The ultimate legacy we can leave for our family is happy memories. Memories make us – it created a pleasant image in the minds of our loved ones. Images that bring smiles to their faces, that make them relish every moment spent together. Memories could be everything, from a gift to time spent, or a travel adventure.
Family travels most notably has a way of connecting everyone in the family. It creates a sense of unity and protection between the family members — it’s true what they say that a family that travels together, stays together. Actually, the best gift you could give your family is a lifetime of adventures.
Traveling with the family for the first time can be quite overwhelming. Although it will be more comfortable, the more you do it – you will probably run into a few difficulties whenever you travel, especially with kids. In this post, we’d like to begin with a couple of fundamental tips to make things simpler when you visit the US.
At this point, it becomes challenging to work out where to visit with numerous natural wonders in 52 states (such as Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon) to cultural and political destination through to shopping, music and amusement parks – there truly are heaps of reasons to visit the United States. Except you have some time and plenty of money, it tends to be challenging to trim down the choices to a reasonable itinerary.
Planning Your Itinerary
Considering you are traveling to the US with the family, you should generally approach your itinerary to the US as follows:
- Book a direct flight – Direct flight makes it easier to relieve the kids of the stress they might likely go through during stopovers in case you planned for that – except it’s a necessity stopover, a direct flight is best suited.
- Plan a minimum of 2-nights stay – at your city of destination before starting your tour to get over jetlag and acclimatize.
- Careful planning and research – will help you determine what you want to see and do to create that dream travel experience. There’s more to the United States than New York, Disneyland, and Las Vegas. But the truth is, these three destinations are some of the places to visit. You could also focus on the following list;
- Theme parks (such as Universal Studios Orlando or Disneyland)
- Road trips (such as Southern California)
- National Parks, for example, the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park)
- Major cities
- History or music scene (like in Memphis or Nashville)
- Food or drink
- Festivals and Events
- Diverse cultures
- Beaches or mountains
But that’s not all!
You can likewise consider exciting and unique places like New Orleans, Washington DC, beautiful East Coast Southern cities like Savannah and Charleston that are rich in culture and history. If your family loves natural beauty, you can consider adding Utah and Colorado to the list.
A word on traveling with trains – Believe me, it will be one of the highlights of the adventure for the kids on the off chance that you can manage it, attempt to incorporate train travel in your itinerary. It is a friendly and straightforward approach for family trips. The check-in is simple – a relaxed feeling, the security screening insignificant, and the man taking care of nonexistent. The children are more liberated to move around ready, and you will discover there’s much room likewise.
Let me share a secret with international travelers amongst us on how to get tourists visas to the USA for the family – So, you have planned the itinerary and are probably wondering how to go about getting the family visas and preparing your passport for the adventurous journey ahead. Be rest assured, because this is going to be a smooth ride!
I know the next question on your mind is how to go about your visa application? I’m a mind reader, lol.
The ESTA visas – The American Visa Waiver Program
For international travelers who are willing to travel to the United States, getting a tourist visa can be simple. You can receive a 90-days visa waiver known as the ESTA online. However, all eligible international tourists who intend to tour the USA under the visa waiver program are obligated to apply for authorization. This kind of visa is not a visa per se but a travel authorization, which means you may ONLY travel with it and not for any other purpose.
How long does this cost, and how long are you looking to receive your visa?
The ESTA visa costs $14 and takes around twenty minutes to fill the online application form. You can apply for ESTA at any time before your flight; however, I will advise that you do that at least between 48 and 72 hours prior. Also, keep in mind that you must have the ESTA and a document of your approval number. At the check-in, you will be asked to tender your ESTA, and without it, you won’t be allowed on the plane – so again, make sure your ESTA approval number is ready.
Now, picture yourself in the United States. Is it starting to come to reality?
Don’t get too exciting yet, I know you can’t wait, but we are just getting started – You don’t want to get stranded with accommodation problems when you arrive at the airport, tired from jetlag. To save you the stress, let have a word about the booking accommodation in the state.
Booking Accommodation in the USA
When it comes to getting the best accommodation in the United States, believe me when I say there are endless options. From resorts to motels or hotels, vacation homes, campgrounds, and the most popular accommodation choice according to popular demand, Airbnb, and more.
There are several independent hotels in case you desire something special and unique. In any case, generally, the US is a corporate chain experience – you will most definitely enjoy anywhere you and your family decide to stay but pay attention to the comfort because of the children – and If you are considering staying in a particular destination for an unknown period, you can consider getting an apartment or suites for the kitchen facilities to save some money on eating out and separate bedrooms for the family.
If you intend staying for a few days – maybe just one or two, hotels are the best choice. A vast majority of these hotels and resorts with several beds can be quickly booked online via sites like Hotels.com and Booking.com. To be sure that you have picked the right choice, before payment, you should check for the hotel or motel reviews on TripAdvisor before booking.
Oh, that reminds me, the ever-popular Airbnb – although it’s becoming a pain in the ass for many travelers in the US because of the excess cleaning charges added and also the bed and state taxes – so I will advise you choose wisely.
Be that as it may, you will find cheap hotels and motels like Super 8 and Days Inn on the outskirts of some cities and not far from the interstate. They don’t always look as ravishing as hotels, but they mostly come with the basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, parking space, breakfast (bagels and toast with sugary cereals mainly).
Make sure you do your research extensively and compare prices accurately before making your decision.
Food. Food. Food.
You are probably somebody that enjoys good food like myself. Indeed, one cannot love well, think well or sleep well if you have not dined well – food is life!
As a tourist, the biggest challenge you might likely face during the trip is the food. Now, like I previously mentioned, consider getting an apartment to save money on eating out as it can be costly and a challenge to find healthy options. There’s a probability that you may spend close to $80 for up to six people per meal – imagine how much you will be spending on a three-course meal.
My advice, though – if you are staying at a destination for a couple of nights, you could make a trip to the supermarket to get things like fruit, cereal, milk, and snacks to save you some funds on breakfast.
On the other hand, in case you are willing to spare the cash to eat out, there are plenty of restaurants to try, too many to mention – most notably in the New York area. You can check the TripAdvisor and OpenTable website for numerous choices – don’t forget to always read reviews before trying the food.
On a final note!
One major drawback, nonetheless, that your family might lively face when it comes to visiting the US is the distance – I mean the flight from your country of residence, from Australia for instance, it takes about 12 hours or thereby without stopovers. Likewise, the expenses, most notably due to the poor exchange rate between currencies and several state and federal taxations on all transactions.
If you can look past all of these, you and your family are ready to tour and enjoy the United States of America!
You should start preparing the family to visit the US!