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Travel in Florida : How to traveling around with a rental car

Why should you rent a car travel in Florida ?

Travel in Florida — the Sunshine State. Its beaches and sun attack visitors in throngs — and it has an incredibly long coastline. From the clubs in Miami Beach to the Redneck Rivera near Panama City, there is a beach for every traveler. Add in the world-famous theme parks around Orlando and you get the quintessential family vacation destination.

And, as elsewhere in the US, having a car while you visit travel in Florida is all but completely necessary. There’s a reason why it’s the largest rental car market in the country, if not the world. Much more needn’t be said — grab a rental car and see all the state has to offer from Pensacola to Key West.

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When should you go to travle in Florida?

Florida is a popular destination in the winter months for those from colder parts of the country as the weather is still warm and sunny. February and March are perhaps the best months to visit South Florida.

While many visit in the summer — a lot of parents take their children to Disney World and Universal Studios during the summer — it is a hot a balmy time. August and September are perhaps the lowest season as far as tourists go, but not by much — the state is popular year-round.

The hurricane season runs from June to November, though August through October is the most active months. While you shouldn’t necessarily avoid the state during this time, be sure to keep track of the forecast and be ready to evacuate should a storm be approaching while you’re there.

Also in the summer, expect afternoon thunderstorms. These can be strong at times with hail, so be ready to seek shelter if relaxing on the beach in the afternoon.

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Where should you pick up a car travel in Florida ?

Almost all renters from out of state pick up their rental car at the airport which they fly into. Orlando International Airport has thousands and thousands of rental cars. Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports aren’t far behind. All of these airports are major international airports with flights arriving from cities all around the country and world.

In addition to airports, it is also possible to pick up rental cars at different other locations like downtown offices and hotels. This might be useful if you plan to spend some time on the beach and don’t need a car for those days. Some rental car providers offer a meet-and-greet service. It is possible to pick up or drop off a rental car at locations in many Florida cities that don’t have a major airport.

You can also make a one-way trip. Say you begin at the beaches of South Florida and travel to Orlando for the theme parks. Most rental companies offer one-way rentals. Simply enter your desired drop-off location when searching and you’ll see what’s available.

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Keep in mind:

Most car rental companies charge a fee for one-way rentals, but this will be included in the total if you searched using your desired drop-off location.

How easy is it to travel around Florida independently?

Florida is like two states in one. How easy it is to get around depends on what part of the state you are traveling around. In the rural inner parts and the Panhandle, you’ll have no problems finding your way. South Florida and Orlando can be a pain to get around though if you aren’t experienced in driving in large cities with lots of traffic.

Your best bet is to try to travel at times when traffic is at its lightest, though this can be difficult to do with traffic being heavy most times of the day. Be sure to know where yu are going in advance as this will help you navigate the busy roads better.

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Why rent a car travel in Florida?

Florida is a great place for renting a car. From large cities to theme parks, and stunning beaches and nature, it is not only best discovered with the freedom of a rental car, one is almost essential depending on your destination. 

Americans and those from abroad flock to the state year-round for its warm weather with California being the only state that receives more tourists. The most popular entry points and destinations in the state are listed below, but be sure to see our individual pages for each city for extensive information about what to see and do in those cities, day trip ideas, and further destinations to travel to with your rental car. 

How safe is it to travel around Florida by car?

Florida is as safe as any state in the US:

While the state has its fair share of crime, it is concentrated in certain areas. As a traveler, you are unlikely to encounter any unpleasant situations due to humans. In any case, the emergency number to call the police, ambulance, or fire department is 911.

The heat is one of the most dangerous things about Florida:

In summer, it can get quite hot. The heat can be deadly inside a parked car in the summer. Children and pets should never be left inside a car, even if it’s not summer. Expect the window of the car to be broken. If you leave your child or pet in your car as bystanders will rescue them. And you don’t want to be stuck with the bill for that from the rental company.

Also, it should go without saying but never approach an alligator. If you encounter one, back away slowly. And if one chases you, unlike with bears, you should run. It likely only wants you out of its territory. Even though it is fast, will likely give up the chase soon. Finally, if you don’t outrun it, fight back as much as you can and attempt to keep its jaws closed.

There are cases where people hit alligators on the road. While this is unlikely to damage the vehicle much. Be careful if you do and be cautious leaving the vehicle after you pull over. The alligator may still be under it and probably won’t be in the happiest of states if it is still alive.

