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What to pack for your trip to the USA?

Find all the information and recommendations about what to pack to travel to the USA, and get ready for your next trip!

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July 24, 2023

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Traveling is always a thrilling experience, so it is better to be prepared and have everything ready for your trip. That’s the reason why we want to give you some tips about what to pack, so you can be organized, and have a great time abroad.

First of all, you have to remember that the United States is a diverse country, and each region has its own weather, so it’s important to be well-informed about the specific weather at your destination. We also recommend that you wear comfortable and versatile clothing that you can easily go together.

Did you know you can get Internet on your trip with an eSIM for the USA?

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Important things to take on your trip

Each trip is unique and personalized, so the needs of each traveler may vary depending on their necessities and preferences. Before getting your suitcase ready for the United States, we recommend writing a checklist of essential items for each place.

We will list below the different items you are probably going to need for your trip.

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Necessary Documentation for your trip to the United States

First of all, make sure you have a valid passport. Check the expiration date of your passport carefully, as many countries require it to be valid for at least six months from the intended date of entry.

Some travelers must also obtain a visa to enter the United States. Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit. Contact the US embassy or consulate in your country for accurate and up-to-date information on the necessary paperwork. Remember that it is important to start the visa application process with anticipation to avoid last-minute setbacks.

Entry to the US without a visa, with electronic prior authorization (ESTA)

If you come from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you may be able to enter the United States without a visa. However, in that case, you will need to complete the ESTA Form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before your trip.

This form collects information about your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Make sure you apply for the ESTA beforehand to avoid any delays.

If you still don’t know what it is, don’t worry! We are going to tell you more about this.

Page, Arizona, USA. Source: Unsplash.

What is ESTA?

It is a visa waiver program that lets you enter and move around the country without having to go through the long paperwork process for a visa. Keep in mind that you can only apply for it if your trip is less than 90 days.

If your trip is for leisure or business (less than 3 months), you can request the entry permit with the ESTA authorization. Remember that you must request it at least 72 hours before your trip.

How do I apply for the ESTA?

The application process is simpler than the one for traditional visas. In this case, the process is online. So, you only have to enter the official website to apply for the ESTA and select Start a new application by entering your personal information. They will review your information, and in a very short time, they will inform you whether the application was accepted or not.

We recommend you go to the website regularly to check the status because a confirmation email or anything similar will not arrive.

Make sure that your information is correct, sometimes it is denied due to small mistakes.

The ESTA application has a cost of 19.30 euros ($21). And, although there are other intermediary pages, we do not recommend using them.

Remember to register as a traveler on the foreign relations page, it will facilitate your attention in case of emergency.

Other important documentation for the USA

We recommend you have a list of everything you have booked and the documents you will need. It is important to have a printed copy of your travel itinerary, including details of your flights, hotel reservations, or other evidence of accommodation during your stay in the United States. This documentation may be required upon entering the country and it is recommendable to take it with you in your hand luggage.

When you pack your suitcase for the United States, do not forget the basic documents for your trip, such as your passport and ID. Take your support, either physical or digital.

Remember that documentation requirements can change over time, so it is very important to check for the latest updates before your trip. Check official sources such as US embassies or consulates for accurate and up-to-date information.

Internet connection for a digital nomad in the USA

Having an internet connection in the United States is very important, and that’s the reason why we have prepared this section. When traveling to the United States, it is important that you take several aspects into account:

  • Make sure that your cellphone is compatible: You may not know this, but if you decide to bring a local SIM, you should check if your cellphone will work in the US (regardless of whether your phone is new).
  • Roaming: This service with your local operator can be very expensive, so check the other options.
  • Coverage: Not all operators have good coverage. There are areas like Route 66 that do not have proper network coverage. Check which area you will travel to, so you know which option to choose.

In our article about how to get Internet in the United States, you will learn more about the compatibility of your cellphone, how to verify if it’s compatible, and other very interesting information.

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Virtual SIM or eSIM card for the United States

The Holafly virtual SIM USA will let you connect to the internet in the USA very easily. With it, you will be able to get a 4G/LTE connection in the whole country, have unlimited data, and enjoy the best network coverage in the country.

You will immediately receive the eSIM by email after your purchase. You can activate it using a QR code without having to change your traditional SIM. Furthermore, you can also have 24/7 customer service, data management through its mobile App available for iOS and Android, and other benefits.

Take into account that not all cell phones can support an eSIM. Only high-end smartphones can use an eSIM, so take a look at our list of eSIM-compatible devices.

Mobile internet
Mobile internet in the USA. Source: Unsplash.com

Translators to communicate in the United States

If you speak English, you are not going to have any problems! Everything will be easier, undoubtedly. But, if you do not know the language well, you will need to use a translator, here we will show you a list of the most popular and well-known on the web:

  • Linguee Dictionary
  • iBabylon
  • Microsoft Translator
  • Reverse Dictionary

Local currency and bank cards

The main recommendation to not worry about this is for you to carry some cash, but try to make your payments by card (commissions will be lower).

The local currency in the USA

USA Dollar
USD for your trip to the United States. Source: Unsplash.com

Exchange euros for dollars before traveling to the USA. But we recommend you alternate paying in cash and paying by card.

