Hello my beautiful friends! Here I am with some advices if you want to visit the United States and you want to organize everything by yourself.
- The flight. The first thing I suggest you to do is booking the flight. It may be the most expensive thing. In order to save some money, booking in advance is always the better choice. For example, if you always have your vacation from work during the same period of the year, why don’t you book a flight for next year? My favourite website is Kayak. I always find good discounts BUT be careful! If you are not used to book online, I suggest you to also look up in the airline website ( the prices are always the same) because it sometimes happens that Kayak will send you into other websites to book the flight. They are not always reliable. Don’t book your flight during the weekend, prices are usually higher; people say Tuesday is the cheapest day ( I mean to BOOK the flight, not to FLY).
- Where to stay. My best friend when I have to find a place to sleep is Booking. ( if you use this link you will get 20$ back after your stay https://www.booking.com/s/202f82aa). You can find everything you need, hotels, B&B, appartaments. Especially for young people I suggested to look for hostels. I stayed in many hostels that were awesome! Don’t be afraid of sharing the room with strangers, they are afraid of you too, so no one will talk with you. LOL. Remember to ALWAYS read the reviews, they are the most important thing on Booking. If you travel with your family, Airbnb can be a valid solution (it is often cheaper than Booking). Airbnb is an online platform that gives you the opportunity to look for an accomodation talking directly to the house’s owner. Many people rent a room, or even the whole house, and living in a real house can be a good opportunity not to just be a tourist. Both using Booking or Airbnb, do not look for a place to close to dowtonw, it is going to be more expensive! If you do not want to pay for the housing, try Couchsurfing. You’ll sleep on someone couch for free!
- Papers required. We all know, American people are very jealous of their country and they do not let in everyone. What everyone needs in a passport. Do you have it? Good. There is a list of 38 countries –here– that also need to get an ESTA ( Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The ESA is NOT a visa but a travel authorization, (you need to apply for that online and costs 14$) that allows you to get on a plane, or boat, to go to the US. REMEMBER, even if you have the ESTA, they can decide that you can not enter the States. This authorization also allows you to stay here for 90 days and it lasts 2 years. An important step is having an health insurance. You can find many of them online and if something happens, you will be glad to have it! A night in the ER costs 2000$!
- Transportation. How to travel once you are here? This depends on where you go. In a city like Los Angeles, renting a car is very important because distances are long and the public transportation is not that good; but if you are in NYC, trust me, you do not want to drive. If the city you go to has a good public transportation you may want to get a weekly pass ( they usually work for trains, metros and buses) or a metro card that will help you to save some money. To rent a car you only need a driving license and a credit card ( there is a fee to pay if the driver is under 25).
- What to do. Planning your days, even before leaving, can be very helpful. If you are going to spend many days in a same city and visit the main attractions, you should get a CityPass , a booklet of admission tickets that gives you some discounts. Remember to book in advance when possible, otherwise you will not find available tickets. You can always ask to the hotel if they offer any discounts for museums or tours.
- Do not trust to much your credit cards. They sometimes do not work here. Come with some cash.
- Be prepared for the jetlag. You will feel tired during the first days.
- Eat local food. Do not look for your home country food, it will not be good.
- Read the airlines rules about bagagges. Not everything is allowed in the States.
- Ask for advice to someone who has already been here! They will help you.
I hope this guide can help 🙂