ESTA, Travelling Around and Weather

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Visiting Florida

ESTA - Travelling to Florida and USA

In 2009, the means to enter the USA was changed from the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (or ESTA).  This now means details of each visitor to the USA must be registered online prior to travel.  A charge of US$14 is levied against each registration, however, beware of websites which are charging up to $250 for submitting these.

All non-visa visitors wishing to travel to or transit through the USA are required to obtain approval under ESTA.  The application must be made at least 72 hours in advance, but should be done at the earliest opportunity.  It is also possible to apply for approval if there are no specific plans for a trip to the USA e.g. where travel is likely at short notice.

To apply for approval, visitors must complete the questions on the ESTA website (the links are below) - which will include an address for when you are staying in the USA.  Where you require the address of the villa you have booked, please contact us.  Once you have registered your details, you will be given a unique Application Number.  Approval is often received immediately, but in some cases can take up to 72 hours.  It is advisable to print out the approval to take to the airport.

Register your details with ESTA
ESTA On-Line Help

Once approved, the application is valid for two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.  Other instances in which approval will cease are: change of name, gender, citizenship or circumstances underlying the applicant’s previous responses to the questions.  In these cases, a new application must be made.  It should be noted that approval under ESTA does not guarantee admission to the USA.

Travelling Beyond Kissimmee

When staying in Florida, there are many cities, beaches and natural woodland parks outside of the very popular Walt Disney World area, which are worth visiting.  Kissimmee is around 10 miles south of Orlando and is perfectly positioned with the Gulf and Atlantic coasts between 60 and 90 minutes drive in either direction.  Relax on the white sandy beaches in the west of St. Petersburg and Clearwater - see the wonders of Kennedy Space Centre or be thrilled with the hot cosmopolitan Miami nightlife and diverse Florida Keys in the south.

Sanibel & Captiva Clearwater Daytona Beach Fort Lauderdale Jacksonville Key Largo Key West Miami Naples Orlando Pensacola Port Canaveral St Augustine St Petersburg Tallahassee Tampa Florida map - click on the cities for more information

Click on the city markers on the map for facts, as well as the distance, route and driving time from Indian Wells.

Although satellite navigation will be an optional extra for your rental car, worthwhile up-to-date maps are available from WalMart.  When purchasing a map, consider plastic backed e.g. Rand McNally EasyFinder, as these will take a lot more wear and tear than the paper maps.  If you are looking to travel around Florida there are voucher booklets available at many supermarkets and diners which offer cheap motels, as well as money of coupons for restaurants, shops and attractions.

A couple of Orlando guide books which we find extremely useful are the  Eyewitness Travel 'Top 10 Orlando' guide (by Dorling Kindersley Publishing) and ' A Brit's Guide to Orlando and Walt Disney World'.  As the name suggests, the first book  lists the 'top 10' of virtually everything e.g. thrill rides, places to shop, dinner shows etc..., whilst the second is aimed primarily at British tourists and covers all aspects from driving in the area through to the attractions.

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Average Monthly Temperatures

Below are the average highs for the day (and lows for the night), however, consider that the midday temperatures are taken in the shade and it will generally feel much hotter in direct sunlight.  Given this, sun block is a must even outside of the very hot summer months.

Daily Highs Night Lows Pool Heating?
ºC ºF ºC ºF
January 22 71 9 49 Recommended
February 23 73 10 50 Recommended
March 26 78 13 55 Recommended
April 28 83 15 59 Optional
May 31 88 19 66 Optional
June 32 90 22 72
July 33 92 23 73
August 33 92 23 73
September 32 90 22 72
October 29 85 19 66 Optional
November 26 78 15 58 Recommended
December 23 73 11 51 Recommended
Current and forecasted weather in the Lake Buena Vista area.
Forecasted weather conditions for Indian Wells
Sunrise and sunset times for the Kissimmee area

Florida Facts

  • Florida is on US Eastern Time (EST) or 5 hours behind the UK.  Clocks are also changed for Daylight Saving Time, so during March/April and November, Florida may temporarily be 4 or 6 hours behind.

  • The International Direct Dialing (IDD) code for the US is 001 or +1.  Once in the US, the telephone number for emergencies (e.g. fire, police, ambulance) is 911.  Dialling the UK has the IDD code 0044 or +44.  Virtually everyone speaks English in the US.

  • Mobile cell phones will only operate in the US if they are 'tri-band' or 'quad-band'.  Check with your service provider beforehand whether your phone is compatible and what the call costs are - especially for smartphones and data roaming.

  • The electricity supply in the US is 110V (the UK is 220-240V) and the plugs have 2 prongs instead of 3.  By using a plug-in adapter, electric shavers, phone chargers and other small electrical items should still operate.  Mobile phones can still be charged.

  • You drive on the right-hand side of the road or the other side of the road in relation to the UK.

  • The currency is US Dollars (US$) and most prices do not include sales tax.  This adds between 6% and 7% on to the quoted price.  Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are welcome almost everywhere - unlike Travellers Cheques.

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