USA Travel: Top Questions Answered For 2024

Petr Novák

Are you planning a trip to America and unsure about some details? This constantly updated page provides answers to the most frequently asked questions you may have before traveling to the USA. Read carefully, as it is highly likely that your question has already been addressed. If not, feel free to ask in the discussion below.

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  1. Table of Contents
    1. Preparing and Planning a Trip to the USA…
    2. ESTA Form and Visa Waiver Program…
    3. Flight Procedure: Interview with Immigration Officer…
    4. While in the USA
    5. Working in the USA

    Preparing and Planning a Trip to the USA…

    What do you need to arrange before traveling to the USA?

    The two most important things are a valid biometric passport and either an approved ESTA travel registration or visa. In addition, you’ll need to buy a plane ticket, book accommodation, and arrange travel insurance. For a comprehensive guide, see the step-by-step guide to traveling to the USA.

    My child under the age of 18 will travel to the USA only with his/her father (mother, sister, brother, relative, teacher, or friend). Does he/she need to have a statement that he/she can travel without both parents?

    I recommend providing the child with a declaration from both parents stating that they know about and agree to the trip. You may not need it in the end, but it only takes a little time, and you can avoid unnecessary complications. The parents’ statement doesn’t have a set form; you can get inspiration in a separate article.

    How to Find Cheap Accommodation in the USA?

    Hotels and motels can be expensive in some locations and during certain times of the year. You can save money by booking accommodation as far in advance as possible, when there is still availability. Especially for road trips, it is sometimes worthwhile to go the extra mile and book a motel in a location where prices are lower. A few years ago, services like Couchsurfing and Airbnb were popular, but that time has passed. For more tips, check out our article on how to find affordable accommodations in the USA.

    When Is the Best Time to Visit the USA to Avoid Excessive Heat?

    There is no clear answer to this question because the USA is vast. It is possible to travel there year-round, with slightly different seasons being appropriate for each location. For a detailed month-by-month guide, see where to go in the USA.

    What to See in the USA

    It’s individual. Some people are interested in national parks, others in amusement parks. Some prefer the hustle and bustle of cities, others find tranquility in the mountains. Take a look at our tips for attractions in the USA on our easy-to-understand map and choose what suits you best.

  2. ESTA Form and Visa Waiver Program…

    I bought a round trip ticket to the USA with a stay of more than 90 days. Can I travel on ESTA even if I exceed the 90 days allowed?

    The best solution in such a situation is to rebook the ticket for an earlier date. Alternatively, you can travel on a visa, leave the USA for a short period, or, in the worst-case scenario, intentionally overstay, which I do not recommend. For more information, see overstaying in the USA.

    Can I travel to the USA on ESTA even though my visa application has been denied in the past?

    You can apply for ESTA travel registration approval, but you will likely be denied. In this case, you will have no choice but to reapply for a visa to the USA.

  3. Flight Procedure: Interview with Immigration Officer…

    I’m Flying to the USA on the Route Prague – Amsterdam – New York – Miami. Where Will I Have My Initial Interview with an Immigration Officer?

    You can expect an interview with an immigration officer in New York, as well as a short interview in Amsterdam. In New York, you will need to collect your luggage after the interview and check them in again. For a detailed explanation, see how the flight to the USA works.

    I Don’t Speak English Very Well. Can I Attend an Interview with an Immigration Officer Together with a Friend Who Speaks English Well and Will Translate the Instructions for Me?

    Yes, it is possible to attend an immigration interview with a relative, friend, or acquaintance. It is even possible to attend the interview as a family. If you are traveling to the USA alone and do not speak English, have someone translate the responses to the questions that officials typically ask.

  4. While in the USA

    When Is the USA Duty Paid?

    For air passengers, souvenirs worth up to €430$458 are exempt from VAT, while children under 15 have their limit reduced to €200$213. The limit is set for all newly acquired items combined. So, if you purchase, say, two watches for €300$320, you will have to pay tax on them. Customs officers at airports conduct random checks. Anyone who tries to evade paying tax and duty can be charged, including penalties. For more information, see this article on importing from the USA.

    Will They Serve Me Alcohol in the USA if I’m Only 18 Years Old?

    In the USA, you can’t consume alcohol until you’re 21, and this regulation is enforced quite strictly. Most restaurants and stores are unlikely to serve you alcohol. Similarly, they are not likely to allow you entry into bars and nightclubs, etc. Unfortunately, the same holds true in Las Vegas, as you can’t enter casinos until you’re 21. Moreover, all hotels are accessed through the casino.

    What Should I Bring from the USA?

    It depends on your interests and personality. I regularly bring back new clothes; designer t-shirts, sweatshirts, or jeans are quite cheap in the USA. You can buy them at massive outlet malls. Occasionally, I also bring back Jack Links jerky or Extra cinnamon gum. Conversely, I no longer purchase tourist t-shirts and sweatshirts from various attractions on principle. The clothing is of poor quality, fades quickly, and is uncomfortable to wear.

  5. Working in the USA

    I Am a High School Student and Would Like to Work in the USA During the Holidays. Can I Get a Work Visa or What Are My Options?

    Obtaining a work visa can be extremely challenging, both financially and time-wise. Take advantage of being a student and travel to the USA through the Work and Travel program or as a summer camp instructor. First, you will work and then you can spend about a month traveling.

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