First time travelling is never easy and if you’re about to head off on your first travel adventure, it’s pretty normal to be a bundle of nerves and experience the pre-trip jitters. Besides being a memorable experience, travelling opens you up to things which you would ordinarily never get to experience sitting at home. Traveling is a great way to meet fellow travellers and to spend most of your day around a similar bunch of people. It’s often said that there’s nothing better than travelling and discovering a new place for the first time; except perhaps, travelling there for the second time! Travelling brings the world closer and opens up new possibilities when you least expect it. If you are craving for a relaxing holiday and seeking excitement and uniqueness in equal measure, then a vacation to the United States is just what you need to satiate your cravings and recharge your batteries.
Luckily for you, The USA is a pretty friendly place and you don’t have to be worried about learning a new language or fear about settling in or being ‘accepted’. You’d be hard pressed to find a holiday destination that is quite as scenic and picturesque as the United States. The United States has been built by migrants from all over the world and is teeming with people of different cultures and ethnicities. Often lent the moniker of ‘The Land of Opportunities’, the US has its own manner of doing things which will be quite different than what you’re used to on a day-to-day basis. Since you’re not a native and travelling to the US for the first time, we have put together the ultimate list of tips and tricks to help you get the very most out of your trip while ensuring you stay out of trouble. But before that here are two tips you should know about before heading out. Here goes:
- Make Sure to Do your Research
Always do adequate research of the destination you intend on visiting before your trip. There’s plenty of information available readily on the internet to help you out. If you’re more inclined towards reading a book, get hold of some great guide books through you local travel agency. Furthermore, talk to friends or colleagues who’ve been there and ask them to share their experiences with you. If you have friends or family residing there, connect with them on social media and get to know more details. Plan a flexible itinerary to minimise the risk of feeling rushed and be careful not to cram too much in. Also, make sure to research local customs so you’re prepared for when you arrive.
- Don’t get Dissuaded by the Procedures on Arrival
It pays to keep in mind that there are people from certain countries get granted an entry without a Visa through its Visa Waiver Program (VWP). However, for individuals from other countries (including India), you will be required to apply for a USA visa. Once you’re done with the formalities, ensure that you’re carrying all the necessary set of documents you used while applying for the visa. You must also have appropriate proof of your finances for your stay in the United States so make sure you have them sorted as well. The US immigration is famed for being a tough nut to crack with people often complaining about visa issues, airport security screenings etc. Make it easy on yourself by keeping all your documents handy and your wits in order.
Once you’re done with the difficult procedures, the United States is a rather relaxed place once you arrive. Here are a few tips which will help you navigate the peculiarities of American culture.
- Americans are very friendly people. Although they do not have formalities like say the French, a kiss before, during, and after social encounters, they do believe in a firm handshake. It is also considered as a sign that you have confidence in yourself. Besides this, always be prepared for some overwhelming friendliness. Any passerby may ask you where you got your coat from or the cashier at any shop may ask your weekend plans. Don’t shy away.
- When travelling to the US, always lock your check-in bag with TSA approved locks.
- This is one tip you should never forget no matter what; always keep your passport and your photo ID with you. Never ever leave it in the hotel room or anywhere else. Additionally, it pays to be aware of your surroundings and conscious of where your valuables are to avoid any untoward incidents from ruining your trip.
- Whenever you are eating out at a restaurant, you are expected to tip the waiter or waitress as tipping is customary in the United States. The tip usually ranges between 10-20% of your bill so don’t forget to tip as it’s considered rude not to tip before walking out of a restaurant.
- If you are driving, make sure to follow the rules of the lanes and the speed limits as traffic and parking laws are well-monitored in most jurisdictions in the United States.
- In the United States, most shopkeepers, supermarkets, stores etc. encourage the use of credit cards to pay for items rather than paying in cash. Always make sure to carry your credit card with you as it comes handy no matter where you go.
- The minimum age for consuming alcohol in the USA is 21 years and they take underage drinking pretty seriously. Make sure to always carry your ID proof with you or even in a supermarket!
- Smoking in public places is often frowned upon and more importantly, is strictly prohibited in public places. Smoking is banned in most places such as malls, clubs, restaurants and in some cases, beaches, public parks and residences as well. Avoid getting in trouble and try not to smoke while you’re there if you’re unsure about the laws.
- Similarly, never ever try and purchase or indulge in any illicit drugs when in the USA. It may not only land you in jail but also bar your entry to the United States forever.
- Everything you purchase in the USA is excluding tax. Ensure you always carry some extra cash with you because you cannot assume the exact amount beforehand.
- Do not cut any queues in the US. Cutting lines is considered highly inappropriate and not all taken lightly. Everyone stands quietly and waits for their turn to arrive so ensure you never ever break any queue no matter what.
- Whenever you are attending any sports events, the national anthem will be played. Make sure to stand up as you are expected to do so while it is being sung.
- Be punctual at each and every occasion, whether formal or informal as time is taken very seriously in the United States. Ensure you take into account all conditions such as traffic, train travel etc. as arriving late is considered inappropriate and downright rude.
- Always be sure to smile, ask questions, say the golden words, “please” and “thank you”. If you have a bad experience, don’t let it ruin your trip. Move on and be thankful for each day you have.
Traveling the world is on everyone’s agenda, but rarely do people take time out and embark on international sojourns. The aforementioned suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg! The fact is you cannot foresee everything with just some tips; you have to explore it on your own. With the help of discounts and superlative deals on International holiday packages, an inexpensive trip to America is now possible. When looking for flights tickets to the United States, the ease, and convenience of using Musafir.com is simply unbeatable. Happy Journey!