The essential get ready guide to Miami, USA
Planning a visit to the sunshine state? You’re in for a treat.
There’s so much to enjoy, from the miles of beautiful beaches, excellent Cuban food, and the countless world-class golf courses.
Before you take your trip across the pond, there are just a few things you’ll need to know.
Applying for an ESTA
To enter the United States, every traveller requires a digital document called an ESTA (which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). This applies for any visit lasting 90 days or less, and you can’t be granted entrance to the country without one.
Make sure you have your passport handy when filling in the form, and the fee can be paid by MasterCard, VISA, Discover, or American Express. Apply for an ESTA online here.
You may also want to book travel and medical insurance for your trip. Click here for more information.
What to expect from the weather
Travelling in January? The balmy Floridian climate can be too hot for some people during the warmer months, so travelling off-peak is a great way to experience milder weather without the crowds of summer tourists. If your visit falls between June or November, be aware that these months are hurricane season.
Shorts, casual sportswear and light, breathable fabrics are the standard outfits for many locals and, as always, don’t forget to bring a hat to help keep sunburn at bay.
Pack one warmer jumper for those chilly areas with too much air-conditioning, and if you visit the nearby theme parks in Orlando, remember to wear comfortable shoes to help when queuing for the rides.
Flight times to Miami from London Heathrow average about nine hours. Don’t forget that London is five hours ahead of Miami, so be prepared for a small amount of jet lag.
Most airlines include a selection of in-flights films, but it’s a good idea to bring a good book to read or something to help you sleep so your flight can be as enjoyable as possible. Why not use the flight to read the classic novel To Have and Have Not, written by Florida resident Ernest Hemingway and set in and around the state?
In addition to the usual security restrictions on carry-on luggage, you might be surprised by some other items that aren’t allowed on flights to the USA. Some stranger restrictions include:
- Snow globes
- Cranberry sauce
As tempting as it may be to bring your favourite cheddar cheese or cranberry sauce in your bag when flying to Florida, make sure you stow these items in your suitcase instead!
One more note on packing - if you’re planning on bringing gifts for anybody you may be visiting, be aware that these will need to be unwrapped at the airport security desk for checking. To avoid doubling up your gift-wrapping efforts, it may be easier to simply wrap your gifts after arrival.
Free smartphone and tablet apps can be incredibly useful when travelling. Some we suggest downloading in preparation are:
- My Weather Radar - for local weather updates
- Uber - find a taxi and pay with your smartphone
- Currency Calculator - for staying on top of exchange rates
- Airbnb - for alternative places to stay, so you can see the city like a local
- Yelp - local restaurant and business reviews from real customers
- Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld - official park maps and info
- Google Maps - never get lost again!
- Instagram and Twitter - check #Florida on these these social networks for the true atmosphere of the state.
Before you go
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to book your airport parking with us at Good To Go. With the closest long stay spaces to Heathrow terminals 2-5, and the option to have us park for you, you can leave it with us and start enjoying yourself sooner.
Now you’re really good to go. Bon Voyage!
(Official government advice for British citizens travelling to the USA is available here.)
Whether you're jetting away on a city break or following the sun to the beach get ready to travel with our expert tips and guides.
Preparing for your holiday should be exciting, not stressful.