As you will know, business travelling can be a real mix of things. It can be exciting if you get to see different places around the world and meet new people through work. It can also be very tiring and boring, particularly if you do it regularly and prefer to be at home with your family and/or living in your regular routine. Living out of a suitcase and staying in hotels can seem glamorous to start with but the novelty soon wears off.
If you are regularly travelling to the US then you might be lucky enough to coincide your business travel with doing some tourist activities, especially if you are visiting some interesting places like New York. A trip to the top of the Statue of Liberty or the Rockefeller should definitely be on the cards if you get to visit New York and a show on Broadway is always an essential thing to do when in New York for business, if time allows.
Packing for US Travel
In terms of plug adaptors for your laptop and mobile, you will need a UK to USA plug adaptor to ensure that you don’t run out of charge. Most hotels that have regular business travellers will usually be able to provide one for you but it isn’t worth running the risk or paying the inflated prices at the airport for adaptors.
It goes without saying that you need to check that your passport is valid for the period of travel but you should also ensure that you have at least 6 months validity on your passport when travelling to the US.
Local US State Laws
The laws vary greatly from one state to the other in the US, so it is a good idea to check especially if you are unsure of anything like gambling and other things that might have different laws.
Transferring from the Airport
If you are flying into one of the busier airports then you need to be aware that traffic can be incredibly bad. New York is notorious for long traffic queues in and out of the airport to get into the city and vice versa. It isn’t such a big problem when you are flying into the US unless you have a business meeting to head straight to. However, if you are flying from NYC then make sure you give plenty of time for your transfer so that you don’t miss your flight.
When you are travelling to the US for business for the first time then it is worth finding out all the information that you need regarding your travel authorization. It is important to be aware of the requirements regarding travel authorization for visiting the United States. If you are travelling from the UK or any other country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program then you are able to apply for an ESTA, which grants travel permission for a period of up to 90 days for both business and tourism purposes.
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and is valid for two years from the date you apply for it. One of the great things about it is that you can travel to the US multiple times within those two years, as long as you don’t go for longer than 90 days. It is really easy to apply for as well as you can apply for it online at https://www.estaform.org/.
When you are completing the online form, you will need to answer a number of questions including passport details, personal information and details such as any previous criminal convictions. You should apply for the ESTA at least 72 hours before you are planning to travel, so that it can get processed in time and you can deal with any delays if you need to.
If you haven’t visited different parts of the US then you should be aware that the weather can vary massively from one part of the US to another. The southern states are usually good for warm weather in the summer months but you need to keep up to date with the weather forecast before you travel. For example, some states are prone to hurricanes at certain parts of the year and winters can be extremely cold in areas.
If you think the UK is cold in January, then you will really need to prepare for cold conditions like the recent -50 wind chills that people living in Wisconsin have had to deal with. If you are travelling to Florida in August however, you are much more likely to get the nice weather!
Etiquette for Tips in Restaurants and Bars
When travelling abroad, a common misunderstanding is the tipping etiquette that is expected in the place you are visiting. In some countries, a small tip is welcomed but in others, you can get an angry reaction from waiting staff if you are not being generous enough with your tips.
In the US, expectations vary depending on the type of restaurant and 15% is often the expected minimum, or 10% for buffet style restaurants. In bars, bar staff would usually be happy with a $1-$2 tip, again depending on the venue itself.
These are just a few tip s for business travel to the US but the most important factor is to ensure that you have a valid passport and the relevant visa or ESTA to grant permission for you to enter the US.
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