Today, there are different banks with very good exchange rates. We recommend choosing a bank with no fees for card payments on your trip to the US if possible.

The best options are:

  • BNEXT
  • N26
  • Bank
  • EVO Bench

How to enjoy a safe trip to the US

It is very important to be safe during our trips. Bank cards offer insurance or protection guarantees for your trips, so check with your bank what benefits you can get from your current card.

International medical insurance for the United States

The healthcare system in the United States is known for its quality and advanced technology, but it is also known for being very expensive. So, having international medical insurance will give you peace of mind and financial protection in case of illness or injury during the trip.

With international health insurance, you’ll have access to a big network of medical providers and hospitals in the United States, which means you’ll receive quality care without worrying about high costs. Many international insurance also offer additional services, such as travel assistance and repatriation in an emergency.

Before taking out international medical insurance, make sure to review the coverage, compensation limits, and exclusions carefully. It is important to choose insurance that suits your individual needs and that covers the medical services that you consider essential during your stay in the United States.

Travel insurance with cancellation and return

Get a travel insurance policy that protects you from unexpected events. As we mentioned before, many times your bank cards include some security for travel, check how they favor you while abroad.

So, do not forget to take out insurance that protects you in case you need to end your trip early or a problem arises.

First aid kit for the USA

The first-aid kit is a great company in your suitcase to the United States, prepare a first-aid kit that contains important medications for headaches, muscle aches, common colds, face masks, anti-diarrheals, asprin, and others.

Remember that it is better to prevent than to cure.

First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit. Source: Pixabay.

Telephone in case of emergencies

Call 911 in an emergency. If you need, there is the possibility that they will provide service in Spanish.

If you need to contact the embassy or consulate, on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs they have prepared a list with each of the phone numbers. Remember to verify which consulate is responsible for dealing with the affairs of the state in which you are.

What clothes should I take?

It is normal to wonder about what clothes you need to take on your trip. And we are going to help you with that.

If you head to the sunny shores of Florida, you cannot forget to include swimsuits, sunglasses, and sunscreen to fully enjoy its paradisiacal beaches. But if you are planning to explore the vibrant city of New Orleans, don’t forget to pack light and comfortable clothes.

The United States is one of the largest countries in the world, so consider that from one region to another the weather may vary. Check what the weather will be like in the place you are going to before preparing everything.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Statal Park. Source: Unsplash.com

Ideal complements to take in your suitcase to the United States

While getting your luggage ready for the United States, do not forget the following items:

Portable battery or power bank

We recommend you choose a battery with good charging capacity. On the market, there are power banks that can fully charge your cellphone more than once, and this will be very helpful.

Packing Cubes or travel organizer cubes

They are the perfect allies for travelers, so when you prepare your luggage to travel to the United States, do not forget to add the packing cubes.

Backpack

There is no doubt that this is an element that cannot be missing on your trip to the USA or any destination. In the backpack, you can carry your hand luggage, and also, you can use it for each of the tours of the tourist sites to visit.

Big Sur Hill
Big Sur Hill, USA. Source: Unsplash.com

Other accessories

  • Universal power adapter: The plugs of your chargers are different, so don’t forget to bring your adapter.
  • Headphones: The trip to the US is very long; on the flight, you can watch a movie or listen to music, but there is no doubt that nothing is better than doing it with your own headphones.
  • Luggage scale (hand): It will be very useful when you prepare your suitcase for the United States.
  • Travel mask: It will not take up much space, and it will be very comfortable when trying to sleep during the flight.
  • Neck pillow: It is the ideal companion for your flight, you will see that it will prevent neck pain.

What to take in your hand luggage to the USA

In your hand luggage, you should take some valuable items, such as:

  • Laptop: In addition to its monetary value, it usually has a lot of information that you may need, regardless of whether it is personal or work, you must take care of it. Take your charger too.
  • Personal documents: Passport, ID, bank card, among others.
  • Headphones: It is important that you take your headphones with you.
  • Power bank: Ideal to keep your phone charged.
  • Money: The maximum amount allowed is $10,000 USD. If you carry more, you will have to declare it.
  • Your cellphone: You can keep it in your backpack while you go through security controls and so on.
Backpack
Hand Luggage for your trip. Source: Unsplash.com

What to take in your cabin suitcase to the United States

Your cabin suitcase can have many variations, we recommend you pack the following:

  • Bring some clothes: Two or three changes of clothes.
  • A coat if you need: Preferably you can fold it and it doesn’t take up much space.
  • A pair of shoes: Choose shoes that you’re comfortable with.
  • Your toiletries kit (less than 100 ml each): Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer, sunscreen.
  • Your toiletry bag: With the essentials and in small containers.
  • Contact information for your booked excursions, travel guide, and travel insurance.
  • Items that are essential for you.

This suitcase will travel with you throughout the journey when you pass security controls, while you wait to get on the plane when you arrive at your destination, and more, so the more comfortable it is, the better.

Remember that the measurements of your cabin luggage must follow the airline’s indications, usually they are 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm including handle, wheels, and pockets.

Pack your suitcase for the United States and get ready to have a wonderful experience!