Australia is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Australian locals, as a matter of fact, love to travel exotically. The United States is considered to be the most popular travel destination for Australians. In 2012, the US ranked as the third most popular travel spot for Australians, following New Zealand and Indonesia.
If you are thinking of spending some time in the US, there are a lot of considerations you need to be wary about. From buying a USA sim card to preparing for your documents, here are some important things you should make before you finally fly out to the US.
Apply for ESTA
Australians travelling to the US either for business or leisure trips for 90 days or less are not required to obtain a visa. However, applying for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), and having it approved before the trip is essential.
The whole application process is relatively easy. While you can do it online, there is a $14 you need to pay via credit card. When you have this document, custom paperwork can be made onboard your flight instead of filling out separate immigration and customs forms.
Check mobile phone roaming rates
Everybody knows how hefty phone roaming rates can bleed you dry, and the US phone rates are no exceptions to that. Most, if not all, US hotels now offer free Wi-Fi services. However, be wary of those hotels that ask for “resort fees” to cover for your phone use. One practical option is to go for pay-as-you-go mobile hotspots. Check USA sim card options so you will know your options.
Use TSA Locks
Like body scans, the TSA often randomly inspects luggage even after it has been checked in. To avoid delaying, use TSA-approved locks as these can be opened using a master key. Meaning, TSA personnel can screen and inspect your checked-in baggage if deemed necessary.
Be mindful of airport flight announcements
Since airports in Australia are relatively small, boarding calls for each flight is airport-wide. But when you step on US airports, airline flight announcements are made at the gate itself. Thus, when you are lurking in shops or bars at the airport, you can’t hear your flight announcements. Check your boarding time and be at the gate on time. Most flights in the US are overbooked. To avoid getting booted, show up at your boarding gate on time.
Understand the rules of body scans
US and Australia use body scanners to double-check guests for prohibited items. In Australia, body scanners are used for international flights. Although this is not used on every passenger, you still cannot opt-out when you’re randomly chosen to get scanned. Do not refuse. Otherwise, you’ll see yourself outside the airport for a full 24 hours.
On the other hand, US scanners are used for international and domestic flights, and every passenger is subjected through the airport. But you have the option to go for a pat-down scan.
It is always a wise move to have yourself prepared for your trip to the US. Make sure you have everything in place, from your documents to the USA sim card, among others, so that you will have a worry-free vacation.