Backpacking is mainly a well-known phenomenon in South-East Asia or Eastern Europe, but did you know that America is also a very suitable destination for backpackers? It may not be entirely obvious, but it can be a good way to explore the country on a smaller scale. Here are some tips to prepare your backpacking trip in the best possible way. The most important one is to apply for an ESTA in advance.
Prepare for the trip properly
Backpacking is all about a relaxed atmosphere and a spontaneous attitude, but it is important to have a few things sorted out before the trip starts, such as your budget, your ESTA application and where you will be travelling.
First of all, it is useful to know what your budget is. On the basis of that budget, you can then see what kind of trip can be made. Preferably on a smaller scale, staying longer in cities, or visiting the whole region for three months. It is all possible. Cheap flight tickets often come along, so keep an eye on it and you can fly to America as cheap as possible. Also, many attractions are free and with a smaller budget, camping, booking hostels or even couch surfing is a good option. This last option is the ideal way to discover the local culture.
Apply for an ESTA
Another thing that should not be missed when preparing for your trip is applying for an ESTA. An ESTA is a mandatory travel authorisation that is linked to your passport. If you are eligible for the ESTA, a visa is not necessary. An ESTA costs £39.95,can be applied for online and is valid for two years. During this period you can travel to America an unlimited number of times. Each stay may last up to 90 days. This is great if you want to backpack for a longer period of time in America or if you want to plan your trip in a flexible way.
Which region is the best for a backpacking trip?
America is huge, so it can be difficult to see the whole country in a single trip. Moreover, America has a lot to offer and it can be difficult to choose which area to visit. This, of course, depends on your preferences. Here are a few regions to help you choose.
View of the Grand Canyon
The west coast
Here, the weather is always nice, the atmosphere is relaxed, there are many beaches and it is the ideal region to unwind. Here, you will also find most national parks and large cities, such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. So there are many activities to undertake here. In many national parks, camping is allowed, so if thatʼs something that appeals to you, the West Coast is worth it. If you want to make a longer trip, you could travel from Yosemite to the northern part of the country, to Utah and Colorado, to see even more nature and even visit Salt Lake City or go skiing. Or if you prefer to stay near the coast, you can take a trip to Mexico from San Diego as a stopover on your backpacking trip. Please note that a transit to Mexico will count towards the 90 day validity period of your ESTA.
The east coast
Backpacking in the eastern part of the US will be more about visiting cities. Most will think of New York and Miami, but the East of America has much more to offer. Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC are also worth a visit. If you are in the East and want to experience nature, you can do so in the Appalachian Mountains or you can travel a bit further and see Niagara Falls. You can also travel further north and visit the state of Maine to taste the famous lobster rolls , a sandwich with fresh, local lobster. Be aware of the seasons; in the east, unlike in the west, it can get very cold in winter.
The southern part
You may have heard of ʼThe Deep Southʼ, theʼrealʼ South of America, with a rich colonial history and a culture that is different from the rest of America. If it appeals to you to see a different face of America, then the South is the right region for you. Savannah, in the state of Georgia, is a good place to start. You can then travel on to Alabama, Mississippi and end up in New Orleans, Louisiana. For true foodies, the south is also the perfect region. For music lovers, the state of Tennessee is a highlight, with Nashville and Memphis, where Elvisʼ house can be visited. You might even consider Texas if you have a little more time.
Once you have chosen a region where you would like to backpack, you can book your flight ticket and figure out how you want to travel. Renting a car is easy, but more expensive. You might consider the train or Greyhound buses.
Once these preparations have been made and you have not forgotten to apply for your ESTA, your trip can begin without any worries.