When travelling to the US for the first time there are a few things you need to think about before your trip to ensure smooth entry into the country and an enjoyable onward experience. You’ll also want to contemplate which part of the country you are visiting and at what time of year, as these two factors will play a huge role in what you pack in terms of clothing.
The main thing to think about before travelling to the USA as a citizen of New Zealand is obtaining an ESTA visa waiver. These electronic waivers are available to citizens holding a New Zealand passport with at least six months validity. An ESTA can be applied for online up to 72 hours before travel and is usually granted within a few hours (if not instantaneously).
While the ESTA is electronically attached to your passport, it is always worth printing off a copy of your visa waiver in case the officials at customs and immigration ask for it.
If for any reason you are denied an ESTA, you may be able to apply for a B2 Tourist Visa or a B1 Business Visa, depending on your reason for travel.
Other documentation that is worth taking to the USA when you travel includes your international driving license (if you plan on hiring a car), a copy of your passport and a copy of your travel insurance documents. Health care is particularly expensive in the US, so you’ll want to ensure you are fully covered in case of any accidents or emergencies.
On the whole Americans dress in a more casual style (even while dining out). However, you won’t look totally out of place if you decide you’d prefer to stick to a collared shirt than a polo or t-shirt. Americans of all ages wear jeans and trainers though, so if you want to go causal, you’ll fit right in.
It is worth noting that even though much of the US has great weather, especially in summer, some of the air-conditioning can be fierce so you might want a pullover or scarf just to keep you warm when exploring museums or enjoying shops, bars and restaurants.
It is also important to mention that there may be some very cold places, such as Alaska, North Dakota, Maine and Vermont, which often receive extreme snow and low temperatures so you’ll want to pack plenty of thermal layers to be prepared.