Archive: Mon Aug 2015

Do I need flight and address details to apply?

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Do I need flight and address details to apply?

No! You are not required to provide any trip details, such as a flight number or address, when requesting an ESTA. Although a section does appear on the application requesting those details, you may simply leave it blank.

We actually recommend that you obtain your ESTA before booking a flight or hotel, in case any problems arise with your ESTA Travel Authorization approval.

Furthermore, you may always add or edit your travel information even after obtaining your authorization approval.

Let’s say you’ve changed your travel plans, and both your flight and address details have changed after your approval, just write us an email through the contact form here, and we would happily update those details for you.

Please remember that not all of the information provided in your application can be edited or updated. You can edit your flight carrier; the city where you are boarding; your telephone number; your email address; and your physical address while staying in the USA.

 

All of the other information provided through your online application cannot be edited in anyway. If any of that information changes, you must apply for a new ESTA.

New security measures are in place for flights to the U.S.

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New security measures for flights

Before departing, remember to Charge your electronic Devices.

Sunday July 6th 2014, the U.S. aviation agency TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has announced that all electronic devices with their battery low will not be allowed in flights departing for the USA.

New security measureIn fact, the security officer at the airport will control all your electronic devices and may ask you to turn them on or / and pass additional screening.

These new security measures are applied to all flights to the United States departing from Europe, Africa and Middle East airports. It is important to consider the above if your flight ticket has multiple destinations if you make one or more stops.

This prohibition is due to the fact that U.S. officials fear that electronic devices will be diverted and used as bombs. By turning on your devices, security officers can ensure that the batteries have not been replaced by explosives.

Remember that all electronic devices are called into question, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. Security officers will be very careful to Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy.

When dealing with security measures it is always sage to be proactive! On your next flight to the U.S., in addition to your ESTA, also consider:

 Make sure all your electronics are charged

 Arrive early at the airport

 Have your charger handy in case of need

Remember that in case your electronic device has no charge it may be not accepted for boarding with consequent risk of having to leave it the departure airport … or worst, It may cost you your flight..

10 locations in New York you must check out during your visit

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10 locations in New York you must visit

New York

From Central Park to Broadway, here are some of the New York Landmarks you can’t miss while visiting the city with your ESTA.

Last year, millions of tourists visited New York under the Visa Waiver Program. The city is recognized world-wide as a symbol of modernity and offers countless attractions for visitors.

Times Square

1. Times Square

The intersection between Broadway and Seventh Street, Times Square is a New York attraction that every visitor has to see for themselves. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan’s action, and has that undeniable New York City vibe. More than 300 thousand people walk through Times Square daily. Take your own photo souvenir with your friends and have lunch on the steps of the TKTS booth.

Times Square

2. The High Line

High Line Park is a 2.4 km linear park located on the west side of Manhattan. It was transformed into a park from an abandoned railway in 2011. The world-class design of the project and the amazing views of the city make High Line park a must see attraction for locals and tourists alike. It hosts both a farmer’s and artists’ market.

Empire State

3. Empire State Building

With its 103 floors, the building is among the most notable pieces of architecture in Manhattan, if not the the world. It is an American Cultural landmark preserved by the national preservation committee. Everyday thousands of visitors make their way to the Empire State Building to enjoy a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the big apple.

Broadway

4. Broadway

Manhattan’s Theater district hosts 40 professional venues with more than 500 seats. Last year’s ticket sales amounted to more than 1.3 billion dollars, making this industry among the biggest attractions in the city among locals and tourists alike. The huge variety of shows ensures you’ll find something for everyone. In Broadway you can watch some of the most popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera or The Lion King, performed live by some of the most well-known actors in the business.

 Chelsea Piers

5. Chelsea Piers

Located in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, the former passenger terminals now offer a variety of restaurants and entertainment for both locals and tourists. We recommend a boat tour around Manhattan. Be sure to not forget a jacket, since the temperature tends to drop quite dramatically on the water.

