Destination America Florida Homes, Orlando Villas & Apartments

DESTINATIONAMERICA
FLORIDA HOLIDAY SPECIALISTS
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USA A-Z TRAVEL DIRECTORY
A wealth of travel information to assist you in making your travel and holiday plans to the USA.....
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Accommodation
Accommodation Ratings

Air Conditioning
Aircraft Seats
Aircraft Meals
Aircraft Security
Airlines - Charter
Airlines - Scheduled
Airport Check-in Procedures
Airport Car Parking
Airport Hotels
Airport Hotels with coach travel
Airport Lounges
Airports by Rail
Airport Security: travel tip
Airport Transfers (US)
Alcohol and Gambling Laws
Amtrak Railroad System
Apartments
Attraction Tickets
Accommodation: Our programme features all types of accommodation throughout the USA from budget to five star resort hotels, and in Florida from studio apartments to privately owned homes with swimming pool; it will depend on the location required as to what type of accommodation options are available. Most American accommodation is based on room only (no meals) but some hotels will include a complimentary breakfast (usually continental). A standard hotel room usually consists of two double or queen sized beds sleeping up to 4 persons, some hotels will offer a room with a king sized bed - which could be confirmed or subject to availability. A limited number of hotel rooms will sleep 5 persons by means of a couch or a rollaway bed (this at an extra cost to be paid locally). Hotel suites usually offer two separate areas, living and bedroom; other suite amenities will vary, where-as one suite may have no other additional amenities another could have a fully equipped kitchen.  A hotel efficiency is a room with some (limited ) cooking facilities - normally with a small kitchen area. A studio apartment is one room that combines the living and bedroom together, with either limited or full kitchen facilities. An apartment or home would have a set number of bedrooms and bathrooms with separate lounge/dining areas and kitchen facilities, plus other rooms and amenities depending on the individual property. Rental homes and apartments are self-contained and fully equipped for normal living, often referred to as 'home away from home'.

Accommodation Ratings: There are no USA official property ratings. Travel companies, ourselves included, use ratings from 1 to 5 star or budget through to deluxe, which is based on the overall standard of the hotel property, taking into account its services, the grounds and amenities available to visitors.

Air Conditioning: Florida and most of the Southern United States exist on having air conditioning. All Florida accommodation properties that we feature are fully air-conditioned, as are shops, shopping malls, restaurants, rental vehicles and indoor entertainments. However, air conditioning is only effective if the doors and windows are kept closed, then you keep cool and save energy. The exception in Florida will be some beach type restaurants and bars with just ceiling fans, but they have the compensation of the gulf air and usually an intoxicating gulf breeze!

Aircraft Meals: Scheduled airlines will usually offer a choice of two or three main meals on transatlantic flights for lunch (westbound) or dinner (eastbound) and a light afternoon snack (westbound) or breakfast (eastbound). You can request special types of meals, including child meals, in advance and this is better dealt with at the time of booking. Meals are usually included in the cost of your ticket, as are limited alcoholic and light drinks; however, it will depend upon the airline and the flight routing. On American domestic (internal) flights all types of drinks usually incur a small charge whereas meals are usually complimentary as appropriate for each flight.

Aircraft Seats: Most of the scheduled airlines will allow seat numbers to be allocated in advance for passengers - usually six months prior to departure.  Although they are seldom changed the actual seat numbers are not confirmed until the boarding cards are issued on check-in at the Airport Terminal.  Charter Flights will usually require a supplement to be paid to guarantee seating together in one party and individual seating is not allocated in advance.

Aircraft Security: The following items are strictly forbidden to be carried on board the cabin of any aircraft:- Toy or replica guns (plastic or metal), household cutlery, knives with blades of any length (including steel nail files), paper knives, razor blades, tradesmen's tools, darts, scissors of any size, hypodermic syringes*, knitting needles, sporting bats (including rackets, cricket bats and golf clubs), billiard, snooker or pool cues, catapult or corkscrews with blades attached.  *Customers who require the use of hypodermic needles for medical reasons (for example, diabetics and customers with allergies) will be asked for proof of medical need.  Passengers carrying any of the above items with the exception of hypodermic needles will be asked to place it in their hold baggage.  Customers carrying hand baggage only may be asked to surrender the item for disposal by the airline. The latest security requirements should be checked with the applicable airline/airport prior to travel.

Airlines - Charter: Pre-arranged flights, operated by the large tour operators, for a specific seasonal holiday period and for set departure dates and durations to high volume popular destinations. Current USA destination is Sanford, Orlando, Florida.

Airlines - Scheduled: Scheduled airlines operate regular non-stop flights from London to most destinations in the United States and if there is no direct flight, transfer connections will be available. A limited number of direct flights to the USA also operate from various UK provincial airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow, however, flight connections, usually via London or one of the USA Eastern Seaboard Cities, are available from all provincial airports to most US destinations.

Airport Check-in Procedures: Each person travelling should check-in at the airport terminal airline desk by the required check-in time, with luggage, tickets, passports and any visas that are necessary. Due to the security procedures one person cannot check in anyone else. Boarding cards and seat allocation will be done at this time. Always allow plenty of time to get to the airport with today’s potential traffic and transport problems, plus the airline increased security checks. For more detailed information on UK airports check the British Airport Authorities website at www.baa.com including for information about flight arrivals and departures.

Airport Car Parking:  We can reserve airport parking in advance for your vehicle at most UK airports, including where available terminal and secure parking.

Airport Hotels: We can book overnight hotel rooms at most UK Airports throughout the UK, most of the hotels can optionally include on site (or nearby) vehicle holiday parking.

Airport Hotels with coach travel: Hotels plus return National Express coach travel from a coach terminal near your home.

Airport Lounges: We can pre-arrange airport lounges for you to relax in prior to aircraft departure.

Airports by Rail:  Rail tickets from your local station to UK Airports.

NB:- For full details of the Airport services refer to the UK Airport Holiday Extras site pages and links.

Airport Security: travel tips…  Your safety and security will be the Airports number one priority.  Enhanced security can take time, so be patient with any additional personal and luggage searches and carry only one item of hand luggage. Sharp items are not allowed in hand luggage, pack them in your hold luggage or you may delay the security process! Check in at the time requested by the airline, allowing sufficient time for the increased security.

Airport Transfers on arrival in the USA:  Airport Hotels will normally offer a FREE shuttle bus service to and from the airport terminals. Some City Hotels will also offer a airport shuttle service, either FREE or if not for a reasonable charge. Airport transfers can be pre-arranged, one way or return, either by shuttle bus, car or stretch limousine depending on the Airport and destination/ resort required. Most transfers will be based on your going to the Airport pick-up point but a limousine will usually include an airport terminal ‘Meet and Greet’ service. We can arrange for a prepaid Airport Terminal ‘Meet and Greet’ service to be included with the transfer if required.  NB: Allow extra journey time for shuttle bus transfers as there may be multiple stops en-route to drop off or pick-up other passengers.

Alcohol and Gambling Laws: US drinking and gambling laws are very strict. You need to be at least 21 years of age in order to be served and do not be surprised if you get asked for proof of age (including sometimes for a photograph) if you look under 30 or so. You must be 21 years of age to gamble.

Amtrak Railroad System: The Inter-city rail services in the United States are operated by Amtrak. Normal seating is known as coach class. Sleeping accommodation is available on overnight services, with single, double and multiple apartments that can be reserved. We can make bookings for you but only as part of your US holiday arrangements, not stand alone. For more information on the railways in America go to the Amtrak website at www.amtrak.com where you will also find details of the USA Rail Pass options.

Apartments:  A self-contained unit with bedrooms, living and dining areas, fully equipped kitchen and shared communal facilities such as a swimming pool, also known as a condominium.  Residential apartments are individually privately owned whilst resort apartments are run on the same lines as a hotel, whether privately owned or not. Sometimes the lines between the two are blurred. See also Condominiums.

Attraction Tickets: We offer an excellent range of attraction tickets for Florida. In some cases the actual tickets are provided and in other cases vouchers are issued - sometimes we will offer you a choice. The tickets themselves are very valuable as in most cases, if they are lost, they cannot be replaced as any person, if they came into their possession, could use them. Tickets are not linked to a name or subject to owner verification so should be looked after with great care - as if they were cash. Vouchers are issued for exchange at the Park Entrances on the other-hand and can be re-issued if lost as they require identification for the actual tickets to be issued and voucher records are kept. However, once the voucher has been exchanged for the actual tickets, again they will not be replaceable.

B

Back Tracking
Baggage Allowances
Bassinette/Sky-cot
Booking
Booking Fees
Brochure (or Internet) Description Accuracy
Building Works
Back Tracking: Flight as part of multi-sector itinerary to a point further back from previous arrival point.  This should be avoided as it will usually have the effect of rendering a low cost return flight with stopovers invalid and the revised fare being drastically increased in cost.

Baggage Allowances: Free baggage allowance for each adult or child on scheduled flights is two pieces, with total weight of 32 kilos (66lbs). In addition, one piece of cabin luggage is permitted provided it is suitable for storage under the aircraft seat or in the overhead locker (allowance is 5 kilos, maximum dimension 18cm x 14cm x 82cm). Infants have no baggage allowance. Baggage should be clearly labelled. Airlines are not obliged to carry baggage in excess of the limits, but in the event of doing so, are liable to make a charge for the carriage.

Bassinette/Sky-cot: Small cot supplied by airlines for infants during a flight.  Availability is on request and very early booking is more or less essential in order to secure this airline facility, which also requires the bulkhead seats to be available.

Booking: A deposit is required to confirm reservations, which is then non-refundable in the event of cancellation for any reason. It is at this time that Travel Insurance should be taken out against cancellation charges. A written confirmation will be sent in the post (or by e-mail) with full details of the arrangements booked, the details of which should be carefully checked. See also ‘Deposits’

Booking Fees: As a general rule we do not charge booking fees for the provision of travel arrangements. However, we may make a service charge for booking some types of travel arrangements, including flights, provided by us as agents, as a service to our customers. Some airlines, including those that pay no - or little - commission to agents, encourage the practice of charging booking fees to customers.  We would always advise the customer if this were to be the case. The other circumstance in which a booking fee may be charged is in the case of a low cost ‘hotel only’ booking with a sales value of less than £120.

Brochure - Internet - Description Accuracy: All the properties featured, hotels - apartments - condominiums - privately owned homes, are realistically described either by ourselves, our agents, the property owners or the accommodation management company. This would include the leisure amenities available and the location. Prices of accommodation are probably your best guide as to overall standard, location and general facilities available to guests. We will never knowingly ‘oversell’ a property or its amenities but try to give the best insight we can into each accommodation offered to create a realistic expectation. A hotel or apartment may change or withdraw a facility temporarily, regrettably beyond our control, we will advise of any significant change that we are informed of. All journey timings, nearby facilities and distances are approximate as they will depend upon local circumstances at the time. NB:- Descriptions and information on the web site are provided by our suppliers and can be relied upon, however they are subject to 'local change' without notice. Please check in advance with regard to any specific information or facility required.

Building Works: This is a fact of life in today’s busy world, new properties are being built all the time and older ones are being renovated. Many cities and resorts are continuing to develop and it very difficult to foresee the extent to which any activity may have at any particular time. It does cause a nuisance when this is going on near to where you are staying and if we become aware of any major disruptive building works in the area of any properties we offer in our programme we will advise you, giving you the option to change your booking to an alternative one.

C

Car or Mini-Van Rental
Charter Flights
City Stopovers
Coach Tours
Condominiums
Credit Cards - using on your Holiday
Credit Card Payments
Crib
Cruising
Currency
Customs (US)
Car or Mini-Van Rental: Unless you are staying in a city, with friends or very near to the centre of things you are going to need to rent a car to get around. We recommend the inclusive rates so that the optional extras that you really need to have anyway are included, as are all the local taxes and charges. There is no such thing as a ‘Free’ Car Rental!   Driving is relatively easy going in the States, roads are well signed (most of the time!) and the rental cars are well equipped low mileage modern vehicles. Make sure to book a vehicle that will be comfortable for your party!  Selecting a vehicle that is at least equal in size to the one you normally drive at home is worth recommending.

Charter Flights: Pre-arranged holiday flights, operated by the large tour operators, for a specific seasonal holiday period and for set durations. Current destination operated from the UK is Sanford, north of Orlando in Florida. The drawback with charter flights can be the lack of flexibility with set departure dates and durations (usually only 1 or 2 weeks).

City Stopovers: Most airlines offer one or two FREE stopovers en route to and from your US destination.  FREE stopovers are usually restricted to Gateway Cities or Airline Hubs and back-tracking is not permitted.

Coach Tours: Escorted coach tours operate throughout the United States. The tour prices are inclusive and include hotel accommodation, park admissions, tour guide and hotel porterage, as shown in the itinerary.  A great way to sit back - in your own armchair - and see and enjoy the sights of the USA!

Condominiums:  A condominium is basically the same as an apartment; a condominium is a property with shared communal facilities. Condominiums are privately owned residential units.

Credit Cards - using on your Holiday: Most US retailers accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards and for most visitors credit cards will prove to be indispensable. Other credit cards including American Express and Diners will be accepted by most of the large companies but not by some retailers or the Property Management Agents.  Credit Cards will also be required when collecting your rental vehicle and checking in for your accommodation. Hotels will take a card imprint for any room extras that you order and enter the $ amount on check out. Property Agents in Florida require the credit card as a property security deposit to cover the cost of any telephone calls, damage, breakage or spillages.

Credit Card Payments: We accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express Credit Cards in payment for Bookings. We also accept Maestro, Visa, Electron, Delta and Solo debit cards. Please note that we will only accept credit card payments from the cardholder at the cardholders billing address with a residential telephone line. Third party transactions cannot be accepted without proper authorised customer written back-up and the customer’s signature. We cannot accept orders from a mobile telephone if that is the only telephone contact available.

The high cost of fees imposed upon Destination America and other merchants by the credit card companies force us to recover at least part of the costs in accepting credit card payments. We will absorb all costs in respect of payments by debit card. We will add 2.5% to payments by credit card. This charge can therefore be easily avoided by paying by debit card or cheque.

Crib:  Same as a cot, provided for an infant, usually for a small extra charge, more often than not it will be payable locally.

Cruising: Cruising is continuing to increase in popularity with its ultra-modern ships, on-board amenities and entertainment combined with the all inclusive on board features and generally lower prices. Cabins vary in actual size, some can be considerably smaller than hotel rooms, 3rd/4th persons in a cabin are accommodated in upper berths (or a rollaway style bed). Port taxes and gratuities may not always be included in the cruise cost. No additional documents other than your passport and visas are required for the cruise and any shore excursions in ports as part of your itinerary. Shore excursions are optional and at extra cost.

Currency: US currency is the $ Dollar. Visitors to the USA should take US Dollars either in cash or travellers cheques, or a combination of both for expenditure during the holiday. If you have an arrangement with your bank to cash currency overseas with your debit card this will be an excellent way of drawing out limited sums as required.

Customers (US): Customs and Immigration will be cleared at your first point of entry into the USA.

D

Dates
Deposits
Dining Out
Directions to Accommodations
Disabled/Special Needs Facilities
Domestic/Internal Flight
Driving Licence
DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis
 
Dates: In the US dates are written starting with the month, followed by the day, then the year, e.g. December 25th 2006 is written as 12.25.06 instead of 25.12.06.

Deposits: A deposit payment will be required to confirm a booking with reservations then held on a definite basis, non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Travel Insurance, including cover for cancellation, should be taken out at the same time as confirming a booking. See also ‘Booking’.

Dining Out: North America offers a fantastic variety of dining menus, from hamburgers and pizzas to seafood and oriental delicacies. You can be sure that whatever your taste and budget, including fast food, when dining out to find great value.

Directions to Accommodations: Directions and local maps to Hotels, Homes and Apartments will be supplied together with the accommodation vouchers for clients driving to accommodation.

Disabled/Special Needs Facilities: Many USA hotels provide special rooms with disabled facilities including bathrooms and these rooms can be booked, subject to availability, at the special rates we quote. Obviously the actual facilities themselves do vary, check any requirements you need with us. This would be the type of special request that can be confirmed in advance. With regard to Florida rental homes you can request a single storey home (which will be confirmed); however we do not feature any homes that have ‘fully equipped’ disabled facilities. We can arrange wheelchair rental in most locations and can make special requests to the airlines for airport terminal/boarding assistance. Alamo and Dollar Rent a Car can offer a limited car rental service for those clients with certain special driving needs. For further information do contact us with your requirements.

Direct Road with Alamo Rent A Car:  When you book with us and renting with Alamo you can speed up your rental and the vehicle collection by pre-registering for Alamo’s Direct Road, which is currently available at Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and San Francisco International Airports, where Direct Road Counters are available.

Domestic/Internal Flight: A flight within one country/or combined area.

Driving Licence: To rent a vehicle in the USA renters must hold a valid UK or EC country driving licence. International Driving Permits are not acceptable. The Credit Card Holder must be the main driver or an additional deposit will be requested. Major credit cards accepted include: American Express, Diners, MasterCard and Visa.

DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis: The risk of deep vein thrombosis occurring while travelling by air is low. There are a number of precautions you can take to further reduce risk. If you have booked with us and are worried about the risk we can forward you a leaflet providing you with more information about DVT and where to order products from that may be helpful, including a Travel-Safe Emergency Medical Kit.

E

Efficiency
Electricity
Emergency
E-Ticket
Efficiency: Hotel room with cooking facilities, usually fairly limited, similar to a Studio Apartment.

Electricity: 110-120 volts/60 Hz is standard in the USA. Plugs are the flat, two pronged type.

Emergency: Police, Fire or Ambulance - Dial 911.  Blue emergency call boxes are located intermittently along the major US Highways.

E-Ticket:  Electronic ticketing system which eliminates the need for paper tickets, as all the information is stored on the airline system.  Most scheduled airlines are in the process of switching to e-tickets and in the future all airline tickets will be this type.

F

Financial Security
Financing your Holiday
Florida Apartments
Florida Pool Homes
Florida Weddings
Food
Financial Security: Flights are booked by us as ‘Agents for ATOL Holders’ under our contractual and bonding arrangement with the Operators we use, therefore all flights - and if sold as one unit fly-drive and package holiday - monies received are fully protected and secure in accordance with the Civil Aviation Authority requirements. The ATOL number of the Operator will be on the flight confirmation issued by us to clients in addition to a copy of the Operator confirmation. Destination America acts in full compliance with the “Package Travel Regulations, 1992” designed to protect the customer; however, we go much further than is legally required. All monies received by us for all travel bookings, including those for flights, are administered by us ‘as trustee’ through a client’s account from which our suppliers are paid. No suppliers will receive upfront (advance) funds from us unless there is a security in place to protect both ourselves and our clients. We are absolutely confident that we provide total security to all our customers.

Financing your Holiday: We accept both MasterCard and Visa credit cards which can assist in the financial planning of a holiday. There is no credit card fee on deposits but to recover the merchant costs imposed on us we charge a 2% fee on the balance total. Any additional holiday extras such as parking, overnight airport hotel, attraction tickets can also be paid for at this time.

Florida Apartments: We feature a wide range of Resort, Standard and A La Carte Apartment Style Properties located throughout Florida, including Studio and 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Bedroom units.

Florida Pool Homes: Privately Owned Pool Homes are available throughout Florida, including the Orlando/Kissimmee Area where we feature a wide choice of homes and locations within a short drive of Disney World and the other Area Attractions. Our new website: destinationamerica.net offer named properties for those who prefer to know exactly which property they will be staying in prior to arrival - and to improve user experience we have included a unique key feature search for a particular property requirement. Many of these individual homes can get heavily booked so early booking is essential, especially for peak travel dates. For more detailed rental information see Florida Home & Apartments FAQ’s.

Florida Weddings:  The Sunshine State of Florida is one of the ultimate destinations for a magical wedding.

Food: North America offers a fantastic variety of dining menus, from hamburgers and pizzas to seafood and oriental delicacies. You can be sure that whatever your taste and budget, including fast food, when dining out to find great value.

G

Gateway/Hub
Generic/Typical
Greyhound Bus Services
Grocery Packs (Florida Homes)
 
Gateway/Hub:  Airport hub or city where an airline has connecting flights serving multiple destinations, usually a FREE stopover point, dependent on the Airline.

Generic/Typical:  Accommodation from a standard supply range without a specified room/address.

Greyhound Bus Services:  Greyhound Buses operate a comprehensive inter-city bus service throughout the USA.  Ameripass Tickets, valid from 4 to 60 days, can be purchased allowing unlimited travel on the entire route system.  We can order tickets for clients as part of a travel itinerary visiting the States.  Sorry, we cannot accept any orders or provide information for bus ticket orders only, as a stand alone.

Grocery Packs (Florida Homes): If you have booked a Florida Rental Home or Apartment, and will be arriving late, or would just like one anyway, we can arrange for a grocery pack to be put in the property you will be staying in ready for your arrival. Prices vary depending upon the number of persons and the type of grocery pack but a standard pack would be around £25/£30 for four persons, basically around £6/7 per person.

H

Half-Board/MAP
Hawaiian Weddings
Health on holiday
Hotel Check-in/Check out
Hotel Ratings
Half-Board/MAP (Modified American Plan): Hotel rate that includes Room, Dinner and Breakfast.

Hawaiian Weddings: In the Pacific Ocean, the spectacular and exotic Hawaiian Islands, with their lush and dramatic scenery, world famous beaches and a fascinating mix of cultures provide the setting for a dream wedding.

Health on holiday: There is no reciprocal agreement between the US and the UK for medical or hospital care. Medical treatment throughout the USA is excellent but can prove very expensive, insurance cover against sickness or injury requiring treatment on holiday is essential. At the present time there are no health vaccination requirements for British or Irish Citizens visiting the USA; however regulations change and it is the responsibility of the persons travelling to check. If in any doubt seek the advice of your doctor, consult the 'Health advice for travellers' leaflet T4 - available by phone on 0800 555777, your local DSS or a specialist travel clinic.  Any pre-existing medical condition must be disclosed to the Travel Insurance under-writers to avoid any problems - a small premium or special endorsement may be stipulated by the insurance under-writers.

Hotel Check-in/Check out: Normal hotel check in time would be in the afternoon, around 3/4pm, although sometimes a hotel may allow an earlier check-in if rooms are ready. Check out time is usually between 10am and 12noon. Late check-out, due to a later flight departure, may be requested but is seldom granted for more than an hour or two. Luggage can usually be stored in the reception area if required.

Hotels Ratings: There are no official accommodation property ratings in the USA. We use classifications based on information from the property, suppliers and other reliable travel related sources and contacts. There is more information on descriptions about the ratings we use in the hotel sections of the website.

I

Infants
Immigration (US)
Infants:  We can request a bassinette (sky-cot) to be used in-flight for very young babies, usually up to 18 months.  Bulkhead seats are required (front row of a section) and are allocated subject to availability, and are on request.  Vehicle rental companies will provide infant seats at their rental depot for an extra charge.  In accommodations a baby crib or cot can be pre-ordered for a small additional cost, usually to be paid for locally. Infant bedding is recommended to be taken with you.  Under new UK passport regulations infants must now have their own passport.

Immigration (US): Customs and Immigration procedures will be cleared at the first point of entry into the USA.

L

Las Vegas Weddings
Late bookings
Limousine Hire
Las Vegas Weddings:  There’s no other place like it on earth!  Glitz, glamour, excitement and entertainment all rolled into one and with over 100,000 couples tying the knot here every year - it’s also the wedding capital of the world!

Late bookings: We recommend that you make your booking early to ensure you get the accommodation of your choice. If a late booking is unavoidable, or you have planned to book late to try and take advantage of possible lower prices, we will do all possible to confirm your chosen accommodation.

Limousine Hire: We can arrange various types of limousine hire to cater for our clients in the main US locations; sedans, towncars and stretch limousines which are maintained in top condition with friendly drivers. We can accommodate both small and large groups alike. Airport transfers, city tours, weddings or an evening out  - whatever the occasion.

M

Motorhome Rental
Multi-sector
Murphy Bed
Motorhome Rental: This is a great way to explore the USA at your own pace. Enjoy the open road and the flexibility to go any place at any time without the cost of hotels, car hire and eating out, all included and catered for when you rent a Recreational Vehicle. Touring by RV can be great fun, easy, comfortable and offers great overall value. Motorhomes are fully equipped vehicles which can accommodate from 3 to 7 persons.

Multi-sector: Airline itinerary with several different stopover points.

Murphy Bed:  Concealed bed that pulls down from a wall, often put in a studio or smallish apartment

N

Noise and activity
Noise and activity: Whilst accommodation in residential or rural areas is likely to be quieter than that in resort centres, you should expect some surrounding noises, whether it is passing traffic, residents of neighbouring properties or the country sound of animals and birds. Properties in resort centres can be expected to experience noise associated with their location, especially those which are described as being close to restaurants, bars or clubs. Noise levels will increase in the busy seasons.

O

Open Jaw
Open Jaw: A flight routing into one destination airport with a return flight from a different one

P

Parking
Passports
Payments for bookings
Phoning Home
Pregnancy
Prices
Public Holidays (US)
Parking:  Parking in the central areas of any of the large American cities can be very difficult - if not virtually impossible! Many city centre Hotels in busy locations may only offer valet parking, if any car parking at all.  In Florida parking is still relatively easy everywhere, the only likely exceptions being in the very centre - and downtown areas - of Orlando, Tampa and Miami, etc. However, fortunately, in these cities there are relatively inexpensive centrally controlled car parks available.  At many of the US major theme parks, including some of those in Florida, you may have to park your vehicle a distance away from the entrance - in the Attractions designated car park areas - and take the free attraction shuttle transportation to the ticket and entrance gates.

Passports: A full British Passport is required for entry into the USA. If you hold a 10 year UK passport check that it is valid for the duration of your trip and at least beyond your return date, taking into account any possible extension of the trip. Children under 16 years of age are each required to have their own passport.  Holders of non British passports, including Commonwealth ones, should check with the appropriate Embassy as to the visa requirements. UK passport holders require either a visa or can enter the US under the USA Visa Waiver Programme (with machine-readable passport).

See also 'Visas'. For more information visit www.passport.gov.uk or call the 24-hour advice line on 0870 521 0410.

Payments for bookings: A non-refundable deposit is required to confirm a reservation and the balance due for payment 8 weeks prior to departure as a final commitment to the suppliers. Bookings within 8 weeks of the date of travel will require full payment. Full Payment then guarantees all the prices. Tickets and vouchers will be sent to you approximately 2/3 weeks prior to departure.  Check the booking conditions for our ‘terms of trading’

Phoning Home: Pre-paid phone cards are the most convenient and cost effective method. Hotel and Accommodation provider telephone calls will cost considerably more. Credit cards can usually be used for telephoning from private rented accommodation but the cost of calls should be verified first to avoid later problems. We would firmly recommend against providing an 'open' credit card for calls from a private phone over the period of a rental - queries later will most likely prove to be impossible.

Pregnancy: Expectant mothers who at the time of travel are in excess of 26 weeks of pregnancy should consult their doctors to confirm fitness to travel. Beyond this period travel insurance policies should be checked for cover terms.

Prices: A deposit is required to confirm a reservation, which means that your booking is now confirmed and held for you. The balance payment is required 8 weeks prior to departure as a final commitment to the supplier. Once you have made a confirmed booking the price is guaranteed regardless of any further currency fluctuations.

Public Holidays (US): (Actual public holiday day in brackets)
January 1st - New Years Day
January 15th - Martin Luther King Day (Third Monday in January)
February 12th - Lincoln's Birthday
February 22nd - President's Day (Third Monday in February)
May 30th - Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
July 4th - Independence Day
September 3rd - Labor Day (First Monday in September)
October 12th – Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
November 11th - Veteran's Day
November 22nd - Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
December 25th - Christmas Day

These US National Holiday dates could cause difficulties to certain types of official arrangements, such as a wedding, and could also have an impact on accommodation costs and queuing times at the major attractions. However, some of these public holidays are not always nationally observed so you may need to check if you think one might affect your own arrangements. Individual states and regions also have their own holidays. Post Offices, government offices and banks are usually closed on public holiday dates. In addition, some museums, shops, libraries, restaurants and nightclubs may be closed.

R

Rack Rate
Representatives
Rental FAQ's
Rollaway Bed
Room Bed Types
Room Occupancy
Room Only
Run of House
Rack Rate: Price that a hotel or establishment quotes at the front desk, same as an airline published rate.

Representatives: Our USA accommodation suppliers represent us whilst you are holiday in the USA. They will assist you with any service or information you require with regard to either your accommodation or local information. Most US destinations and all the Florida resorts have local tourist information offices where you can obtain a list of leisure amenities, shops, restaurants, discount vouchers, area maps or ask any questions you have. These USA tourist offices have a very friendly approach and attitude to overseas visitors and they are more than happy to help you in any way they can. Your hotel or local agent will know where your nearest office is located.

