Travel to Florida by Rental Car

The USA is an absolute motorist country. Almost every route is covered by car and pedestrians are almost a rarity. While in cities like New York City you can get from A to B easily without a rental car, in Florida you reach your limits very quickly here. And even in the big cities like Miami or Orlando. So if you not only want to linger on the beach and in the hotel, but also want to go on excursions in the surrounding area, you cannot actually avoid booking a rental car.

Road trips through the sunshine state are a very special experience. For this you should plan at least fourteen days to be able to admire Florida in all its facets. How about a detour to the Everglades or to the colorful facades of Key West? Admire the sunrise in Miami and the endless sandy beaches of Amelia Island? This and more is possible during a round trip.

You should consider this when booking a rental car in Florida

It is worth booking the car with the car rental company from Germany before you start your journey. On the one hand, this brings advantages for European customers in terms of insurance and, on the other hand, you have time to read the car rental contract calmly and avoid being spontaneously sold services that you don’t actually need.

There are several options for insurance. We recommend taking out fully comprehensive insurance with reduced liability (CDW), which also applies to accidents you cause yourself. But theft insurance (LDW) and the increase in the liability coverage to one million US dollars (LIS) also contribute to a relaxed holiday experience. In addition, it may be advisable to take out passenger and luggage insurance.

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A comparison of providers is worthwhile in order to determine the provider with the best price / performance ratio among the car rental companies.

Sometimes an unnecessary cost trap – Florida’s toll system

In Florida, in addition to the free interstates paved with a noticeable number of advertising signs, there are also toll roads, so-called ” Great roads “. One of them is the two-lane turnpike. These routes are provided with barriers where the fee can be paid directly (but hardly in cash). Many car rental companies, however, work with the pay-by-plate system, in which the toll is charged via the license plate. The license plate is recorded when driving through each barrier and the toll charges are finally billed when the rental car is returned. A system that is easy to use at first glance, but is relatively expensive due to the additional fees charged by many car rental companies.

An alternative to this is the “Sunpass”. This is a prepaid vignette that is offered in two versions. While the Sunpass Mini can only be used in one vehicle, the Sunpass Portable can be used in different rental cars. These vignette systems are charged with a certain dollar amount and charged when crossing a barrier. There are no additional fees for the pay-by-plate service and you also get a 25 percent discount. Florida’s Express Lanes on interstates and toll roads can only be used with the Sunpass or a similar transponder.

The Sunpass can be purchased in Publix supermarkets, CVS Pharmacy, AAA, Navaro Discount Pharmacy, Sedano’s and Amscot – The Money Superstore. In addition, some rental car providers also offer the Sunpass directly in their packages.

Driving on toll roads with the rental car: yes or no?

When putting together a route for the road trip, there are many ways in which you can avoid toll roads. One example of this is the Tamiami Trail, which stretches from Miami to Tampa. However, if you completely avoid toll roads on the route, you may miss out on one or the other unforgettable experience. For example, the trip over the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida is only possible for a fee.

Particularities when driving in Florida

In general, in Florida, you have to be prepared for the fact that in all likelihood you will get an automatic transmission rental car. Manual transmissions are as good as nonexistent with the providers. In addition, there are some traffic rules in Florida that are unusual for Europeans. Holidaymakers often have to get used to the relaxed and quiet driving style that is typical of the sunshine state, especially in South Florida. The roads are mostly straight and often multi-lane even in built-up areas.

We have put together the most important features and tips for you here:

  • Traffic is on the right in Florida.
  • In Florida, seat belts must be worn for drivers and passengers. Children up to the age of four need a child seat.
  • Turning right is generally allowed at traffic lights, even if the traffic light is red, unless a right turn is explicitly prohibited by a corresponding sign.
  • The order of the arriving vehicles must be observed on stop signs with the note “4-Way”. Whoever reaches the intersection first is allowed to drive first.
  • In Florida, overtaking is permitted on the right and left lane on multi-lane roads.
  • Speed ​​limits should be strictly adhered to in Florida if you want to avoid trouble with traffic police. A speed of 104 to 112 km / h is generally permitted on highways, around 88 km / h (55 mph) can be driven in urban areas, while in towns and cities speeds between around 48 and 72 km / h (30 to 45 mph) are allowed. In the vicinity of schools you are often only allowed to drive at 15 mph.
  • Stopping school buses may not be overtaken when the pupils get on and off. This also applies to oncoming traffic if the lanes are not separated by a traffic island. Warning signs with a yellow flashing light often indicate a school bus.
  • The traffic police in Florida are very attentive and punish violations with force. If the police are following you with flashing lights, stop at the next opportunity and stay in the car with your hands on the steering wheel. You should always have your driver’s license and vehicle documents with you.
  • Drink driving can result in jail time. The next day the person concerned is brought before the local judge, who sets a deposit amount . Basically, alcohol may ONLY be transported in the trunk.
  • Pedestrians have absolute priority in Florida. It is expected to stop at crosswalks.
  • Amusement parks, shopping malls, and supermarkets have large, free parking spaces. Parking in the center or on the beaches is usually chargeable and excessive parking time is extremely expensive. There is an absolute no-stopping on the curb and in the tow-away zones. In general, markings on the curbs indicate where you can stop. While red markings are absolutely prohibited, yellow markings mark loading zones for delivery vans. Areas with yellow and black markings are reserved as loading zones for trucks, fields with blue markings are disabled parking spaces. While getting on and off is permitted in areas with white marking, you may stop in green areas for a maximum of ten minutes. There is an absolute no-stopping at hydrants.
  • At petrol stations, you can either pay in advance in cash at the cash register or by credit card directly at the petrol pump. Sometimes, however, German credit cards don’t work at American petrol stations. If you have paid at the cash register for more than fits in the tank, you get the remaining money back.
  • If you break down outside of built-up areas, put your vehicle completely on the hard shoulder. When you open the hood, vehicles passing on the route know they need help.
  • On the interstates there are message boards along the route that provide information about seatbelts, possible traffic jams, route changes and the estimated travel time to certain locations. They are also used to display “alerts” that search for specific vehicles together with a license plate or a description of a person. If the vehicle is sighted, the telephone number given should be called. There are different “alerts”. While “Silver Alerts” indicate a missing person, “Blue Alerts” show that a police officer was shot or shot. The “Amber Alert” indicates a child abduction.
  • HOV lanes on the interstates may only be used if there are at least two people in the rental car.
  • Blue signs with white hurricanes indicate so-called “evacuation roads”. These are safe roads that lead inland in the event of a hurricane.

Travel to Florida by Rental Car

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