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10 things to do before leaving for the United States

General

Are you ready for a trip to the United States? Whatever your destination, here are ten things to do before you leave:

  1. Electronic Passport 

The valid passport to travel to the USA with the Visa Waiver Program is the electronic one. It has a 9-digit numbering, including 2 letters and 7 numbers, and contains fingerprints. An electronic passport without fingerprints is also fine, as long as it has not expired and is valid until you return.

  1. What To Pack 

A road map should not be missing in your suitcase if you are traveling on the road, a photocopy of your travel documents, a fan if you go to the South-West, a raincoat for the coastal areas, a hat and sunglasses, sweaters for the northern areas, a mini dictionary and a power bank to help the battery of smartphones and tablets.

  1. Health Insurance

Health care in the USA  is very expensive because there is no National Health System like in Italy. Do not forget to take out a USA travel health insurance such as  Travel Nonstop USA & Canada by Europ

  1. Assistance

Health assistance with no limits of maximum limits, bearing all necessary costs, medical expenses up to 1 million euros, interpreter available, and an operations center active 24 hours a day.

  1. Medicines

It is always better to start with an aid kit and the respective indications for use, bringing with you any medicines that you take routinely and prescribed by your doctor. Don’t forget an insect bite kit.

  1. ESTA Authorization

Those traveling to the USA without a visa must apply for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which is valid for 2 years and costs $ 14. It is advisable to request it at least 72 hours before departure.

  1. Money And Credit Cards

The credit card is the most popular payment method in the USA. Prepaid and debit cards are also accepted, but the credit card is more reliable. In case of loss of the latter, you can collect a replacement on site. For convenience, also carry a small amount of cash.

  1. Electric Socket Adapter 

In the USA there are two types of electrical sockets similar to each other: type A and type B, the first with two flat contacts and the second with a third cylindrical. Before leaving, buy an adapter for 110V voltage and 60Hz frequency electrical sockets.

  1. The Guide

On the market, you will find a wide range of guides for the United States. More practical is certainly a specific guide dedicated to your destination or at least to the planned itinerary. We also suggest consulting the sites of local tourism bodies to keep you updated on seasonal offers.

10.Telephone Operator And Data Roaming

Before leaving, contact your telephone operator to understand the costs of telephone calls and data roaming, which in the United States can really be high. If you stay for a long time, consider buying an American sim with one of the main operators. To activate it, a copy of your passport and the address where you reside in the USA will be sufficient.

Tips

Tipping in the United States is not a matter of bon ton but is mandatory on any service provided. To avoid bad figures, calculate on average 15-20% of the total value to be paid.

The 7 Best Things About USA

General

From the gigantic skyscrapers of New York to the hills of San Francisco, the United States will never cease to amaze us. But apart from all the famous cities and fabulous sites, what makes this country so special? From shopping malls open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to “fancy” sweatpants, there are many peculiarities unique to the United States.

Do these facts surprise you? Yet they are among the strange, but wonderful things that only people who have lived in the United States can recognize and understand …

  1. Drive-Ins are popular

Ah, the drive-ins, a wonderful American invention. Imagine being able to order your morning “latte”, your lunch sandwich, and your dinner, all without even leaving the comfort of your car. To do this, all you need to do is roll down your window, speak into a small microphone and your order will be ready to take a few meters further. And all without lifting a finger (except to open your window, of course!). Isn’t there something to be a fan of in the United States of America?

  1. We live in sweatpants (all day, every day)

Have you ever been lazy to put on real pants? For example, when, comfortably seated in front of the television, you don’t feel like getting dressed to go to the supermarket. In the United States, it is possible. Right – it’s totally okay to shop in sweatpants or just not feel like putting on real pants (hello Sunday!).

Sportswear is also a must since no one looks more sporty and active than sneakers and yoga pants!

