Looking North from the 103rd floor (SkyDeck) of the Willis (aka Sears) Tower. The other tall building in the distance (with the dual antennas) is the Hancock Building - where they also have a great view from their observatory. If you see the evening shots of Chicago in my Photostream, they were taken from there. If the clouds look a little 'off' that's probably some of the grime on the windows that I couldn't shake.
[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]re you planning to cross the United States off of your international travel list? Visiting America is an exciting experience.
The country is so large and the culture so diverse that you could spend years seeing all that this magnificent country has to offer. From the snow-capped mountains of Aspen to the white sandy beaches of California, the U.S. has something for everyone.
America has its cultural preferences and before you jump on a plane and cross the ocean, read through these twelve travel tips to ensure that you have the best trip possible.
#1 Be Careful in Cities
There are dangerous areas of cities, avoid them and never walk alone at night.
#2 Keep Your Documents on You at All Times
Keep your documents available and on your person at all times. The police services in America are used to dealing with immigrants and will want o see your paperwork to prove that you are in the country legally. Keep a copy of your documents on your and the originals back in a safe at your accommodation.
#3 Respect the Flag and the Culture
American is proud of their country, so respect their land, their flag and its people on your travels.
#4 Leave Your Itinerary with Others
Let people know your travel plans and drop a copy of your itinerary off with close friends or family members. If they need to contact you in case of a family emergency, they will know where to reach you.
#5 Keep Emergency Funds Available
You will probably end up spending more money than you originally budgeted. Make sure that you bring a bit extra for emergency purchases.
#6 Add the Sales Tax on Items
Retail items are marked with a net sticker price. Most states carry a 5% sales tax, so make sure you calculate this into the final item price.
#7 Avoid Offensive Behavior
Don’t stand too close to people, keep at least half a meter away from people to respect their personal space.
#8 The Rules of American Roads
The student driver program taught in American high schools teaches kids to abide by the rules of the road and drive within the law. The focus on the rules has left American drivers with a lack of spatial awareness on the road. Be careful when you are driving and remain vigilant and alert at all times.
#9 Stay Protected with Travel and Health Insurance
Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home country and arrange medical insurance for your travels. The American health care system is undergoing radical change, and medical costs can end up costing you a fortune if you are not insured.
#10 Save on Bottled Water
The water in most cities is safe to drink. Ask the locals of your hotel concierge if the water is suitable for drinking.
#11 The Importance of Tipping People
Many Americans work in the service industry as bartenders, waiters, and even cab drivers. Many of them work for less than the minimum wage and rely on tips to make their money. If you experience good service, then make sure you tip at least 10% of the value of your bill.
#12 Do You Need a Visa?
To gain entry into the United States, you will need to apply for a visa. Different countries have different visa requirements, so make sure you check with your travel consultant before booking your ticket. Some countries such as Australia and the UK do not need a visa; they must visit the U.S government website and complete an esta application form to gain access to the country. after you receive your approval, book your ticket and get ready for the vacation of your lifetime.