Did you know there is a totally FREE Florida toll pass for visitors to Orlando? Exactly. The program actually rolled out in 2019 but silently, for whatever reason.
As someone who visits Orlando a couple of times a year, I am so excited about this program and hope it expands throughout the rest of the state… and soon! (Please Santa, I’ve been good this year!) I am tired of getting ripped off by rental car companies, aren’t you? So, so tired.
This post will explain everything you need to know about the Florida toll pass for visitors and show you how to get your own. Again, for FUH-REE!
Whatever you’ve got planned in Orlando, I bet there’s something on this list you didn’t know about! Check out all the best things to do in Orlando that aren’t theme parks.
What is the Florida toll pass for visitors?
The Florida toll pass for visitors is officially called Visitor Toll Pass and is available exclusively for visitors to Orlando, Florida. It’s a simple hang tag you hang from the rearview mirror of your rental car that lets you drive through Florida’s toll booths at no extra cost.
You’ll pay a discounted rate for the toll booths you go through and that. is. it. No sign-up fees, no “convenience” fees, no hidden charges, and no ridiculous rental car toll scams *cough* I mean fees.
You pick it up and drop it off at the Orlando airport and it takes about two minutes to get one of your own. It could not be easier. You can even track all your tolls from your phone. This town really is magic!
How does the Florida toll pass for visitors work?
When signing up for the Florida Visitor Toll Pass you’ll put in your credit card information, your rental car license plate number, and your expected travel dates.
You’ll pick up your hang tag from the Visitor Toll Pass vending machine at the Orlando airport and add your rental car’s license plate number to your account once you’ve picked up your car.
When you leave the Orlando airport, the tag will activate. From then on, you can drive through all the SunPass toll booth lanes without stopping and without any hassle. You can track the tolls you go through and how much each one costs in the Visitor Toll Pass app during your trip.
Before you leave Orlando, just drop your hang tag into one of the Visitor Toll Pass collection bins at the Orlando airport. The tag will deactivate on the date you entered as your final travel day. It’s so easy.
How much does the Florida toll pass for visitors cost?
The Florida Visitor Toll Pass is absolutely, 100% FREE*. The * is because you do have to pay a $10 (refundable) deposit to get the pass.
If you skirt all of Orlando’s toll booths and end up not using the pass at all, you’ll get your 10 dollars refunded to you in full. If you do go through tolls, which you’re almost guaranteed to do, the individual toll costs will be deducted from that $10. Whatever you don’t use of that $10 will get refunded to you after your trip.
For instance, when picking up my pass on my latest trip I paid the $10 deposit. After my trip I got $4.89 refunded to my credit card. I went through $5.11 worth of tolls during my time in Orlando. In the app you can see the individual cost of each toll you go through in case you have questions about the charges. (You’ll also get a detailed invoice emailed to you after your trip.)
Even better, with the Visitor Toll Pass you get the lowest possible toll rate at all of the tolls. Like, you’ll pay less than you would if you were using cash.
Important note: Getting and using the Florida toll pass for visitors is free, yes. However, that does not mean the toll booths are free. You won’t pay any fees to use the tag or to acquire the tag itself, but you will still have to pay the toll booth fees as you would normally.
This tag may help you get from the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, to the Most Magical Place on Earth, but the tag itself is not magic. It doesn’t just allow you to breeze through the tolls without paying; it’s not a Nimbus 2000 for crying out loud.
Where to get the Visitor Toll Pass
Right now, the Visitor Toll Pass is only available for pick-up and drop-off at the Orlando, Florida airport. (Seeing as how this is Florida’s #1 tourism destination, it doesn’t surprise me that they would start here.)
You can find the Visitor Toll Pass vending machine adjacent to the rental car counters on Level 1 of Terminal A, pretty much right in the middle. (View map here.) There is currently only one Visitor Toll Pass vending kiosk, but really it only takes a few seconds to get one so it’s not like there will be long lines or anything.
Save time at the airport… so you can spend more time soaking in the new Orlando beer spa. Yes! Orlando now has an authentic Czech-style beer spa. Check it all out in that link!
Where does the Visitor Toll Pass work?
Yes, Florida’s toll pass for visitors is only available for pickup and dropoff at the Orlando airport, but the Visitor Toll Pass proudly offers complete coverage on all toll roads in Florida.
And, guess what? Florida has the most toll roads of any state in the U.S. (719 miles of toll roads to be exact). On top of that, Orange County, Florida–where Orlando is located–actually leads the pack with the most toll roads per square mile (with more on the way). Yay.
So, you’re actually free to drive all up and down the state and blaze through tolls… as long as you begin and end your trip in Orlando. And as long as your trip is 90 days or less.
