By Rienz Althron Valentos / 04/07/2019

Travelling To USA Checklist:
Visa, Documents, Where To Go, What To Pack

If you haven’t gone outside the comforts of your home country, you’re just seeing the same old spot over and over again. Have you ever asked yourself what it feels like experiencing the world from its different angles? If you have, you should probably try traveling, and the USA is a good country to start.

Why the US? For one, the US has become home to people from different parts of the world. If you want to experience a place where all types of people from all walks of life are mingling with each other, then the US is the place to be. The experience will open you up to a different way of seeing and living life.

Aside from its culture, the US also offers a lot of panoramic destinations, museums for history junkies, and the American way of preparing good food. Perhaps, one of the best reasons why you should go to the US is to appreciate its beauty, which can lead to a better appreciation of your own country.

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TRAVELLING TO USA CHECKLIST

Like everything else in life, travelling needs a lot of preparation. If you want your out of the country vacation to be as convenient as possible, you’ll need to have a checklist. We’ve created a travelling to US checklist to consider before travelling to the US for the first time. Let’s check them out below.

Determine if you need a visa

People from most South American, European, and countries in Oceania can enter the US without a visa. But it is still worth checking with a travel agency if you need a Visa to go on a vacation to the US to minimize any potential hassle when you travel.

Those who are free of visa to enter and travel the US are more likely need to get an ESTA. This is a document that authorizes you to travel in the US, this serves as proof that you are not a risk for safety reason to the country and the citizens. It is valid for two years and can be used multiple times until expiration or when your passport expires.

You can easily apply for an ESTA online, it takes a few days to have this approved, thus, it's best to get this one done before you booked any long-term accommodations and do other travel arrangements.

Also, an immigration officer has the right to decide whether to shorten your stay in the US or not, even if the visa you have applied for allows you to stay for longer days. But if you want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension at least 45 days before your visa expires.

Check which documents to prepare 

After checking if you need a visa, your next step is to prepare the documents you will be needing. You’ll need to secure your tickets, especially the return ticket. You will also need to secure travel insurance and a place to stay at, as these are the things that the immigration office will ask when you arrive.

You will also be informed by the immigration on how much money you can bring. In addition, if you’re planning on driving, it’s best to check if your driver’s licence or international licence is valid for use in the US. You don’t want to drive in the streets of America only to end up being with problems with the local police.

What to pack

You will also need to plan ahead of time the things you will bring with you. It’d be best to consider the season and where in the US you will set your foot into when packing your clothes. You don’t want to bring thick clothes when it is summertime in the US, or thin clothes when it is snowing. Google is your friend when planning your travels.

Many domestic flights in the US does not allow free cabin bags, and bringing too much baggage will cost you a fortune. It is almost always wise to travel lightly. Just bring only the things you’ll be needing; it makes your travel as convenient as it can be.

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Best time to go

The best time to go to the US depends on what you want to do, and which part of the US you are visiting. The US is a large place, so the seasons and climate vary greatly. For example, November to February is the winter season, and New York is most likely covered in snow. The Deep South, on the other hand, enjoys fair weather.

Whatever it is that you’re hoping to do, and regardless of your preferred weather condition, it is always best to book things in advance. There are times when you need to plan ahead of time, and there are moments when going with the flow is thrilling.

TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN THE US

So you’ve taken care of your Visa, documents, and bookings in advance. But, your travelling to the US checklist isn’t complete without a list of places to visit. Fret not, because we’re giving you our recommended places to visit. Check out the following list:

TRAVELLING TO USA CHECKLIST - Visa, Documents, Where To Go, What To Pack (4)

New York

One of the most famous states in the US is New York. It is home to one of the most iconic statues in the US, the Statue of Liberty. If you love taking photographs, there’s a ton of skyscrapers to capture, and a lot of interesting people in the streets to be your subject. There’s also the Central Park, a breath of fresh air from the busy city life within the city, where you can relax and unwind or have a morning jog.

