Are you visiting the USA for the first time? Lucky you! This country has so much to offer and you will be guaranteed to have the trip of a lifetime. We have put together a list of 10 tips for first-time visitors, so you avoid any problems and enjoy your time in the United States.
1. Check distances when planning your trip
The USA is a big country. If you come from a smaller country, you may not be accustomed to the distances between destinations. Always check travel time using Google Maps so you can confirm your planned itinerary is realistic.
2. Factor tipping into your budgeting
USA has a tipping culture and you will be required to tip for good service. This includes wait staff, bartenders, valets, and bellboys. You will probably have a budget for your trip, but make sure you add extra for tips.
3. Explore off-the-beaten-track
The popular tourist attractions in the USA are well-known for a reason, but there are so many hidden treasures to find that are just as impressive. Try spending some time away from the biggest tourist sites to get an authentic American experience. It would be best to plan an itinerary for your trip, where you can plan things to do on and off the beaten track, so you get the best of both worlds. If you plan to visit Florida, then looking at this list of things to do in Orlando is a great place to look for some trip-planning inspiration.
4. Download city maps
You do not want to get lost in a foreign city, especially in cities like Los Angeles or New York when a few wrong turns could lead you into dodgy areas. When you are connected to Wi-Fi, download city maps that can be used offline. This way you will never get lost!
5. Know your entry requirements
The lead up to a vacation is always so exciting as you dream about all the interesting place you will be visiting soon. When you finally get to the airport, the dream starts to feel real. The last thing you want is to be rejected at boarding because you do not have the required paperwork. This is especially important for international travelers as there are certain requirements you need to meet in order to enter the country.
While everyone knows your passport is the most important travel accessory, you will need more than that to get into the United States. Entry requirements vary according to nationality, so it is important for each individual to do their own research and find out what applies to them. This is especially true in the wake of the coronavirus when these requirements are rapidly changing as countries adapt to different conditions.
Typically, people who are residents of countries that belong to the Visa Waiver Program will need to obtain an ESTA before leaving for the USA. The esta visa application is completed entirely online and must be done before a person boards a flight to the country. It is recommended that this be done at least 2 weeks before your vacation to ensure any issues can be addressed if required. When your ESTA is approved, you will be notified. If your home country does not belong to the program, other entry requirements will apply to you. Make sure to check the specific details so that you are prepared for your trip.
The other thing international travellers should be checking given the current situation is a Coronavirus Live Map in the U.S. This way you can check if there have been any breakouts of the virus and therefore manage the risks associated with your travels. If things get too bad, you can adapt your trip so that you remain safe and healthy.
6. Visit the National Parks
The USA is known for its National Parks and deservedly so! From coastal parks and green forests to desert and volcanic parks, this country has a heap of natural beauty. Get out of the city to experience the scenery for yourself.
7. Rent a car
There is nothing more iconic than a classic USA road trip. Rent a car and hit the road yourself to experience everything the country has to offer. You will love the freedom of cruising along open roads and being able to stop whenever you see something of interest, and there will be plenty.
8. Obey traffic laws
If you are going to rent a car, we highly recommend that you get educated on local traffic laws. Remember to obey all road rules and signs to keep out of trouble with the law. The signs are put in place to protect people, especially when you are out in a remote location such as a national park. Nobody wants to have a car accident, so it is important you follow the rules, especially when you are in unfamiliar territory.
9. Be respectful
As with all overseas travel, you need to be respectful of local customs and cultures. The USA is a very patriotic country and you should be respectful of the local people, their opinions, and their environment.
10. Carry identification documents on you
Do not get caught without identification. Always keep some sort of ID on you as you never know when you will need it.
There you have it – 10 tips for first-time visitors to the USA. Keep these things in mind and your trip is sure to be fabulous!
David Johnson is a versatile content writer known for his ability to breathe life into words and create engaging narratives on diverse subjects. With a passion for effective storytelling and a keen eye for detail, David crafts content that resonates with readers and sparks their curiosity. He is dedicated to delivering high-quality, informative, and enjoyable content, making him a respected voice in the digital landscape. Beyond the keyboard, David enjoys exploring the outdoors, immersing himself in literature, and finding inspiration in everyday experiences.