Where to drop off the Florida toll pass for visitors
There are a number of Visitor Toll Pass drop-off collection bins though—four in Terminal A and four in Terminal B. At both terminals there is a drop-off bin just outside the door that leads to the rental car pickup counters. Pull your car up to the curb, get out and drop your tag off, then head to rental car return.
There are also three dropbox locations at both the Terminal A and Terminal B parking side tunnel entrances. (View map here.)
What if I forget to drop the tag off?
If you leave Orlando without dropping your Visitor Toll Pass into one of the collection boxes, you’ll be charged $10 (in addition to whatever toll charges you incurred).
However, I have read that they may allow you a grace period during which you can mail the tag back to the Central Florida Expressway Authority (the address is on the back of the tag). That option is not on their website though, so if you do forget to drop yours off, I would give them a call and ask about mailing it in so you don’t have to pay the fee.
Call Visitor Toll Pass: (+1)407-690-5300, Monday – Friday from 7:30am – 7:00pm and Saturday from 8:00am – 4:30pm EST. Also, let me know what they say!
How to get the free Florida toll pass for visitors
Getting the Florida Visitor Toll Pass is super easy and you can set it all up before you even get to Orlando.
Step 1: Download the Visitor Toll Pass app
To start, download the Visitor Toll Pass app onto your phone–via Google Play or the App store. Follow the instructions and reserve your toll pass. You’ll need your credit card information and the dates of your trip (although you can amend these later if your trip goes longer than planned). Once you complete your “reservation” you’ll be assigned a QR code for that trip.
Step 2: Pick up your pass
At the Orlando airport, locate the Visitor Toll Pass vending machine in the Terminal A rental car desk area. (There will be signs leading the way.) At the kiosk you’ll scan your QR code and your Florida toll pass for visitors will drop out of the machine. It’s literally that quick and easy.
(Pro tip: turn up the brightness on your phone screen so the machine can read the code without issue.)
Step 3: Pick up your rental car
Now, go pick up your rental car. And when you do, turn down every single toll option those fearmongering shysters try to force on you. You do not need any of their toll plans with the Visitor Toll Pass. None of them. You are covered.
The Visitor Toll Pass is not some unauthorized 3rd party app; it’s an official product of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, an official state government office.
Step 4: Hang the tag and leave the airport
After I picked up my rental car I manually added the license plate number to my trip in the app, but I don’t think you even need to do that. Apparently, you can simply hang the tag from the rearview mirror (facing either way) and your rental car information will get added automatically as your tag gets scanned on the way out of the airport.
Step 5: Save all the money
Now, you’re free to drive through Florida’s toll booths as you please without having to stop and without having to pay tons of ridiculous fees or violations.
Step 6: Return the tag at the end of your trip
At the end of your time in Orlando, all you have to do is drop the tag into one of the collection bins. You’ll be refunded if you went through less than $10 worth of tolls, or charged if you went through more. There’s nothing else you have to do.
What rental car companies does the Visitor Toll Pass work with?
The Florida toll pass for visitors works with all rental car companies operating out of the Orlando airport. (The on-airport companies only, not the off-airport rental companies you have to take a shuttle bus to get to.) So, that includes:
- Dollar Rent A Car
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Payless Car Rental
- Sixt Rent A Car
- And Thrifty
Don’t have a rental car yet for your trip to Orlando? I always find the best rental car rates at CheapOair, my go-to car booking site. See what kind of deals they have going on right now.
Do visitors really need a Florida toll pass?
Yes, absolutely, 1000%. There are tolls all over Orlando and not all of them accept cash. (Most tolls everywhere now are electronic or “pay-by-plate.”) So, should you go through one in a rental car, there’s a PRETTY GOOD chance you’ll be charged way more than the small amount of the toll.
I have yet to rent a car from a rental company that has any kind of simple solution to the toll booth debacle. Let me rephrase that, there’s obviously an easy solution, but rental car companies thrive on trying to screw you out of every last dime. And they all come at you from a different direction.
What rental companies charge
Some rental companies will charge a daily fee for using their toll pass (in addition to the actual cost of the toll), and rarely is this cheap. They charge you this amount whether you actually go through a toll booth or not… but if you do go through one and you don’t have their toll pass, then they charge you all kinds of violation fees.
For instance, a quick search is showing me that Hertz charges us a $5.95 “convenience” fee for each calendar day plus the “highest, undiscounted toll rate” for each toll you go through if you use their PlatePass. Avis also charges $5.95 per day for their e-Toll service but at least has a maximum of $29.75. Hertz has no maximum.