New York

6. Statue of Liberty

Located on Liberty Island, this neoclassical sculpture is massive in both size and significance. It was created in Paris in 1886 by French sculptor F.A. Bartholdi and given as a gift from the French to the Americans. The female figure represents the Roman goddess Libertas. For thousands of immigrants, Lady Liberty (as she is known in the states) represented freedom, opportunity, and a fresh start. Liberty Island was the main entrance for the many waves of European immigration to the United States. The gardens surrounding the statue offer great views of Manhattan.

Memorial Museum

7. 9/11 Memorial Museum and Plaza1

The plaza was opened in May 2013 and has been a major city attraction since day one. The Plaza and Museum are situated where World Trade Center Towers 1&2 once stood. They stand as a memorial to all those who lost their lives and loved ones to the September 11th terrorist attacks, which killed almost 3 thousand people. A visit here offers a break to reflect on that tragic day, and how the people of the city and the country responded to such a grim moment in their history.

Long Island

8. Long Island

With more than 7 million residents, this island is among the most populated in the United States. A trip here is an escape from the big city where one can enjoy a walk on the beach or a climb up the famous lighthouse.

The island offers many historic paths that wind through several cities, where you can find great restaurants nestled in quaint neighborhoods among other things.

Radio City Music Hall

9. Radio City Music Hall

Located in the Rockefeller Center Building, also known as Showplace of the Nation, this venue offers interior art deco architecture that was declared a city landmark in 1977. It is the birthplace of the famous Rockettes dance company, and today the Radio City Music Hall is still the largest indoor theatre in the world. On Christmas, it hosts one of the most popular shows in the USA. We recommend a guided tour of the venue to get an inside look on how a world-class show is produced and performed.

Central Park

10. Central Park

Arguably the most famous park in the world, Central Park was opened in 1857 and stretches through the heart of Manhattan. It is recognized among the most beautiful parks on earth and ranks as the most visited in the country.

It is not uncommon to spot a Hollywood production shooting a few scenes for a movie. In fact, Central Park is also among the most popular locations to shoot movies or TV series. Several tours of the park are available, from the art biking to the movie and TV series set walking tour. Or just enjoy the people watching, a nice walk, and the performers..

Top 9 activities to do for free or for a small fee while in Miami

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Top 9 activities to do in Miami

Will your ESTA take you to sunny Miami? Here are 9 activities that will make your holiday unforgettable without blowing your wallet.

Miami is known as one of the most eclectic and entertaining cities in the world, thanks to its wonderful beaches, fashionable restaurants, stunning architecture and nightlife equal to a few other destinations.

Getting involved fully into the Miami life can weigh substantially on your finances. If after obtaining your ESTA, Miami Area is your destination, below we suggest you some activities that will be free or nearly so.

1) Go to the beach

USA ESTA beach

One of the best ways to have fun in Miami is to spend a day at the beach, which is absolutely free! And Miami has the perfect beach for you. The offer ranges from:

 

•The famous and crowded beach of South Beach on Ocean Drive, great for singles and young couples

 

•To that of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, preferred by families.

 

•if a clothing optional beach is preferable for you, we recommend Haulover Beach in Bal Harbour.

2) Take a Tour

usa_Esta_art_deco-300x201

Miami is a fascinating city, young but full of character. A tour would be a great way to know its beauty and its history. Among the possible tours we suggest:

 

•The historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, whose tours are available on Sundays from 13:30 to 15:30.

 

•The Barnacle State Park in Coconut Grove. Completed in 1891, is the oldest house in Miami

 

•The lighthouse, known as Bill Baggs park, in Key Biscayne. The park is built around one of the most beautiful beaches of Miami. There you can rent a bike, or bed and umbrella at the beach.

•A walk in Miami Beach and the Art Deco district, where you can discover the magic of Ocean Drive, combined with that of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue. There, walking through the crowd will be a dive among the colors, the sun, the smells and the culture of Miami Beach.

