Here’s How to Plan a Holiday to the USA in 9 Steps!
The USA is a giant of sorts. Many people across the world have a part of the USA on their bucket list — from New York to Miami to Los Angeles and Houston. The USA is a fascinating country and if you are going to travel there, you need to be informed. Here’s how to go about planning your holiday to the USA.
Decide where to go:
The United States occupies a third of a whole continent which makes it one of the largest countries in the world. New York is on the opposite end of California and is at least 6 hours away when flying. There are also six time zones across the entire country. So, you need to know where you plan to visit so you can plan accordingly. This also makes the country appealing to everyone. There are mountains, valleys, caves, oceans, lakes, cities, villages, small towns and farm lands. There is something in the States for everyone and you need to be clear on what kind of destination you are looking for.
2. Apply for your visa:
The USA has a relatively straightforward visa application process (despite the stories you might have heard). A lot of people complain about how long the interview day is and how many details are required of applicants but if you can follow through with instructions, you should be just fine. It is important to apply for your visa 3 or more months in advance because sometimes, interview slots are filled up for weeks!
3. Book your flights:
Flying across the world does not have to cost and arm and a leg. Believe it, you can book cheap flights to USA. It is important to know the city you are visiting and the airport that is closest to that city. Some cities have two or three airports so take note of the one that is closest or more accessible to where you will be staying. You’ll find some of the best flight deals on Travelstart.
4. Check the Weather:
Don’t get to Denver in the middle of January and be surprised that the side of the road is covered in 4 feet of snow. Check the weather forecast for the place(s) you will be visiting. Check the typical weather at that time of the year and then a week to your trip, know what to expect: Sun, snow, rain, hail or all four in one day. Then, pack your bags accordingly.
5. Know the laws:
You might have been able to drink in your country since you were 18 but in the USA, the drinking age is 21. Get used to the laws that might be different from yours (especially if you plan to drive) and plan to stick to them so that you do not get into legal trouble on your all-special ‘American’ trip. Special laws to learn about: discrimination, work and residence, drinking and drugs.
6. Discover How to get Around:
Some cities in the USA have impeccable bus transportation systems while others are hard to navigate with public transportation. In this case, you may need to rent a car. Find out before you arrive whether you will need to rent a car or whether you can get around by bus. If you are in a city, you can also make use of Uber. Know before you go. Note: most US car rental companies will rent a car to anyone with a valid driver’s license.
7. Get Used to Tipping:
The practice of tipping is embedded in the culture of the States. When you visit a restaurant, it is customary to tip the servers between 8 and 10 percent of the total value of the meal.Waiters work their best to earn a tip and it is considered rude not to tip. It is also customary to reduce or increase the tip depending on how exceptionally bad or good the service was. This tipping culture extends to most people providing a service: taxi drivers, bellmen, valets, tour guides, etc.
8. Call your Bank:
The USA runs a largely cashless society, which means that you can almost always get by on your credit or debit card. As a traveller, it is wise to have cash with you for that one taxi driver who only takes cash or that one Chinese restaurant that doesn’t accept cards. Nonetheless, with money on your card, you are good to go! So, call your bank and let them know that you are travelling so they do not block your card for unusual activity.
9. Open Up Your Mind:
When visiting a new country, it is important to rid yourself of bloated stereotypes and experience the country for yourself. Try new foods, be alert and vigilant, pay attention to cultural nuances, etc. For example: don’t hug people when everyone else is offering a handshake. The USA is filled with people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe so you’ll find a lot of diversity. Respect this diversity so you can truly enjoy the country for what it is.
Have you been to the USA? Leave a comment to share your travel experiences to the States.
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Also published on Medium.