Things to Know Before Visiting the United States

Traveling to the United States for the first time can feel intimidating. The American culture and the people can frighten a first-time traveler. But, this country hosts countless treasures and attractions that draw people from different parts of the world. The United States has diverse landscapes and amazing picturesque. Its concrete jungles and iconic attractions make it the place to go on an unforgettable trip. Nevertheless, there are things you should know before you travel to the United States for the first time. Here are some of them. 

The United States is Diverse and Big 

You will need around five and a half hours to fly from California to New York or three hours to fly from Boston to Miami. And, because most tourist sights and major cities are located along the coasts, you have to choose the place to see. Ideally, you can’t take two weeks or two months to travel the entire United States. 

Places like Seattle and Dallas are located miles away from each other. Similarly, their personalities are different. People know the Pacific Northwest for happy vibes. Texas and the South are known for being fairly Christian and conservative. Northeasterners are considered pushy and mostly in a hurry. Most people see Los Angeles as being laid back. This is the place where people are always running late. 

The climate is also diverse. Therefore, asking about the United States weather is useless. For instance, Phoenix can have 90 degrees Fahrenheit while it’s snowing at the same time in Detroit. 

You Will Be Expected To Tip 

Tipping is voluntary. However, the minimum wages of the wait staff in America is lower than what you may consider normal. It’s generally expected that the wait staff will always make up this difference in the tips they get from visitors. As such, tipping is an unofficial rule in the United States. When you eat out, you are expected to tip 15 to 20% of the price of your food. 

Before you give a tip, check the bill to ensure that it was not already included. This is particularly important when dining with a minimum of six people. It’s also crucial to note that you don’t tip the restaurant wait staff only. You are expected to tip bartenders, hotel housekeepers, and taxi drivers too. Therefore, add tips to your budget when traveling to the United States. 

Be Ready To Pay More than What Is Displayed 

When buying goods or hiring services in the United States, know that the price is not always what is displayed. That’s because the majority of the displayed prices do not include sales tax. Therefore, when you go to pay at the counter, the cashier will require you to pay a higher price. And, because tax varies from one state to another, expect to pay a minimum of 10% more than the displayed price. This is also the case for accommodation because the resort fees are added to what is advertised. 

You Need a U.S VISA 

It’s important to know the requirements for foreign travelers to enter the U.S. If you apply for the wrong tourists’ visa or even show up without the right documents, you will be denied entry into the U.S.

Some travelers qualify for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This is a travel authorization that is processed via a Visa Waiver Program permitting people to travel to the United States without a visa. It’s important to know the requirements for ESTA application before you travel to the U.S. Citizens of member countries like Japan, Australia, and most European countries can qualify for ESTA. The application process is easy because filling out an online form takes about 20 minutes. ESTA is valid for two years upon approval and it allows you to travel to the U.S severally. 

Travel Insurance is Important 

Travel insurance is very important, especially when traveling overseas. Health services in the United States are extremely expensive for most people. Every year, many citizens of the U.S file for bankruptcy because of medical debt. Using an ambulance in the U.S can cost you more than $2,700. An emergency room visit can cost you between $200 and $3,000 depending on the condition. To save money and enjoy your trip, invest in good travel insurance. 

The United States is a unique travel destination. It has iconic cities and diverse landscapes that make people want to extend their vacations. But, before you travel to the U.S, there are things you should know to make your trip enjoyable and memorable. Conducting extensive research, finding an ESTA questions list, applying for ESTA, planning, and budgeting your trip are all important aspects of planning a trip to the U.S. Also know what to expect when you travel to the U.S to avoid culture shock. Once in the United States, focus on enjoying every minute you spend in this country to maximize your overall travel experience. 

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