While in many European countries you don’t even need a passport to get on a plane (although it is always advisable to have one with you), a trip to the United States involves considerably more red tape. It is some work, but it is necessary to monitor safety. You have to take these four administrative things into account when you travel to America. For example, have you ever heard of an ESTA?
The validity of your passport
It sounds very silly, but many people do not realize, partly due to the long validity of a passport, that there is indeed a date that the validity expires. Your passport will last for ten years. There is no rule that a passport must still be valid when you travel to America with it, but it must still be valid when you fly back home. You can check the validity of your passport in your passport. Immediately put a reminder in your calendar when it is about to expire, so that you can request a new copy in time. Moreover, it will also be difficult to apply for an ESTA for your trip without a valid passport, but more about that later.
Booking a place to stay
The United States would like to know where it stands and that is why it is important that you already know where you will sleep the first night. Very exciting of course to go on the spec without a place to stay, but you often have to specify your address in the US. So make sure you always determine where you will sleep the first night: that way you can fill in wherever you are, because you are sure to be asked when you travel to America. If you’re traveling with friends, you can write down your friends’ addresses, or you can search for a hotel or Airbnb through a travel website.
Filling out an ESTA
You will probably be asked for that residence on your ESTA. This is one of the most important things to take care of when you go to the States. ESTA is not a visa, but it is a way for the United States to find out more about your stay and about you and thus be able to assess whether or not you can enter the country. Do this well in advance so that an ESTA USA can be approved.
That ESTA is a bit stressful. You have to fill it in really well, make no mistakes and also pay. The ESTA is not free. Applying for travel permission to go to the United States costs 39.95 euros per person. This used to be cheaper, but then you could only pay with a credit card. iDeal, Bancontact and Paypal have now been added to this. In any case, the US says it will invest the money it asks for the process in the electronic system for travel authorization and to improve security at American airports.
Means of payment with you
Finally, in terms of administration, it is also useful to ensure that you have sufficient means of payment with you. Suppose your debit card is swallowed or refuses for other reasons, at least you still have a credit card to hand. In any case, a credit card is recommended for this country, in which many citizens often have multiple credit cards. Make sure you turn on world coverage for your cards when you travel and also make sure you know the pin codes. So also for your credit card. Nothing is more annoying than wanting to pay and not being able to. Certainly due to the time difference that we have in the Netherlands with the US, it is sometimes extremely difficult to get something done remotely at your bank. So prepare yourself well in terms of payment methods, think about whether you also want to withdraw some dollars in advance (or maybe have it in a drawer somewhere) and you can travel with peace of mind. If you also have your passport and ESTA in order.
So don’t forget! Apply for your ESTA for your trip to America.
[Fotocredits – travelview & miglagoa © Adobe Stock]