The European Traveler’s Survival Guide for Visiting America

Statue of Liberty

The USA remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world among Europeans, and like many, you might be getting some plans together for a trip out there in the summer. If this is your first time in the States, there are a few quirks about getting to the country and experiencing it all that you need to be aware of. Here are some important pointers for any European going to America this summer…

Immigration Can Be Complicated

The States have always had very tight rules when it comes to controlling their borders, and you need to be clued up on some of the nuances before you travel. As soon as you know your trip is going ahead, you’ll need to visit this website: and apply for an ESTA. Furthermore, if you’re staying at a private residence in the States, you need to have your host’s full name and address ready to fill out the immigration paperwork on the plane. Even if you’re meeting them right outside the airport and being whisked off, a full address is mandatory.

Glen Canyon, United States

You Need to Be Insured

For a lot of Europeans who live in a country with fully nationalised healthcare, it can be pretty staggering to hear how expensive medical treatment is in the States. A broken leg will cost you about $9,500, and even small procedures like a strep throat test can cost well over $100. Even if your home country runs a reimbursement program covering these things, remember that you’ll need to pay first! Make sure you have extensive medical insurance sorted out before you go. You can start now at

Leave Suitcase Space

If you’re ever wondering where all the other Europeans are on your trip to America, you’re almost certain to find a whole mob of them in your nearest shopping mall. People from Europe, particularly Brits, are liable to go berserk once they pass enough shop windows. Clothes and many other things are much more affordable than they are in most European countries, so make sure you leave enough space in your suitcase for all of this, or be prepared to pay some hefty charges.

New York Brooklyn Bridge

Keep It Light

In many European cultures, once you’ve gotten past the formalities, it’s totally acceptable and even expected to start discussing some pretty heavy topics. War, politics, social issues and international affairs are all common talking points in any pub in the UK. In the US and Canada, however, you simply don’t talk about these “heavier” subjects until you know someone very well. Keep the conversation light!

Chicago, Navy Pier

Tip Generously!

Tipping is pretty much non-negotiable in the US. There’s no acceptable middle ground between giving a generous tip and shouting up a storm because of the terrible service you’ve just received. We Europeans are notoriously light tippers out there, so do your bit to help us turn that stingy reputation around! Stock up on single dollar bills, ask the locals about what you should tip for what services, and give yourself little prompts so you don’t forget!

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