7 things you need to know before visiting the US
Are you planning an epic trip to the good old USA post covid? When the world opens up fully to international travel, there is no denying that millions of people will be making the most of it and booking all those holidays they have missed out on in recent years.
Before you pay that deposit, what do you need to know about visiting America? Are there ways to save money in the US or avoid hidden charges?
Pay attention to the paperwork
A necessary evil in travelling is making sure you have the right visa to enter the country. Pay attention to the type of visa and documentation you will need, especially if you will be working during your trip. At a minimum, you will need a US visa; visit ESTA America to get your electronic visa easily so you know you can enter once you arrive at your destination.
Plan your visit
America is not only huge, but it is undeniably a massive tourist destination. If you are going to the more tourist-centric destinations, you will want to plan your trip carefully ahead of time. Things to consider include visiting during peak season, American school term times, weather systems, and logistics to visit more than one place. Remember, some states are so vast it can take more than a full day to cover. The most minimal journey from one side of Florida to another is around 8 hours; this isn't accounting for heavy traffic either. Check whether you can drive with a UK licence in the US.
Americans are friendly
This is something many Brits struggle with, but one of the best things about American hospitality is the friendliness of the people. Use this in your favour to find out handy tips for during your trip. The best places to eat, visit, and times of the day to head to busier parts of the local area can all be gleaned by striking up conversations with locals.
Using your card in America can be a bit of a minefield, and different banks and credit cards have different rules and charges in place for international usage. For example, check you are familiar with fees for withdrawing money in the States as you can be hit with some hefty charges.
Most things for sale in the US are priced, excluding the tax. This means the price you pay at the till isn't the price displayed on the shelves, and this can be tricky to work out if you aren't familiar. If you are aware of this, it can save a lot of confusion when you pay and make things easier for everyone.
You need travel insurance
Most people know that the American healthcare system doesn't work like the NHS. Medical care isn't free at the point of use like in the UK, so making sure you have appropriate travel insurance can avoid landing you with a huge bill for medical treatment should you need it.
Tipping is a big culture in the US, and many servers rely on their tips to support their wages. Tipping is expected in all restaurants and for delivery services for fast food and restaurants. You are expected to leave at least 10% depending on your party size and spend. So factor this into your budget before you go. Much like the tax on store-bought goods increases your spending, so does tipping too.