Planning a trip to the United States but do not know where to start? Then, this is for you!
The United States of America attracts a lot of travelers every year. From its picturesque places waiting to be seen, its vast history and different cultures to study up to its many shopping malls and vibrant nightlife to experience, there is no wonder it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. But visiting the top tourist destinations in the USA is not an easy feat. Below are some of the helpful tips and know-how that could help you prepare for that America adventure you are waiting for.
Table of Contents
1. Check your Passport and Visa
You would stress yourself out with a lot of things when traveling to the US, but your passport and visa should not be a part of this. Even without a final decision or plan with your travel, go ahead and check your passport’s validity. It is crucial to do your part in researching what rules apply to you and understand the requirements for entering the country. Apply for a VISA ahead of time. Make sure your papers are ready before booking that flight!
2. Know that the USA is a BIG place
No kidding on this, it is the United States of America after all. Comprising of 50 states and home for more than 327 billion people, even a month trip would be too short to travel across the whole states!
Focus and remember, you can only do much. Do not be greedy and list a lot of places in your itinerary. Focus on a region and consider an in-depth visit. Each places have their own stories to tell, make sure you have enough time and energy to listen and learn.
3. Set up your travel money
With most transactions being cashless today, there is no need to carry a lot of cash when traveling. However, one can never be too sure what outrageous situations you might be in while visiting. Make sure you have enough funds you can easily access. Call your bank to check the necessary arrangements you may have to make before your travel, and it won’t hurt to have emergency money just in case.
4. Apply for Travel Insurance
No matter how healthy you think you are, do not ignore this and proceed with your trip. One of the important things you have to prepare prior to traveling in the US is purchasing travel insurance. It is no secret that healthcare costs are extremely expensive there and a lot of people living there go bankrupt due to medical expenses they have to pay. You do not want to go home with outrageous medical debt after your trip.
5. Know the law
In America, there are federal laws, state laws, and local laws, which could be different. This might be overwhelming and confusing for some travelers, especially traveling from one state to another. Know the traffic rules, drinking age limit and some other basic laws in the places you will visit. Observe and when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask, there would always be your hotel or a local that you could go to.
6. Be careful where you wander
No matter what country you visit, there will always some cities, more often than not – suburbs – that you should avoid at all cost. In the United States of America, the line between these locations can be quite thin. As a matter of fact, the difference between a dangerous and friendly neighborhood sometimes only takes a single block. Just to be on the safe side of traveling, try to always be wary at all times and try to do a little research before heading to your next destination.
7. The USA does not use the metric system
Unlike most of the countries in the World, America does not adopt the metric system and will confuse you with all the concepts of Fahrenheit, miles, gallons, and pounds. But before you get overwhelmed, remember that your phone and wi-fi connection will be handy.
8. Servings are huge
We’ve already mentioned how Americans measure things, now let’s go to their portion sizes! Restaurants and fast-food chains take seriously the popular phrase “go big or go home”. So before you start ordering food, put in mind that a normal American serving is massive. Look around you to get an idea of how the serving size is in a place before deciding to order that second meal you are eyeing off the menu!
One could say that tipping is a must in America. With the usual rate of around 15-20% of your bill, it is expected for you to leave a tip behind, not just in restaurants you dine with but also with the other services you avail. This is because most likely, the staff providing you service is paid lower than the normal minimum wage and rely on tips.
However, be wary and make sure to always check your receipt. In some places, the tip is already added and you have the choice to add or lower it down.
10. Be mindful of the time
Either you are meeting someone or made a reservation, always be wary of your time. Allow yourself to have extra time for unexpected happenings and be there on the agreed time or even arrive a few minutes early. Americans take punctuality very seriously and use this to judge a person’s virtue and reliability. You would not want ‘rude’ to be the first impression of you.
11. Shopping, Casino and Night Life is NOT all there is
With its very diverse culture, each state of America has a lot to offer. Take the time to explore national parks and see the most breathtaking scenery with your naked eyes. Visit museums, take a stroll in the park, read in public libraries or attend workshops. One can never regret experiencing life as is.
With these tips in mind, what is now left is for you to go on that trip and enjoy what America has to offer.