•A walk on the waterfront of downtown Miami. Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, art or entertainment, you cannot miss this scenic part of the city.

•A visit to the little Havana neighborhood, on Eighth Street. Take a walk through what is known as the Cuba of Miami. Explore the flavors and places that this neighborhood has to offer.

•A walk through the Graffiti of Wynwood, where the art of local and visiting “writers” gave birth to one of the most vibrant area of the city. In addition, several clubs and restaurants in this area have “Happy hour” deals.

3) Visit a museum or an art gallery for free

USA ESTA Wynwood

The city of Miami is a major world’s cultural center. No coincidence that for several years the art event of world importance Art Basel makes a stop here for 4 days a year, 4-7 December. Moreover in recent years, important cultural centers for their architecture and artistic offerings were born. On occasion, some of these museums offer free access or a discounted entrance fee. It is worth enjoying this offer. Among many we specially recommend the following:

 

 

New World Symphony in Miami Beach, where the tour takes place on Saturday and Sunday at a very low cost.

PAMM, Perez Art Museum Miami, Downtown, with free admission every second Saturday of the month.

Adrienne Arsht Center, which provides free guided tours on Monday and Saturday.

Britto art gallery, Brazilian born artist symbol of Miami, open daily in Lincoln Road and with free access.

•Walk art in the Design District and Wynwood, where many art galleries exhibiting there offer free admission to the public every second Saturday of the month from 7pm to 10pm

Cultural Friday at little Cuba in “Calle Ocho”, with musical performances and art exhibitions outdoors. The event is held on the last Friday evening of every month.

4) Visit for free one of the many parks and gardens Miami has to offer.

USA ESTA South Pointe

The tropical weather of Miami is a perfect natural habitat for diverse flora and fauna. Public gardens are open to the public free of charge throughout the year; others have offers all year round during specific days of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

•The Miami Beach Botanical Garden, closed on Monday. Consult the website for offers.

•The Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, an amazing hidden beauty. Since the signage is lacking, we invite you to ask for directions to the entry point where you will have to pay $5 for parking.

Japanese Garden Itchimura, on Watson Island, open daily.

Fairchild Botanical Tropical Garden, One of the top tropical botanical gardens in the world. A stop that should not be missed when visiting Miami. They offer free entry a few days a year.

•The South Pointe Park, in Miami Beach, where the legendary beach finishes. There, on Saturday at sunset, you can enjoy viewing the cruise ships leaving the port of Miami.

•The Vizcaya Museum and Garden, in Coconut Grove. A recommended visit on all Miami guides. In the past they have been offering free admissions on weekends.

5) Join one of the many free events and festivals

USA ESTA Art Basel

South Florida offers mild weather all year round. This makes Miami a favorite destination for national and international events, some of which are free.

 

Miami Festival, a music festival that has existed for more than thirty years. The majority of the events are held at the Frost School of Music, inside the University of Miami. It is held in October.

International Boat Show, Every February at the Miami Beach convention center and various marinas of the city.

New Year Celebrations, which are held every year on Ocean Drive.

Art Basel and other art events, which take place the first week of December, between Miami Beach and the city of Miami. With an entry fee ranging from $5 to $15, you can admire the works of fine artists from around the world set on several stages.

6) Visit Miami Beach

USA ESTA Miami Beach

South Beach dominates the town’s scene. So much to see, people, scenery, architecture. Although most of the most elegant and expensive bars, restaurants and hotels are located here, here are some tips for you with an eye to the price.

 

Go around with the South Beach bus, at a cost of 25 cents per ride. Or use the Swoop, an electric golf car with 6 seats, totally free. There, however, it’s suggested to tip the driver.

•Discover Art Deco architecture, visiting the former residence of Gianni Versace on Ocean Drive, or strolling through the pedestrian streets of south beach, or admiring the Delano Hotel, the National or Raleigh.

•Go to Lummus Park, or at the beach.

•Or do some windows shopping at the many cloth designers stores and shops present on Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue.

