What do I need to pack when travelling to America?

Knowing what to pack when you’re about to embark on your latest adventure is something that causes even the most seasoned of travellers to stop in their tracks. Knowing what to pack for a country you’ve never been to before, particularly when it’s such a big one like America, can be daunting. To stop you feeling lost (and to ease the stress of packing as a whole) the following list has been carefully collated to ensure you are never left feeling unprepared when travelling to ‘The Land of Opportunity’ ever again.


When travelling to the US, it’s vital to apply for an ESTA. The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation makes visitors eligible to travel to the US under the USA Visa Waiver Program. Introduced in 2009, it is used to enhance security measures and pre-screen travellers before they can board a plane or ship headed for the US. Apply for your ESTA before you travel here: https://www.esta-form.co.uk/.


Have you ever heard anyone tell you that America is a cheap place to shop? I think we all have. With products and businesses coming in at competitive prices, America is dubbed by many as being a shopper’s paradise. Less is definitely more when it comes to how much you need to put into your suitcase as you will probably end up coming back with more than you went with! Taking an extra suitcase might be a good shout too!

Travel Comfort

With the average flight from the UK to the US taking upwards of 8 hours, being prepared for the journey ahead couldn’t be more important. Travel pillows, portable chargers, comfortable clothes and sleeping pills will become your new best friends.

Credit Card

Credit cards are king in the Unites States and depending on your provider, may be a better option when spending dollars to reduce or stop incurring foreign exchange fees. Some credit cards offer cash back for transactions completed abroad which could be a bonus. It is also worth noting hiring a car without a credit card may be tricky sometimes, so having one to hand just in case may be a really worthwhile thing to remember.

Know Your Zip Codes

Most petrol stations have pay-at-the-pump facilities, but as you need to add a zip code for security reasons, paying inside the garage is the only way to pay for non-US credit card holders. Similarly, buying New York subway tickets can also present difficulties unless you know the trick of tapping in 99999 as the zip code for overseas card users.

Medical Insurance

With our NHS being free and easily accessible it’s easy to see why so many Brits forget to purchase decent travel insurance when visiting the states.  Be warned: medical care in the USA is extremely expensive; with a broken leg potentially setting you back $9,500! Be sure to shop around for the best travel insurance for your needs and ensure you carry it with you at all times. Finally, bear in mind that you may also have to pay for any treatment first and apply for reimbursement later on when you return to the UK.

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