Even if you’ve never stepped foot on American soil, no doubt you are well versed in American culture. Everyone knows something about the USA – from the famous landmarks such as The Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the Hollywood sign to the ubiquitous hamburger and French fries – not forgetting Silicon Valley and its biggest exports: Google, Apple and Facebook.
The sheer size of the country means that there is no danger in pigeonholing what is essentially ‘American’ because each of the 50 states are so diverse – you have the vast metropolis of New York City; the Great Lakes in the West; the sunny South and its backwater swamps; to the Great Plains in the centre and the Rockies; not forgetting California and the Pacific Northwest. Oh, and of course Hawaii – how I’d like to be in Honolulu sipping cocktails…
I’ve been to the USA several times – but nearly not enough! I went to Florida as a tween, stayed in New York twice, and last year celebrated my hubby’s 40th in Las Vegas . And, it’s since that last trip, I’ve realised that I could quite possibly spend the next 20 years of my life exploring the rest of this vast country because there are still so many places I want to see including:
Is it because I love the TV show Dexter? Or is because I want to sip ice-cold mojitos in Little Havana and spend some lazy days on Miami beach? Or maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted to go on airboat across the Everglades and spot alligators? Actually it’s all these things and more…
New England Road Trip
Where do I even begin? New England’s old world charm is something I am desperate to experience. Massachusetts is renowned for its capital, Boston; the endless beaches of Cape Cod; and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Rhode Island is best known for the smart yachts and gilded mansions of Newport and neighbouring Connecticut for Yale University, the pastoral Connecticut River Valley, and historic Mystic Seaport. We haven’t even got to the quaint villages of Vermont or New Hampshire’s Southern Lakes region.
Florida Keys and Disney World
I have a young child who is mesmerised by all things Disney. I, too, am mesmerised by all things Disney. I also like rides and water parks, and Harry Potter – and there’s a whole wizarding world at Universal Studios! And what better way to give Monkey a magical experience than to take him to Florida to enjoy all the world-famous attractions it has to offer? Meanwhile, the Keys – a famous chain of islands at Florida’s southernmost tip – offers up a tropical paradise. A perfect setting to recover from all that theme park madness.
San Francisco Road Trip
Before Monkey was born I had planned a road trip starting from San Francisco, veering off to Napa for some serious wine tasting, before heading down to Carmel-on-the-Sea. After a few days there, I wanted to zoom across to Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks before finishing up in Vegas. I then fell pregnant and this trip was put on the back burner. Hopefully, not for too long… If you’re looking for some inspiration for things to do with kids in San Fran then this post has plenty of ideas – 63 in fact!
Organising and daydreaming about these holidays is the fun part – particularly the road trips – what route we will take; what towns will we stop in; can we hire a Cadillac?
However, there is one part of my planning that is a necessity. Before we even get on the plane to fly across the Atlantic, I’ll have to log on to the ESTA to make sure we apply for authorisation to travel to America. Under the Visa Waiver Programme, travellers coming from the EU and other eligible countries can go to the USA for 90 days for holidays or on business without having to apply for a visa.
Last year, before I travelled to Sin City, it only took a matter of minutes to fill in my details online and pay the small fee of $14 – and the great thing is, it lasts for two years without me having to re-apply again.
All the more reason for me to squeeze in another holiday to the USA! But even if I don’t make it, it’s not really a bother to have to register again. After all, ESTA certainly takes the hassle out of visa applications and endless questions.
And the great thing is… if I am logging on to ESTA, it means I am starting to tick off my USA bucket list! Now back to researching that Cadillac…
*This is a collaborative post