Hiring a car in Florida is definitely the best way to get around. It’s easy to travel between the attractions and beaches, and you don’t have to haul your stuff around on your back. It also means you can stop off where and when you want to build a totally custom trip.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from hiring a car in Florida that will help make your road trip a special one.
1. Find the best car you can get… book it immediately
We went for a deep red convertible Mustang. I mean, if you’re going to do a USA road trip, you might as well, DO IT. We’d already planned it before, having looked through the list available, but on arrival we were told about all kinds of offers on porsches and the like. We stuck with our horse, but what I’m saying is, treat yourself, and if the opportunity arises, treat yourself that little bit more.
2. Sign up to the Hertz Club… and flex that membership
You get all kinds of benefits, including a free additional driver, faster reservations, faster returns and special discounts too. The lady at the desk at Tampa airport was ever so friendly and went through all our options so I understood exactly what I was paying for. We were a bit last minute, but I know from previous USA road trips that if you do your research in advance you can save quite a bit of dollar.
3. Get to know your car… before you leave the car park
So we had another little inicident where we realised the lights weren’t on, as we were entering the highway and we couldn’t work out where the switch was. Of course, in the car park the lights had been on and in all the excitement we hadn’t thought. The dashboard was lit up but apparently not the car. We found them, but we had to pull over on the hard shoulder to do so. Have a good feel around the car and know where everything is before you start the ignition.
4. Under 25s cost… about $30 per day
To hire a car as a driver under 25 you’ll have to pay a premium. With Hertz this was $30 per day.
5. Make sure your car is big enough… for you, and your luggage
We had issues with boot space and my bag ended up on the back seat, not as cool as we wanted for our Ford Mustang look but an absolute necessity with all the camera equipment someone had. Check out Joe’s videos and you can see why.
6. Know the local laws… and fines
So err, we had a lovely chat with a state trooper (who looked just like Hank from Breaking Bad) on our journey from Daytona to the Kennedy Space Center. Apparently, we were going a little speedy in a construction area and he wasn’t too happy about it. If we hadn’t looked like petrified tourists, and sounded like we were fresh from Downton Abbey – “Terribly sorry sir, yes, yes, I have a license, just off to the Space Centre sir” – then it would have been a $600 fine for us, he said. So yeah, know the laws (fines are doubled in a construction zone and speeds are halved) or you could get some of your hard earned holiday cash wiped out.
7. Prepare for the journey… you’ll enjoy it more
Before you drive in the USA make sure to read up on the American way of the road, the car you want to get, the music and the route you want to take. More confidence equals more fun and better safety. Everyone wins.
I was in Florida as a guest of VISIT FLORIDA and Hertz.co.uk. Visit Florida have a whole January of activity in London – check out their ‘Moments of Sunshine‘ here.