California

Next on our list is the Golden State, where you can expect the weather to be good all year round. It has a ton of spots that will keep tourists entertained, such as its theme parks. California is home to Universal Studios, Disneyland, Discovery Kingdom, and a whole lot more. If you want a true American holiday, go for a California road trip.

Florida

If you’re fond of beaches, Florida boasts its white sands and clear blue oceans. It is home to the famous Christ of the Abyss, along with other underwater sights to see, if you decide on a scuba diving adventure. If you’re interested in seeing the local wildlife, you should head on to the Everglades National Park to witness the majestic alligators, panthers and other cute and furry creatures.

Washington DC

If you’d like to learn the history of the US, going to Washington DC might be the best decision you’ll make. It has 11 Smithsonian museums, such as the National Museum of American History, and the National Air and Space Museum where you can satisfy your mind’s curiosity. There are also local sightseeing tours you can book, where you can learn more of DC’s history while enjoying the views it has to offer.

Las Vegas

If you’re the type who enjoys nightlife and partying all night long, you’d best head to the entertainment capital of the world. All your expectations will be met here by its casinos where you can splurge some of your extra allowance, luxury hotels where you can pamper yourself, and a lot of booze if you need to lose yourself for a night.

We promise that you’ll have a lot of stories to tell your friends back home after your visit here!

TOP ACTIVITIES TO DO IN THE US

We’ve suggested a couple of states where you can spend your time in the US. Of course, we have some recommended list of things to do to complete your travelling to US checklist! This country has a lot of activities that will keep its visitors interested, engaged, and happy! So without further ado, here are our recommendations:

Visit Disney

Dubbed as the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland is arguably one of the most famous theme parks in the world. If you’re going to the US, you surely don’t want to miss the opportunity of going inside the Haunted Mansion or the Pirates of the Carribean, made famous by the movie of the same titles. And you surely don’t want to miss eating a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream!

Play at a casino in Las Vegas

The Sin City is home to several casinos where you can risk losing some of your excess allowances in exchange for the thrill of winning a bigger amount of money! Some of the most famous casinos here are the Venetian with over 2500 slot and poker machines, Bellagio where you’ll have your own semi-private table to play blackjack or roulette. Just remember to only gamble in moderation!

Route 66

If you love going on a road trip, there’s never a route that’s more famous than Route 66. It spans 2451 miles (around 3444 kilometres), it’s probably going to be the longest road trip you’ll experience in the US. Plus, if you’re only familiar with ghost towns because of movies or TV shows, you’ll have the chance to actually visit a ghost town along the way.

Street food hopping in Chicago

Are you a certified foodie who believes that tasting the local street food means knowing the place you’ve visited well? If that’s the case, might we suggest going on a street food adventure in Chicago? There are a lot of places here that offers scrumptious grubs, such as burgers, hotdogs, Mexican food, to list a few.

Party in Los Angeles

After going on a street food hopping, you might want to party in the USA, specifically in Los Angeles! The City of Angels is home to several bars where you can get all the booze you want, meet local party people and just have fun! Some of the most famous clubs to be are The Avalon where The Beatles once held a concert, and Drai’s, where you can expect to see Hollywood celebrities.

So, we’ve covered a lot of topics! From the things you need to prepare, places to visit, and activities that you should not miss. You’re now probably a bit more ready to embark on an adventure to the US! Just remember to always remain present in your travels to get the most out of the experience!

Why do you want to go to the US? We’d like to hear your thoughts and answer your questions, so leave a comment below!

About the author

Rienz Althron Valentos

Rienz is a former Call Center Agent who often asks himself what his purpose in life is. He doesn’t have the answer to his own question, but he knows that he loves to travel, to experience and learn new things, and hopefully, be able to inspire other people not to be afraid to dream bigger dreams. He is currently learning web development, and polishing his writing skills. In pursuit of his bigger dreams, he chose the path of a freelancer. He’s also a spiritual junkie who’s interested in Hindu and Zen Buddhism concepts.

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