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What to expect when travelling to Florida after COVID-19

Posted on May 31, 2022 by Jason Davis
Welcome to Florida sign with palm trees

Known for its theme parks, beaches and tropical weather, Florida has been a long-standing go-to destination Brits just can’t get enough of.

So what will travelling to Florida look like in a post-Covid world?

We’ve made a handy guide filled with the latest information, to help you through it.

Can I travel to the US?

 On 8 November 2021, the US reopened its borders for fully vaccinated travellers from the UK.

Current guidance from the FCDO also does not advise against travel to the US.

What are the COVID-19 entry requirements?

Entering the US

To enter the US you will need to show proof that you are fully vaccinated. Your vaccine will also need to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you won’t be allowed to enter the US, with limited exclusions applying.

Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirements, and all children aged two and above need to take a pre-departure test within one day of departure if travelling alone or with a fully vaccinated adult.

You do not need to take a COVID test to enter the USA, but the standard entry requirements are still in place. The FCDO’s page on the USA includes details about travel documents, ESTA forms, medicine and travelling with children.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the US?

If you test positive during your holiday, it is recommended that you quarantine and wear a mask. If you need medical attention, seek emergency care. 

The FCDO recommends preparation for plans to change, in case this happens:

  • Have access to additional money
  • Have the ability to extend your stay for longer than planned if needed
  • Understand what your travel insurance will cover

What will my travel insurance cover if I test positive for COVID-19?

All new single trip and annual travel insurance policies with us include COVID-19 cover at no extra cost.

So, as long as you’ve had your recommended COVID-19 vaccinations and you have a medically approved test showing a positive COVID-19 result, you can be covered for:

  • Emergency medical expenses^
  • Repatriation cover to help you get back home^
  • Additional accommodation and transport if deemed necessary by our medical officer
  • Additional daily benefit if you are ordered to self-isolate in your holiday accommodation if you have COVID-19
  • Cover for cutting your trip short after hospitalisation or death of a close relative or member of your household from COVID-19

Find out more about our superior-rated COVID-19 cover.*

Family wearing face masks in an airport

Do I need to wear a face mask when travelling?

Wearing a mask is no longer a requirement in UK airports, on flights from the UK, and for fully vaccinated travellers in Florida. 

Where can I get COVID-19 tests in the US?

If you need to pick up a viral test in Florida, there are a number of retail outlets you can buy them from, such as CVS pharmacies, Walgreens and Quest Diagnostics. A lateral flow test in the US will cost on average around $20.

You won’t be able to claim the cost of COVID-19 tests with a travel insurance policy.

Worker cleaning car dashboard interior

Have car rentals in Florida changed during COVID-19?

Car rental companies have introduced more flexible rental agreements and more comprehensive car cleaning procedures.

Companies like Alamo have introduced a detailed 20-plus high-touch point clean on their cars, and ask customers to return their rentals in the same condition they started with them in.

Avis has introduced the Avis Safety Pledge. This pledge also includes a new car cleaning process, minimal contact pick-up and fast digital check-in.

Colourful houses along Panama City Beach

Will accommodation be different in any way?

This will largely vary depending on where you are staying. Different hotels and independent villas will set out their own rules and guidelines to follow. You should check for this guidance by visiting their website or contacting them beforehand.

Generally, the following changes are likely in most places of accommodation:

  • Readily available hand sanitiser in high-traffic areas
  • Varying check out/in times to allow for deep cleaning of rooms
  • Room service restrictions (e.g. delivery only to the door)
  • More contactless options (e.g. for payments or check out key drops)
  • Most amenities will be open but with some limitations as a result of social distancing measures (e.g. swimming pool with less furniture)

The Visit Orlando website has a useful section on accommodation, which details a variety of health and safety protocols being used by a range of hotels.

Universal Studios globe sign in Florida

How have theme parks responded to COVID-19?

Most theme parks and resorts have brought in extra measures to help make your day out as COVID-friendly and safe as possible. It’s likely you won’t be affected too much by these changes, as they’re designed to have minimal interference with your experience.

Theme park and resort COVID-19 resources

Theme parks and resorts will have their own guidelines and set of resources to read up on before your trip. Here are a few from some of the top theme parks in Florida:

Are face coverings needed anywhere?

