Tips for Traveling to the USA

The United States is home to countless natural wonders and cosmopolitan cities
that attract travelers from all over the world.

From lush Caribbean jungles and beaches to vast deserts and snowcapped mountains, the country has some of the most picturesque and diverse landscapes on earth – and let’s not forget the concrete jungles it is famous for.

It is a thrill seeing all of these famous attractions, but before you book your trip, here are 12 things you should know about planning a trip to the US that will help you plan your dream vacation.

You Need a Tourist Visa or ESTA to Enter the USA

Incoming travelers need to be aware of and understand the requirements to enter the USA.
As of today, the US Visa Waiver Program, also known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), allows citizens of these 39 countries to enter the US for up to 90 days without a visa.
Most of these countries are from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and a few others.

Know that your 90 days start counting the moment you step on US soil, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and other US territories.

Those 90 days in the United States also include the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.

The ESTA application is only required if arriving by air or cruise ship. It is not required if entering overland or on local ferries such as between Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington State.

The validity of the ESTA is for up to two years. You’re allowed to make an unlimited number of trips to the US as long as each stay has a maximum of 90 days.

While you can apply for your ETSA at any time before boarding your flight, it is advised to do it at least 72 hours before departure. At the time of departure, have your ESTA and approval number handy as it’ll be requested during check-in.

Now, should you wish to stay in the USA for longer than 90 days, or if you don’t fall under the ESTA program, then you’ll need a visa.

Getting Other US Visas
If you want to stay longer in the United States, or if your citizenship is not included in the ESTA program, you will have to look at other US tourist visas – mainly the B-2 Visa (tourist visa).

Check Your Passport’s Validity

To enter the USA, your passport must have at least six months of validity left at the time of travel. This means, if your passport expires in less than six months, you will not be allowed to travel to the US.
Additionally, you should make sure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your trip.

USA Travel Guide

As the third-largest country in the world, with an area of 9.83 million square kilometers (including territories), the US has a wide variety of landscapes and a rich, diverse culture that almost feels like each of the 50 states is practically a country by itself.
Not to mention the different geography and cultures presented by Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and other territories.
In fact, when compared, many states are bigger than some European countries. Two North-South features split the country into three distinct areas.
West of the Rocky Mountains, we have the Pacific states, which are known for long expanses of beach along the California coast, the stunning deserts including the Grand Canyon, and year-round temperate weather.
Sandwiched between the Rockies and the Mississippi River, we have the vast plains stretching from Mexico to Canada, giving the US one of the world’s most fertile growing regions.
And last but not least, we have the east of the Mississippi, which is the industrial and economic hub of the USA. Several major cities like New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, and more.
Here you also find the Appalachian mountains, which are not only one of the most diverse ecological regions in the country, but also played a vital role in US history, from its settlement to its westward expansion.
The US’ most visited national park, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is located in the Appalachians.

What is the cheapest month to fly to USA?

Currently, the cheapest month for flights to USA is January. The most expensive month for flights is July. The cheapest prices are shown above but prices will vary according to departure times, airlines, class and how early you book.

What’s the weather like in USA?

The US is a large country and the climate varies by region and time of year. It experiences four seasons, but some areas of the country see a more drastic change between seasons than others. The Pacific Northwest has cool summers and mild winters, while just to the south, the West Coast is sunny and pleasant all year long. The Midwest sees a bigger change between seasons, with strong summers and winters and frequent tornadoes and thunderstorms. The East Coast fluctuates and many people head down to Florida to get the warmest winters on that side of the country. Traveling in the off-season can save you a lot of money.

When is the best time to travel to USA?

Peak Season:

Depending on where you want to fly to in the USA will depend on the peak seasons. Due to the many, many states it can be hard to pinpoint exact months of the year to visit. Atlanta and Miami for example see the peak season from March to May and September to November. Las Vegas on the other hand is busy almost all year. You’ll find cheap flights to the USA if you go to Vegas during the Summer as temperatures in Las Vegas can get ridiculously hot. Once you’ve decided on a location in the USA you can start researching the peak seasons for that state or city and then secure cheap flights to the USA.

Off Season:

Again this varies a lot depending on where you are going, Los Angeles is cheapest around January due to it being the rainy season so you’ll find the cheapest flights to the USA then, Miami experience its off season from June to August as temperatures get very hot so cheap flight tickets are more readily available if you plan in advance and book them early.

Where are the most popular travel destinations in USA?

The most popular flight destinations in USA are New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago.

How long is the flight to USA?