Rental FAQ's: General Helpful Rental Information and the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Rollaway Bed: Similar to a camp bed (usually for a small extra charge) for an extra person to sleep on.

Room Bed Types: Full: US Equivalent of a standard British double bed. Double: standard US double bed. Queen: Double bed that is larger than a standard US double (extra 1ft wide). King: Oversized bed, one and a half times as big as a double or queen bed.

Room Occupancy: SINGLE/One Person DOUBLE/Two Persons TRIPLE/Three Persons QUAD/Four Persons NB: Some hotels will allow room occupancy by five persons. Children, accommodated with 2 adults, are usually free; however the ages of the children need to be checked with the hotel rules and also the maximum room occupancy.

Room Only: Price of the accommodation includes the room only, no meals.

Run of House: Hotel will allocate the best room available to guests at the time of checking in.

S

Safety on holiday
Scheduled Flights
Seat Pitch
Security on Holiday
Security Deposits
Self-Catering
Self-Drive Tours
Sightseeing tours
Sky-cot/Bassinette
Smoking
Special Needs Facilities
Special Offers
Special Requests
Stopovers
Studio
Swimming Pools and Heating
Safety on holiday: It's best to take precautions, a few suggestions to avoid being a victim. Check out the swimming pool and tell children which is the shallow end or better still have your own pool use rules. Never allow young children or non swimmers to use a pool without supervision. Avoid flaunting valuable jewellery in casual situations. Take great care with valuables on the beach, do not leave possessions unattended. Lock suitcases and doors, just as at home. Always use a hotel or bank safety deposit box for valuables and travel tickets/passports, the small charge is very little to pay for security and peace of mind. Do not carry any more money than is needed, especially on the beach.

Scheduled Flights: Regular flight operated by an airline to a published timetable, usually year round.

Seat Pitch: Scheduled airline seat pitch - the distance between airline seats, which are subject to variance without notice, due to passenger load factors.

Security on Holiday: In these somewhat uncertain times if you would like to check the latest security information and travel advisories regarding visiting other countries visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.foc.gov.uk where you will find the latest information for all countries in the world.

Security Deposits: A valid Credit Card will be required when collecting your rental vehicle and also when checking in for privately owned rental accommodation (unless our pre-registration facility is available and the applicable form duly completed). Hotels will take an imprint for any room extras that you order and enter the $ amount on check out. Property Management Agents in Florida will require the credit card as a property security deposit and to cover the cost of any telephone calls, damage, breakage or spillages.

Self-Catering: Accommodation with facilities for eating and cooking, actual kitchen equipment will vary.

Self-Drive Tours: A self-drive tour where the itinerary is arranged in advance with all the hotels pre-booked. Tours usually depart daily and include Explorer Kits which detail route descriptions from hotel to hotel, suggestions for interesting ideas, Road Map’s for the areas visited, driving information and “We have been there for you” insights and recommendations. Tour prices are inclusive but do not include Car or Mini-Van rental.

Sightseeing tours: There will be a range of local sightseeing tours and excursions in all the main US destinations.

Sky-cot/Bassinette: Small cot supplied by airlines for infants during a flight.  Availability is on request and very early booking is more or less essential in order to secure this airline facility, which also requires the bulkhead seats to be available.

Smoking: Long haul scheduled and charter flights to the USA are non-smoking and on all domestic US flights smoking is banned. Airports now also have non-smoking policies; however, most do provide designated smoking rooms or areas. Many hotels groups are not not smoking properties and most rental homes are now designated as non-smoking.

Special Needs Facilities: Many USA hotels provide special rooms with disabled facilities including bathrooms and these rooms can be booked, subject to availability, at the special rates we quote. Obviously the actual facilities themselves do vary, check any requirements you need with us. This would be the type of special request that can be confirmed in advance. With regard to Florida rental homes you can request a single storey home (which will be confirmed); however we do not feature any homes that have ‘fully equipped’ disabled facilities. We can arrange wheelchair rental in most locations and can make special requests to the airlines for airport terminal/boarding assistance. Alamo and Dollar Rent a Car can offer a limited car rental service for those clients with certain special driving needs.

Special Offers: It is our policy to offer special offers within and as part of our programme - we do not have a separate section. Accommodation ‘offers’ will be for low occupancy periods or again whenever there may be an excess of availability, or it could just be for promotional reasons, some hotels will offer a free night rather than a price reduction. Either way Special Offers can be a fantastic way to get a great bargain!

Special Requests: Special requests should be requested at the time of booking. Whilst we cannot guarantee any such request, we will always do our best to meet with any requirement. If a particular request can be confirmed in advance then you must have it from us in writing to be valid and for presentation to the supplier.

Stopovers: Most scheduled airlines will allow one or two FREE stopovers en route to and from US destinations. FREE stopovers points are usually restricted to Gateway Cities or Airline Hubs. Back-tracking is not permitted.

