With the world growing ever smaller thanks to advancements in technology, it’s perhaps unsurprising a nation as in-touch with that social community as the United States of America is becoming one of the leading names in tourism.
*This guest post is contributed by Luke Green.
Across the last 20 years the U.S. has seen a marked rise in the number of people travelling there on holiday – with figures rising from a peak of just over 4 million in 1996, to numbers that are now breaking the 8-million-person point in 2016.
With the popularity of a trip away to the U.S. rising, it’s not unlikely someone reading this blog might have an interest in a break to North America’s most prominent nation. As such, here are six things you might want to think about before heading to the United States.
The U.S. certainly isn’t a country you can visit without first thinking ahead and plotting out some sort of strategy when it comes to your mode of transport.
Ranking in as the third largest land mass for a nation on Earth, the States stands out as an area where failing to purchase a rental or hire car prior to travelling could result in you becoming somewhat stranded.
This isn’t necessarily a major issue if you’re planning to stay in one city for the entirety of your trip – but even cross-state visits will without question see you needing to find some sort of vehicular transport.
If you really are planning to remain in just the one city or town while you’re there, then it’s equally important to familiarise yourself with the local bus and inner-city train routes. This will make things considerably simpler when you arrive as you’ll know roughly where you’re going every time you want to take public transport.
2. What You’re Going to Do
Similarly, in a nation that offers such a vast variety when it comes to differing holiday activities, it’s also important you plan out roughly what you want to be doing before you head out.
If you’re planning to take a trip which will be primarily family-orientated, then try searching the area you’re thinking about visiting for beaches, parks, zoos or even farms.
On the flip-side of that coin, you may wish to check out which towns or cities are famed for their nightlife if you’re making a journey with a group of friends – remember though in some States the legal drinking age is 21, not 18.
One fantastic thing about the United States is that there’s more diversity there than practically any other nation on Earth. Sketch out a rough plan of what you intend to do before you travel and you’ll find separating the wheat from the chaff when you’re there will be significantly easier.
3. How Much Money You’ll Need
As is the case with any trip away, it’s crucial to work out a rough estimate of how much money you’re going to need beforehand.
Studies have found that you could spend anywhere up to $250 per person, per day, on a trip to the US – with even more modest holiday spending seeing a person fork out $100 a day for their vacation.
With those kinds of figures in mind it’s worth ensuring you will have enough cash on you to last through the entirety of your stay.
That said, those figures also factor in the price of your accommodation – which most of the time you will have already paid for upfront.
Regardless, it’s always best to make sure you have too much, rather than not enough. Over-estimate how many American dollars you’re going to need to make sure you aren’t left penniless while you’re there.
4. Visa & Entry Requirements
Arguably the most stressful part of any holiday away comes in the form of ensuring you have all the right permission and documentation to enter a country legally.
That’s as true of the US as it is in any nation, with visitors needing to meet a host of requirements to be granted access – when it comes to both their visas and what they can bring into the country.
Anyone planning to visit the United States for a short-term stay must have a valid visa, while anyone looking to remain on a more long-term, albeit temporary, basis must instead apply for a non-immigrant visa category B-2.
When it comes to what you can bring into the United States, it’s also important to remember you must:
- Declare all plant and animal products you’re carrying
- Refrain from taking more than 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars with you into the country
- Have a maximum of just 1 litre of alcohol on you (assuming you are 21 or over)
This is quite possibly one of the most important pre-travel steps to think about, so you might want to try to get this organised before anything else.
5. Pack Appropriately
It’s also critical when heading to the United States to think about exactly what you’re going to need to pack. Conditions will be drastically different all throughout the year – especially taking into account the vastly contrasting climates you’ll experience from state to state.
For example, if you’re planning a trip to New York City in January, you should prepare yourself for conditions that can reach as low as -3 degrees Celsius. By contrast, somewhere like Houston in Texas will see lows of just 16 degrees Celsius for the entire year.
Make sure you think about factors like this when packing, and also bear in mind some airport security can be fairly strict when it comes to your luggage.
Don’t give them a reason to confiscate items from your bag. Prevent this by reading around and seeing what sort of things are likely to be taken away from you when going through security.
6. Ensuring You Stay In Good Health
While there are no jabs required to travel to North America, it’s always wise to keep up to date with any vaccinations you have been advised to have by your local GP.
It might also be prudent to think through what kind of precautions you might want to take while you’re there.
This could include seeing what sort of over-the-counter medicine is available in the area you’re travelling to, or even going as far as to check hygiene standards at restaurants you’re planning to visit.
Thinking one step ahead isn’t a sure-fire way to guarantee you’re going to avoid getting ill, but it will drastically reduce the chances of it happening.
There you have it: six things to think about before traveling to the U.S. If you’re thinking about a vacation to the States take some of these useful points into account – it could make your vacation that little bit easier.
*Adventures and Kindness received compensation for the contribution of this post. It may contain affiliate links which will benefit (at no extra cost to you) the writer. This was published to add value and help Adventures and Kindness readers. Thank you for your support!