For many people, a holiday to the USA is the trip of a lifetime. There’s so much to see and do that the choice can be overwhelming. If you’ve already got a trip planned or are thinking of visiting, here’s our quick guide to the USA!
New York – This city is the backdrop to numerous films and television shows and is known for its coffee culture, art and music scene and reputation as ‘the city that never sleeps’. Some of the most popular attractions are Central Park, Ellis Island, Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty.
Miami – A vibrant city renowned for its glam South Beach, cafes and cigar shops. It’s a mixture of high rise buildings and golden beaches and is said to have something for everyone. The Art Deco district and Little Havana are must-see.
Las Vegas – If you enjoy a flutter then Las Vegas should definitely be on your bucket list. It’s an overwhelming atmosphere filled with casinos of all shapes and sizes. Plus, if you’ve ever fancied getting hitched in a drive through chapel then this is the place!
Los Angeles – If you’re searching for a little glamour then LA is the destination for you. Film and TV fans will rejoice in the choice of attractions such as Hollywood sign and Paramount Studios , plus you might even spot a famous actor! If you’re more of a culture vulture then the Museum of Art or the Norton Simon Museum are must-see attractions.
Important travel info
If you’re thinking of travelling to the US then it’s important to make sure you have the right travel documentation in place such as your Visa. You can apply for a Visa through your nearest US embassy. However, it may be that you do not need to go through this process if you are a citizen of a participating country that meets the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program. It’s easy to apply for this through a site like ESTA USA which makes the application process simple.
If you decide to go down this route you just need to enter your information through the online ESTA application form, submit payment, and the results can be delivered within minutes. For many people this is a much more hassle-free method than the traditional Visa process.
But what are the passport requirements for travelling under the Visa Waiver Program? Firstly your passport must meet the general requirements outlined below:
- You must have a valid passport and this must stay valid for the duration of your stay in the US.
- Machine readable passports that were issued, renewed or extended before October 26th 2005 will qualify for travel under the US Visa Waiver Program.
- Machine readable passports that were issued, renewed or extended between October 26th 2005 and October 25th 2006 must have a digital photo printed on the data page or an integrated data chip (e-Passport) in the passport.
- Passports which are machine readable and were issued, renewed or extended on or after October 26th 2006 must have an integrated data chip in the passport (e-Passport).
- Non-machine readable passports will not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and you will need to apply for a visa
As well as the general guidelines, there are also specific requirements for each country. You can find lots more helpful information on the ESTA USA website.
Customs and traditions
Americans tend to be very informal and relaxed around strangers so don’t be surprised if you make a plenty of friends on your trip! You’ll find people are quite willing to offer help or even strike up conversations in queues, restaurants etc.
Holidays are a big part of US culture and you’ll find that they tend to go all out. Christmas and New Years are the obvious ones, but Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Halloween also attract widespread celebrations. On the 4th July you’ll see spectacular fireworks displays while on Halloween the streets are filled with kids dressed up and eccentric Halloween decorations!
Driving laws can vary from state to state so it’s important to do your research before you travel. For example, some states will require an International Driving Permit. If you’re not used to driving on the right-hand-side of the road then make sure you take your time, drive with caution and plan your route beforehand.
A visit to America can be an overwhelming one, but nonetheless unforgettable. It’s important to do your prep so you can make the most out of your journey so sort out your itinerary and travel documents well in advance. Happy travels!
Image source: businessinsider.com