Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of visiting the USA, blown away by the footage I saw on the television, the bright lights on the movies I watched, by the lyrics of my favourite songs, and by the books I read about a country which had so much to offer. Not to mention the biggest attraction for an eight year old me – Disneyland Florida!
When Lewis came along it was clear to see he too yearned of visiting America, choosing a New York bedroom at just seven years old, pouring over photos of Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, and asking, pretty much every day for as long as I can remember, when can we visit?
Now, with our family complete, it feels like a good time to start planning our trip and, although Gaz, Lewis and I have a trip to New York planned for January (I am literally counting down by the minute!), an American road trip fro the six of us is still our end goal and one we hope to achieve in the next couple of years.
As with all trips we plan, it takes a great deal of research and this is something I give a lot of time to before we finally go ahead and make our bookings. I’m sharing some things to consider before you plan your American travel and hope that you’ll find them helpful!
Before you travel: arrange your ESTA!
Before you travel to America you need to make sure that all of your travel documents are in order and you meet the requirements set out by the Government of America, Immigration and Citizenship. The most important thing, apart from having a valid passport, is to make sure that you have your ETSA visa in place. An ESTA USA is a mandatory travel authorization to travel to the US without a visa. An ESTA application can be submitted quickly and easily with the online application form.
Choose your destination
Choosing your destination is always a difficult decision and when it comes to America there are just so many places to choose from! For us, we know that regardless of where we start or end, we want to make sure we spend some time in Orlando Florida taking the children to Disneyland and the other big attractions making their dreams, and mine, come true!
Thanks to the internet there are countless websites and forums dedicated to planning US road trips including downloadable maps and itineraries which you can simply adapt to suit your needs and your budget. For those who aren’t really sure where they want to go or what they want to see, these forums are great to get first hand reviews and tips from those who have already visited the US or even live there. You also take a look at some of the popular USA tour packages for more ideas.
When will you travel?
The USA has varied seasons in each of its regions, but in general, the best time to visit the USA during Spring and Fall, however Summer months from May to September are considered the peak time for tourists to visit the country. For us, we want to make sure that when we do visit, the weather is warm enough to enjoy but not too hot that it’s unbearable for the children. We also want to make sure we avoid any monsoon seasons or the bitter temperatures of Winter. Ideally, we would want to visit in May but with the children in school this would be something we really need to think about before booking.
How will you get there?
Deciding on the best route, at the best price, is an important one for us as a family of six. Obviously we would travel by aeroplane which I have already worked out would be far cheaper to fly non-direct. This may involve a longer travel time but with some clever planning we may be able to enjoy a stop over visit on the way there and back to help break up our trip.
One thing we are certain of is that when we do land in the US we will be renting a car or a van. We enjoy the freedom of having a car when we travel so we aren’t relying on public transport, especially in areas we are unsure of or when travelling at odd times, and with the fuel in America being such low cost, it’s a really affordable way to travel.
Plan your itinerary!
All that is left to do is to plan your itinerary, scheduling in rest days to relax, and it’s as simple as that. Planning our itinerary is always my favourite part, I love reading online reviews and seeking out hidden gems in the countries we visit. Hopefully in no time at all I will be sharing the news that we have booked our trip, applied for our ESTA, and then it’s just a case of getting me on that plane – eek!!
** This is a collaborative post **