7) Visit Coconut Grove

USA Esta Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is one of Miami’s most historic areas as the preferred place for the famous poet Robert Frost. In the 80s it dominated the town’s night scene; today nevertheless it retains a special charm.

Barnacle State Park in Coconut Grove. Finished in 1891, it is the oldest house in Miami.

The Peacock Park, a public urban park of 38,000 square meters, in Coconut Grove on the shore of Biscayne Bay.

Cocowalk, a nice outdoor mall in the heart of Coconut Grove.

The buildings and streets of Mayfair, with their typical architecture.

8.) Visit the bay front of Downtown Miami

USA ESTA Baysida

The name Miami comes from the word “Mayami”, a term used by the ancient Indians of Florida which means “lots of water”. Miami in fact looks a bit like a modern Venice, with canals everywhere overlooked by a varied architecture. Even downtown Miami has its own bay front, charming and with so many free cultural events throughout the year.

 

 

•The park in front of the bay, where enjoy a walk between the modern architecture of downtown and the Bay of Miami, having as a background Miami Beach.

•The Bayside mall, historic outdoor mall popular among passengers of the cruise ships docked to the nearby port.

•The Freedom Tower, where Cuban refugees were welcomed on their arrival and now a museum.

9) Visit Little Havana

USA ESTA Calle Ocho

Take a walk on the Eighth street in the neighborhood of Miami known as Little Havana. Here you will be immersed in a magical Caribbean atmosphere, where you will feel in Cuba indeed.

 

 

Domino Park, where Cubans practice one of their favorite social games, the Domino. It’s open daily and admission is free.

•The monument to the memory of the Bay of Pigs.

Cultural Friday at little Cuba in “Calle Ocho”, with musical performances and art exhibitions outdoors. The event is held on the last Friday evening of every month.

Whether your ESTA authorization is taking you to a great celebration trip or into an explorative one, we wish you a safe and enjoyable Journey in the United States.

10 + 1 tips for travel to the USA

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Are you planning to visit the United States? Here are 11 Travel Tips for USA

Travel tips for USA

Planning a trip to the USA can be quite exciting! It is useful to get familiar with some local customs. The following tips will introduce you to some very common American habits that might not be familiar to all visitors, especially first timers.

The United States is among the world’s top destinations for visitors from all over the planet. Last year more than 65 million people visited the country. We can all agree that much of American culture is made familiar to the world through its film, television and music industries. Some common U.S. habits, however, are quite different from what we know, and particularly from what we are used to in our country of origin.

1. Make sure you apply for an ESTA

Most visitors can enter the United States with an electronic travel authorization. If you plan a holiday shorter than 90 days, for pleasure,

Electronic Travel Authorization

business or transit, a formal visa is not required if your country of citizenship is included in the Visa Waiver Program.

Although it is generally advised to apply 3 days prior to your departure, we suggest you to apply for your Esta before you reserve your flight and/or hotel.The procedure costs $72.00, payable with credit card or Paypal, and is fully carried out online.

An Esta is valid for 2 years from the issuance date and allows you multiple entrances. Esta simplifies your travel and formalities upon your arrival to the U.S.

2. Your final bill is more than expected

ESTA bill

It is generally known that U.S. prices for goods and food on average are quite reasonable. Especially if compared with those in the Euro zone.

3. Humor is not welcomed at security in the airport

One of the things that might surprise you is that the price you see shown is not the final price you will pay. For clothing or goods in general, the price usually does not include sales taxes (on average 7%). At many restaurants you will not only have to account for the sales tax, but a minimum of 15% for tips as well.
Humor ESTA travelWhile a joke can seem like a good way to alleviate the tension during your security check at the airport, it may very well land you in trouble. Security officers at the airport are friendly, but still extremely alert and serious about their duties. Any threatening joke or suspicious attitude can lead to deep security screening.

Do not allude to any bomb, weapon or anything dangerous among your belongings, even sarcastically.

