Hiring a car is a must if you want to explore further than Disney and I-Drive areas. You can be in charge of your holiday and go where and whenever you like rather than relying on the free Disney or hotel transportation.
Florida is one of the cheapest states in the US for car hire - if you book a fly drive holiday check the size of the basic car you will be given as part of your package - worth upgrading in advance. Be aware if you are under 25 or have had your licence for less than a year it will cost an extra $25 per day - please note if you are under 21 you will NOT be able to rent a car at all.
Always book in advance - do a bit of research first will make it much easier. Try a comparison site to find prices and I have found that I use the same company each time and they will happily match a cheaper price if I find it - although this particular company tends to be very competative anyway. So consider -
Car size - economy, compact, midsize, fullsize, premium, luxury, convertible and minivan.
Boot (trunk) size - American cars tend to be slightly smaller in comparison to British cars - can you fit the luggage in - don't forget suitcases tend to be wider / heavier after all the shopping at the Malls during your stay.
Rates - can be very cheap for the smaller cars but the extra insurance, taxes, fuel, airport charges all add up.
Insurance - a credit card is a must at the rental desk - you must take LDW or CDW (Loss or Collision Damage Waiver) and you are also offered SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) - this one is optional.
Fuel - you can either opt to return the car empty or fill it youself on the way to the airport - currently in 2015 slightly cheaper option is to hire full to full.
Check your hire car for any major damage before you leave the rental compound otherwise you may be charged on your return. Take photos using your phone of any existing damage to the car before you leave.
Make sure you have change for the Toll roads as you exit the airport as most sat navs take a direct route on to the Interstate and you will need to use the booth - some are manned, some just have a bucket to weigh your change.
Finally - carseats for children - always bring your own, most airlines transport it for free but make sure you wrap it well to protect it. Rental car seats are expensive about $5 per seat per day plus a security deposit - it all adds up. They are often dirty and can take you ages to get to grips with adjusting the harness to fit your child. Check out the car seat laws and requirements for Florida on the internet before you travel.
Contact me if you want to know which sites I use for car hire.
Do you have any car hire recommendations ?
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