West Coast United States
All the steps to follow to plan a trip to the West Coast on your own ! Flights, car rental, passport, currency exchanges, accommodations … everything you need to know to have a movie trip to the West Coast !!
From the beginning to the end so that you do not leave any loose ends , and if you have any questions you just have to leave us a comment at the end of the post and we will be happy to give you a hand!
Here we go with our guide to plan a trip to the US West Coast for free !!
Other articles on the West Coast of the USA:
Trip to the West Coast of the USA
West Coast trip by free passage nº1:
Flights to the West Coast
The first step (or one of the first) when planning a free trip to the West Coast is to find an interesting flight offer .
In Spain we are in luck because now some airlines such as Level ( Iberia ) or Norwegian have opened very cheap and direct routes from Spain.
We always recommend doing a search on Skyscanner with the approximate dates we want and refining the search until we find our perfect flight.
On our last trip to the West Coast we got an offer of € 350 per person, direct flight Barcelona – Los Angeles . And we have seen it even cheaper at some time.
West Coast trip by free passage nº2:
Passport and ESTA
Second step to organize our trip to the West Coast for free is to have all the necessary and updated documents to be able to enter the country.
To travel to the United States we need a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months .
For travelers with a Spanish passport, we can take advantage of the visa exemption and we will only have to fill in the ESTA document online.
It costs $ 14 and normally in less than 24 hours you receive the confirmation in your email.
This document does not give you free access to enter the United States , the customs agent will review your information when you arrive at the airport and will always have the last word.
You have to be careful because some websites pretend to be the official one , they process the ESTA the same but in the end they charge you an extra for having done the process.
The official website to process it is this .
The ESTA lasts for two years. If we return to the United States during this time, we will only have to update the data.
For travelers from other countries we have no idea, sorry! The best thing is that you call the embassy of the United States of your country to solve doubts.
West Coast trip by free passage nº3:
Travel insurance for the West Coast
In any trip it is essential that we carry travel insurance that covers any setback, but in the United States this point is even more important.
Health care in the United States is paid, and very expensive. If anything happens to you and you have to face the doctor’s bill, it can be an experience that not only ruins your trip, but surely the following months.
It is not worth gambling and also with our travel insurance we will have other aspects included, such as theft or loss of luggage, advance of funds, private civil liability …
We always travel with Iati Seguros , before having our annual travel insurance we contracted the Iati Estrella and it is the one that we always recommend to everyone because it is the one that offers the greatest medical coverage.
We can also recommend this insurance with full knowledge of the facts ! We have had to use it twice and they have always responded the first time and without problems.
West Coast trip by free passage nº4:
Car rental for the West Coast
If we are going to take a free trip to the West Coast we need to rent a car .
The budget at this point varies remarkably if we want to rent a Mustang as many people do or we prefer to rent a normal car.
Before, we used the Rentalcars website a lot to rent cars in the United States, but the last few times the coverage was not very specified and AutoEurope has this point a little clearer.
But hey, both websites are reliable and both in one and the other we have rented dozens of times.
Before, it was mandatory to have a credit card in the name of the driver to be able to rent a car in the United States, but now some companies like Dollar do not require it as long as you have a ticket out of the country.
This point is important that you keep in mind if you do not have a credit card.
MORE INFO ON: TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN THE UNITED STATES
West Coast trip by free passage nº5:
Accommodation on the West Coast
If we reserve in advance, at this point we can save a little. So our recommendation is that as soon as you have the flights and your route through the West Coast clear, you book the accommodation.
We always make sure that the hotels have a good score and if it is from a Motel 6 or Travelodge type chain it gives us confidence because we have stayed other times and they comply with the premises of good, nice and cheap.
We leave here the hotels that we know and recommend :
- WILLIAMS: Hotel Travelodge Williams
- PAGE: Best Western Plus
- MONUMENT VALLEY: Goulding Lodge
- BRYCE CANYON: Quality Inn Bryce Canyon
- LAS VEGAS: The Linq Hotel
- MAMMOTH LAKES (near Yosemite from the East): Motel 6 Mammoth Lakes
- MARIPOSA (near Yosemite on the West): Hotel Minners Inn
- SAN FRANCISCO: Grant Hotel
West Coast trip by free passage nº6:
Cards and currency exchanges
We always travel with our N26 card to avoid commissions when paying in a currency other than the euro, and to get some cash we carry the Revolut card.
Although in 90% of the places you can pay by card, it is always advisable to carry some cash, we usually take a little from the ATM with the Revolut.
But if it gives you peace of mind to bring cash from Spain, we recommend doing it in Ria , you will see that it offers one of the best currency exchanges, they send it to your home and you also have a discount from our link .
West Coast trip by free passage nº7:
Electricity and plugs in the United States
In the United States electricity works at 120V unlike in Spain which works at 230V, what happens? Well, some small appliances (hair dryers, irons …) can work slower, at half power we go.
In mobile or laptop chargers there is no problem because most work the same at both voltages.
To know if something that we want to take will work for us there, we have to look at the characteristics of the device, it usually appears on the plug itself and should read: 120V – 230V. If you only put 230V it will not work or it will work halfway.
The plugs in the United States are also different from the ones we use in Spain but this has a faster solution which is to buy a plug adapter like this one that they sell on Amazon .
This one that I have left you in the link also has usb ports that come in handy to charge mobile phones.
West Coast travel by free pass nº8:
SIM card for the United States
It is very convenient that you have internet during your trip to the West Coast , although in all the restaurants, in many bus stops and in the accommodations you will have wifi.
But to use Google Maps , find the location of a hotel or a tourist place, check the opinions of a restaurant … we no longer imagine traveling without internet!
We recommend the Holafly SIM card and landing in the US with unlimited data on your mobile.
You also have a 5% discount from our link !
MORE INFO ON: HOW TO GET INTERNET IN THE USA – SIM CARD
Free West Coast Travel Step # 9:
Things to See and Do on the West Coast
One of the advantages of taking a trip to the West Coast on your own is being able to make a planning to our liking.
Dedicate more hours (or days) to the cities or things that we like the most and ignore or faster those that we like the least.
We already talked to you about the things to see and do every day in the post of the route along the West Coast and we will add them to this section as we publish the post.
Our articles on the trip to the West Coast:
West Coast trip by free step # 10:
Prepare your suitcase!
Remember to bring the approved ESTA document, the car reservation, the accommodation, and any other document you may need. Today you hardly need to carry anything on paper, but you never know.
Also when it comes to “showing” to the customs agent that we are going to do tourism , they will come in handy! We tell you from experience.
Remember that you can not bring any food, well cookies and chocolates without problems, but no cold cuts or cold cuts.
We have been packing a suitcase for a few trips with these organizers and I have to say that I can’t imagine doing it without them! They go wonderfully well.
One of the things that occupies us the most space is the subject of photographic material , I leave here everything that we carry, which is usually one of the most recurrent questions that you ask us on Instagram .
You can see in this post our camera for travel and luggage .
We also carry an external battery to recharge the mobile which is great for us.
If we are going to put a lock on our suitcase, it is interesting that it is a TSA certified lock, in this way, before an inspection, they can open it without breaking it.
In the United States it is common for them to inspect suitcases on a routine basis (although it has never happened to us), then they leave you a piece of paper to let you know that they have opened it.
And here are the steps to organize a trip to the West Coast on your own!
We hope it will help you to plan your trip and if you have any questions, we will wait for you in the comments! 🙂
Other links of interest for your trip to the West Coast of the United States: