Backpacking America? This is all involved

Backpacking is possible in many countries, but America is an ideal order for such a trip. There is just a lot to consider when planning such a trip. We have listed a few things that you should keep in mind when you want to go backpacking in the United States.

Choosing a destination

America is big, really, really big. There are therefore major differences between north and south, and west and east. For example, in the north it is better not to backpack in the autumn and winter months, while the south is not ideal at the height of summer. Unless you really like heat, at least. Well-known and beautiful backtrack routes are the John Muir Trail, which runs through Yosemite National Park, among other places, and the Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming. Please note that for many of these routes you also need a permit to backpack. And of course it is important to choose a route that suits your level: are you used to a lot of walking or have you backpacked before? Or are you even more at a beginner level?

preparing backpacking united states

Have a generous budget

In addition to that already not cheap plane ticket, you have to take into account that America is not the cheapest country for backpacking. A hot meal will easily cost you 5 to 10 dollars when it comes to fast food. Restaurants are often a few dollars more expensive and it is normal there that you tip at least 15%. Possible fuel costs are slightly better than here in the Netherlands. Staying in hostels or camping will save you the most money when it comes to accommodation costs. When shopping for backpacking you have to take into account that in American stores the VAT is often not included in the price tag. Either way, make sure you have enough money for your trip by setting a daily budget and having a good buffer in case of unforeseen circumstances.

backpacking usa destination apply for ESTA

Don’t forget your ESTA

You don’t just enter a country like America: you need a digital travel authorization for that. Do not forget to apply for an ESTA before your trip, otherwise you will simply be sent away again. The abbreviation ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a security measure used by the US to keep unwanted travelers out. It is not the same as a visa and is easily applied for. The good news is that your ESTA for America is then valid for no less than two years. You are only allowed to stay for 90 days after arrival, which also includes Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Your backpacking trip should therefore not last longer than three months. Incidentally, not everyone can just apply for an ESTA, there are still some rules involved. Do you want to know if you qualify? These are the conditions of an ESTA.

Be well insured

Insurance is one of the most important things when traveling for a longer period of time. It can be very disappointing how much it costs when something does not go as planned. So make sure you have travel insurance that covers as much as possible, especially care in case of illness or accidents. Also keep a close eye on what the exceptions are.

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