If you’re planning a trip to America in 2021 and want it to be hassle-free, you have come to the right place. To aid you in your plans, below you will find the best tips for when you hit the states—leaving you more time to enjoy your trip.
(please note that travel between Canada and the USA is restricted, for all other countries, please check your governments’ requirements around travel)
Image by Ryan McGuire
Check Your Passport
You need to make sure your passport is valid and in good condition. You will most likely need to have six months or more left on it. Or, for the duration of your stay, as a minimum, you should check the requirements before you book your tickets.
Know What Visa You Need
It is essential for travellers to the US to understand the requirements for entering the country. You usually have to book authorisation before travelling using the ESTA system. The process and requirements may be different depending on the nationality. You will also need to provide information such as your purpose for travelling such as persona, business, or transit. You need to get approval at least 72 hours before your flight. But an ESTA does last two years, which is excellent if you plan to take more than one trip.
Do Your Research
Whether it’s planning everything to the letter, writing up an itinerary, or just going with it, they all benefit from you doing a little bit of research before you board your flight and arrive at your destination. It’s a good idea to look at Toronto blogs, New York outlets, American media, etc. where you can often see first-hand knowledge and experience of the country.
Know The Rules About Transit
Suppose you are on an international flight that transits through the US. In that case, you’ll still need to clear US Customs, there’s no actual ‘transit’ in America, however, as all passengers are required to disembark and be processed through immigration then customs. This means that you need to meet the States’ visa requirements, even though you may only be there for a few hours.
Even if you are only connecting to a domestic US flight, it is still essential to remember that your first port of entry will go through customs and immigration. You should always make sure you allow at least two to three hours if you have a layover this allows enough time for customs, immigration, and any verification that is needed. Often booking with the same flight company can assist with this.
In Your Destination
Arrange Your Airport Transfer
Whether you are international or domestic travellers, a transfer is an excellent way to get from the airport to your accommodation when you reach your destination. When you arrive in the US, it won’t take you long before notice that this is a car-reliant country. Because nearly 95% of all Americans have a vehicle, public transport is often limited, roads are busy, and they can be hard to navigate. If you’re not confident with driving in a different country, it’s much better to arrange a shuttle or taxi instead of hiring a car.
Think About Your Mobile Data
OK, so there are many deals you can now grab with your mobile contract providers when travelling to a different country. But it is still crucial for you to think about your mobile data and how much you may use when abroad. If your mobile plan doesn’t allow for international travel, then the roaming charges can be eye-watering, and you’re left with a nasty bill.
Be Prepared To Pay More Than You Think
When in America, the price you see isn’t always the price that you pay. In the states, it’s unlikely that the price shown will include the tax, this needs to be added on, and usually won’t be seen until it comes to the checkout. This means you should be aware that the chances are the price will be more than you have seen on the ticket when you go to pay. If you workout the additional at around 10-15% you should be safe. So when you have done your shopping, booked your accommodation, bought tickets, etc., always add 15% to your calculation and you shouldn’t have any surprises when it comes to paying.
You also need to bear in mind that it is polite and pretty much considered essential to tip in America. It will be seen as extremely rude, and in some places get you into trouble if you choose not to tip so bear this in mind when you are eating out, staying at hotels, or even heading to the spa.
So, when travel opens up for you, and you hear America calling, now, you’re going to be prepared when it does. Until then, stay positive and stay safe.