For an easy security check, we recommend you leave your humor behind and simply be straightforward with any question you are asked by any security or immigration officer.

For more details on security screening upon your arrival in the USA, visit this section.

4. Have some cash available for tips

We know how frustrating it can be having to hand one-dollar bills to tip to your taxi driver rather than your concierge at the hotel. But as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the romans do! This also holds true in the USA. Many workers in the service industry rely on tips for their income and it is therefor the norm to tip any service provider. Many restaurants, especially those in tourist hubs, automatically add up to 18% tip to the bill.
DolarWhile in the USA the most common way to pay is by credit card (accepted even for the smallest bill amounts), for small “thank you” tips we suggest having a few dollar bills handy.Tip disclaimers are often found at the bottom of a restaurant’s menu, so be sure to check! Any included tip will also be shown on your bill. If service was exceptional it is sometimes common to add an additional tip to the one already included, but it is not required.

5. Even “in transit” passengers clear customs and immigration

If you are heading from Europe or Asia to some exotic island in the Caribbean or Argentina, chances are your flight will make a stop in the USA. Miami, for example, is the flight Hub for South America. If this is your case, you are what is known as an “in transit” passenger.

But don’t be fooled, unlike the majority of other places, American authorities will welcome you like any other visitor. You will have to clear
Transit USA ESTAcustoms and immigration before boarding your next flight to your final destination. We suggest making sure you have at least a 2 hour layover before your next flight, and even when you are in transit you have to obtain an ESTA Authorization prior to boarding.

6. What to expect at the security control

While clearing security before approaching your boarding gate you will have to:

Security tips for USA Remove your shoes and place them in the scanning machine

 Remove your laptop, tablet or any electronic device from your bag and have it scanned as well

 Make sure your electronic devices have enough power in case the officer asks you to turn it on

 Go through a full body scan. National and international travelers will be scanned

While this last point has raised questions about invasion of privacy, it makes controls a lot quicker. If you have any health concerns, announce it to the officer before going through the body scanner. But remember, you can’t refuse it.

7. Look at the departures screens

Departures tips

 

 

Your flight will only be announced at the boarding gate. Given the size of an average U.S. airport, you may not be able to hear the call if you are at the bar or shopping around. So, check your boardingtime at the screen, note it on your boarding pass, and remember to get to the boarding gate on time.

 

 

8. Concerns about your luggage security? A TSA lock can help

Unlike other countries flight regulations, USA TSA (transport security agency) has banned locks on luggage.

In fact, they randomly open boarded itemsTSA lock if any suspicions arise. If you are concerned about the security of your personal belongings you still have an option, use a TSA lock. Besides opening through the number combination, this lock has a unique key TSA possess. There are many pieces of luggage on the market that include a TSA lock. This option, along with the ESTA travel authorization, has been implemented to speed up immigration and security controls.

 

 

 

 

 

9. International phone rates are expensive

Phones tips for USAThe majority of businesses and hotels in the USA offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. As a rule of thumb, it is wise to use it when your phone is on. As in any foreign country, using your phone abroad through international roaming can result in an unpleasant bill when back home. Some hotels may charge for the use of their Wi-Fi network.

 

 

10. Planning to see multiple cities?

Multiple cities

If you are going to travel within the United States, we recommend that you avoid buses. America is geographically large, so the distances to cover are humongous. Buses are slow and uncomfortable. Better options include flights planned well in advanced (the fare is usually very accessible), or renting a car. Even car rentals can be inexpensive if planned in advance. Through online travel websites you can rent a car as low as $ 15 per day. And USA authorities accept your national driver’s license (with few exceptions) while you are within the country as a tourist.

 

11. Travel insurance

Remember that your country’s medical insuranceInsurance tips won’t work in the USA. If somethi
ng were to happen, the entire cost would be your responsibility and medical bills in the U.S. can be very expensive. We advise you to evaluate the option of buying a travel insurance that will cover your health, travel / luggage and your rental car in case of an emergency.