For many international travelers, the United States is a dream destination. With everything from bustling cities to secluded beaches, this enormous country has it all. Here are five of the top travel tips you should know before visiting America.
1. Remember to Tip
If you come from a country where tipping is unusual, it might surprise you to know that tipping is the norm in the United States. At a bar or restaurant, giving a gratuity of 15 to 20 percent of your total bill signifies that you enjoyed and appreciated the staff’s service. Tipping is also generally expected at the concierge desk of your hotel, when riding in a taxi, or when someone helps you with your baggage at the airport or your place of accommodation.
2. Understand Your Transportation Options
Outside of a few major cities, car travel is still the most common way to get around in the United States. Thankfully, it is easy to rent a car as long as you have a valid license from your country of residence. Road signs and rules are relatively easy to follow as long as you remember to drive on the right side of the road. You can also pick up driving rule guidebooks that are specific to the state you are visiting when you rent a car from most agencies in America.
3. Apply For ESTA Before You Travel
If you only take notice of one of these travel tips, it should be about ESTA, or the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Whether or not you need to apply for a visa before entering the United States, you will have to fill out an ESTA form. Keep in mind that this is not something you can do at the airport or on your flight. In fact, you won’t be allowed to board unless this has been completed and approved in advance. Thankfully, ESTA can be done online for just $14.
4. Don’t Forget About Sales Tax
Whether you are going shopping for souvenirs, you plan to rent a car or you just want to order a meal in a restaurant, remember that there will typically be a sales tax included in the final price. This can vary from 4 percent all the way up to 9 percent, but it is a mandatory expense that you will need to factor into your budget when making purchases. If you are unsure, ask for a copy of the receipt to see the total tax amount before paying.
5. No Two Destinations Are Alike
Another key point to mention under travel tips is understanding that America is a diverse nation with all types of people, cultures and attractions. Visiting one place simply won’t let you see all that the nation has to offer. The United States is home to sprawling national parks, beautiful beaches, islands, bustling cities, small towns and everything in between, and trying to see as much as possible is definitely advisable.
Photo 1 : New York. East River @ Tomás Fano Certains droits réservés CC-BY-SA