Inspiration, Travel, USA & Canada

Handy America tips

Hey guys!

I’m back from my American adventures and a bit jet lagged. So while I get myself together and start writing city-based guides, I wanted to share some handy general America tips with you if you’re planning a trip.

Fill in your ESTA before you leave

ESTA is required for international travellers who wish to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program due to enhanced security requirements. You will have to pay a $14 fee.

Travel insurance

Don’t even think of entering America without comprehensive travel insurance. You could end up paying thousands of dollars in medical bills if something unfortunate happens to you on your trip. Buy this the second you book your travel!

♥ Tipping

The concept of tipping is a little foreign to us Aussies, but it’s a vital part of survival for those in the American service industry. Tip around 20% for restaurants and cafes (unless the service is terrible), $1/drink at a bar and around 15% for taxis.

♥ Book restaurants with Open Table

I used this handy site to book all my restaurants across America, from West to East coast. While not all restaurants take bookings, it’s very handy to book with one that does especially on a Friday or Saturday night, or when in Vegas (there are always queues in Vegas!) You don’t want to waste your precious holiday time queuing, do you?

♥ Book taxis with Taxi Magic

Another site I used regularly, especially for booking a last minute taxi to the airport at 2am ;p They send you an email confirmation and will give you a call prior to double check. Sure beats standing on the street hoping to hail one down.

♥ Buy a SIM when you get there

Make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave and upon arrival hit up your local T-Mobile stand for an American SIM card. I paid $20 for the card plus $40 for a month of unlimited calls and internet (very important for Google maps and Instagram!) While ofcourse you could rely on your roaming (very expensive) and wifi (not always available) I highly suggest getting a local SIM card as it made my life immensely easier – from receiving confirmation calls from taxis, to checking my location on Google maps when I was lost.

♥ Buy heaps of makeup

Makeup is SO much cheaper in the States and I spent a lot of money at Sephora, but saved heaps in the long run. For example my foundation is $90 in Australia and $60 in America, and my blush is $45 in Australia and $29 in America. Stock up!

Do you have any tips on travelling to America? Share with us below!

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  • Reply Lisa November 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hope you had an amazing time!! Totally agree with all of this, especially the makeup. I’ve got another – tell your bank you’re going to America, or you may end up getting your credit card frozen like I did. Their reason was credit card fraud is the worst in America. It took 3 or 4 days to sort out and was super inconvenient getting cash out and paying up to $5 in ATM fees every time!

  • Reply Food is our religion November 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    love the opening shot! and i agree with those tips, esp the sim card!

  • Reply Tina @ bitemeshowme November 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    great tips – agree with them all! Car hire is a good idea if you’re keen on exploring and always get a GPS, it will save your life. In saying this, you will need an international drivers license which lasts for 12 months

  • Reply LA Eats – Swah’s Best Places to Eat in Los Angeles August 21, 2014 at 11:46 am

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