Deciding to vacation in the United States can be an exciting opportunity to spend time exploring the vast and diverse country of America, but it does require some planning to make sure that you enjoy your trip as much as possible. As such, there are several mistakes that you can make when preparing for your trip, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been here dozens of times before; these include not bringing enough money, overpacking and more, so read on to find out more about the top 10 biggest mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to the United States and how you can avoid them!
1) Booking a non-refundable ticket
One of the biggest mistakes is purchasing a non-refundable ticket and then not being able to make it to your destination. Airlines have become stricter with refunding tickets due to people who buy them, then change their minds. If you purchase a ticket that does not allow for refunds, you will be unable to get your money back and will lose any money spent on airline fees.
2) Not checking flight details
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when they are preparing for their trip to the U.S. You should always check your flight details before you go, so that you know what gate you need to be at and when your flight will be departing. If you don’t check these things, there is no way that you will know where and when your flight is taking off. And if this happens, it could result in an international traveler being stranded in America without a way home!
3) Choosing an inconvenient airport
Choosing an inconvenient airport can make you end up spending more time getting to your destination than actually enjoying it. For example, if you live in New York and plan on visiting Atlanta, Georgia then it may be best to fly into JFK International Airport instead of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The reason for this is because Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located 20 miles outside of Atlanta, which will make you have to spend time commuting as well as find transportation once arriving at the airport.
4) Arriving in the U.S. Outside Customs Hours
If you are arriving in the U.S. outside of customs hours, which is between 7:00am and 11:00pm, then you may need to be prepared for delays. Make sure you have enough food and water, your necessary medications, and any travel documents with you so that these items don’t slow you down when going through customs. Also, if at all possible, plan an arrival time outside of this period where you can expect little or no wait.
5) Not having all entry documents in order before arrival
If you are not sure what documents you will need, contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before you leave home and ask them to give you a list of all of the documents they require for entry into the country. If some documentation is missing when you arrive at customs, it can delay your entry into America by hours or even days.
6) Bringing prohibited items into the U.S.
One of the biggest mistakes travelers can make when planning a trip to America is bringing prohibited items into the country. You should always check with customs before you arrive at your airport or border crossing and ask what you can bring with you. It’s very easy to forget something when going through customs, so it’s best to pack your bags carefully and double-check that everything inside is allowable.
7) Leaving valuables unattended in plain sight
It may sound obvious, but leaving valuables unattended in plain sight is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when traveling. Even if you’re staying in a 5-star hotel, it’s important to keep your belongings close and out of sight. Thieves know that tourists are easy targets for theft because they’re often distracted by their new surroundings and preoccupied with taking photos.
8) Failing to declare currency on entry
Some countries have limits on how much cash can be taken into or out of the country. If you are entering the US with more than $10,000 in cash, you must declare this at customs. Failure to do so could result in heavy fines and even imprisonment.
9) Undervaluing items for customs purposes
If you’re bringing any high value items with you, make sure to note it on your customs declaration form. You may get an email from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asking for more information about those items. Make sure that you are honest about what’s in your suitcase. If you try to sneak something past them, they will find out and it’ll be even more of a headache for you.
10) Getting Too Comfortable at Borders and Airports
We know you’re just excited to finally be on your way, but it’s important not to let that excitement get in the way of keeping things as neat and tidy as possible. Remember: customs agents don’t care about your feelings; they care about catching people who are doing something wrong. The best thing you can do for yourself is follow all of their instructions, answer all of their questions truthfully, and make sure you have nothing in your pockets or on your person that could cause alarm.