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Planning to visit the USA for the first time? You must already be getting dizzy with tons of information on USA holiday and might be confused how to start planning your vacation. The best option is to get yourself acquainted with what things you should know to get through a hassle-free US travel experience. Let’s get started with few suggestions to consider while gearing up for your USA holiday.

The USA is enormous

Take size into consideration when you are planning your USA trip. The United States of America spans 3.8 million square miles with 50 multifarious states and eight different time zones. USA tourism is more than just New York, San Francisco, Florida and Los Angeles. A medley of fantastic places to visit in the US scattered all over the country’s length and breadth. So while you are planning your trip, make sure you choose your itinerary considering the distance between the US states.

The USA is spectacularly divergent

Most visitors believe that the whole of USA is modern and filled with sophisticated cities and concrete jungles. This illusion is far from true as the USA is brimming with an amazing assortment of natural and cultural landscapes, quaint townships and countryside beside urbane metropolises. The culture, dialect, cuisine, and landscapes transform as you travel from one state to another.

Take time to plan your USA trip

To begin with, do not make plans to visit the most of this colossal country in one trip; you will end up cramming your journey with hectic schedules. Covering the regions of the east coast and west coasts of the USA alone will take around 12 to 15 days. If you are planning a short duration trip, it is better to stick to one region either in east coast or west coast and explore the popular things to do in the USA rather than opting faraway regions and losing precious time in transit.

If you are a first-time traveller, choose popular destinations such as New York, Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Orlando in East Coast and San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas in West Coast. Looking for something offbeat? Glacial Alaska or tropical Hawaii are wonderful choices to suit your travel preference. Travelling with family? Kids would love it at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios in Orlando.

With a little assistance from US Travel guides or a USA travel expert, you will be able to chalk out your perfect USA holiday. Also, take the weather into consideration while planning your trip as it varies throughout the country. Some months which are favourable to travel may not be the preferred for tourism in other regions of USA.

Don’t miss the National Parks

While you are mesmerized by USA’s cosmopolitan glint of cities covered with sophisticated malls, towering skyscrapers and buzzing lifestyle, turn your focus to the natural marvels of USA as well. Don’t make your USA trip into a monotonous journey of visiting US cities.

The USA has a spectacular collection of 59 gorgeous National Parks which includes Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Grand Canyon National Park to name a few. Each one of them covers a different topography filled with impressive rock formations, pristine lakes and pools, exotic wilderness and abundant wildlife.

Adding even one National Park in your USA visit can make a remarkable difference to the whole experience. Opt for a scenic self-drive tour if possible for a slow-paced picturesque experience.

Understand the reliable ways of getting around the USA

One of the most crucial USA travel tip is to consider the travel distance between point A to point B in USA which matters the most while planning internal travel in the USA. Air travel is the obvious choice if you are travelling long distance with time constraints. Major cities are linked with good bus routes.

Within a city, you can hire private taxis such as Uber services to get around places. Local taxis are metered and start from USD 3 and rates increases per mile with additional charges for waiting and baggage handling. Amtrak is USA’s most expansive rail system and offers scenic journeys to many destinations including national parks in the USA at cheaper rates and convenience.

Have all proper documents in order for a hassle-free journey

A valid passport and valid USA visa are two mandatory documents you require to travel to the USA. Citizens of UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and certain European Union countries can enter the USA without a visa for 90 days. Visitors from rest of the countries need to apply for US visa prior to arriving into the country.

Always safeguard your original documents and keep copies of important documents as a backup. Travel and medical insurance are crucial even if you are staying for a short period of time in the USA. You can get the best medical services and hospital care in the USA but they are awfully expensive.

Don’t compare your expenses in the USA with your country

The USA has a highly successful economic condition and the US dollar is stronger than most global currency except Europe and certain Middle Eastern countries. If you are travelling from countries that have currencies weaker than US dollar, it would be wise not to compare prices of products and services of your country with that of US. Doing so will make you think that you are spending a lot on your US holiday.

So stop converting every dollar you spend into your nation’s currency as this is a major mood killer. Also, it is better to carry more than you budgeted for your vacation as you would not want to get stuck here without enough money.

Tipping in the USA

Tipping is highly expected and customary in the USA. You will have to set aside extra cash as tips for taxi drivers, restaurant waiters, bell boys in hotels, airport porters, and bartenders. Restaurants expect an extra 15 – 20% of the bill as tips. Tip on other services varies from state to state.

Respect the etiquettes of Americans

The American are quite liberal in lifestyle but still, there are certain codes of behavior you might want to keep in mind on your USA visit. Americans dislike invasion of their privacy and personal space. If you are standing near a stranger, make sure you maintain a decent distance. Greet with handshakes. If you do not personally know someone, they would not like any physical show of affection. Regarding etiquettes, what is considered normal in one region may not be considered so in other.

Americans feel insecure about strangers interacting with their kids. Always stay at arm’s length away from children. Observe rules and follow protocols where needed such as no jaywalking, disobeying traffic rules or cutting queues. If you are looking forward to a dinner in a restaurant, call and make a reservation early. Also, dinner time in the USA begins from 6 pm onwards so you will need to eat earlier than your expected dining time.

The USA is an ethnically rich country, hence it is best to avoid offending people with racial, gender and political comments. It is best to keep these views to yourself to avoid attracting unnecessary trouble.

Incredible Planet Staff

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