America is one of the largest countries in the world and also one of the most diverse places on earth. Aside from these facts, the United States also holds of amazing travel attractions ranging from the skyscrapers of New York, the natural wonders of Yosemite and Yellowstone, to the stunning beaches of California and Florida.
No doubt that the United States is one of the best vacation destinations, and it is always on the list of each traveller who wants to go on a trip or adventure. Some may also find the United States the perfect place to settle in, and call it their home. To finally dive into your dream USA tour, below are some important tips to consider when planning your trip to this amazing country.
Get the Necessary US Entry Requirements
Because the USA is a country that has it all, many people consider it as the best vacation destination. Just like other countries who are not visa-free, the United States has its own rules when it comes to visitor entries. Visitors must have a valid passport, visa or other documents needed. Good news is, the USA initiated the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to attract more tourists. This is only applicable to visitors who are planning to stay for a maximum of 90 days. This program has been participated by 36 countries and only allows select travellers to enter the country with a machine-readable passport. To increase security, those applying for the VWP is required to apply through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
Getting to the USA
Getting there by air
There are lots of airlines that cater to the domestic and international United States routes. And what’s exciting about this progressive country is that every major city has its own airport. Two of their biggest airports are the Los Angeles International Airport and JFK International Airport in New York City. There are several non-stop flights every day going to and from every major city within the US. The UK has one of the best rates going to the United States. From Europe, visitors take advantage of the lower airfare by going to London first and then book a flight going to New York.
These are the most popular airlines that cater to the United States:
- American Airlines: www.aa.com
- British Airways: www.britishairways.com
- Continental Airlines: www.continental-corporation.com
- Qantas: www.qantas.com
- Virgin Atlantic: www.virginatlantic.com
Getting around in the USA
Travelling around the cities of USA is quickest and easiest via air travel. Once you’re in your desired best vacation destination, driving is often the most convenient way to tour around. There are cities, for example in the Northeast, that you can explore via public transport. You will later on realize that it’s the most efficient and the cheapest way to get around cities after cities.
These are the most popular airlines that provide domestic routes to the United States.
- American Airlines
- Continental Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- JetBlue Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
You can get around the United States via Amrak, the United States’ national rail provider. You can book a ticket either via their website, www.amrak.com, hotline or at the train station. Amrak also offers several rail-pass options such as the USA Rail Pass and the California Rail Pass. These passes can be used for several travel days. However, it is very known to travellers that intercity trains are more limited in the US compared to Europe.
Via Intercity Coach
The largest intercity coach service in the US is the Greyhound Lines which operates 24/7. Aside from the single journey pass that they offer, they also provide Discovery Pass. Discovery Pass covers unlimited travel for a certain period of time. It may cover 7, 15, 30 or 60 days of unlimited travel. For those cities that have heavy commuter traffic, such as New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Newark; there are several discount bus lines that you can try for less than $20.
To make the most of this best vacation destination, you can get around the US via a car. Although gas is undeniably costly, you may still find driving the most convenient and cheapest way to travel around. However, there are certain cities that will frustrate you due to confusing street systems, aggressive drivers and bad traffic. These cities include New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
Health and Safety
So far, unlike other regions in the world, the US doesn’t require any vaccinations when you enter their premises. But you have to make sure that prior to your travel, you are fit and healthy to tour and get around. Travel Health Connect mentions that protecting yourself against infectious diseases before you go on a trip is an important first step in travel health. It’s equally important to be prepared for everyday medical needs and minor injuries while you’re away. Take note that America’s health provisions are of a good standard so it’s really expensive to make a trip to the hospital for a check-up or a doctor’s appointment.
For minor health conditions like cough and colds, you can go to a walk-in health clinic. This kind of facility offers inexpensive treatment for the said minor condition.
The national drugstore chains in the US are the Rite-Aid, Walgreens, and CVS. You can find a 24-hour pharmacy or drugstore in larger cities while in smaller communities, drugstores are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
In case you need assistance from the police, don’t hesitate to ask for help or approach an officer. The police officers in the US are friendly, accommodating and helpful. Due to its heightened security measures, tourist spots in the US are generally safe but of course, pickpocketing is rampant in those areas. Always be vigilant and stay alert wherever you are.
Use of Cash and Cards
ATMs or cash machines are present at convenience stores, banks, pharmacies and drugstores, and shopping malls. Expect a fee whenever you make any transactions using the ATM. Transaction fees also vary per location in the US. It’s best to ask your local bank about their withdrawal policy outside or your country.
For credit cards, all major cards are accepted anywhere in the US such as MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.