There are dozens of excellent reasons for European travellers to take a vacation in Florida, of course, and they include the wildly exciting theme parks and the exceptionally welcoming climate. There is something truly wonderful about the Sunshine State when it’s at its best, and that’s why so many people decide to return to this paradise on earth on a regular basis.
First-time visitors find themselves waxing lyrical about everything from the spectacular breakfasts and the ease of driving to the luxurious accommodation options and the picturesque countryside. There’s one aspect of Floridian life, however, that seems to take everyone by surprise. The bottom line is that if you’re a fan of retail therapy, then you will simply love shopping here.
Perhaps the first thing that anyone notices about the stores in Florida is the sheer size of them. We may be used to large supermarkets in Europe, but in the south-eastern corner of the USA the average clothing store is often the size of ten European shops put together, while many of the Floridian supermarkets appear to be larger than whole shopping malls back in the UK, France and Germany.
Large enough to sell everything
A stroll around the nearest supermarket to your Florida holiday accommodation can be a daunting but very pleasant experience, and it seems strange to think you can buy car tyres and assault rifles in the same store where you can purchase peanut butter and sliced bread. For even the most seasoned European shopper, a trip to the supermarket in the United States can represent a genuine culture shock.
In many ways the price of various items can be just as much of a surprise. A number of overseas visitors find they go home at the end of their holiday with more clothing than they started with. Sports clothing is especially cheap, and with outlet stores dedicated to the major brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok, it’s often the case that tourists outnumber the locals in many shops.
Throughout the area around Orlando, where a great many visitors choose to stay, you will find coupon books offering impressive discounts at restaurants, attractions and stores. With these handy books, tourists can find even better savings on a huge number of items. With each establishment increasingly keen to attract customers, the main beneficiary in this competition is always going to be the consumer.
Florida’s stores are also extremely convenient, because many of them are located close to the attractions on the main highways. They offer ample, free car parking – a rare thing indeed in many parts of Europe – and they are comfortably cool thanks to air conditioning systems. Shopping in many vacation regions is something of a pain, but in the Sunshine State it’s always a pleasure.
David Showell works for 121carhire.com and lives in the UK. He has visited Florida several times.