Jellyfish are also routinely on the shores of Florida. Be careful to avoid being stung by one and if you are, seek first aid immediately. While the sting of jellyfish hurts a lot, it is not likely to cause any serious injury.

Shark attacks are very rare in Florida but do happen from time to time. If a shark is seen, leave the water immediately.

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Insider’s tip:

If you’re visiting Florida any time from June to November make sure to keep track of hurricane forecasts and be prepared to evacuate should you need to.

Are there any other languages spoken travel in Florida besides English?

You probably know that Spanish is heard quite often in certain parts of Florida, but may not know that nearly a quarter of Florida’s population are native Spanish speakers. Many of these reside in the Miami area. This makes a great place to practice your Spanish.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, though. You’re highly unlikely to run into any situation where you won’t be able to get buy speaking English.

Three travel destinations in Florida that you can reach by car:

The Space Coast:

For those interested in the history of the American space program, Cape Canaveral, a two-hour drive from Orlando, hosts the Kennedy Space Center visitor’s center. Standard admission includes various attractions and a bus tour of the Apollo/Saturn V Center. More extensive tours are also available but should be booked in advance. It is also possible to see rocket launches with advanced booking.

Just south of Cape Canaveral is the Town of Cocoa Beach and its actual beach. Though known for being the setting of the classic television show I Dream of Jeannie, the location’s real fame comes from the beach’s surf. Widely regarded as the best surfing location on the East Coast, Cocoa Beach has an annual surf festival and is home to the flagship store of Ron Jon Surf Shop, the largest surfing store in the world.

The Florida Keys:

No trip to Florida can be complete without making the journey south to the Keys. An archipelago off the southern tip of Florida’s peninsula stretching into the straits of Florida, the Florida Keys is notorious for its beaches. The tourist high season is from December to April when mild temperatures combined with less rain to make it the perfect winter getaway. Therefore, later in spring towards the beginning of summer may be the more pocket-book-friendly time to experience the keys. June through November are hurricane season, and therefore can be risky.

Everglades National Park:

Most don’t go to Florida for national parks, but Everglades National Park is a can’t miss destination being the third-largest national park in the country. Venture southeast from Miami to Homestead and then Ingraham highway to reach the park. Most of the park is only accessible via boat, but guided tours are available. The park also hosts various trains for hiking or cycling. There only lodging in the park comes in the form of campsites. Note that the park’s operations are heavily curtailed during South Florida’s wet season between June and October.

What are the best places to rent a car travel in Florida?

The state of Florida has three of our most popular destinations not just in the USA, but the world. You are best off renting a car where you enter the state and keeping it the entire time you are traveling.

Orlando is the most popular place to rent a car in Florida. Millions flock to the city for the theme parks that are in and around it. Disney World and Universal Studios draw millions of visitors every year. Unless you stay on the properties, which is expensive, it is best to have a car to be able to travel to the parks, and between them. It’s also useful to be able to get to the Space Coast.

Miami is the second-most popular destination to rent a car in the state (this goes not just for Florida but in the US in general).

Finally, Fort Lauderdale is also a popular rental car destination.

Of course, outside of these destinations, it’s perhaps even more necessary to rent a car when visiting. As in other parts of the US, public transportation is sparse and inconvenient outside of these cities.

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Which car rental company in Florida offers the lowest rates? What are some tricks for getting a better deal?

There are many cheap rental car companies in Florida. On the whole, the country’s car rental prices are lower than those in the rest of the United States. You may end up being able to find a car for as little as $15 a day — though be sure to see the caveats below.

Obviously, your destination also influences the price — cars tend to be more pricey around popular tourist destinations. However, that conventional wisdom doesn’t hold in Florida. Prices are generally lower in the most popular places — Miami and Orlando — due to the sheer number of cars available there.

Keep in mind: Booking a car in advance is a tried and true method for getting a much lower price, especially if you plan to travel to Florida during the high tourist season. A car booked a month before the trip can cost half as much as the same car booked a couple of days before you travel.

Booking a car for a longer period of time is also a good idea — due to different commissions and other fees, booking a car in Florida for a longer period can cost significantly less per day.

Which car rental supplier is best for you? Are the rental conditions important?

Price is obviously a huge factor when choosing a car rental company, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration — often, for a couple of dollars more, you can find a much better overall deal. Instead, try to look for a company that offers both a good price and has a good rating from previous renters.

Also, make sure you are familiar with the rental conditions! Different rental car suppliers will have different conditions. The rental conditions can influence the final price of the car and are important to be aware of in general.

You can find the rental conditions when searching for a rental car on our website.

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