Depending on your departure point and destination, flights to the USA will vary in duration. If you’re flying from London Heathrow to Chicago-O’Hare, expect your flight to last around eight hours. Flights from Rome, Italy to New York are around 9.5 hours, and flights to Los Angeles from Sydney, Australia, are 14 hours in length nonstop. If your final destination is Miami and your departure point is Tokyo, Japan, plan on your flight taking anywhere between 17 and 24 hours with a stop or two along the way.

What should you pack for travel to USA?

The sheer size of the United States means that temperatures are going to vary widely throughout the four seasons, and you’ll want to keep your destination and the time of year in mind as you pack for your trip. If you’re visiting the Midwest or Northeast during the winter, make sure you bring along warm outwear, including gloves, scarves and hats, because temperatures can easily drop below zero. Temperatures in the south are more moderate at this time of year, and you should be able to get away with packing a lighter jacket to layer with a sweater. Those traveling to Denver or other Rocky Mountain states should consider a mix of clothing as 70 degree temperatures on one day can easily turn into a blizzard overnight.
Late spring and summer can bring warm temperatures across the country, with the South being rather humid and the western states offering dry heat. Pack with light easy-to-wear ensembles in mind, keeping your choices based on cotton. You also won’t want to forget the sunscreen as it doesn’t take long at the beach for skin to turn pink.

What are some things to do in USA?

Known as the “Melting Pot,” where cultures and traditions collide into a collective “American experience,” the USA offers an incredible array of new experiences, dining opportunities and shopping and entertainment venues. There is truly something for every person, couple or family across the country.

Spend a romantic weekend in New York City, exploring the multitude of museums, designer shops and parks that make up the landscape of the “Big Apple.” Take in a Broadway play, and then hop in a taxi for a delicious dinner at one of the city’s famed eateries.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach vibe, fly into LAX and head over to Santa Monica, CA, for sun, sand and fun. Sidewalk entertainers and street vendors never fail to delight young or old. Head into Hollywood the next day, and match up hand prints with famous movie actors at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and then stroll leisurely among thousands of stars along Hollywood Boulevard before ending the day in the shops at Hollywood and Highland Center.

Families with young children will love the plethora of entertainment offered by the amusement parks of Orlando, Florida. Whether you’re a diehard Harry Potter fan who’d love to take a ride on the Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando or you’d love to have your picture taken with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in this tourist town. A variety of themed restaurants and hotels are available to accommodate your desires.

Tips for Your Stay in USA

Shop New York, a mecca for bargain hunters. To make the most of your time there, book a tour of one of the shopping districts.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents hundreds of recitals and concerts by students, faculty and guest artists each year. Most of the performances are free.
Las Vegas – eat well and save money by starting the day with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Whatever you do, don’t forget to tip. Whatever you do, don’t forget to tip. Between 15 and 20% is acceptable.
In the United States, you’re expected to tip all forms of services, like cab drivers, deliveries, valet, porters, room service, and most notably, waiters and bartenders. (Most of them earn under the federal minimum wage, which is already way too low!) Know that while it is expected, you’re not obliged to tip. As a general rule, if the service was ok (nothing outstanding), I give 15%. If it was exceptional, I offer 20%. On the other hand, if the service was terrible, I give 10% or less, depending on how bad the service was.

Other common tip suggestions in the hospitality industry include:

Concierge: dependent on the difficulty of your request
Bartenders: $1-2 per drink
Housekeepers: $1-5 per night
Valets: $1-5 each time the valet brings your car
Hotel porters: $1-2 per bag
Doormen: a few dollars if they help you get a cab
Taxi drivers: 10-15%
Shared shuttle drivers: $2-3 per person
Food delivery: $1-$4 depending on the distance from the restaurant to your accommodation

There’s no need to feel lost in Los Angeles. Purple People Greeters answer questions, provide directions, make referrals or even call the police if things go awry. They’re easy to spot. The Greeters travel in pairs, wear purple tee shirts with “District Safety” or “Downtown Guide”, and can be visited at their Service Center at 801 S Hill St. Feed your inner vulture some culture. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents hundreds of recitals and concerts by students, faculty and guest artists each year. Most of the performances are free.
Orlando– there’s not a giant mouse in sight in Harry P. Leu Gardens, 50 acres of lush vegetation in the middle of the city. There is also a restored farmhouse which harks back to a time when space travel was barely imaginable and citrus, not themeparks, was king. The gardens are open every day, from 9am to 5pm and are very reasonably priced.
Las Vegas– Eat well and save money by starting the day with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

A Few Extra Quick Tips :

● 911 is the emergency number in the US.
● The US is one of only three countries in the world that uses the Imperial system.
● Measurements are in inches and feet, distances in miles, weight in pounds, and the temperature in Fahrenheit.
● You drive on the right side of the street.
● The US spans six time zones. Make sure you know which time zone your destination is in, especially when booking flights and airport transfers.



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