Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vital Things You Must Remember if You are Travelling to the USA

The United State of America is a massively popular travel destination. A huge place with 50 states, you could visit Hawaii with is tropical climate, or check out the snow in Utah in the winter. But there are some constants that no matter where you decide to travel to in the USA that you need to remember. Read on to discover what they are and make sure that your trip is as enjoyable and as stress-free as possible.


The first thing that you need to realise is that American passport control is a lot stricter than other places in the world. This is partly due to safety concerns and partly due to immigration issues. That means that extra checks are often carried out when you arrive in the country.  So expect to wait for a reasonably long time before you get through passport control if you are an international traveller.

At passport control, they will check your documents, and make sure that you have a VISA or an ESTA. This is a document that acts as VISA waiver for travel in America for 90 days or less. You will only be eligible for an ESTA if your home country is in the scheme. You can find out more about this on sites like official-esta.com.

Expect to have your fingerprints taken when you enter the country as well. Have ever seen those border control TV shows? Then you'll know that anyone with a criminal record will be interviewed before being allowed access.

Sales Tax

Money is always an important issue when you are travelling. It's a good idea to have a budget and try to work to that as much as possible. So you don't run out of money by the end of the trip. This will allow you to get the most out of the whole time that you are there.

While many things such as clothes and electronics are known for being cheaper in America than in other places, you do need to also factor in sales tax. Sales tax is an amount that is added to your purchase at the till. This can make it tricky to predict exactly how much everything will cost.

The problem is that the tax differs from state to state, as do the price of similar items, so it can all get a bit confusing!

Driving and distance

Something else that you need to be aware of when travelling in the USA is the driving. They drive on the left-hand side of the road, so if you are coming from countries like England, this can be something that you need to get used to.

It's also worth mentioning that a small distance to drive in the US is not what most others countries consider the same. As the US is such a physically large country, events that are regarded as local in some states may take a 2-3 hour car journey one way. It's always worth tapping them into your sat nav, so you know what you are letting yourself in for.

Don't Let Paperwork Plunder Your Holiday

You’re all set to travel the world. Or, so you think. In reality, you’ve probably got a lot more work to do before you can get yourself crossing borders. As threats increase worldwide, more and more documentation is required to travel. Of course, this is for our protection, but it’s still a pain. Due to the strict nature of flight, more people are missing their planes than ever before. This probably can be solved with some due diligence and work put in ahead of time.

Every country and airport is different, and so are their requirements. So this post will go through some of the common documentation that people fudge when they get to the airport. It’s always a good idea to do some of your own research, specific to your area.


As a bare minimum, you will need your passport to get on any flight that goes overseas. And, even for flights within the same country, a passport may be required. There are very few places in the world that you can enter without a passport. This makes this document essential.

Most people remember to take their passport to the airport; it’s the expiry date that usually catches people out. Most airports won’t let you travel with less than 3 months left on your passport. This is to stop people from being trapped overseas, among other reasons. Make sure that you check that your passport is both in date and has enough time left.


Depending on where you’re traveling to and from, you may need a visa. A visa is a document that proves that you’re allowed to travel to a country. The country that you’re going to will largely dictate the lengths that you go to in getting your visa. Some countries make you go through in-depth vetting processes, to make sure that you’re safe to enter their land.

The process of getting a visa can take several months, or even longer if there’s problems. To make your life a little bit easier, a lot of countries offer electronic visas nowadays. But, you’ll have to do your own research. It’s not too hard, though. Say you’re planning on going to Canada, just visit the official Canada ETA site. Most governments will openly provide resources to help you with most travel needs, including visas.


You need to know what you can and can’t take to a country that you’re visiting. And, you also need to know which items are restricted. A lot of items require declaration forms before they can be moved into a country. This usually depends on the quantity of an item. But, expensive or big ticket items may need declarations as well. If you don’t declare items that require it, you risk massive fines and even jail time.

Your Tickets

And, obviously, you need your tickets. But, be careful. A lot of companies will give you tickets that you can print out yourself. Unfortunately, not all airports will accept these. Do some research and obtain official boarding passes if you need to.

Once you’ve entered a country, there’s even more for you to worry about. Depending on here you go, you could be required to carry a host of different pieces of paperwork. Below, you’ll find a small selection of the items you may need.

Passport… Again!

Once you get checked in to the hotel, you’ll probably pop your passport in a safe or another safe place. This is sensible in most places, where you don’t need to carry a passport with you. But, in some countries, it’s advised that you carry your passport at all times.

It may be to prove that you’re not a spy or terrorist, or simply to show any authorities who you are. You need to research the country you’re going to and check the types of ID that police and governments will accept. Be careful carrying your passport. If it gets stolen or lost, it can be very costly to replace it in time to get home.

Other Identification

Sometimes, you’ll need to have other identification you with. That’s alright, though. You already know what sorts of identification will be accepted by the authorities. Just make sure to bring everything you need, even if it stays in the hotel room.

If you intend on hiring a car while on your trip, you’ll need your driving license. Some countries will require more; including insurance details and criminal record checks. You can usually talk to a car hire company at home to find out what restrictions you’ll face in other countries. Do some of your own research, as well. Just to back yourself up!

Health Cards/Insurance

Within certain areas of the world, you can get free or reduced price wherever you need it. If you come from an EU country, and you’re traveling to another EU territory, you can get a health card to cover any medical emergencies. This sort of scheme is important to be aware of; especially if you’re used to free healthcare. Even simple procedures, like a wound dressing, can cost a small fortune in other countries.

If you have health insurance that covers you overseas, you’ll need this information with you. For the same reasons as a healthcard, your insurance details are essential. If you’re unable to prove that you’re covered, you won’t receive inclusive care.

Travel Insurance Policy

If you’re traveling, you should have insurance. It covers you for medical care, legal issues, thefts and losses, and even the holiday itself. But, much like your health insurance, if you can’t prove you have it; you might as well not. Your policy will also include all of the information you need to get in contact with your provider. Your safety is their interest, and they’ll help you as much as they can.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to secure your travel documents. Do some research and look into the rules for any country you want to travel to. It’s not worth ruining your holiday over some forgotten paperwork!

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