Holiday in the USA? Don’t forget your ESTA

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Image by Ronile from Pixabay

With Christmas and New Year out of the way it might be time to start thinking about your having a holiday. The festive period is a very busy and stressful time and we could all do with a break. With so many beautiful destinations around the world, where do you go? Will you need an entry visa or ESTA? Do you want a beach holiday, sightseeing or adventure, maybe rollercoasters are your thing and you want the biggest and best theme parks, or maybe a family holiday with elements all of those things, so something to suit all family members?

One of the places I have loved visiting is America, specifically Orlando in Florida. It has sun, beaches, miles of open roads, shopping and theme parks. It has plenty of theme parks to suit everybody including the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort. Whilst I have visited twice, I would love to go back to the USA and visit other States, after all there are 50 of them to explore.

Image by Yan Cabrera from Pixabay

Before you book that holiday of a lifetime, there is a lot more to consider than destination, flights and accommodation. If travelling to the USA you will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) – a digital travel authorisation to travel to the USA, without a visa. Without this, or a visa, you will not be permitted to travel to the USA, so don’t forget to apply for your ESTA. To apply is a simple online process of filling in an ESTA form and paying a fee (which is cheaper than paying for a visa) and there no need to take time out to visit an embassy. Once your ESTA has been granted, it will be sent to you by email, generally within 24 hours, and it is valid for 2 years (with a maximum 90 consecutive days per visit), so you can visit as much as you want during this time without having to get another.

So you have decided where in the USA you want to visit, have booked your flights and car hire (from my own experience you will need a car to fully enjoy the country, it is just so big), secured your accommodation, applied for and been granted your ESTA it is time to decide on what you are going to do when you get there.

  • Don’t try to see or do too much – it is a very big country and you don’t want to waste your holiday by spending most of it travelling to different attractions. Too much travelling or seeing too much can leave you tired and can lead to sensory overload.
  • Food portions are very big, so be careful to overorder (although from my experience most places will offer to pack leftovers up to takeaway with you).
  • Depending on you where you are visiting it can be very hot so make sure your have plenty of sun cream and drink plenty of water.
  • Be prepared to tip – most restaurants expect you to tip the serving staff (generally between 10 and 20 percent), so make sure you keep spare dollars with you.

There are plenty of tourist attractions around the country to suit everybody, whether you want a more sedate holiday or a more full-on adrenaline filled holiday.

If you are visiting New York you have the world-famous Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building as well as plenty of shopping.

Image by Sue Lowe from Pixabay

New York not your thing? Maybe you want to travel along Route 66 and visit the Grand Canyon along the way to California for tourist spots like Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood or even Disneyland itself.

Maybe you want a sightseeing tour of The White House, the home of American politics.

Or maybe you just want to chill out, relax and top up your tan along the beaches of California or Florida, and there are plenty of beaches to so.

With plenty to see and do in every state you visit, visiting the United States of America will be a holiday of a lifetime and one that you will never forget. So apply for your ESTA, book your flights and accommodation, get any vaccinations that may be required for travel and enjoy all the fun that America can offer. Whatever holiday you choose, I hope that you enjoy it, have lots of fun and relax from the stresses of the previous year.

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