Wearing a face covering in Florida is optional. 

Social distancing measures in place

Physical distancing measures may be in place in some areas, as well as hand sanitising points.

Outdoor dining area in Miami, Florida

Do you need to book restaurants in advance?

Booking in advance is not needed for most restaurants, but it could save you a lot of hassle. Booking a table will give you peace of mind knowing you won’t be turned away if the restaurant is at capacity.

What else can I do in Florida?

Most activities and tourist attractions are open to tourists. If you’re struggling for ideas on what to do on your next trip to Florida, here’s some inspiration:

Manatee swimming in clear blue waters

Swim with manatees

The only place in North America you can legally swim with manatees** is in the Crystal River area of Florida. So this is something you should definitely consider on your next visit.

During the winter months, the West Indian manatees migrate to Crystal River seeking warmer waters, so your best chance to encounter the river residents will be between December and February.

Many tour operators offer a combined river cruise excursion with the swimming experience to make a fantastic day trip out.

Airboat carrying passengers on the Everglades in Florida

Ride an airboat

If you’re looking for an activity for the whole family to enjoy, you’ll have to try an airboat ride** on the swampy Florida Everglades.

Alligators might not be the only animal you see on the day. Turtles, frogs and different species of birds could all make an appearance as you fly through the wetlands.

NASA globe logo in Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral

Visit Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center is well worth the trip for space lovers and families looking for a great day out.

Experience everything past, present and future with the array of attractions the visitor complex has to offer. Get a close-up view of the Atlantis space shuttle, train like an astronaut with interactive games or experience the (almost) real thing on the shuttle launch simulator.

And if you’re lucky enough, you could watch a live rocket launch! Here’s the launch schedule if you wanted to plan a visit on one of those days.

Boardwalk onto Winter beach in Florida

Hit the beach!

For a day of relaxing and unwinding from it all, you won’t be short of beaches along the coasts of Florida.

Most beaches stretch for miles with white sand and a cool sea breeze to keep temperatures a little cooler in summer.

The areas near sand dunes are prime nesting grounds for sea turtles, and you’ll often find these areas sectioned off for their protection. It’s a rare occurrence, but you may witness hatchlings emerge from the nests and make their way into the ocean.

Senior fans watching NASCAR race

Watch a NASCAR race

For racing or car fans, there are plenty of NASCAR events throughout the year at Daytona International Speedway.

The most famous, Daytona 500, is a 500-mile-long race held annually and considered the most prestigious race in the NASCAR calendar. The race has been held every February since 1959.

Hollis Botanical Garden in Lakeland, Florida

Explore a Botanical Garden

Florida is filled with amazing botanical gardens often featuring plants from all over the world.

One, in particular, is Hollis Garden. This 1.2-acre site is set in a neo-classical architectural environment with over 10,000 flowers, shrubs and trees split into different trails. Wander through rose gardens and butterfly trails as music plays along your route, and Lake Mirror is just next door for even more picture-perfect snaps.

Travel to Florida with cover

It’s important to be covered with travel insurance so should the unexpected happen, like flight cancellation, you can claim the costs back.

Our travel insurance for the USA comes with superior-rated COVID cover* as standard, and cancellation cover kicks in to give you immediate protection as soon as you take out a single trip policy.

As medical costs in the US are notorious for being among the most expensive in the world, don’t forget to declare and cover any pre-existing medical conditions on your travel insurance to make sure your medical claims can be covered.

Travelling back to the UK from Florida

All COVID-19 restrictions for those travelling to the UK have been removed. You are no longer required to take any COVID-19 tests, self-isolate, or complete a passenger locator form.

This applies to all travellers entering the UK from the USA regardless of their vaccine status, or the countries they have visited.

*As rated by an independent consumer group.
^ Cover only applies for newly diagnosed cases while travelling.
** Policy limits apply – please refer to your policy documents for full details of sports and activity exclusions.

by Jason Davis

Jason Davis is Staysure's Senior Content Executive. As a specialist travel insurance provider, we aim to keep up-to-date with travel trends, all while offering tips on how to make the most of your holiday.