Essential tips to know while travelling to the USA
The United States of America is a popular destination in the world for holidaymakers and wanderlusts. With an amalgam of the rich cultural mix, fascinating tourist attractions, eclectic culinary, art
and entertainment scene and dynamic global cities, USA is a dream destination that everyone imagines to visit at least once in their lifetime.
For a first time tourist, travelling to the United States of America could feel very intimidating. Sorting out what type of USA tourist visa requirements are needed and planning where to go, what to see and what to expect can make one jittery and excited at the same time. However, getting to know about the destination prior to travelling to the USA helps a lot in making your journey less stressful. Here are few pointers to keep in mind to help you have a hassle-free trip to the USA.
The USA is big, so plan accordingly
The United States of America is a sprawling country which ranks as the third largest country in the world with a total area of 3.8 million square miles. Even a city like New York would take around 3 days to visit its popular landmarks and points of interests.
So, while planning travelling to the USA, it would be wise to shortlist which regions you wish to see and take the distance to be travelled in consideration while charting out an itinerary. You could stick to either east coast or west coast regions for your first US holiday and explore prominent places like New York, Florida, Washington DC in the East and Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco in the West coast of America.
You can even combine these cities together for an exciting East and West USA holiday trip which would take approximately 12 days to complete.
But don’t limit your travelling to the USA to popular cities.
While USA is popular for its charismatic cities, there is so much more to explore beyond New York, Las Vegas, and Log Angeles. This colossal country has 50 states that include breathtaking places like Alaska and Hawaii. So don’t plan your entire trip on US cities. Mix and match it with a variety of other US attractions. For instance, USA has a myriad of natural landscapes preserved as National Parks which are a great way to explore USA’s pristine wilderness. Add a couple of National Parks like Yellow Stone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park or Yosemite National Park along with your favourite USA cities and you have a fantastic plan to travelling to the USA that covers nature, adventure and city life of America.
However, it is not obligatory that you have to visit the Statue of Liberty or the Niagara Falls on your first travelling to the USA. If you feel that these places are clichéd, then, by all means, turn your focus to tropical beaches of Hawaii or the icy blue glaciers of Alaska which will give you an extraordinary way of experiencing USA.
Take the weather and time into consideration before travelling to the USA.
The USA has 9 different time zones extending from east coast to west coast. It means that the time in Hawaii and time in New York would have a vast difference of about 6 hours. The USA also observes daylight saving time which can affect the working hours of tourist attraction and restaurant operating hours. The weather too varies widely from one direction to another. USA’s topography is vast and diverse, thus leading to a tropical climate in Hawaii, Mediterranean climate in Californian Coast, frigid snow in Alaska, and hottest climate in Southwest regions of USA. So it is recommended to check the weather conditions and time zone of the US destinations you will be travelling to during your trip.
The measurement system in US is different from rest of the world
While the whole world uses the metric system of measurements, USA along with Liberia and Myanmar follows otherwise. You may have to get used to Fahrenheit to find out the temperature and convert kilos into pounds and miles while referring to weight and distance. Liquids are measured in ounce, gallons and pints and 32 degrees in the USA mean it’s a freezing day. The lack of use of the metric system can become a bit annoying to follow, but you can always keep in mind few normal conversions that can come handy on your travelling to the USA, or keep a USA travel guide with you that has a conversion chart for basic necessities.
Travel and health insurance is very important
Not just for travelling to the USA, travel insurance is absolutely important for any travel plan. Travel insurance will aid you in times of emergency and protect you from insufficient financial crunch during your travel period. USA has one of the best healthcare facilities in the world, but it is also quite expensive. In case of any accident or medical crisis, you will end up being charged an exorbitant amount of medical fees if you do not have a valid travel and health insurance with you on your trip.
Tipping generously is a norm in America
Tipping in USA is highly expected. It is obligatory not just in restaurants, but for all kinds of services such as housekeeping services, valet parking, and porters. Usually, 15 to 20% of the bill charged is given as tip in a restaurant. Airport and hotel porters expect around 2 USD per baggage and taxi drivers are given 10 to 15% of the fare. If you are not at all satisfied with the service, then you can opt out of tipping for that particular service.
Legal system differ from region to region in America
An important thing to know before you travel to USA is that law in USA varies from state to state. What is legal in one state may not be in another US state. This also includes traffic rules, speed limit, and drinking age limit to name a few. Hence it is important to brush up on basic laws of the US states you are visiting to avoid any kind of trouble. Airport security is taken very seriously in USA and the process can seem quite intimidating. To avoid any hassles, carry all your photographic IDs, passport, and necessary documents, answer courteously to questions asked, be cooperative and don’t argue with anyone in a uniform.
We hope these tips will help you plan a travelling to the USA
If you think of additional tips, please share them in the comments!