Visiting the U.S. might just be one of the most exciting moments in one’s life. The U.S. has countless treasures such as beautiful landscapes, many concrete jungles to explore, and a variety of attractions to see.
Iconic cities with even more iconic sightseeing spots, there is no place in the world like the U.S. Being one of the most popular travel destinations even among Americans, and although its culture can be intimidating for first-timers it’s always good to know some of the important things before booking a flight.
First things first, it is crucial for travelers to know the requirements needed to enter the U.S. like applying for the right type of visa and the required documents for obtaining it. The visa application process is long and complex and obtaining the visa is uncertain, so you want to make sure you have taken all the necessary steps to avoid being rejected.
For example, you can consider hiring certified document translation services for documents that need an English translation, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. Certified and notarized documents comply with the regulations of institutions such as USCIS and the Department of State, which means you’ll have more chances to be accepted and avoid visa rejection or slow application processes.
The Visa Waiver Program allows residents of certain countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for a period of 90 days, but they would still have to submit an ESTA application.
In order to get an ESTA, you need to be a citizen of an eligible country, have a valid passport, and travel for business or pleasure for 90 days or less. Remember that once your ESTA is approved, it is valid for 2 years which means you can travel to the U.S. as much as you want.
Travel insurance is a must when traveling anywhere, but especially important when traveling to the U.S. The reason for this is because healthcare costs are extremely expensive.
Just a regular examination in a hospital could cost you hundreds of dollars. And a ride in an ambulance might be just as expensive, if not more.
It’s imperative to purchase travel insurance since medical costs might set you back for up to $20.000. Save yourself the trouble of wondering whether you should endure or go to the hospital if you get sick or injured.
Don’t Forget To Plan Your Travel Budget
Knowing more about the cultural differences like tipping etiquette, public transport, and purchasing goods is also very important, and will help you plan your budget better.
One of the most typical things about the U.S. is the tipping culture. Not leaving a tip is considered rude, and tipping your waiter is the norm. It’s common to leave a 15 – 20% tip because wait staff’s wages are low. However, this doesn’t only apply to restaurants and bars, but also valets, doormen, housekeepers and even taxi drivers.
Usually, the larger cities provide a variety of public transportation like buses, trains, or taxis. Nowadays most popular transport is through the mobile application services Lyft and Uber which are a more convenient option compared to taxis.
However, if you plan on visiting more rural areas, or maybe even national parks, consider renting a car. Driving around in a rented car gives you flexibility and allows you to travel on your own terms.
Paying More Than What’s Displayed
What you see is not usually what you get when it comes to purchasing goods and services, because most prices are listed excluding sales tax. Bear in mind that tax rates vary by state, so if you go shopping, always carry a little extra cash on you.
Prepare Well For Your Arrival
The U.S. takes airport security very seriously, so be prepared to wait long lines, take off your shoes, jacket, and belt, and go through a metal detector just to go through another one to double-check, and yet still be pulled aside for a random search.
So, to save yourself the trouble of being surprised or stressed, check the TSA website and see the regulations and rules for going through airport security. Especially in this day and age, you’ll need to go through more specific security checks due to the Covid-19 regulations.
There are many more things to know about the U.S. and things to be aware of, so don’t hesitate to look up reviews of places and ask for recommendations. Remember to apply for an appropriate visa, and prepare your documents well. Also, if there’s one constant about the U.S., it’s the change. So, always look out for new things and enjoy exploring.