05 April 2018

5 things you need before traveling to the US (from Europe)

Before heading to the big American Continent, in this case, the Northern side, there are a few things you need in order to be admitted in the country and prepared for the country's differences.

Here's a list of everything you need:

1. When traveling to another continent, your European Citizen Card is not enough. Schedule an appointment with your national citizen department to make your International Passport. For the Portuguese, schedule online your appointment on the Portal do Cidadão website. The cost for the Portuguese passport is 65€ and it takes about a week to be ready.

2. After picking the passport up, head to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and sign up for an E.S.T.A. (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). This is the most important document — without it, you can't enter the US. Be prepared to give out all of your info — full name, passport number, US address, US contact person, etc. It costs 14$ (11€). It also takes about a week to be accepted and processed and it allows you to stay in the US for 90 days straight. Once you're approved, your ESTA remains valid for a period 2 years.
Have it printed out and ready to be taken with you on the airport - they'll not ask for it at the security check, but it's important that you bring it. 

3. If you have a credit or debit card that only works in your country and that, probably, will charge you for every transaction in foreign countries, I have a solution. Download the free Revolut app and ask for their card (it costs only 6€). This card enables you to pay and withdraw money without ever paying extra. It's also great to transfer money to another person who has a Revolut account. It works by sending the money immediately through his/hers telephone number. Also, having a Visa card in the States works best at every facility — especially at your hotel when they ask for a credit card to hold the deposit fee.

4. Now that you have your two most important documents with you to enter the country, and have a card to pay all your expenses, it is time to book your trip. The first thing I did what checking the best rates for the flights and hotel stays. With the travel dates in mind, I searched for Google flights and simulated all possible trips — being one day earlier or later, in the morning or at night. Then I headed to Edreams (also try Booking.com or Expedia, or Momondo — the one who offers you the best deal) and book the flights. For the hotel, we got our best deal at Hotels.com.

5. Lastly: a power plug adapter. The standard EU power plug won't work in the US — neither will the UK one. You have to buy a US one. Without it, you'll be crying because all the battery in your phone will die and you'll have nowhere to charge it. So be prepared!

That's all for now! Hope you enjoyed this list. Tell me if I'm missing anything and if you're traveling to the US, tell me which state! Stay tuned for a New York City guide soon! Kisses

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