UK travellers hiring cars abroad

This could be another scaremongering piece like the international driving licences needed for Florida, however, it is probably safe rather than sorry – please see article from BBC news

Motorists going abroad after 8 June are being warned they may need to take a special code with them if they want to hire a car.
From that date the paper counterpart of British driving licences – which records endorsements and fines – is being computerised.
Anyone wanting to hire a car abroad could need a code to show convictions for offences like speeding.
To obtain it, motorists will have to log on to the DVLA website beforehand.
But the code is only valid for 72 hours, so anyone wanting to hire a car more than three days into their trip may need to generate a new code while they are abroad.
For those who do not have internet access, a phone number will also be made available.
However, the code is not an official requirement and it will depend on the individual hire company’s terms whether or not it is required.

Bok Tower Gardens – there are changes afoot

We love Bok Tower Gardens – it is a real gem and a calming break away from the Theme Parks.

In February we popped by while we were over and the work had started – there is going to be a new gateway, a children’s discovery garden, a wild garden and the gardens are being expanded to the north.

At present, the main walking path from the Visitor Center into the core gardens is closed as work continues on a new oval walkway and special event lawn.

Window By The Pond is also closed temporarily while it is drained, cleaned and a new lining is installed.

The good news is that once the works are completed the primary path around the gardens will be suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.

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What to do if you are taken ill while on holiday in Florida


Paramount Walk in ClinicRecently whilst on holiday in Florida I became ill – this blog is to share everything I learned from this experience. I am from the UK so it will probably be more useful for those who are travelling from outside the USA.

When I was first ill and it became obvious I wasn’t getting better with over the counter medication I went along to our nearest walk in medical centre which was actually at Cagan Crossings. We spoke to our insurance first to ensure we would be covered and to find out what we needed to do re payment etc.

We were there at opening so we were the first to be seen – that doesn’t mean that it was a quick visit. You will have to fill in forms and provide evidence of payment before you are seen. I was taken to an examination room where a paramedic came in and checked my forms and took my blood pressure. He then left me and the doctor came in and examined me. He provided a diagnosis and then left me in the examination room for the pharmacist. The pharmacist came and advised what had been prescribed and then went to dispense the medicines. I was advised that I would start to feel better in 4-5 days.

After day 4 it became very clear that I was not getting better, in fact I was very ill. My husband called the travel insurance and after a discussion about whether I needed an ambulance it was agreed that we would go to the nearest Emergency Room. We were about equidistant from Celebration and from the Heart of Florida medical centres. The wait time at Heart of Florida was lowest so we went there.

The reception was empty, however, the welcome was not welcoming. I needed to lay down but there was nowhere to do so and absolutely no empathy. After checking in – lots more forms and evidence of payment capability I was admitted to the ER (A&E). While my husband was dealing with hospital administration and calling the travel insurance in the UK regarding payment – he ended up handing over the credit card to ensure I started to receive treatment (at this point we were already looking at a $9k bill) – I did start to get diagnosis, intravenous fluids and antibiotics and treatment.

The end result was that I was admitted and operated on that day and then had 6 days (including my birthday) in hospital. I’ll do another blog about some of my experiences during those 6 days – it was a very different cultural experience.

So, what did I learn and what are my top tips to you?

Firstly, always, always make sure you have travel insurance – there is no NHS and the cost is astronomical.
Secondly, if you feel unwell go to Publix pharmacy first – they have an examination room and if you get them to check you out and you need a prescription we are told that they are free.
Thirdly, if you need to go to hospital make sure you have all your documentation and credit cards with you. Don’t be afraid to say what you want/don’t want either.