With winter knocking on the doors, it’s time to fly away to that annual foreign trip you have been planning for a while. There are so many places that you might have shortlisted, like Switzerland, Thailand, the Caribbean, Istanbul, and the list goes on. But are you one of those travellers who is dying to visit Los Angeles, pose against the Hollywood sign, and post photos on your Instagram account showing off your grand experiences? In that case, you can prioritise and choose the USA as the ultimate destination for your annual trip. A melting pot of cultures and home to diverse and magnificent natural attractions, the US will leave you spellbound till long after returning from your US trip.
However, there are certain things that you should know before you set off for one of the most fascinating countries in the world for a smooth and memorable travel experience. Take a look.
- Tourist visa
Before you plan your trip to the US, you first need to check whether your country is a part of the visa waiver programme in the USA. If this is the case, it might spare you from going through all the troubles of settling your visa situation. However, you might still require the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, which can authorise you to enter the territories of the United States. Nevertheless, if you see that you cannot enjoy any exemption, you must carry a valid passport and a tourist visa to have a hassle-free trip.
- The unhindered tipping cultures
You might have heard the unending rantings about the tipping dilemmas from your neighbours and friends who have returned from their recent US trips. That is because, in the United States, there is a very discreet norm for customers to tip for every service they book, be it for room service or to bartenders, cab drivers, and so on. The minimum expected tip is 15 to 20% of the total payment, which might seem quite unfair and add cost obligation to the customer, but this is a custom you cannot avoid in the US.
- The breath-taking natural view
Have you ever taken one long hard look beholding and wondering at the vast, terrific, and jaw-dropping landscapes of the United States of America that awakens awe? Well, the third largest country in the world has numerous natural beauties to boast of, with Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains, the stunning Grand Canyon, and the Appalachian Mountains, to name a few. However, if you want to enjoy the city life and its impressive skylines lit up with bright lights, then San Francisco, Miami, New York, and Las Vegas are your go-to places.
- Planning, planning, and more planning
Suppose you are undertaking research regarding must-visit places in the US. Believe us, you will be overwhelmed with the search results available online, starting from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Yellowstone National Park and many more. Suppose you want to set your priorities right and are struggling to choose between road-tripping to some offbeat locations, going camping in the wild, joining in the native festivals, or simply tracing the path of the rich history of the US. In such cases, you need to plan a proper travel itinerary to squeeze in multiple destinations in this one long-awaited trip.
- Adventurous road trip
You might only be able to avail transport to some destinations you plan to visit, but there are always options such as taking a bus, rented car, or a train ride. It is highly recommended, especially for visits to semi-urban or rural areas in the USA, which are closer to the countryside. Besides, what sort of road trip would it be if you could not peek out of your car to absorb the stunning and mesmerizing views outside and enjoy the distinctive roadside attractions?
- High pocket pinch
Everything about life in the United States might seem expensive, be it shopping or eating at a food joint. It’s better to be prepared to pay extra wherever you go because the price tags can be surprising, chiefly because they are exclusive of taxes. So, it’s better to be equipped with enough money so you are not left counting your coins with the waiter breathing down your neck to get your bills cleared and collect his tips.
- Always carry adequate cash
With everything going digital, it’s no wonder that cashless transactions have lessened the worries of having to carry bundles of cash whenever planning a trip. However, some remote areas far away from the metropolitan cities in the United States still need to catch up with the ongoing digital transformation. And, in such a situation, you will need to carry adequate cash to foot the bills. It might also come in handy for paying a handsome tip at places where only cash is acceptable.
- Mandatory travel insurance
The constantly increasing healthcare expenses in the US do not make headlines anymore because that is a bitter truth that everyone has learned to digest in these years. However, you want to avoid getting tangled up in the web of any expensive medical process during your visit to the US. And to ensure that, the only thing that can save you is travel insurance. It will not only save you from burning a hole into your pocket while clearing crazy amounts to get primary medicines prescribed by a doctor but also give you medical coverage in case of an emergency.
- Airport transfer
The moment you step off your flight, you will observe that the infrastructure and lifestyle in the United States are intrinsically reliant on private cars, and just a handful of people travel by public transport. Hence, for you, it is better to rent an airport transfer, which will help you navigate all the new streets and crowded places in the US without having to grapple with a map every time you need to go somewhere.
- Laws and regulations
When you visit an international destination, it’s pretty natural that the laws and regulations that you will have to abide by will be quite different from those in your country. Likewise, in the US, you have a free pass to smoke if you are 18, and you must show proof of being 21 years old to buy a bottle of alcohol. Some places even demand your passport or valid ID to confirm your age before serving you liquor. Besides these, there are numerous different regulations, including throwing the trash out, parking a vehicle, wearing a seat belt or helmet, and many more, which you must be acquainted with and mindful of before making it through the gate at the airport.
There are many things that one needs to know before travelling to another country simply because customs and rules vary from one place to another. And, it is for your benefit that you remember the must-dos to ensure a glitch-free trip.
Have you heard the old saying that goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” Believe in it.
Got some more questions regarding your impending US trip? Connect with us at StampThePassport.