Studio:  Apartment room containing cooking facilities, usually limited, similar to a Hotel Efficiency.

Swimming Pools and Heating: Hotel and Resort Apartments will usually offer a heated pool if the temperature requires it. Refer to each property description where - if we have the information - it will state whether a pool is heated and in what seasons. Not all Hotel pools are heated, even in the cooler months. Some hotel pools are available seasonally.  In Florida, hotel and resort pools are usually heated in the winter months only, maintained around 80 degrees, but the water temperature will always be subject to the prevailing weather conditions. Pool temperature is very much determined by the overnight air and temperature which is particularly relevant for private homes. Pool heating equipment is normally set to operate during the daytime (only). For more information on heated pools in Florida rental homes refer to the Florida Homes & Apartments FAQ’s section.

T

Tickets and Vouchers
Time Zones in the USA
Tipping
Travel Insurance
Traveller’s cheques
Tickets and Vouchers:  Tickets and vouchers are usually ready to be sent to you 2/3 weeks prior to your departure. Keep them in a safe place, ready for your trip, together with your travel insurance policy, driving license, passports and any other documentation.

Time Zones in the USA:

USA Time Zones

TIME-ZONES ARE GMT: EASTERN - 5 Hours CENTRAL - 6 Hours MOUNTAIN - 7 Hours PACIFIC - 8 Hours ALASKA - 9 Hours HAWAII - 11 Hours

Note: Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April. Time reverts to Standard Time at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. Daylight Saving Time (for the U.S. and its territories) is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Eastern Time Zone portion of the State of Indiana, and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona).

Alaska: 90% of Alaska is (1 hour) behind the Pacific Time Zone, while the far reaches of the Aleutian Islands and St. Lawrence Island enter Hawaii-Aleutian time.

Arizona in summer is on Pacific Time, in winter on Mountain Time.
Indiana in summer is on Central Time, in winter on Eastern Time.

Tipping: Tipping is normal practice within the USA. In restaurants this is usually around 10-15% of the bill. Hotel porterage is around $1+ per suitcase and Valet vehicle parking is around $1 or $2 each time.

Travel Insurance: You simply MUST have comprehensive travel insurance when you are visiting the USA.   There is a multitude of online companies selling travel insurance.

Traveller’s cheques: The best advice for practical purposes and personal security is to take US dollar Travellers Cheques for exchange at either shops, restaurants or US Banks. US Dollar Travellers Cheques are very widely accepted. On the other hand exchanging £ Sterling travellers cheques or cash could be tricky and expensive as well.

U

UK Airport Holiday Extras
US State Maps and Fast Facts
US Touring Information (Driving)
US Tourism Information
UK Airport Holiday Extras: To get your holiday off to a great start book pre-paid Airport Parking, Airport Hotels (with optional parking, Airport Lounges, Hotels with Coach and Airport by Rail arrangements, often with big savings over the regular rates.

US State Maps and Fast Facts: For more information on each of the States contact the relevant State website.

US Touring Information (Driving): Go to www.byways.org which is a dedicated website to assist in planning driving tours all over the States, offering a vast permutation of possible routings which include the National Scenic Byways.

US Tourism Information: Go to www.seeamerica.org for US tourist information or you can call the United States Travel & Tourism Administration: Tel 0891 600530 (cost 50p per minute).

V

Visas
Visas: The United States will require most visitors to have a US visa in their passport on entry to the USA. The Visa Waiver Programme, however, allows UK and IRISH 'CITIZENS' with full ‘machine-readable’ Passports to travel visa free for stays of up to 90 days. British Passport holders who have the right of abode in the UK travel on this scheme by completing a Visa Waiver Form (distributed to passengers on westbound transatlantic flights) which is then handed in to the immigration authorities upon arrival in the USA.  All children, of any age, must have their own passport.  Passports should be valid for 6 months beyond the intended return date of travel, now waived for British Citizens, provided the passport is valid for the duration of stay. Holders of indefinite US Visas should note that the visa is now only valid for 10 years from the issue date. Any person with a criminal conviction should contact the Embassy to ensure they will be allowed entry and all visitors must ensure that they are able to comply with all US Government requirements contained in the visa programme before booking or travelling. British and Irish 'Subjects' who have British Passports will require a visa.

It is the direct responsibility of each person travelling to ensure they have the correct requirements for US Entry. Destination America cannot accept any responsibility for any passenger who does not obtain the correct documentation and is subsequently refused entry into the USA for any reason whatsoever.

More information can be checked at the United States Embassy Website: www.usembassy.org.uk and also visit www.unitedstatesvisas.gov which has details of the visa waiver scheme and correct procedures for visa applications.

Y

Young rental drivers
Young rental drivers: The minimum age for driving a rental car in the USA is usually 21 (however in Florida with U-Save it is 19 for the rental cars and the 7 seater mini-van) and the renter, and any additional drivers, must hold a valid UK or EC driving licence. Drivers under the age of 25 years of age (other than with U-Save in Florida) will be subject to an additional fee.

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