8 Tips For A Smooth First Trip To The States

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Broadway in New York
Broadway in New York City

Everyone knows that the United States is one of the best destinations to visit. After all, it’s exciting, it’s diverse, it’s big, and it effectively offers a little bit of everything. But of course, it’s not necessarily the easiest place to visit. You can take a weekend trip to, say, Prague, without much difficulty. It’s cheap, and you can just figure out the bulk of your trip when you’re there. But if you’re going to visit America, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind if you’re going to get the most from your travels.

In this blog, we’re going to run through some useful tips that’ll help to make your trip as smooth – and fun – as possible.

Plan well ahead

No one takes a last-minute trip to the United States. You could do it, but you’d be decreasing the likelihood of it being a perfect trip and if it was your first trip across the Atlantic, then there’s a big chance that you’d get something wrong. As such, it’s much better to plan well ahead. You’ll find that you’re able to get everything that you want from your travels if you’ve spent plenty of time ironing out your trip so that it ticks all the boxes. Plus, this type of planning isn’t a chore, it’s quite the opposite in fact, and can be fun and will help to build excitement.

Booking flights

Again, if you were travelling to Prague, then the flight aspect of your trip would be pretty smooth. You’d find direct flights from all across the UK. But when you’re travelling a long distance, like to America, then you’ll need to think a little more carefully about the flights that you take. You should try to find the balance between speed and affordability. You might find a very cheap flight, but if it involves multiple layovers, then it’s probably not worthwhile. Also, keep in mind the time difference. At a minimum, there’ll be a 5 hour time difference, but it could be more. You’ll find your trip gets off to a smoother start if you’re not arriving super late at night.

Grand Canyon in the United States
Grand Canyon in Arizona

Take care of logistics

British people are used to just arriving at a destination, flashing their passport, and heading through immigration without an issue. But that’s not the case with the United States. While it’s highly likely that you’ll pass through immigration control without any issue, that’ll only be the case if you’ve applied for and received your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before you board your flight. You can visit this site to learn everything you need to know about the ESTA process, including eligibility and how to apply. You won’t be admitted into the United States if you don’t have your ESTA, so make sure you take care of it as soon as you can.

Where to go

Part of the fun of visiting the United States is that it’s just so big, and that means that there are plenty of fantastic places that you can visit. Alas, this can also make things a little difficult. With so many options on the table, how will you be able to choose? Unless you’ve got plenty of time, and the means to travel from one place to another, then you’ll need to narrow down your options. Of course, you’ll likely already have a destination in mind. Perhaps you want to see New York or to explore the Deep South. If you don’t have a particular destination in mind, then think about the type of place you want to see. Are you after a big city or a natural area? Are you after an Americana experience or a more cosmopolitan place? Once you’ve gotten these answers, you’ll be on your way to finding the right place.

When to go

It’s not just about where you go, but when you go. Let’s say you were visiting New York, for example. Your experience would be very different if you were going in January versus if you were going in June. You’d pay less money if you were going in January, but you’d have fewer things to do. Before you decide to visit a place, investigate what it’s like during the period you want to visit. This means looking at how busy the destination will be, whether it’ll be more expensive, the weather, things like that.

Siesta Key, Florida
Siesta Key Beach in Florida

The length of the trip

Your experience will be influenced by how long you go for, too. If it’s not long enough, then you might not have enough time to get over the jet lag and really get to know the country. If it’s too long, then you might end up paying a lot more than you want to pay. But of course, if you want to explore different areas, then you’ll need more time, otherwise you might end up feeling like you’re just blitzing through the sites.

Understanding cultural differences

Even people that have never been to the United States can think that they understand it, all because of what they’ve seen in movies and television. But of course, this isn’t the case. Hollywood only shows a specific side of America. When you’re there, you’ll find that it can be a lot different to how it’s presented on screen. So prepare yourself for that. Also, it’s worthwhile looking up some cultural differences. Things will go smoother for you if you know that you’re expected to tip virtually everyone for instance.

Adventure mode

Finally, remember that you’ll get the most from your trip to the states – actually, the most from a trip anywhere – if you’re travelling with adventure set to ‘go.’ America is known for being one of the most exciting destinations on earth, but it won’t always be put on a plate for you. You may have to seek it out (this doesn’t apply if you’re in, say, Las Vegas, but will if you’re in, say, Michigan). If you travel with plenty of energy and spirit, then you’ll be happily rewarded by America.

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