Enterprise charges $3.95-$4.95 fee for their TollPass, but they emphasize that you don’t have to pay this on days you don’t use toll roads. Ok, that’s nice, but if you only go through one toll each day, you’re essentially paying almost $5 extra for the tolls you go through.
Thrifty’s PlatePass offers unlimited toll usage for a “low daily rate,” the amount of which they do not list anywhere. If you opt out of this service and accidentally go through a toll booth, they will charge you a $9.99 administrative fee for each toll you go through… in addition to the toll itself.
And these are just a few examples. Some companies also charge an extra fee just to rent the transponder. It’s a scam if there ever was one, especially now that there is a free option they intentionally aren’t telling you about.
The time that changed my mind
One time I rented a car in Florida and was never told about the toll issue. I went through three toll booths during my week in Florida. Upon returning my car, they told me I was being charged a $25 fee for each of the three toll booths I drove through. Can you imagine having to pay $75+ just for driving through three toll booths?
When I explained that I had no clue this was their policy, they showed me the rental agreement I had signed. Only… I never signed the part about the toll pass, because they never told me about it. Instead, they took my electronic signature from a different part of the agreement and added it to that part. I signed for three other reasons… and yet my signature was on there four times, and on the line about the $25 toll fee.
I’mma just say, a scene was made. But really, I should’ve taken them to court for that blatantly illegal activity. Needless to say, I did not pay the fee.
This is just one of the many examples of rental car companies trying to squeeze the pennies out of you. Don’t let this happen to you! Get the Florida Visitor Toll Pass! There’s no reason not to. It’s fast; it’s easy; and it’s FREE! Even if you don’t use or don’t think you’ll use it, it’s worth it to have just so you can tell the rental car companies to shove it.
Orlando without tolls
Can you get around Orlando without having to go through the toll booths? Yes, you can. And that’s what I’ve been doing for like the last ten years of visiting Orlando because I will spend $300+ on tickets to Disney World but I absolutely refuse to pay those sheisty rental car toll scams. However, getting around Orlando’s tolls is a huge pain in the ass and wow is it time consuming.
There’s a reason they charge you to use these roads—they are hella convenient. On my last visit, I put the Orlando airport into Waze before I left the Orlando beer spa where I’d just spent a very weird hour, and, because of traffic at the time, avoiding toll roads was going to take me an extra 45 minutes! An extra 45 minutes, and it’s not a long trip.
Plus, trying to navigate Orlando while avoiding tolls is super stressful. Especially since you pretty much need to go through one to even get out of the airport anyway. Just get the pass.
Florida toll pass for visitors need to know info
I’ve already hit on a couple of these points, but I’m going to drive them in further.
Right now, the Visitor Toll Pass is only available at the Orlando airport and nowhere else. Because this program rolled out just before the virus-that-shall-not-be-named blew in, growth has been slow/stalled completely.
I really hope this program grows and expands into the rest of the state—it’s not as if Orlando is the only huge tourist destination in Florida. (But still, I appreciate the hell out of it and I will take what I can get at this point!)
It also doesn’t help that almost no one knows about this FREE program! On the Enterprise website, there is an FAQ about tolls, such as how you can avoid tolls in Orlando. They list things like “avoid toll roads” as answers, I kid you not. But nowhere do they mention the free and easy Visitor Toll Pass.
I can’t stress this enough: the rental car companies DO NOT want you to know about this. They love taking your money. God, it really is the icing on their day-ruining cake. (Can you tell I have major beef with rental car companies?)
I honestly don’t know why it has taken the tourism industry SO LONG to figure out this very important (and what seems obvious) issue facing visitors, but I’m glad it’s at least getting started.
Yes, it’s totally free
When all is said and done, getting and using the Visitor Toll Pass is totally free. (Yes, you’ll pay a deposit but it’s refundable.) Again, this does not mean the toll booths are free. You still have to pay the tolls.
On my latest visit to Orlando I rented a car through Thrifty. They don’t say online what they charge to use their toll pass, but judging by industry average it’s probably around $5.95 per day. So for my four days in Orlando I would have spent $28.91 to go through toll booths. With the Florida toll pass for visitors I spent just $5.11 total.
Where to put the Florida toll pass for visitors
You have to hang the Visitor Toll Pass from the rearview mirror in your rental car. It can face either direction. There’s probably going to already be a transponder stuck to the windshield behind the mirror, and that’s ok. You don’t need to remove it or cover it up. Just make sure it’s “closed” and that your Visitor Toll Pass hang tag is hanging from the mirror behind it.
I hope this makes your trip to Florida a little bit easier and saves you some cash! Enjoy your trip. 🙂
Have you ever experienced any rental car toll nightmares?
Feel free to vent below!
But first, pin this image: