Preparing for a trip to the States

Discussion in 'Travelling & Holidays' started by Foebane72, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    My sister is willing to pay for me to go on a coach and group tour to NYC, Washington DC AND Niagara Falls, which apparently works out cheaper than a sole city break to NYC, AND I get to have company.

    The tricky bit is, I'm going to have to arrange my own travel insurance and credit card (for emergencies).

    The credit card I think I can manage, as I imagine all I have to do is apply for it, but what about the travel insurance? How do I get the best deal? And do I have to mention any medication I'm taking?

    Any advice here surely would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. BT Bob

    BT Bob
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,392
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +1,156
    Sounds like a great opportunity.

    Does your bank account come with travel insurance? Many do, though it may only be for Europe - but you could "upgrade" to worldwide, which is what you'll need.

    Failing that, try any of the comparison sites, such as comparethemarket.com - some companies will ask you to declare any pre-existing conditions and may not cover those, others may not.

    Any Visa or MasterCard will do you OK in the US - but you'll have to remember how to sign the receipt as they hadn't cottoned-on to chip & pin last year!!
     
  3. wbabbington

    wbabbington
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,458
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Leeds
    Ratings:
    +284
    Yes declare everything on your medical insurance quote, better safe then sorry. I declare everything when I go to the states and despite it costing me around £200 (although got a few links in my thread in the travel section where it might be cheaper) I feel it's worth it. Private medical care in the states can be very expensive if the worst should happen so it's not worth being told your policy is invalid because you didn't declare some medication that might have made no difference to the price anyway!
     
  4. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,052
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +981
    make sure you apply for your ESTA well in advance so you dont get turned away at the check in desk!
     
  5. krish

    krish
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    35,684
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Astral Crescent, Zoovroozlechester, Betelgeuse V
    Ratings:
    +16,429
    I would recommend a good half day walk in the DC square - getting in the Whitehouse, Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall and the reflective pools

    ... then take the metro to Arlington Cemetery - where you'll find JFK's grave and the eternal flame and be at a vantage point to view the straight line to the Capitol along which are the Washington Monument and National Mall

    ... could then also take the Metro to the Pentagon and the Pentagon City shopping mall


    Extended a work trip there in 2003, to do a bit of sightseeing ...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  6. DVD-Man

    DVD-Man
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Messages:
    8,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ayrshire, Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1,932
    Dunno if you get bored easily but you have a 7+ hour flight depending on where you fly from so get some books, mp3s etc to keep tpu entertained.

    Some airlines have personal entertainment units in the seat back in front of you which could keep you happy but the small.screen, possible shn glare and **** headphones make it a crappy experience hence it's worth taking.your own gear.

    Apart from that its no different from going to Europe.
     
  7. MikeTV

    MikeTV
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ealing, London
    Ratings:
    +842
    Insurance - shop around for the best deals. It's a bit of scam really in my opinion, as you are so unlikely to use it. But you still need it because of the high cost of health care. You can buy it online (by credit/debit card) the night before with some websites. They send you the details via email. It's all very easy. I wouldn't expect to pay more than £50 - but I haven't looked at prices for quite a while.

    In the US, you can use a credit or debit card (assuming you have enough funds in your account) - it makes no difference. It's all visa or mastercard to them.

    For me, you can't beat the Air and Space Museum in DC. And there is nothing like looking down the Mall at the Lincoln Memorial, and over the Reflecting Pool, at the Washington Monument with the Capital building in the distance. The Vietnam War Memorial is very moving too. Allow for lot's of time walking about the Mall - it's huge. To me, the Whitehouse is less impressive, but you've got to see it anyway.

    NY and Niagara - you can't really go wrong!
     
  8. MikeTV

    MikeTV
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ealing, London
    Ratings:
    +842
    Best flight I ever had to DC - I'd been up all night the night before, and so I slept the whole way. Bliss.

    On arrival, start partying and don't stop until the small hours in the USA - and then have the sleep of the just. Jet-lag problem solved, there and then.

    Jet-lag is worse on your return to blighty, in my experience.
     
  9. Mr.D

    Mr.D
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    11,198
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,241
    I'm slightly concerned that people even need advice on this sort of thing. Common sense and 2mins surfing the net would tell you everything you need to know
     
  10. Sparky83

    Sparky83
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,710
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Crawley
    Ratings:
    +147
    You could say that about a lot/all of the questions asked on here, but if everybody said that it wouldn't be a very good forum now would it. :)
     
  11. craig1912

    craig1912
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,765
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +486
    Silly comment - for the cost of less than £50 its a no brainer. My son had a knee problem in NY last year-5 hours in hospital, xray.......£850. As to which company- look for some reviews. Mine is currently through Lloyds Bank - avoid Insure & Go- thats who I was with last year and it took them 6 months to settle the claim.
     
  12. MIghtyG

    MIghtyG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,052
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +981
    Thats exactly what hes doing.
     
  13. hyperfish

    hyperfish
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    9,872
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +9,480
    My wife and I found the hop-on-hop-off trolley bus a convenient way to get between those places, some of the outskirts and the Iwo Jima memorial. An all day ticket with trolleys every half hour or so.

    Washington DC Tours | Tour Washington DC | Washington DC

    Don't forget the camera.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. MikeTV

    MikeTV
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,782
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ealing, London
    Ratings:
    +842
    Which is why I said...
    :facepalm:
     
  15. IronGiant

    IronGiant
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Messages:
    65,551
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    .
    Ratings:
    +45,403
    +1 :smashin:
     
  16. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Thank you all very much for your advice! :smashin:

    This particular holiday is with a coach group, ie. it's a bunch of tourists mostly sticking together and seeing the same sights, according to an itinerary. I'll see if I can upload the PDF at some point.

    I figured a credit card should be used for food shopping, and perhaps for paying the travel insurance, and I've also been told by my sister that food in the States is cheap and in HUGE portions. But she'd know, having been to the Nevada area of the States (Las Vegas in fact, but she wasn't there for any gambling).
     
  17. hyperfish

    hyperfish
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    9,872
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +9,480
    Remember to inform your card provider you will be using it in the USA.

    LloydsTSB once blocked mine on day two of a holiday.
     
  18. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    It seems I can't apply for a credit card under my current circumstances - I think it's down to my being on benefits, but I've got a good credit history.

    Did someone say that Debit Visa cards are accepted? That's quite handy as I signed up for a Lloyds TSB bank account months ago which I haven't started using yet, so I could just dump money into that and use it that way.

    But how do they authorise it, though - they don't use Chip+Pin in the States, do they? Or is it all down to the signature?
     
  19. Trollslayer

    Trollslayer
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Messages:
    24,580
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Poole
    Ratings:
    +9,816
    I have had trouble in the past finding small enough portions, hate leaving a lot of food.
    Check with your bank on card use.
     
  20. hyperfish

    hyperfish
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    9,872
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +9,480
    Signing the slip.
     
  21. dc8900

    dc8900
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    12,259
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +2,498
    Yep, Visa Debit cards are accepted and you simply swipe and sign in the U.S. when at the till or just swipe if using something like a MTA ticket machine
     
  22. BT Bob

    BT Bob
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,392
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +1,156
    Another option would be to look for a pre-paid money card. Like a debit card, but it's seperate from your current account and you pre-load it in the currency you want - US$ & Euro ones are readily available. This has the added benefit that you won't pay a transaction fee every time you use it, which you could with a "normal" debit or credit card.

    Please don't be tempted to cut back on travel insurance. A relative of mine got hit by a car running a red-light in LA a few years ago. Broke his pelvis, left femur, right tib & fib and, worst of all, 3 vertebra in his neck. He was hospitalised for 4 months, including 6 weeks in ICU. He was insured with Tesco who were very keen to fly him home on an air ambulance at over £100,000 per hour as it was cheaper than the US medical bills. Thankfully, he's fine now (well, can't bend his neck as much as he used to), but the bills ran out somewhere near $2,500,000!!!!

    Mind you, they're nothng compared to the legal bills for the (ongoing) compensation claims
     
  23. dc8900

    dc8900
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    12,259
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +2,498
    +1,

    Please don't cheap out and avoid paying the £20-30 (or whatever it will be) odd quid for travel insurance, touchwood you will never have to rely on it during your trip but it's must have IMO
     
  24. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    The ESTA thing worries me, as I'm on Sulpiride for paranoia and anxiety, and I'm afraid if I mention this on the online form then they will reject my approval.

    What are my options here?
     
  25. KeithO

    KeithO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,435
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Erding, Bavaria
    Ratings:
    +214
    The question on mental health is quite specific and has extensive notes

    I guess your options are to answer truthfully, or lie and take your chances. Unless you have an anxiety attack at the CBP desk they are unlikely to find out I guess
     
  26. Suave

    Suave
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,061
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +790
    Hi,

    I use to live in the US so have a great trip!! Be very careful with travel insurance - you must declare absolutely everything - even the most ridiculously small things - they do not like paying out at all & especially so with USA claims as the costs are astronomical.

    Please shop around intensively as prices vary enormously. I have gone through each & every one and it takes forever. I got some good deals eventually - let me know if run into probe - I can let you have the names of which are much more friendly price wise with existing conditions. Many say they are but I found that it was all the usual marketing BS.

    One tip, go to your doctor & get a print out of your medical records. Then make a list in chronological order of dates, conditions/illnesses/issues so you can just read them in order when they ask. Offer to email them a list of everything so it is on record of you having informed them - they will use any excuse they can think of to get out of paying.

    Suave!
     
  27. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Would I be allowed in if I answered with this? I've never harmed anyone or anything with my paranoia or anxiety, but I think they would still want to see my medication - am I right?

    Also, I have a physical condition as well, a hiatal hernia which means I need to take Omeprazole as well. I don't see how it could cause anyone any harm, unless I have an acid reflux and throw up on their carpet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  28. KeithO

    KeithO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,435
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Erding, Bavaria
    Ratings:
    +214
    Honestly I have no idea. It would depend on the individual CBP officer. It's like the question about "moral turpitude"...deliberately vague so they can refuse you entry if they wish, without you having much recourse to complain.

    I would just answer honestly and stop worrying. Theres not much you can do about it anyway.
     
  29. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,414
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    The holiday has been paid for by a relative, and if I do get refused entry, I only hope she can get a refund.

    But isn't the alternative an application for a visa? How much would that be?
     
  30. KeithO

    KeithO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,435
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Erding, Bavaria
    Ratings:
    +214
    It is your responsibility to ensure you are eligible (and have the correct documentation) to get into the USA. I cannot believe any insurance would pay out because you were refused entry by the CBP. You would have used the flights anyway, so that cost for sure will not get refunded.

    Visa is your alternative, if you are concerned about it. It is more expensive (not sure how much, I never had to pay for the B1/B2 one I got) and you need to apply, possibly in person, to a US Embassy. But also be aware that even possession of a valid visa issued by a US Embassy is no guarantee you will be admitted to the country on arrival. That is solely the discretion of the CBP.

    But honestly I think you are worrying about nothing. I do not believe CBP are looking for people who are taking normal medication for illness. They are looking for terrorists, serious criminals, and the like.

    If it were me (and this is not a recommendation, you must do what YOU feel comfortable with) I would answer the ESTA questions truthfully, stop worrying, and look forward to my holiday :)
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice