Things You Should Know Before Travelling To The USA
Traveling to the USA is the dream. The rich history, the cultural diversity, the vast landmass, and the superpower status- everyone dreams of experiencing all these firsthand. But planning a trip to the US can be daunting. That is why we are here to help you plan an easy and hassle-free trip. Here are 8 things that you should know before hitting the states:
You must have a VISA
You have to apply for a US visa before packing your bags, lest you be turned back upon arrival. Research if you are eligible for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa so that you can save yourself the hassle of applying for a regular tourist visa. An ESTA visa allows you to explore the country for a maximum of 90 days. If you are eligible but you need to stay there for more than 90 days, you may have to apply for an appreciation U.S. visa.
The country is divided up into states and regions
You probably know this already, but we have to point out a few things that you might not know. The USA is made up of 50 states, and each state has its own government and bylaws. Each state is further divided into counties, with each county having a set of unique bylaws. You need to familiarize yourself with the bylaws that govern the states and counties that you intend to visit. While at it, it will help if you understand the federal laws that govern the country’s tourism sector.
Multiple counties combine to form regions – Northwest, Midwest, East Coast, West Coast, and so on. There aren’t regional governments, but each region is different from the other in terms of weather, culture, accents, slangs, and many other defining factors. The beaches in the West Coast (California) are different from the beaches in the East Coast (Florida). The Midwest is defined by forests while the North West is defined by mountain ranges. Ensure that you know the geographical and social characteristics of the region you are visiting.
The country has many awesome national parks
Over 84 million acres of the US total landmass is set aside for national parks. Some of the notable parks that you can add to your bucket list include Death Valley California, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, Mount McKinley in Denali National Park in Alaska, and Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Each park has its own unique features for you to discover.
There is a tipping etiquette to be followed
Tipping has become a norm all over the world, and the US isn’t any different. Attendants in restaurants, hotels, airports, bars, and literally all service providers in the US expect about 10-20% tip for every service they render. If you are paying at the counter, then you should tip the person who served you first before proceeding to pay. If you aren’t sure how much tip to give, just leave a $10 or a $20 on the table. There aren’t written rules when it comes to tipping.
Sales tax make you pay more for items
Almost everything you purchase will have a sales tax, so don’t get worked up when you are requested to pay more than the price tag indicated. Always expect to pay 10% more than the market price, although some states have sales taxes lower than 10%.
Not all neighborhoods are safe
The US is a relatively peaceful country. People here are hospitable and are always ready to help whenever you feel stuck or lost. However, like in any other country in the world, there are many dangerous neighborhoods in America. Enquire from the locals which suburbs are risky for tourists, especially if you are a lone traveler.
Forget the metric system
Unless you are from Myanmar or Liberia, brace yourself for a tough time converting feet to meters and kilograms to pounds.
The country is heavily reliant on cars
The public transport system in the US isn’t excessively bad, but it can be limiting. Almost every American household owns a car, so you too should plan on renting one upon landing.
The US will offer you unforgettable scenery and adventure. It is among the countries that have the most advanced cities, architecture, politics, history, and societies. There is freedom of speech here, so you don’t have to look over your shoulders all the time. Ensure that you make the most of this epic adventure. Before Travelling To The USA prepare yourself for adventure.
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“Lirika is a traveler, but her passion is to write. She loves spending time on her laptop and writing about things she is passionate about. She sometimes also writes a couple of pieces on probleme.me“.