  1. Everything is disproportionate

From natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon, to gigantic skyscrapers, such as the new World Trade Center, “big is beautiful” is indeed the motto of the United States. After all, this is the country where hummers, SUVs, and the Big Mac were born. Everything here exists in size XL, including roads and parking spaces (at least that limits complicated maneuvers to park!)

  1. Coffee is always drunk on the way

In the United States of America, it is not customary to sit and chat over a cup of coffee. Americans are on the move, and the United States has always been around with a cup in hand, long before Starbucks popularized this fact. In America, we run from one date to another, coffee in hand, so that we take in caffeine at all hours of the day.

  1. Barbecued pork ribs are part of the national heritage

Ok, it’s time to get down to business. Important Info: No country passes pork ribs like the United States. I’m talking about tender ribs seasoned with hot barbecue sauce, served with fries and a large coke to sauté it all. In fact, I am convinced that this must-have American barbecue should be listed as a national heritage.

  1. University life dominates

It’s pretty cool being a student in the United States: universities are located on campuses, where classrooms, cafeterias, and dormitories are only a few blocks from each other. So, you live in a real student town, where your teacher’s assistant can be one of your peers and the radio station DJ can be your STATS 101 comrade.

  1. Everything is open 24/7

The United States is a country that never sleeps: you can go shopping at the strangest hours of the night – by stopping en route at the drugstore. It is a true shopaholic’s paradise.

Top 5 Vienna Austria Sights and Attractions

General

Many people consider Vienna, Austria one of the greatest cities in the world. Indeed, it may just be the most beautiful city, but it isn’t beautiful for aesthetic reasons alone – Vienna also has an energy that you can feel when you walk around, especially when you visit the museums and listen to live classic music and opera. Vienna is also the city of Mozart, Beethoven, and a number of other classical composers – they lived, worked, and found inspiration in this city. Today, this same spirit is still alive and well and you can capture it when you visit. Before you do visit, though, it will help to have some basic Vienna travel tips under your belt.

Here are the top five Vienna sights and attractions.

  • Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens.

This was once the home of many Austrian emperors that ruled much of the country. Today, it is a national treasure for all to enjoy. You can also spend time in the garden or have lunch on one of the many little footbridges. The Schönbrunn is a little bit outside the city, but definitely worth a visit.

  • Vienna Zoo.

This is the oldest zoo in all of Europe. This zoo is a great place to take the kids for a fun and exciting day. You will get to experience rare birds, animals, and insects. You will get to see tigers, pandas and all sorts of amazing animals. Not only that but the zoo also a great place to get a feel for Vienna’s old architecture, which makes it a perfect place for kids and adults too.

  • The opera house.

If you want to catch live classical music and operatic performances, Vienna is definitely the city to visit. This is where classical music was born and thrived. Today, the national orchestra and many traveling orchestral organizations descend on this grand city to play live shows. It is recommended to purchase & A tickets online so that you can reserve seats. Also, visiting this website will give you an idea as to who is playing and when so that you can choose a concert you want to see.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts.

Vienna’s national museum, or kunsthall, is one of the most lauded in the entire world. Its collection holds antiquities, medieval art, and some modern masterpieces too. They also have traveling shows, so that you can see something totally fresh every time you visit. If you are a lover of arts and culture, visiting the national museum is a must.

  • The Prater.

If you have children, or if you are looking for a romantic place to visit after dinner, you must visit the Prater and ride the giant Ferris wheel. This is a classic carnival experience, but done European style, so you can pick up some delicious Austrian desserts and then climb to the top of the Ferris wheel for a breathtaking view of the city. In the end, the city itself is a wonder to behold.

4 Tips for Making Great Beignets

American Things You'll Be Surprised

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Crescent City’s tastiest export is the daiquiri. But there’s another, a slightly lesser-known delicacy that wins fans far and wide: the beignet. While this fluffy Cajun take on the classic fritter might not have any rum in it, it’s got most other bases covered. And, crucially, it’s easy to make in a typical home kitchen. If you want to learn how to make the perfect beignet, arm yourself with these four tips.

