“Welcome to the land of fame excess, Whoa, am I gonna fit in?” sings worldwide known singer Miley Cyrus about her homeland. Today we will take a fascinating trip to the United States of America, the land of freedom and justice as some Americans call it. Tourism industry evolving strongly over the past decade has resulted in a dramatically increasing number of visitors. Interestingly enough, the tendency can be applied not only to larger or well-developed but to all 50 states of America with every state offering the best to their adventurers. For example, in Alaska, which is one of the most isolated states, you can go for breath-taking hiking or visit picturesque waterfalls. Or if you prefer hotter climate and partying, then Florida’s offers for tourists were made just for you! In short, as you could have guessed from my examples, the size of the USA is a large contributor to its tourism diversity. However, in this article, we will be discussing 15 things that you should consider while travelling to the USA.
- Valid passport
Most passengers going to the United States would need to have a period of at least six months on their passport. Still, citizens from certain countries (the list is available on government websites) also require only a temporary passport for the duration of their stay.
Worth to mention that, in case of expiry of your passport during your trip to the USA, you should pay a visit to your country’s embassy or consulate in the US.
- Visa requirements
After checking that you meet the initial criteria, it is a perfect time to solve the visa issue. Let’s start with saying that for some country’s residents, there is no need to worry about visa and their countries participate in the visa waiver program. Many European and Scandinavian countries, as well as Australian, New Zealand, Japanese and South Korean residents, are eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme.
Unfortunately, still, a lot of nationals need a visa for entrance and as we all know, sometimes getting a visa on time while planning your trip might be quite exhausting. However, pickvisa.com got you covered. Pickvisa is an online platform offering visa services to every country in the world, including US visa.
- Prices are actually higher than they are displayed
When it comes to buying products and services in the US, the price isn’t necessarily what it looks like from the first sight. This is because most of the prices you’ll see exclude sales tax, so expect the cashier to necessarily involve a relatively higher price when you arrive at the cash register to pay. As taxation can vary from state to state, it is fair to expect an increase to the overall expense of at least 10 per cent.
- Be careful
In most cities, whichever country you are travelling to, there are usually suburban areas you should be trying to avoid at all costs. Besides, often the difference between a nice, hospitable area and unsafe neighbourhood will vary only by just one block. But on top, much like Europe, the US is free to visit. There is no reason why you would not come here.
- The United States is huge
As I have already mentioned, the USA consists of 50 states, and each state has its legislature and its own bylaws. Moreover, every state is further split into counties, and each county has several special bylaws, as well. Each of these regions has differing geographical features, the Northeast part of the country, for example, is known for its rugged coastlines. Meanwhile, the Midwest region is mostly synonymous with vast trees, grassy plains, and sprawling lakes. So according to your expectations, you can pick the state(s) you want to visit or in case you don’t want to choose, you can also make a road trip uniting several states at once.
- Do not forget to tip!
Especially over the past decades, tipping has become a common practice all around the world, and the US is no different. Attendants in restaurants, casinos, malls, bars US service providers receive roughly 10-20 per cent tips on any service they provide. However, in case you are paying at the counter, then you should tip the waiter who served you first before going to pay the check.
- Cars everywhere
The American public transportation network is not too bad, but it can also be quite restricting. About every family in the United States owns a car, and you too can expect to rent one on arrival. However, there are other options, as well. Install the Uber and Lyft software, and get a conveniently priced trip in most of America’s major cities. Uber drivers tend to have more nice cars, and sometimes food and/or drinks are offered. So, for more talkative passengers, Lyft seems to get a little better. You can also try to get around Bolt Bus serves a smaller range – they are mainly on the West Coast and the Northeast – but the buses are super-efficient, fast and have spacious seating.
- National and State Parks
While America is famous for its dense, buzzing cities, the country also boasts a very impressive array of national parks. Today, 62 United States national parks host more than 300 million visitors a year to rare natural wonders and spectacular terrains. According to visitors, these are the top 3 national parks: Yosemite park – the most visited national park in California stands out with its bevvy of spectacular waterfalls like Vernal Drop and Bridalveil Drop. Yellowstone – although if Yellowstone did not bear the remarkable reputation of being the first national park in the country, the 2.2 million-acre park might comfortably stand alone. And last but not least, Glacier National Park – this national park, which spans 2 mountain ranges and comprises about 700 lakes across Montana, is defined by water and mountains.
- Food while travelling
At rock bottom costs, Walmart is just the place to go for anything and anything you need. From food stores to camping equipment and shoes, and electronics, and everything in between. Also, they have a nice deal on returns. However, some people would argue about the quality of products sold in Walmart. In that case, I would strongly advise you to visit Target, which is far better according to locals.
- Festivals in the USA
While many people visit the USA to enjoy the major cities or the magnificent parks, America’s festivals are a huge part of what makes the country so special and certainly worth attending.
Such festivals will give you tonnes of pictures for your Instagram feed, memories of a lifetime and you will get to know more about the country’s art, history, heritage and especially music if you are going to visit music festivals which are widely spread all around America. My favourite American festival would definitely be Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza is an annual four-day music festival held at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, established in 1991 and since then spread to other countries. I can assure you that you will surely find a festival to attend no matter when or where you’re in the USA.
- Expensive healthcare
Although travel insurance is a must on any trip abroad, when it comes to America, it is utterly essential. The health systems of the world are highly costly, so you may ask whether you still need medical care or whether you should tough it out. Apparently, health costs are also the primary reason for the bankruptcy of Americans. I hope you won’t need any medical help; however, it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Age restriction for alcohol differs
In the USA, you need to be 21 in order to be able to buy alcohol. However, interestingly enough, you should be just 18 to join in the military, smoke cigarettes, and vote, however, you can’t legally drink alcohol unless you’re 21. There are also strict regulations when it comes to alcohol in the states, too. For buying alcohol at a supermarket or drink it in a restaurant or pub, you’ll need to display ID that has your age written on it.
- What to eat in the USA?
Now that we talked about drinking in States, it is about time we discuss American food. The most famous American desert is undoubtedly apple pie. The simple mixture of sugar, buttery pastry and sweet sliced apples produces a cake so exceptional that people always keep coming for more slices. Texas Barbecue is another dish all Americans are very proud of. Mesquite smoked meats, and rubbish are growing obsessions of BBQ lovers. Also, do not forget to visit the Dallas Farmers Market for excellent brisket.
- New York City
No matter which cities you are planning to visit, don’t forget that NYC is a beating heart of America, it is that American dream that everyone keeps on talking non-stop. American landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square are on the first-time list of visitors, but they are only a handful of New York City’s sights to see.
- Everything, specifically, food is so big
Americans enjoy it. Cars are huge, houses are huge, malls are enormous, and most importantly the USA is big! And yes, all of America’s meals are large compared with the typical portions of meals of most other nations. Large food servings in the USA were born out of need, along with the emergence of the iconic American icon: the western, and with food styles that are very high in calories.