There are many reasons why you might want to travel to the USA, whether you are a foodie looking to try new and delicious dishes or an explorer on the lookout for adventure. As travel restrictions begin to ease, it seems as though your travel dreams can start to become a reality!
Planning the perfect vacation can be difficult – especially when there are so many possibilities and opportunities available. With that in mind, here are my top USA travel tips so you can plan a smooth adventure.
How to Start?: Decide exactly which states, cities, or towns you want to visit. While this decision may seem impossible for those who want to see everything – you can narrow down your choice by thinking carefully about the kind of experience you are looking for. For example, if you want to go hiking and take in natural scenery, you should consider planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Alternatively, if you want to experience city life, consider a trip to New York.
Match your Interests: Ensure that your travel plans – from the accommodation you select to the activities you participate in- reflect your interests and hobbies. For example, you don’t have to visit a certain landmark or location just because it is famous, especially if it holds little interest for you. If you were planning an American Road Trip you could forgo the traditional destinations and pit stops in favor of things that are of greater interest to you. For instance, you could set out on a haunted road trip instead – if you don’t mind the company of a few ghosts and spirits along the way!
Make your Budget- Once you have decided which area(s) you are going to visit, it’s time to put together a budget. Write down a list of everything you need to pay for – from flights to gas to travel insurance, as this will give you an idea of the minimum amount of money you can expect to spend on your travels. Then, it’s time to start saving!
Remember that you also need to factor the costs of activities and attractions into your overall budget. This can often be rather expensive. Keep an eye out for any deals advertised, and book early wherever possible. You should also look out for free attractions and things to do in each location.
Save Money-Apply for your ESTA ahead of time. This is a legal alternative to a VISA that allows you to stay in the US for business or tourism periods for up to 90 days. To find out more, and begin the application process, visit Esta America.
Pay for your flights as soon as possible, as many airlines offer significant discounts on ticket prices when they are booked in advance. Try to check out a few websites before you book to ensure you are getting the best possible deal. Alternatively, you can use websites such as Skyscanner to compare prices across different airlines. Try to be as flexible as possible when booking your flights. For example, evening flights tend to be less popular, but are often quite a bit cheaper.
If you’re looking to save money, try to stay in hostels as opposed to hotels. They are often far cheaper and allow for a more authentic travel experience. They also give you the chance to connect with other travels – giving you the opportunity to make lifelong friends.
When dining out, try to avoid the typical tourist traps or chain restaurants (even if they serve your favorite dishes). Instead, try to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, favoring local restaurants. This is a great way to support a small business and try something new and delicious at the same time!
Keep Organized- Put together an itinerary by writing down a list of everything you want to see or do during your travels. While you will not have to abide by it 100%, having a rough guide can help you make the most of every single second of your trip. If traveling as a group, take it in turns to decide what you do each day so that everyone has a chance to take control. I personally love making a custom Google Map, where I pin all the places I’d like to see. I also keep track of a detailed schedule using “Google Sheets”- but do whatever works best for you!
Packing- Ensure that you have all of the essential travel gear you’ll need on hand ahead of time. For example, while you may be storing the bulk of your belongings in your suitcase, you should also ensure you have access to a sturdy backpack for day trips. Furthermore, you should always ensure you have a portable charger with you.
Travel Insurance– Though it may seem like an unnecessary expense, travel insurance can protect you financially in the case of an emergency, whether you require medical attention or your plane is canceled. This means that you really shouldn’t set out without it. Thankfully, there are plenty of deals available online – meaning that you can find a package that works for you without breaking the bank. After being robbed, having flights cancelled and unexpectedly needing to spend multiple days in a city, I now will never travel again without it. I personally always find a plan using www.travelinsurance.com.
Stay Connected- While life back at home may be the last thing you want to think about during your travels, you must check in with your family from time to time. You should also arrange for a trusted friend or family member to take care of your property in your absence. If you’re road-tripping in a remote destination, investing in a portable WiFi hotspot is always a good idea!
New Experiences- Push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try something new each day. After all, traveling is all about making memories that last a lifetime. You don’t want to return home with any regrets! For example, if you’ve always wanted to skydive but have a few reservations, it might be time to take the plunge! While you may want to try and live in the moment as much as possible, don’t forget to snap a few pictures here and there. This is a great way to make memories last forever, and the photographs you take will look great in scrapbooks and photo albums.