How to prepare your trip to the USA

At last, you’ve decided to take the plunge and start planning your dream trip to the USA.

But where to start planning your trip to the United States?

This page has been created to help you organize your stay in the USA. It brings together the best advice on how to prepare your tour correctly and avoid blunders.

Organized travel is obviously the best way to discover the USA according to your tastes. This means you can go where you want, when you want, and move when you want, which is not often the case with tailor-made tours.

Preparing your trip to the U.S. will take a lot of time and energy, but once you’ve got it all organized, you’ll be happy and satisfied! What’s more, organizing a trip is already a bit like traveling.

With the web, a wealth of information is just a click away. You can find out all about American manners, hotels, restaurants offering typical American cuisine, airfares and rental car prices… But also about all the American cities, all the majestic parks with their wild nature and all the Must See places to visit.

Ready, set, go! Take a trip!

Preparing your trip to the USA

Preparing a trip to the U.S. is not the same as preparing a citytrip to a European city. It takes time, but above all it takes planning! Some people start planning a year or more in advance, but you can start preparing your tour 4 to 6 months before the big departure.

Here’s an outline of the steps you need to take to prepare for your trip:

  1. apply for your biometric passport or renew it if the validity date does not cover your future trip;
  2. apply forESTA authorization, if your trip will last less than 90 days;
  3. choose the period when you’re going to the USA and create an outline of your future tour (arrival and return cities, duration, indicative route, etc.). This step should be taken before you buy your plane tickets, in order to have more freedom of movement;
  4. book your plane tickets;
  5. rent a car or camper ;
  6. improve the layout of your circuit to get a day-to-day idea and create a daily schedule;
  7. book campsites, hotels, Airbnb, etc. ;
  8. Take out health insurance (medical expenses are very high in the USA)
  9. choose your daily activities, excursions, hikes and visits.

When should you travel to the USA?

As everywhere else, prices for accommodation, car rentals and other services vary according to the season, with a high peak in summer. It is therefore advisable to travel in the off-season or in the off-season for your trip to the United States.

The weather obviously varies with the seasons, so it’s a parameter to be taken seriously.

July to August is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone Park in terms of weather. It is, however, overrun with tourists.

The weather is pleasant along the California coast, but very hot in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Hiking there is not recommended, as temperatures are too high.

It’s also hurricane season in Florida, which also has very high temperatures.

April to June is a great time to visit the national parks in the west of the country. Yellowstone begins to open.

From November to March, most of the major parks are open, and there may be snow in some of them (Bryce, Grand Canyon or Arches), but they’re still accessible.

It’s a great time to visit Death Valley National Park, head to Las Vegas or visit the parks in southern New Mexico and Arizona. Discovering Florida at this time is great, because the temperatures are mild, even if the water remains cold.

Please note that some parks are closed or partially closed during this period. This includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia and Grand Canyon national parks.

September to October is a pleasant time to visit the parks of the American West, as temperatures are not too high. However, the days here are shorter.

Travel to Florida during this period should be avoided at all costs, as it is hurricane season.

Create your own tour in the USA

Once you’ve decided when you want to visit the USA, you’ll have to do the hard part: draw up the itinerary for your tour. What’s on? When? For how long? This will depend on the length and timing of your stay.

Which locations tempt you? Which parks would you like to visit? Which major cities to visit? The USA is huge and overflowing with thousands of Must See activities. So you’re going to have to make choices and sort according to your preferences and the feasibility of the different activities.

Choose your locations by region, and remember that the USA is 17 times larger than France, and driving for more than 5 hours a day becomes very difficult, so try to centralize your activities.

It’s possible to find online maps to help you, or printed road maps where you can put your annotations directly onto them.

You can also take a look on the web to find out more about the different types of itinerary that exist, for inspiration.

You must now choose between 2 types of route: loop or linear. If you opt for the loop, you’ll need a return ticket to the same place, whereas if you choose the linear route (from point A to point B), you’ll need a multi-destination ticket (no higher than a classic return ticket).

You’ll then need to create your daily schedule, taking into account the amount of time you’ll need to devote to the different places you’ll be visiting: a full day for some of the big parks (more for Yellowstone or Yosemite, for example), 2-3 days for the big cities (visit San Francisco and its Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas, etc.).

We recommend taking at least 4 to 5 days to visit New York. The Big Apple has a lot to offer: visit the Statue of Liberty, Central Park… Observe the immensity of New York skyscrapers in Manhattan, climb to the top of the Empire State Building or see a Broadway show are just some of the things to do in New York City.

There’s no point in overloading your schedule: it’s better to make fewer visits and take your time than to rush and botch your trip.

An important step to plan is the time spent on the road. Bear in mind that one mile equals 1.6 km, so 300 miles equals almost 500 km.

Now you’re ready to make your American dream come true! We hope you enjoy your trip to the United States.