How to best ensure stress free travel to the US
Photo by CC user mattwieve on Flickr
Out of all the nations in the world, the United States of America is one of its most popular travel destinations, only being rivaled by France in terms of international tourist arrivals per year.
However, this is tempered by the fact that America is also one of the most security obsessed countries in the world, which is the cause for a great deal of stress for visitors that are planning their first-ever trip to the USA.
Below, we will share our top tips for stress free travel to the US so that you can stop tearing your hair out in anxiety, and instead begin to imagine yourself walking the streets of New York City, New Orleans, or Las Vegas.
Have USA-specific questions answered by online experts
Before we get into the meat of this article, we realize that not all of your questions will be answered in the points that we cover below.
There are a million and one queries that foreigners looking to travel to the USA have, from the mundane to the fear-inducing.
Fortunately, there is a way to put your concerns at rest, as there is a website run by ESTAs.net that not only helps with the pre-authorization that is required for all visitors outside of Canada prior to travel, but also staffs a live chat and rapid response email service.
It is manned by experts in all things America; from USA customs requirements, to advice with regards to the many cultural foibles of which visitors should be aware, people using the service can expect quick replies to their questions, allowing them to focus on planning their trip rather than worrying about it.
Rule #1 for stress free travel to the US: don’t joke around with security agents
We get it: when you go on holiday, all that is serious and tedious about life falls away, leaving one in a buoyant and cheerful mood. Although you may be eager to share your sense of humor with everyone that you meet in America, we beseech you to not do this with immigration or TSA agents.
American security personnel take their jobs extremely seriously, as they view their profession as being the front line of defense against all external threats to the Republic.
This is a terrible time to joke about bombs in your luggage, or to otherwise suggest that you might pose a threat to the American people.
Conduct yourself in a professional manner, answer all questions confidently and truthfully, and your experience with immigration and TSA agents will be a smooth and efficient one.
Get a TSA lock for your luggage
Another quick point regarding the TSA: if you plan on locking your luggage to ensure the security of its contents, get a TSA lock before traveling to the United States.
The TSA has the legal authority to open any and all pieces of luggage to examine its contents, regardless of what needs to be done to any locks or fasteners that are keeping it shut.
If you don’t want to have to replace your expensive lock that you use to secure your bags during travel to other parts of the world, get a lock that can be opened by any TSA agent with a special key.
Easily purchasable at quality travel stores or online, this travel accessory will save you much anxiety and anger upon arrival at your first destination in the USA.
Don’t miss your plane when flying around America
Another thing worth noting when traveling to the United States is that this nation is among the largest in the world when it comes not only to population, but also with regards to land area.
As such, those seeking to see multiple regions of the USA on their holiday here will need to take domestic flights from one part of the country to the other.
However, there is a cultural peculiarity that could leave you watching your plane soar into the air while you sit at the airport bar: there are no airport-wide flight announcements in most American airports.
For the most part, boarding announcements for flights take place at the gate from which you board the aircraft, so be sure to keep track of time accurately whether you are having a leisurely breakfast after clearing security, or browsing the shops for duty-free goods.