America is one of the major dream destinations in the world for different reasons. Employment opportunities being an overwhelming attraction, tourism does not lag far behind. If you’re at a loss as to where to start looking for cheap flights to the US, this link here and here are good places to start.
Whatever your motivation, if travelling to USA in the near future, be sure to keep the following things in mind for a more pleasant, comfortable stay with Uncle Sam.
For most of the world, the visa fee is a non-refundable $160. Acquiring a visa will also require a face-to-face interview at a US embassy in your home country to determine if you a potential “immigrant”. Being refused a visa for travelling to USA is a common fate, especially for non-Western countries, and especially if you have no marital or work ties to your home country. So be sure to do your homework properly and be at your most convincing best.
Visa Waiver Program
Some countries are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, allowing up to 90-days of visa free stay in the US over a period of two years. Most of these countries are European countries or small oceanic island countries. The only ones eligible from Asia are Taiwan and Singapore. This program is only applicable for tourism or business purposes, and not for students (even if you’re enrolled in a short summer course). For others travelling to USA, you have to get a visa via the normal route
Jokes Are Taken Seriously
Airport security procedure in the US can be long and tedious. Do not make the mistake of cracking some jokes with the officials to break the monotony. Even the most flippant remarks about a bomb can turn your boring security check into an even longer and more tedious nightmare. Best to suffer the queues in silence for the pleasantest way out.
Body Scan Not Compulsory
Before you get too excited, this does not mean you can escape being subjected to security check. It simply means that if you want to avoid the x-ray body scan for health reasons, you can request for a pat down instead. Be prepared though for a thorough and intrusive check by the security personnel.
Food Items Need To Be Declared
You cannot carry items originating from places where the US has imposed sanctions, like Cuba or Sudan. You also cannot carry raw meats and agricultural produce when travelling to USA. However, pre-packaged or processed food like chips, cheese, cookies etc. are allowed. Regardless of how inane your food possessions, you have to declare them all to the security officials. In most cases, it will simply be a formality.
No Restrictions On Cash When Travelling To USA
You can carry cash with you without restrictions. However, anything more than $10,000 needs to be declared in a separate form at immigration.
Beware of US Traffic Rules
Once you exit the airport, keep in mind that traffic in the US moves in the right lane. This is unlike say in Britain, where the norm is to be on the left. Be careful when crossing the roads and hailing taxis.
Tipping Is Expected
USA is unlike many other countries, where hospitality expects nothing in return. Most low level jobs in the US assume that a large bulk of their income will come from generous tips. This includes waitresses, doormen, bus conductors, taxis, tour guides etc. Make sure to carry many single dollar bills with you when travelling to USA. You will find many occasions where tipping will be expected.
Public Transport is Non-Existent
Apart from the few big cities like Chicago and New York and may be Los Angeles, there is no system of public transport in the US. Most people drive their big, gas-guzzling trucks that the US is so notorious for. Kids in the interiors learn to drive as early as 12 years of age.
That’s why if you want to sample the true taste of America and travel far and wide on your trip, it’s best to go as part of a tour. Check out some reviews we did of some of the best USA Tours. And luckily for you, we organize custom-made tours and itineraries to your specifications! This way you can have fun planning your trip to America and leave all the hassle of booking it to us!
If you prefer group tours, you can also consider booking USA Tour Packages.