The United States is full of opportunities and exciting experiences for visitors. Reputed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, the U.S. has the largest economy in the world and is home to world-class cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Whether you're headed for the hustle and bustle of New York City or the laid-back beaches of Hawaii, here's what you need to know before you travel to the U.S.

Travel insurance is strongly recommended for the United States

One of the few downsides of traveling to the United States is the notoriously high cost of healthcare. Your domestic medical insurance won't cover you when you are touring the U.S. If you incur an injury or illness while in the United States, Travel insurance for the US could save you from facing debt-inducing medical fees.

With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to know which is the best travel insurance for the US. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.

COVID-19 in the United States

Some states have lower levels and can be relatively safe, while others may have higher COVID-19 levels. It's best to check the regional and state official websites for the most up-to-date information on the Covid risk in your desired destination. Likewise, several presidential proclamations prevent entry to the United States from a number of countries. Be sure to check with your local embassy to see if your country is on this list.

While neither healthcare nor a COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry but you must produce a negative COVID test result taken within three days of departing for the U.S.

Health & Safety Tips

When traveling through the United States, it is a good idea to be aware of cultural norms in the regions in which you are traveling. Different states and cities can have very different ways of dressing, speaking and interacting.

Some cities will have areas where it is unsafe to walk after dark, particularly if you are a woman. Be sure to research the area where you are traveling, in order to learn if there are areas to be avoided. It is more common for Americans to carry guns in the Southern states and rural areas. If someone seems particularly hot-headed or upset, it is best not to provoke them in case they have a gun.

Medical expenses in the United States are extremely high compared to other nations. If you are staying for an extended period of time or are over the age of 60, you are at a higher risk of injury and illness. Therefore, even if it is not legally required, medical insurance that will cover you while you are in the United States is important.

Necessary Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for the United States: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Rabies is also recommended if you are likely to come into contact with wild animals.

Visas and Documentation

If you are a U.S. citizen, all you need to enter the country is your passport. If you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda visiting the United States for tourism or vacation reasons, you also do not need a visa and only need your passport.

If you are from any other country or planning to work or study while in the United States, then you must enter with a visa and your passport. The type of visa you need may vary depending on what country you come from and what you plan to do while in the U.S. Exchange Visitor Visa J is designed for certain teachers, professors, summer work travelers and other programs, and is the only U.S. visa that requires applicants to secure travel medical insurance for their stay in the United States. However, travel insurance is a good idea for anyone entering the U.S.

For more information on visa and immigration requirements, check out expert visitor and immigration resource, Path2USA. We also recommend purchasing medical insurance that will cover you while you are in the United States, as medical costs are unusually high in the U.S.