Think about beach trips when you are in Orlando.
- Talking about cars and taking the road, it means tolls also. Orlando is by far “the city of tolls”. Always make sure that you have cash and I would risk to say coins is sometimes safer.
- At some point, you will get wet, but well…after all it feels good! Get used to thunders, beautiful lightnings and heavy tropical rains. There is a flipside to this amazing weather, climate and environment. The road between Orlando and Tampa for example is often rainy. Do not panic!
- Ok, enough with the annoying tips! Lastly, something more fun. Get comfortable with Spanish. If you do not already, I would recommend to learn some Spanish. My opinion is that traveling is an experience for the traveler as well as the people visited. It really works both ways in an ideal scenario. So I always make sure that I have some “tools” to adapt to the people there and show some form of “respect” for their culture (honoring their culture) and to actually make the meeting happen with them. I see knowking or learning the language as a powerful skill in our own traveling experience. There are many many Spanish speakers in Florida so it is both useful and really appreciated if you speak it. This is Florida and that is what makes it unique!