This is a collaborative post
The USA is one of the world’s most interesting places to visit as a tourist, and it is one country that you should certainly have on your list of destinations as a keen traveller. But because it is very varied and there is a lot to think about, it can also take a lot of preparation and consideration to make the most of the trip and ensure you are doing everything right.
In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the things you can consider if you are thinking about visiting the USA. As long as you have thought about the following, you should find that you feel a lot more ready for your trip to the US in no time.
Choose Your Destination
The first thing to remember is that the USA is big – really big – and you need to make sure you have chosen a specific local destination to go to before you actually get on the plane. Going to Florida is going to be a very different experience than going to New York or Seattle, complete with different tourism rules and taxes too, so make sure that you thoroughly research where you would like to go first and foremost.
If you are struggling to narrow it down, you could always simply opt for one of the bigger, more touristy destinations. Going to New York, for instance, you know that you will probably not be disappointed. Or you can allow yourself to be driven by a particular desire for a certain kind of activity. If you want to go surfing, go to California for example. However you do it, just make sure that you do narrow it down so that you can plan your entire trip around that much more effectively.
Don’t Miss Out On The National Parks
One of the most attractive qualities about the US is its varied and breathtaking landscape – and a great way to see more of this landscape is to go and check out the national parks that are dotted all over the country. These are truly some of the world’s most beautiful sights, so it’s definitely something that you should consider including in your trip, whenever and wherever you happen to decide to go. In fact, one way to visit the US would be to plan to visit a few national parks and make this a central part of the process, and then build the experience around that. It’s up to you, of course, but this is something that a lot of people do tend to enjoy greatly.
If you do go to the national parks, bear in mind that there are various safety issues you might need to be aware of, and that there are rules you have to abide by. You can’t necessarily set up camp wherever you like, for instance, so make sure that you are looking into this first to see whether you are able to. All in all, you are going to find these parks to be great fun.
The Entry Requirements Are Strict
The US has one of the strongest border forces in the world, and you need to make sure that you are not causing yourself or anyone else any trouble by failing to comply with the rules and regulations of entering the country. Of course, you will need the usual documentation to begin with – your passport for instance – as well as a visa if you are travelling from a country outside of the Visa Waiver Program. You should double-check whether you need one first and foremost, however, just to make sure.
As well as a visa and passport, you need to get an ESTA, which is another important documentation you need to have before you can enter. Not having this could mean being turned away and facing a large fine, so it is in your best interests to ensure that you have it before you try to enter the country. You might be able to get a waiver on this too – check out https://official-esta.co.uk/ for more information on this.
As long as you pay attention to all that, entering the USA could be a lot easier.
Don’t Forget To Tip
Something that you might not be aware of if you come from the UK or many other countries is that there is a strong and religiously upheld tipping culture in the USA. It is considered extremely rude not to tip, and you will likely not be welcome back to a restaurant if you do this, so make sure that you are remembering to do this as well as you can. Very often, your waiting staff rely on tips to make a decent living, so it really is essential that you do this every time you go out to eat or go to a bar.
Tax Is Not Included In Price
One of the shocks that foreign visitors to the US often get is that products and services end up costing more than you had originally thought. This is because, unlike in the UK and most of Europe, the tax is not included on the display price. You might therefore get to the cashier to find that you are suddenly being charged more than you expected. This is not a problem if you are ready for it, but you need to make sure that you are, otherwise you will wonder where your money has gone!
Americans Are Friendly
One thing you will notice straight away is that Americans can be extremely friendly. That makes travelling a lot easier, and it is truly something of a joy, so it’s a good thing to know about. But if you are not used to it, you might find you spend some time trying to let your guard down before you can really sink into the culture. However, if you manage to do that, you will find that your enjoyment of the country really improves a great deal.