Other then of course your tickets, money and your passport you need so much more when you’re traveling. Your essential USA travel checklist can be found here together with the 5 Things to know before you travel to America.
Because I’m traveling to America within a couple of weeks, I thought I would share my tips and tricks to help make your travels go a lot safer and smoother. America is one of the busiest and most popular destinations to travellers so hopefully you’ll find our tips helpful.
Passport | 1
Is your passport up to date? Is one of the questions you have to ask. If your European, your first answer will be yes. But think twice, because for most travellers that are hitting the States your passports validity should be at least 6 months. But, for every citizen this is different so make sure to double-check this. Also, reserve some time if you need a new passport, unfortunately this takes a lot of time (usually more then 5 workdays).
ESTA or VISA | 2
Especially for my European readers, this is a must read. Because for most countries outside Europe you’ll need a visa or ESTA. For some countries it is possible to arrange everything online or of the airport of your destination.
So first things first, what is a visa? A visa is an official document that you need to enter and stay in a country for a limited or unlimited time. This can be in the form of a document, stamp or a sticker in your passport.
VISA OR ESTA?
If you want to travel to America like me you’ll need an ESTA. So if you’re hitting The States for work, transfer or a well deserved vacation an ESTA is always required. If you don’t have an ESTA you’ll be refused at the airpot. This also is a requirement for minor children. Applying for an ESTA can be done online so you don’t need to visit the American consulate. This makes, especially money-wise much more interesting of getting an ESTA then a visa. You can apply for a ESTA 24 hours a day and by using a digital form which will only take you about five minutes.
After granting, your ESTA is valid for two years and from this moment you can go on as many trips to America as you want. Each stay can last with a maximum of 90 days in a row. Also traveling to the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada is one of the options.
4 Rules you should know before applying
1. You have to be able to prove that your planning to leave the US by provided the return ticket.
2. You need a ESTA also for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, The Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
3. People that appear to be a threat to the security or public order can be at any given state being banned by Homeland Security.
4. If you have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya or Somalia after March 2011 or have that nationality cannot apply for an ESTA.
There are many ways to apply for a ESTA, either on the official website of the American Government or at other professional via agencies like for example VisumBuitenland.nl which will support you in your journey. They check your application manually and if there are errors they will contact you as soon as possible and guide you through the progress which I can highly recommend if you want a hassle free trip.
Pack like a pro | 3
Still something we have to master ourselves, packing like a pro. But we’re getting there. Soon we will write a guide on what to pack on trips, because that’s one of the most asked questions. One of the best tips there is, is rolling your clothes. Especially if you pack light fabrics that easily fold this is the best way. It will also save you space and time. Other things we’re a big fan of are packing bags. If you travel to the US also make sure to buy a TSA-approved lock. Also make sure to buy a power strip which will come in handy in many countries and hotel rooms with only one or two outlets. Buying one of those is a must on this 5 Things to know before you travel to America list.
Vaccinations, insureance, medication | 4
Make sure to pack your medication, if your using it and make sure to take extra just incase something happens with it. Also make sure your insurance is up to date and aware of your future travel plans. This is something very boring to do, but can save you a lot of time and money if something happens. Also for some regions you could need vaccinations, make sure you check this with your local doctor.
Getting around, (prepare, eat, sleep, repeat) | 5
Download apps like Google Maps & Translating apps. If your not speaking the language or visiting a place for the first time these are essentials. Use the option Lens to translate signs, menus and other things you need translated. Always read in the culture and make sure you’re aware of the basic things you need to know.
If you have any questions about this article ‘5 Things to know before you travel to America’ or have some things to add, feel free to comment down below. If you want to know more about our travelplans, read more here.