Traveling Around the USA: Here’s What You Need to Know

April 15, 2019


The United States is a unique place, one of the few countries that occupy a significant portion of an entire continent. As a result, there are a plethora of different types of landscape and scenery to be admired. There are plenty of unique natural features to see across the continental United States and Hawaii.

If traveling is a new experience for you, then the US is the perfect place to gain valuable early experience. Whether you’re a natural born US citizen or a traveler from the rest of the world, there is so much to see and do throughout the US that even an extensive trip can only take in so much of it.

In order to experience as much as you possibly can during your trip around the United States, you need to make sure that you plan it properly. Planning your trip properly won’t just help you to use your time efficiently, it will massively reduce the amount of stress involved in your travels. Some stress is inevitable when you are traveling to new places, but effective planning will minimize it.

Here are the most important travel tips for anyone planning a trip around the USA. Whether you are going to be exploring the entire span of the US or you are only going to focus on a relatively small area of it, these tips will help you to plan and execute the best travel plans you are capable of. 

Plan Ahead

The more carefully you plan for your trip, the more likely it is to all go off without a hitch. Spontaneity can definitely be a good thing when traveling, it will allow you to see things that you would otherwise miss. However, you will want to have at least a rough idea of where you’re going and what you’re doing.

It’s up to you how finely you want to plan your time, whether you want to work out what you will be doing by the week, by the day or by the hour. If you want to factor in a high degree of improvisation or spontaneous decision making, you can easily do so. As long as there is a clear structure for you to follow.

Planning ahead of time allows you to use the internet to scout out your potential routes and stops along the way, minimizing the chances of you becoming lost or stuck halfway through your trip.  

Make Yourself a Budget

As part of your planning, try and draw yourself up a reasonably detailed budget. Running out of money halfway through your trip can cause all kind of problems. Often it will be cheaper to buy or arrange travel ahead of time, and even if it isn’t, it is worth doing so just to ensure that one of the most important aspects of your trip is locked in ahead of time.

The first thing you need to establish when you are devising your budget is exactly how much money you have available. A growing number of people are embracing travel plans that include plans for working along the way. If you are able to make money as you travel, this can offset your costs and make things easier. Being able to make money as you go also means that you will have a way out if you become stuck.

For most travelers, however, traveling time is time that should be used to relax, unwind, and take in the world around them. Foreigners traveling through the US will need to ensure they have the appropriate visas and permits before they can undertake any kind of paid work.

Ensure That You Have Health Insurance

No matter what it is you plan to do while you are traveling or where you plan to go, there is always the possibility that you will become sick or injured while traveling. US citizens will already likely be relatively familiar with the health insurance options that exist for them, but foreigners often find the US healthcare system to be a nightmare to navigate. 

If you are going to be traveling around the USA, you will need to know what kind of health insurance you already have as a citizen. This might be the perfect opportunity to upgrade your existing healthcare plan; you can compare HMOs, PPOs, and all the other health insurance options available quite easily online.

If you aren’t a US citizen, you need to ensure that you have travelers’ insurance. If you don’t take out insurance and you become sick or injured, you will be liable for the costs of your treatment. The US healthcare system is notoriously expensive, and you definitely don’t want to end up with a huge unexpected bill.

Research Local Cuisines

Food is one of the most important aspects of any trip. Often it is the tastes and smells of a place that we remember the best. These senses are powerful evokers of memory and we tie them strongly to particular places and experiences.

If you have particular dietary needs, researching your options ahead of time allows you to relax and ensure that there will be something suitable. The US is home to a wide variety of cuisines; if you look beyond the usual fast food joints, you will discover some really great places to eat.

Make Sure You Tip

One final word of warning to anyone traveling who is not from the US, tipping is always expected in serving jobs. Whenever you go out to eat, make sure that you tip your server around 10% of the value of your meal. Tipping isn’t just expected in the US, it’s essential. Without tipping, these workers don’t make minimum wage.

The USA has more to offer travelers than could possibly be experienced in just one or two trips. In order to appreciate everything that the USA has to offer, you need to be prepared to make several trips. Researching your trip ahead of time will allow you to cram in as many of the sights and experiences as possible. The more you know beforehand, the easier your trip will be.

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