Tips for Organizing Your Trip to the USA

If it’s your first time traveling to the United States, these tips will be invaluable in helping you make the most of your trip. We know that organizing a trip from scratch can be quite an effort, especially to a country you haven’t visited before. Here are some tips to keep in mind.


A typical piece of advice from any traveler: “The earlier you book your flights, the better deals you’ll find.” This holds true. We always search for flights through Skyscanner because it finds great offers. They offer a wide range of flights with schedules that cater to everyone. You can find significant deals, especially if you search on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when flights tend to be cheaper.

Another alternative we’ve used often when traveling to the USA is FlyLevel. They offer unbeatable prices, and we’ve had great experiences with them. It’s Iberia’s low-cost carrier. We also recommend Iberia, as throughout the year they release very good offers, allowing you to travel round trip to the USA for around €400.

TIP: Buy flights on a Tuesday, and if possible, depart on a Sunday or later on Tuesday, as flights are cheaper compared to departing on a Friday or Monday.

If during your trip you experience any delays or cancellations and need to file a claim, we recommend using AirHelp. They respond very well, and we’ve had to use them on occasion.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for the USA is crucial because remember, healthcare in the USA is private, and any unexpected medical visits can be extremely costly. It’s essential to have good medical coverage.

It may seem like a hassle and you may think nothing will happen, but in this country, traveling with comprehensive travel insurance is indispensable.

We usually purchase our travel insurance from Heymondo Insurance. We’ve heard good things about this insurance, and based on its benefits and price, we always choose it. Plus, if you book through the link, you get a 5% discount on all types of insurance.

TIP: Aim for medical coverage in the USA of over $200,000, as a simple emergency room visit with antibiotic treatment can cost around $1,000, and a night in the hospital can cost $7,000. For example, an appendectomy, a common procedure that can happen at any time, can cost around $40,000.

Car Rental

We rent cars in the USA through Hertz. They offer great prices and frequently have appealing offers; you just need to keep an eye out for when they’re active.

Car rentals are not expensive, and we’ve rented cars on previous trips. We once rented a large SUV for a week on the West Coast for around $200.

TIP: If embarking on a road trip in the USA, keep the following tips in mind.

Cars in the USA are automatic and very easy to drive.
You need an International Driving Permit, which you can obtain from any traffic office in your city (costs €10.50).
A credit card is necessary for car rentals in the USA; they do not accept debit cards.
If you’re renting a car to drive within the same state, there are no additional charges, but if you’re embarking on a journey like Route 66 that spans multiple states, you need to consider the One Way Fee. This fee applies when the rental origin and destination are different, doubling the rental cost, which can be substantial.


To enter the USA, you need a visa called ESTA, which is valid for two years, allowing multiple trips during its validity.

When applying for ESTA, it’s advisable to do it through the Official US Government Website. Other websites may charge commissions claiming to be official, but they are not. The ESTA fee is $21 per person, whereas purchasing it from other websites can increase to $35 per person.

These tips will help ensure your trip to the USA is smooth and enjoyable.

Currency Exchange

Here comes the big dilemma: How much cash should I carry or exchange? The answer is simple: the less, the better. The USA is equipped for card payments everywhere.

The only inconvenience might be fees, so it’s advisable to have cards like Revolut or N26 that don’t charge fees for foreign currency transactions.

If you still prefer having some cash for emergencies, never exchange Euros for dollars at Spanish banks due to excessively high commissions. It’s better to exchange at airports or with companies like RIA, which offers one of the best rates and the option to deliver money to your home.


As mentioned earlier, whenever we’ve traveled to the USA, we’ve carried minimal cash. Our trusted cards are Revolut and N26. We always recommend traveling with two cards to ensure you won’t be left without money if one fails or has a spending limit.

Our card of choice is N26 because it allows fee-free payments, and it’s the card we’ve used for years. Even when withdrawing cash from ATMs, the fees are better than those offered by Spanish banks. They apply Mastercard’s exchange rate, which is the best available today. You get 3 cash withdrawals for free in Spain and the Eurozone, but outside these areas, they charge a 1.7% fee on the amount withdrawn. It has a daily payment limit of €5,000, so you can rest assured.

Another digital card we carry is Revolut, another card we recommend for your travels. Like N26, it’s an online bank, so you can pay via contactless, Google Pay, or Apple Pay without needing a physical card.

It’s also a card with zero fees, and cash withdrawals anywhere in the world are free if you don’t exceed €200 per month. For renting a car, they usually require a credit card, so the fees can be high unless you have a good arrangement with your bank’s credit cards.

The BNEXT card, which we’ve used for many years, changed its conditions and no longer refunds fees as it used to, so it’s better to avoid using it and keep it only for emergencies.


When it comes to accommodations, we have no hesitation in recommending Booking without exception. We’ve been traveling with them for many years, and whenever we’ve had issues with our accommodations, they’ve been quick and effective in resolving them instantly. The advantage is their free cancellation policy, allowing you to modify your plans on the fly without worrying about cancellation fees.

However, it depends on the type of accommodation you seek. During our last trip to New York, we decided to rent an apartment through Airbnb, which turned out to be a total success.


In the USA, dining out works differently from Spain. Tipping is mandatory because wages for waiters are very low and rely heavily on tips, typically around 15-20% of the bill.

TIP: Tap water is free in all US restaurants, so there’s no need to order a beverage unless you prefer one. Generally, waiters serve water automatically, but if not, simply ask for it.

These tips will help ensure your trip to the USA goes smoothly and allows you to enjoy every moment without financial hassles.


Nothing in the USA includes the famous “TAX,” so it’s important to remember that the price displayed does not include taxes, which will always be added at the checkout. Whether you’re buying a souvenir, dining at a restaurant, or purchasing a T-shirt, taxes will be applied on top of the listed price.


Before traveling to the USA, check with your phone company to see if roaming is included. We use Vodafone, and their roaming service is quite good with strong signal, so we’ve never had issues with internet connectivity.

If roaming is not included, you can purchase an eSIM card. It’s available for purchase at the airport upon arrival or can be obtained from Holafly’s website before your trip, allowing you to arrange it comfortably from home.


Keep in mind that electrical outlets in the USA are different from those in Spain, so you’ll need a plug adapter. We recommend a universal adapter with various plugs for different countries, which is suitable for use worldwide. You can purchase the adapter we use from the following link:

Adapter plug

Essentials to Bring

Here are some essential and recommended items to ensure a smooth trip:

External Battery Pack: Essential for keeping your phone charged during long days out exploring. We recommend this option, which is of good quality and reasonably priced.
First Aid Kit: As a nursing professional, I advise bringing a basic first aid kit including pain relievers, wound care supplies, alcohol wipes, anti-allergic ointments, anti-diarrheal medications, and antihistamines. You can obtain a detailed list of essential items from a travel health center.
Travel Pillow: For long flights, a comfortable travel pillow is essential to make the journey more bearable. Additionally, an eye mask and earplugs can help you rest during the flight.
Electronic Items: Don’t forget to pack your camera (we use the fantastic Sony Rx100 VII for travel), GoPro, memory cards, and chargers to capture every moment of your wonderful journey.
Portable WIFI Router: This has been our great travel discovery. It’s a device where you can insert any SIM card from any country and have WIFI access. It allows connection for up to 10 devices simultaneously, making it extremely convenient and eliminating the need to buy multiple SIM cards.

Organizing a trip can be a challenge for those who like to plan thoroughly or even for those who don’t but are traveling to the USA for the first time. These tips are designed to help you enjoy your trip to the fullest with minimal worries about logistics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *