Travel Tips



DRIVING SAFETY

The law in Florida requires that headlights must be on from dusk till dawn, in fog and in rain! The rule of thumb is that if the windshield (windscreen) wipers are on, so too should be the headlights. It is also recommended that headlights be on while driving on all rural two lane roads.

Some interstate highways have tolls. The Florida Turnpike (Ocala to Homestead), Alligator Alley (1-75 between Miami and Naples), Bee Line Expressway (Orlando to Cape Canaveral) are examples.

Many of the coastal islands have bridges which also charge a fare for crossing. Some fares can be quite expensive for the infrequent user, so be prepared to pay a few dollars.


PERSONAL SAFETY

Although much of Florida appears to be open country, the areas frequented by tourists are usually densely populated. As with any urban area, and many suburban areas, all individuals should exert efforts to assure personal safety.

At night, park as close to a street light as possible. Keep all car doors locked. Unless there are crowds of people around, do not allow other individuals to get very close to you.

Use special caution in any area that appears poor. Also be especially cautious if there are individuals in the area who are not involved in a worthwhile activity.

Always secure valuables in the automobile trunk while traveling and do not open the trunk except in a secure place. Never leave the key in the ignition. Always lock vehicles when exiting. Place jewelry, cash, cameras, airline tickets, passports and other travel documents in a safe place, like a hotel safe. When travelling, carry only those items actually necessary and do not show large sums of money or fancy jewerly.

Buy travelers checks prior to departing.

Florida has a number of animals which can be dangerous to humans. Generally it is advisable to avoid all direct contact with wild animals. When walking in wilderness areas, stay on paths.

There are numerous stinging and biting insects, mosquitoes being the most common. Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants when venturing away from populated areas. Small biting insects known locally as "no-see-ums" are common in windless areas near sandy areas. Mosquitoes can be anywhere and are very common in non-urban areas at all times of the day. There are local products which may help to detract insects, but the best advice is usually to stay covered up and never scratch at an insect bite. Do not hesitate to question hotel staff members about local conditions and the safe way to deal with them.


ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LAWS

The minimum legal age for the public consumption or purchase of alcoholic beverages is 21. Purveyors usually require two pieces of identification, at least one which has a picture of the individual and states the date of birth as verification of age.

Sunday sales are determined locally.

One liter may be brought into the United States by each individual who is older than the minimum legal age. Legally, one gallon may be brought into the state from adjoining states, but there are no check points.


INSPECTION STATIONS

All commercial motorists pulling trailers or driving a truck must stop at all agricultural inspection stations. Recreational vehicles and private passenger cars without trailers are not required to stop.


TIPPING


HOLIDAYS

While a number of holidays affect banking activities, school class schedules and local residents, there are only a few holidays which impact the traveler. It should be noted that the period between Christmas and New Year's Day is regarded as "The Holidays." Many Americans do not work during this period and so resorts are more apt to be filled than during some other periods of the year.


RATES

Seasonal rates for any kind of accommodations relate more to seasons in Florida than to other places.

Winter and Spring are the busiest times in the southern half of the state. Summer and Fall tend to be less busy in these areas and offer better rates. Winter usually begins right after the New Year and extends until the middle of February. Spring begins the middle of February and continues until around the end of April.

Summer is the busy season in the northern portion of the state and begins around the start of May and continues until the beginning of September. Fall begins with the start of the school year and continues until sometime around the end of November in some places and until the Christmas holidays in others.

In most places "Holidays" refers to the days between Christmas and New Year's, but can refer to any long weekend holiday, at any time during the year.

In The Florida Keys and along the coasts, weekends tend to be busy all year. However, Holidays can refer to a period of special events which take place at or near a specific property.

Rates quoted are generally for the fewest number of people in the least costly unit at the low end and for the most costly unit at the high end. Rates quoted are good for approximately one year but are not guaranteed.


KEYS?

"Key" and "qua" are other names for an island.

Along both the east and west coast of Florida are long barrier islands often called keys.

"The Keys," however, always refers to the series of islands beginning just south of Miami at Key Largo and running 120 miles (220 kilometers) south and west to Key West.


FLORIDA FACTS!


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