Planning a trip to America

Planning a trip to America

Planning a trip to America is an exciting thing to do but it can also be quite daunting if you’re not prepared in advance. One of the best ways to reduce stress throughout the process is to make a note of all the key things that you need to get done. This includes everything from budgeting for activities to getting your ESTA application out of the way. 

By doing this, you can tick them off the list as you go along and will know you’re ready to relax and enjoy the experience to its fullest without wondering if you’ve forgotten something. With that in mind, let’s go through some of the most important things to get done when planning for a trip to America.

Passport

Perhaps the most obvious thing you’ll need to have ready is your passport, but you’d be surprised how many people simply forget about this. 

You need to be over 16 if you want to apply for an adult passport. The process is simple, but it can take around 3 weeks to sort out so it’s worth getting started with it as early as possible.

If you’re applying online, it costs £75.50 to renew or replace your passport or £85 if you’d prefer to apply via paper form. 

ESTA Application

ESTA is an abbreviation for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation and can be submitted online. The ESTA is a mandatory travel permit so you’ll need to make sure that everyone in your travelling party has completed this task well before your travel date.

An ESTA is an electronic travel permit that helps US Customs and Border Protection to pre-screen people travelling to the USA. This way, certain individuals can be barred from entry if necessary. The main 2 advantages of applying for a ESTA is that they are cheaper than a VISA and also you can fill in everything online from the comfort of your own home!

Although it sounds a little daunting, the ESTA application is easy to complete and can all be done online. The process requires you to complete an online form that takes around 5 minutes, you’ll then have to pay a small fee through Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or PayPal, and once your ESTA has been approved, you’ll receive a confirmation by email and SMS. You’ll then be cleared to travel to the USA.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance may seem like a waste of money but it’s important that you’re covered when you travel to America. Having a good travel insurance policy can give you peace of mind that you’ll be okay if anything goes wrong. This includes things related to illness and injury, lost luggage, travel delays, and cancellations.

Shop around on comparison websites for the best deals and don’t skimp out on this. It seems like a boring task, but you’ll be thankful that you took the time to do some research if you ever need to make use of it.

Flights and Accommodation 

Now we’re getting to the fun stuff. Having a great place to stay when you’re in America can be the difference between a pretty good trip and an amazing experience.

You don’t always have to spend mega-cash on a top-rated hotel but it’s important to know that your accommodation has a good reputation. It’s worth looking at reviews from real travellers on websites like TripAdvisor. You’ll be able to look at customer photographs, read detailed reviews about the ins and outs of the accommodation, and get a broad picture of the overall feedback.

Flights can be a tricky one. Some people prefer to book their flights and accommodation separately. This can be advantageous if you’re able to find bargain prices, but it does also come with the pain of having to do things manually. If you’re the kind of person who prefers everything in one place, you could opt for a package holiday that includes both flights and accommodation in the same booking.

Transport

Depending on the type of trip you’re planning, you may want to look at transport options. Of course, you could hire a car for the time you’re there, but you’ll also need to account for fuel prices and the cost of parking. It would also be sensible to make sure you’re covered by a good insurance policy if you’re planning to be driving around while you’re in America.

Alternatively, you could look for public transport option. Planning in advance will take the stress out of looking for local bus and train routes. You could also opt to use services like Uber if you’re planning short trips around.

Activities and Experiences

One of the best things about travelling to America is enjoying the wide range of activities and experiences on offer. Depending on where you’re travelling to, it’s worth planning trips to sightseeing locations, booking theme park tickets, scoping out sporting events, and looking at reviews for restaurants that interest you. 

There is a lot to be said for spontaneity, but if your time is limited, you’ll squeeze more out of the trip if you make plans for activities.

Budgeting 

Budgeting isn’t the most interesting take to undertake but it can save you a lot of time and stress when you’re supposed to be enjoying your trip. If you’re not paying for an all-inclusive holiday, you’ll need to plan for the cost of meals and services. 

Luckily, most restaurants have an online menu you can look at, so you’ll get an estimation of the kind of cost you’re looking at for eating out. You’ll also need to factor in tips in America so do a little research on this in advance to avoid being caught out in the moment.

Summary

This is simply a list of the more obvious things you’ll need to consider when planning a trip to America. Making sure your passport is valid, you’ve submitted your ESTA application, and are covered by insurance are three of the more important things to get done. Most of the other stuff is optional but will help to ease the stress when it comes to your travel date. You’ll be able to spend more time enjoying yourself and less time worrying whether you’ve forgotten something.