Is It Hard to Drive in Orlando, Florida? (By Someone From the UK)

Last year, at the grand age of 30 I drove in the United States for the very first time. Until this time, I’d avoided hiring a car while in the US thanks to public transport, Lyft and Uber.

However, since my son was born in 2021, getting around using Uber and Lyft has become more complex because the little one needs a car seat.

That being said, I have no idea why I waited this long because driving in Orlando, Florida, is incredibly easy. In fact, it’s possibly the easiest city to drive in, in the United States.

This is all coming from someone from the UK who is used to:

  • Driving on the left
  • Not turning right at a red light
  • Roundabouts
  • Driving ‘a stick’ (manual)

In the past, I’ve suffered from extreme anxiety. So, it’s no surprise that the thought of driving in Orlando kept me up at night. Which is crazy now I think about it.

However, I’d now go as far as to say that driving in Orlando is a pleasure. So, I wanted to share my experience and some hints and tips to help you feel more comfortable when driving in Orlando.

Drive an Automatic ‘At Home’ First

Most cars in the United States are automatic. However, here in the UK at least, most cars are manual. Now, driving an automatic car is significantly easier than driving a manual.

However, if you’re not from the US, it’s another ‘new thing’ to consider while driving in Orlando.

As such, I highly recommend borrowing a friends or renting an automatic car first. This way, you can get used to driving an automatic car before driving an automatic car in Orlando.

Research How Rental Car Companies Try to Scam You

In my experience, you shouldn’t be scared of driving in Orlando. However, you should be scared of the rental car companies here.

Since Orlando is so popular with tourists, car rental agents try to manipulate customers regularly. They do this in varying ways to different components of the car rental, such as:

  • Tolls
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Car seats

I reserved a rental car in Orlando and bought insurance as part of the deal. However, when I went to pick it up, I was told that the insurance wasn’t valid. Instead, I’d need to buy their insurance for an additional $350 to drive the car. Oh, and a toll pass at $120, too.

I figured it might have been the British accent or the fact I used a weird car rental company. However, when I went over to Budget at MCO Airport, I found them giving a similar speech to an American customer.

I figure the combination of jetlag and fear-mongering causes most people to buy into this. Plus, most agents likely get a hefty commission for each sale.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have comprehensive insurance while driving in Orlando—quite the opposite. However, do be sure of what you are and are not covered for when purchasing a rental car and be aware of potential upsells.

Best Place To Rent A Car In Orlando

Discover Cars compares car rental deals from more than 500 partners so that you can choose which is best for your trip.

Driving on ‘The Wrong Side of the Road’ Isn’t That Bad

Being from the UK, I figured the thing I’d struggle with the most when driving in Orlando would be driving on the right-hand side of the road. However, it’s very hard to get it wrong.

Sure, I made up a song to remind myself, but I rarely needed to use it. Instead, the traffic and signs in and around Orlando make it hard to drive on the left. This leads me to my next point…

Driving When There’s Traffic Is Actually Better

The thought of driving in traffic while in Orlando freaked me out. However, since everyone is going the same way, stopping where you should and going where you need to go, it’s even harder to go wrong.

In fact, I found that I struggled more with driving in Orlando when nobody else was on the road in front of me.

The First 5 Minutes Are the Hardest

I’ve driven in Orlando and elsewhere in the US several times now. However, the first five minutes are still the hardest.

But, after five minutes, as you get to know the car, you start to relax, and typically, the whole experience becomes a lot more pleasurable.

Parking is a Breeze!

Another thing I worried about when driving in Orlando was parking. However, the parking spaces in Orlando and across the US are huge. This includes parking spaces at Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World.

In fact, even when I ended up driving a near truck that I had to climb into (I’m only 5ft 4″), I still managed to get parked easily. Plus, with the modern cars, the parking sensors and cameras make it super easy to reverse park or back out of a space.

Driving in the Dark Is Difficult (But Don’t Let That Put You Off)

As with driving anywhere in the world, driving in the dark is more difficult. However, don’t let that put you off going out at night.

Instead, take your time, double-check your lights, and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front—all the obvious stuff.

A New Car Is Better Than an Old Car

When I first hired a car in the US, I wanted a banger. That way, if I damaged the car, maybe nobody would notice. I didn’t damage the car, but I did realise that was a terrible idea.

Modern cars in America have a lot of bells and whistles that make driving a lot easier. I’m talking about:

  • Parking Cameras
  • Parking Sensors
  • Inbuilt Satnavs
  • Lane Awareness

Not to mention, they are a lot more comfortable. So, when in doubt, don’t be afraid of a new, shiny car. But do be sure to take photos.

Take Photos of the Rental Car Before & After

Remember how I told you rental car companies are out to scam you?

I returned a rental car to Budget at MCO Airport last year, filled to the brim with gas. I had been to the 7/11 just outside the airport, and I had the receipt to prove it.

Thankfully, I kept the receipt and photographed the meter before getting out of the car at the airport. Because I’d not as much entered the airport terminal, when I got a bill from Budget claiming otherwise.

I’m not the only one this has happened to. Instead, go online, and you’ll find hundreds of people reporting the same or similar issues with car rental companies, big and small.

As such, be sure to photograph the inside and outside of the car thoroughly before you move it and as you drop it off. Do this on a smartphone so you have the metadata of your location and the time to back up your claim if needed.

Orlando Travel Planning Guide

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Orlando?

If you’re travelling to Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Orlando?

You don’t need to rent a car for a trip to Orlando (you can use rideshare services instead). However, a hire car will make your trip to Orlando significantly more convenient.

I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals when visiting Orlando. Discover Cars allows you to compare different companies and cars to find the best prices.

🏨 Where to Stay in Orlando?

Deciding where to stay in Orlando can be incredibly overwhelming. Having visited Orlando several times over the past decade, I’m going to try and make it as simple as possible.

When booking accommodation in Orlando, I use either or However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

🎟️ Where To Buy Orlando Theme Park Tickets?

If you are visiting a theme park in Orlando, then you’ll need to purchase theme park tickets. If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Orlando theme park tickets.

Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix.

I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.


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