The United States of America is arguably one of the most popular traveling destinations in the world. More than 70 million people from around the globe visit the US every year. The destinations that receive most tourists include New York, California and Florida. But there are certain rules and guidelines that you have to be familiar with before you decide to visit the US. So, if you want to be prepared better for your trip, have a look at these useful tips:
Check Your Passport’s Validity
The first thing you need to do before traveling to the USA is to make sure that your passport is valid for the required period. Generally, you would be required to have six months validity on your passport, but there are certain nationalities exempted from the rule. People from those nations can enter the country as long as their passport is valid for the duration of their stay. Check the official website for your country to see which rules apply to you.
Understand the Country’s Entry Requirement
Before entering the states, you must knowwhich specific VISA you are required to have and what are its limitations. If you are from a country that is a part of the Visa waiver program, you can apply online for ESTA visa. The Electric System for Travel Authorization gives you the right to stay in USA for 90 days, and it is valid for two years. The visa approval has to be obtained 72 hours before you board the flight, so you need to keep that in mind as well.
Lock Your Luggage
If you want peace of mind while you are traveling, you might want to make sure that your luggage is entirely safe when you are checking them in. You can, of course, lock your luggage, but there are strict rules put in place by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). When they are required to check your bags, they have the right to break the lock as well. To avoid that you can always get a TSA approved lock, which can be opened by a master key TSA officials have. This way you can protect the luggage without violating TSA’s rules.
Transit Flight Requirements
If you have a transit flight and you are stopping in US for just a couple of hours you are still required to clear US customs. The USA does not have any special transit flight rule, and you are required to have a visa if you are transiting. This means you will go through immigration just like everyone else. Also, make sure that your connecting flight is scheduled at a 3-hour gap, as you will need that time to clear the US customs.
Understand the Tipping Culture
When you have a nice meal at a restaurant or a cup of coffee at a café, never leave the table without tipping. This might not be common in your country, but in the US due to low minimum wages tips matter a lot to people who serve your meal and coffee. The tips can vary as well, but it is usually 15% of what you paid for your meal. And this is not only for waiters and waitresses; you are expected to tip your cab and shuttle drivers as well.