Travelling to the United States by yourself may seem like an overwhelming experience. This is especially true if you don’t know where to begin when organizing a journey in a country that stretches across the West and East coasts of North America.
Things can get much easier if you do your homework before you embark on the travel. Thinking of the things you must plan and prepare while you are still at home is a good place to start. It’s probably wise, for example, to find your San Francisco vacation rental before actually arriving in the city.
Picking out favorite destinations and knowing how to optimize your preferences for the budget is another step. Plan well, though, and the tough task of a solo American adventure may well turn out to be a flawless and memorable journey.
Solo travel means that you get to make the decision regarding how you first arrive in America, and then how you travel when there. There are many airlines to choose from for the flight depending on where you are starting from. JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit Airlines will help you arrive in America on a budget and then have some savings for the rest of your trip. Also, make sure that you take care of the visa requirements before you leave.
To be as resourceful as possible, set your expectations in line with the time you’re allotting for your trip. Also, make use of the friendly and helpful American spirit. Asking a local for advice is a savvy option whether you are looking for what to do in a small town in the Midwest or when you are trying to navigate around metropolitan hubs like New York, Chicago or San Francisco.
Keep in mind that in the U.S., a tipping is expected in service industries. You might want to keep that in mind when dining out. The other thing to know when eating out in America is that portions are huge. Often they are much larger than traditional European sizes. Unless you are very hungry, you can ask to have the leftovers packed for later.
Avoiding the busiest times of the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year) will help you avoid the holiday frenzy and get a more relaxed feel of the big cities.
The National Public Radio (NPR) is a steady and resourceful companion both for important news and weather updates along the way.
If you decide to rent an RV, you can explore the highways that pass through a city or take the more quaint side roads for sightseeing. You should be aware that interstate roads, such as I-95 are the fastest routes to your next destination, but will not necessarily offer the most fascinating views.
You might need to take a few extra turns and drive longer miles to admire the Grand Canyon or some of the other famous U.S. National Parks. Greyhound and MegaBus provide affordable bus travel, while the Amtrak nationwide rail travel is an alternative that can end up being the most memorable section of your personal journey.
A City Pass will help you save on tourist attractions and museums in urban centers of the U.S. Admiring the great architecture of skyscrapers is free entertainment if you’d prefer the view from the outside.
In terms of culture, theater performances on the iconic Broadway in NYC or having a one-of-a-kind experience in a smaller stock theater is an authentic American experience. In Chicago, consider attending a blues gig or having a fabulous jazz evening in Nashville or New Orleans.
The nation’s love and pride of sporting events is a privilege to encounter. If you are in the mood for a rush of sport adrenaline, this journey may be a chance for a unique game experience of an American pastime: Football or baseball.
Parades and fairs are events that gather locals in one place and are an opportunity to get a sense of what it means to live in America. If you happen to stumble upon one or plan your trip around them, they occur across the nation and are worth your time.
It is hardly likely that a single trip to the United States will be all that it takes to leave no stone unturned. Having a smart agenda ahead, though, will help you avoid annoyances and get the maximum worth out of your trip to America.
By Natasha Roubal