What do I need to know before taking a trip to the United States?

ESTA på dansk

Apply to ESTA

Today, citizens of Denmark can enter the United States through the US Visa Waiver Program (also known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for up to 90 days without a visa.

Your 90-day count begins the moment you step onto US soil, Puerto Rico or Hawaii.

If you arrived in the United States through Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda, those 90 days include time in Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda.

The validity of an ESTA can be extended for up to 2 years. As long as you stay for no more than 90 days, you are allowed to travel to the US unlimited times.

The ESTA is much cheaper than the traditional tourist visa and takes only 20 minutes to complete a simple application form. Although you can apply for an ETSA anytime before boarding your flight, it is recommended that you do so at least 72 hours in advance.

Your ESTA number and approval number will be required at check-in.

If you plan to stay for more than 90 days in the USA, or if your country is not covered by the ESTA program, you will need a visa.

Verify the validity of your passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months before you can enter the USA. If your passport expires within six months, you won’t be permitted to travel to the USA.

You should also ensure that your passport is valid throughout your trip.

Understanding the US’ Tipping Culture

You are expected to tip for all types of services in the United States. This includes cab drivers, delivery men, porters, and room service. But, most importantly, waiters and bartenders.

Tipping is a common practice that ranges from 15% to 20%.

While tipping is an expected practice, it’s not mandatory. If the service was satisfactory (no outstanding), I will give 15%. I would give 20% if the service were exceptional. If the service is poor, I will give 10% to 10% depending on the severity of the problem.

Do Not Miss Visiting at Least One National Park

The United States is known for its bustling cities, but it also has a healthy balance of nature with its National Parks.

The USA is home to the first National Park anywhere in the world. Theodore Roosevelt established Yellowstone in 1872. This was the beginning of a natural conservation practice that would be spread around the globe.

The USA boasts 62 national parks. These parks include all types of landscapes, flora, and fauna, as well as outdoor experiences.

Get out of the city, get lost in nature, and camp in dense forests. Marvel at the towering snowcapped mountains. Wander in the red desert canyons. Hike past the lush valleys.

Take a road trip

Although many cities are quite far apart, you will find plenty of beautiful places and interesting roadside attractions within the USA. This is why overland and road trips are so popular in America.

If you are planning to travel in remote areas, such as the mid-west or the southwest, be aware of how far it is from gas stations. To ensure you have enough fuel to get through the empty spaces between gas stations, make sure your tank is full.


I suggest the following when renting a car in America:

  • The total cost of your car rental should be checked. The price you see in a search doesn’t usually include taxes or insurance.
  • Many car rental companies will insist that you have more coverage than the minimum. It is up to you to decide whether or not to add it based on your circumstances.
  • Find out the current price of fuel/gas in the state you are visiting. The distance you plan to drive, and the gas consumption rate of your car are two factors that will determine the cost of gas. You can search the model and the span for the span rate span>.
  • Is it possible to add GPS? What is the cost of this sim card? You can now get a local Simcard with data to use your phone as a GPS and Google Maps, and Waze.
  • What is the cost for each additional driver? To be safe in the event of an accident, add all drivers to your rental agreement.
  • What is the cost to drop off your car in another city if you are only traveling one way?
  • Are there tolls along your route? You can check them online. You can quickly rack up toll fees!
  • Before you leave the car rental lot, take photos and document all defects. To record fuel consumption and mileage, you should also take a picture of the dashboard.


Book Domestic Flights Independently from Your International Flights

Flying is the best way to travel to distant cities if you are short on time. However, I would recommend that you purchase your domestic flights separately from your international flights.

Many times, domestic flights are more expensive when booked together with an international leg. However, booking them separately will give you more options from all alliances.

There are many popular routes in the US that are often traveled by foreigners. These routes are very competitive with US airlines, so it’s easier to find a deal if you search for them yourself.

Expect To Pay More Than What’s Listed

Contrary to what most countries believe, prices displayed at supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses do not include sales tax. Each state has its own sales tax, and they vary between 7% and 11%.

The resorts are known for charging a large “resort fee,” which is not often mentioned when booking.

Depending on where you are staying, this could be anywhere from $10+ up to $100+. To see additional taxes and fees, make sure you read the fine print or “not included” section in the advertised price.

Don’t Travel Without Travel Insurance

You’re probably familiar with horror stories about the US’s inefficient and costly medical system. They are all true.

I am sure you won’t be happy to return home with a $1200 bill for getting ibuprofen from a doctor. Although it sounds exaggerated, this is not true.

It is important to have travel insurance that includes medical coverage for all trips, especially in the USA.

Always Keep Cash With You

Despite being a world leader in digital payments, the US is still lagging behind other European and South American countries.

America is always behind, so don’t be surprised to see many rural businesses accepting cash.

You can also tip in cash at many places unless you have a credit card.

You can pay for most things with credit cards or contactless payments in major cities. However, there are many businesses that accept cash (for tax purposes span>).

Tell your bank before you leave your country that you will be using your debit or credit card in the US.

A Few Extra Quick Tips:

  • 911 is an emergency number in the United States.
  • The Imperial system is used by the US, which is the only third country in the world. The measurements are in inches and feet. Distances are measured in miles. Weights are expressed in pounds. Temperatures are expressed in Fahrenheit.
  • Drive on the right side.
  • Six time zones make up the US. When booking flights or airport transfers, it is important to know the time zone in which your destination is located.

It is recommended to apply for ESTA 72 hours before departure

All passport holders from Visa Waiver countries must apply for their ESTA online