Top Tips for Travelling to the USA

The USA is an amazing country that offers something for every type of holidaymaker – from city breaks to historic sites and from sports holidays to amazing camping spots. While culturally, the USA is very similar to many of the countries of Europe, they do have some rules and regulations that are different to travelling around Europe. So here are some top tips to travelling to the USA to make your trip as enjoyable and problem-free as possible.

Preparing for your trip
Before you book your trip, consider the time of year, you are travelling and the part of the USA you are travelling to. Hurricane season runs from June to November and affects a large number of states across the centre and south of the country. If you have booked for this period of time and for an area affected by the hurricanes, you can monitor the situation ahead of the event via the National Hurricane Center’s website.

The other important thing to remember about the USA regards medical insurance. The US doesn’t have a state system that is free the way that some countries do so medical costs can be quite expensive if something goes wrong. This is why travel insurance for the US is always the most expensive level but can be essential. If you aren’t correctly covered under the travel insurance, you personally will be liable for the costs of any medical treatment you need and this can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

Boarding the plane
The USA has very strict rules about what you can and cannot take on an airplane that is entering their airspace, which is understandable in light of recent history. There is also a very high level of security upon entering the country so if you need further information about this, check with your airline or the US Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Entering the country
Unlike travelling between many states in Europe, you cannot enter the US without a visa. This is a document that is issued on a discretionary basis by the US embassy in the capital city of your country and can be obtained only by visiting the embassy in person. To do this you need to book an appointment some time in advance and have a meeting with a member of embassy staff to get the visa.

Another option that has been created recently is called an ESTA application. This is an online process that alleviates the need to visit the embassy and can all be processed on their website. It produces an ESTA visa waiver that is valid for 90 days for trips to the US and also allows trips to neighbouring countries such as Mexico and Canada and then re-entry to the US on the same visa.

Getting around
If you decide you want to rent a car and drive around when staying in the US, then most countries such as the UK have an agreement whereby you can use your driving license. As long as you have a full license you can drive in the US though some rental car companies stipulate that the driver must have had the license for at least twelve months and be a minimum age of 21, 25 for some companies. International driving permits are not required but are generally said to be helpful.

Tips in Choosing an Online Travel Agency

Making use of an online travel agency has its benefits. For one, you don’t have to go through the hassle of visiting a booking office in person. And two, you can often save money if you book your travels online. And of course, there’s the fact that you can have several choices to pick from. You can easily navigate from travel website to another, comparing prices and services. This way, you will be able to find the most appropriate deals with the best prices. Booking online is also quick and easy. It’s just a matter of making a few clicks and you are done.

Now, just because booking your travels using an online travel agency is easy doesn’t mean you are not susceptible to making mistakes. If you are not careful, you might end up choosing the worst possible offer for you. One thing you should always remember is that you should not believe in everything that you hear from travel agencies especially with regards to promos and discounted offers. Sometimes, a promo may look like a great deal in the surface but if you look closer into it, it really won’t benefit you the way you expect it to. That said, always weigh things before making any decisions. Don’t be blinded by discounts or promos nor allow them to cloud your judgments.

Here are a few practical tips on how you should go about in booking your travels on the internet.

1. Ask around. You could ask a friend, a family member or a co-worker who has experience booking his or her travels online. Ask for their recommendations. A recommendation from someone you personally know is much better than the reviews you will find online. Don’t rely too much from recommendations though.

2. Always make sure that you are dealing with a legit travel website. You will be transacting online so there will be people out there planning to scam your money away. So as much as possible, stay away from shady and suspicious travel websites.

3. Try requesting information from a travel website. You can gauge the quality of the services of a travel agency based on its response time to your inquiries. If the agency takes forever to reply to your simple inquiries, then it’s probably not worth your time. But if it quickly responds and assists you if you ask more questions, then the agency is probably worthy of your investment.

4. Ask for recommendations from the agency itself. Let’s say for instance that you are planning to tour Canada. You can try asking the agency which of their packages should you purchase. If the agency really cares about their clients, they will recommend to you the most appropriate travel package for you.

5. Compare prices. This is why you should look around for several travel agencies so that you have choices to compare. Again, this is easy to do because most travel agencies these days maintain their own websites.

These are some of the most important tips in choosing an online travel agency.

Top 5 Online Travel Tips You Need to Know

Years ago I remember going to the travel agent to plan my vacation, never even considering an online travel agent. But nowadays it’s the other way around, and most people don’t even give a thought to planning a trip without a computer. But the fact is you can often get a better discount by using an online travel site. Here are 5 travel tips to keep in mind.

1. Find great travel reviews online. You can check what people have to say about these sites and be sure you are not getting a shady deal or traveling at the wrong time. People will also chime in and let you know where the best discounts and freebies are. You can find out what the locals are saying too.

2. Locate fabulous deals. By far the best reason to do your travel deal shopping online is to get all the best deals. By scouring the travel websites online you can put your vacation together as you please by comparing different prices. For example, maybe you find a super vacation package one-way to your destination with one airline, and then you find a great deal on the way back with a separate air carrier. Go for it! Mix and match. You’ll save a ton of money with this method.

3. Different times equal different prices. Last time I planned a vacation I checked airline prices multiple times a day on every day of the week. It was a lot of fun actually because the prices changed all the time. It was almost like playing a game, click on the price now and see what it is! Maybe cheaper, maybe not. But one thing to keep in mind is if you happen to stumble upon a fantastic travel deal (and you will at some point), snap it up because you may never see it again. That’s what happened to me a few times. I debated and didn’t grab the excellent deal and it was gone, never to be seen again.

4. Sign up for email alerts. Go to all the major travel sites and get on an email list for travel discounts to be emailed to you. You should probably create a special account just for this so that you won’t have them all going into your main account. Sure, you are going to get lots of stuff you can’t use but every now and then you will receive that gem of a deal. But check your mail daily and go immediately to check out anything that looks promising.

5. Buy travel insurance sometimes but not always. So you’ve found your fantastic and amazing vacation deal and now you are wondering, should you spring for insurance as well? Yes you should if you are going on a cruise or traveling with a tour group or paying megabucks in advance for your trip. These policies are an added expense, sure, but the peace of mind is worth it.