Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Driving in Florida
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Thursday 18 April 2013
Q. I have been renting cars in Florida for the past 15 years, but you recently said to hire a car in Florida we would now need an international permit. I am unable to find any information or clarification on this. Can you please update me on this situation?
A. Relax. British holidaymakers can once again drive legally in Florida without obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP). A law that took effect at the start of this year demanded that all foreign motorists should carry the IDP, a document that virtually no other mainstream holiday destination requires. While the authorities later conceded that the rule would not be enforced, and most car-rental firms did not demand the international permit, any foreign motorist driving without an IDP was technically breaking the law - with possible consequences in the event of an accident or insurance claim.
But earlier this month the state Governor, Rick Scott, signed a bill repealing the law - which means an ordinary British licence will suffice.
The episode has been an embarrassment for Florida, which has far more reliance on overseas tourism than any other US state. The demand for IDPs was the unintended consequence of a bill aimed at ensuring that licences were in English. The fact that licences issued in Britain - as well as Canada, Ireland and Australia - are already in English was, apparently, overlooked.
Now all you have to worry about is withstanding the pressure that some car-rental staff apply to new arrivals to persuade them to upgrade the booked car or take out expensive and often superfluous insurance.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 As the world mourned the death of Cecil the lion, five endangered elephants were killed in Kenya
- 4 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 5 What is halal meat and why is it controversial?
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the UK Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...
COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...
£25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...
£17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...