What you need to know before heading to the USA on holiday
Are you heading to the USA on holiday in the coming months? While there is much to see in this geographically and culturally diverse nation, it is unlike many other nations in the world in many fundamental ways
This compels the savvy traveler to do their research, but to save you the effort of combing the web for all the tips you’ll need, we’ve compiled three pointers that if taken to heart, will help you have a problem-free trip.
1) Even if you don’t need to apply for a travel visa, you’ll still need to be pre-cleared for travel
Entry requirements for foreign nationals to the USA are among the most stringent in the world. As such, even nationalities from most of the Western world will need to apply for pre-authorization before stepping on a plane to New York or Los Angeles.
Fortunately, this is a quick and easy process in the age of the internet, and you can find an ESTA visa waiver program that will process your application in a matter of minutes.
Don’t leave this to the last minute though, as you will be denied boarding by your airline without proof of this approval in your hands at your gate. It is something very easy and affordable to do but if you want to make sure you have a stress-free trip, be proactive and take care of it as soon as you decide to make your next vacation to the good ole’ stars and stripes!
2) Transiting through the USA on your way to your final destination? Give yourself plenty of time
Heading to Denver to go skiing or snowboarding in the Colorado Rockies? Depending on the flights you book, you might have to make a connection in order to get to your final destination.
While flow issues are generally not much of a problem throughout the rest of the Western World, some airports like LAX or JFK are congested beyond their carrying capacities, and with strict security protocols, delays are frighteningly common.
What takes a half hour gate to gate in most other airports around the world can take as long as two hours if you pass through the above mentioned hubs at peak travel hours, so be sure to resist the temptation to book tight connections in America when booking your flights. To speed up your transit, make sure to go to the bathroom on the plane before you land, have all your documents signed and filled out correclty, and as soon as you deboard, head as quickly as you can for the customs/immigration line!
3) Only use TSA approved locks on your luggage when traveling to America
Are you in the habit of securing your checked-in luggage with a padlock? When traveling to the USA, this will trigger instant suspicion by many TSA agents, who will then sever your lock to inspect your bag for any improprieties.
To avoid spoiling a lock that is perfectly useful elsewhere in the world, get a TSA-approved lock. There is a master key slot in the base that will allow an agent to check your luggage during routine inspections without having to compromise the overall security of your bag. You might be hesitant still, but you can be rest assured theft is not a threat. You can also buy TSA approved locks almost in any country as most travel locks these days are TSA approved. Just check the packaging!
There you have it! A few considerations before your next trip to the amazing USA. It might be a little more work than normal traveling to the USA, but, it’s worth the hassle!