  1. Let Your Dough Sit for a While

If you’re a baking novice, the importance of this tip can’t be overstated. Dough’s active ingredient, yeast, is a living organism that needs time to work its magic. So to make a perfect beignet, you need to be patient. Seasoned beignet-makers usually let their dough rest at room temperature for a minimum of two hours. That provides much-needed time for the mixture to rise as the yeast releases millions of tiny gas burps. There’s no way to rush this process.

  1. Use Lukewarm Water

Yeast might be the key to fluffy, soft beignets, but it can’t do its job without the perfect surroundings. In addition to sugar, which yeast “eats” when the dough is at rest, this mass of microbes requires a healthy dose of water at just the right temperature. Most recipes call this “lukewarm,” but that’s a little imprecise. Ideally, you want your water to be no cooler than 70 degrees and no warmer than 100 degrees. Basically, it needs to feel warm, but not too warm, on your fingers. If your water is too hot, it could accelerate the yeast’s metabolic processes or kill it altogether. If it’s too cold, it could shock the yeast into dormancy.

  1. Get Your Oil Piping Hot

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the oil for frying beignets needs to be considerably hotter than the water you use to make the dough. But how hot? If you’re using cottonseed oil, which many seasoned chefs recommend, it should be no cooler than 370 degrees. (You can use a special frying thermometer to measure this in an open pot.) Much cooler than this and your beignets could be on the soggy side; though you don’t want your oil to be too hot, part of the allure of cottonseed oil is its high smoke point.

  1. Cut ’Em Thin

While it might seem effortless for seasoned cooks, achieving beignets’ signature fluffy-crunchy duality isn’t a foregone conclusion. In fact, it’s pretty difficult. You need to slice your dough thin enough to ensure that it cooks almost all the way through, but not so thin that it turns the finished product into a rigid, overcooked shard. After years of trial and error, the culinary community has arrived at a near-consensus for the ideal beignet thickness: roughly ¼ inch.

There you have it: a beignet recipe for the rest of us. The next time you’re pining for a taste of the French Quarter, you don’t have to reach for that flyer miles credit card. Just roll up your sleeves, heat up some oil, and get your tastebuds ready for an authentic New Orleans experience.

5 Common Myths About Financial Aid in College

General

There are so many misconceptions about the way that financial aid works in college that it can be difficult to weed through them all. Understanding loans, grants, and scholarships are hard enough, and every school is different, but there are still some absolutes when it really comes down to it.

Here are 5 common myths about financial aid in college.

  1. The Middle Class Really Gets Pinched

Some people think that the wealthy have no problem paying for college and working-class individuals receive the most federal aid, so it’s really the middle class that struggles the most with paying for college. However, most Pell grants, which are offered primarily to students from families who earn $50,000 or less per year, only pay for about two-thirds of tuition costs. This leaves low-income students with an additional third of tuition to pay for in addition to living costs, which they often have to come up with on their own.  In truth, the high cost of a college education affects all families regardless of their income levels.

  1. A Full Ride Scholarship Pays for Everything

Just because you got a full-ride scholarship for sports, academic performance or financial need doesn’t mean that all of your college costs are taken care of. You still need to pay for food, transport, books, and any kinds of recreational activities that you would like to engage in. Thus, it’s important even for students who have full scholarships to apply for jobs or student loans as well.

  1. Financial Aid is Only Available to Low-income Students

If you think that you will not be eligible for financial aid simply because you come from a relatively affluent family, you’re wrong. Most private schools offer significant levels of financial aid to students who are very high achievers. Whether you qualify for a merit-based award or need-based aid, it is important to apply for and research every funding option no matter how much money you and your family have for college costs.

  1. Federal and Private Loans are the Same

If you are considering taking out student loans, you want to know that private and federal loans are very different things. Private loans normally come with variable interest rates, which means that they could change dramatically at any time, so if you don’t pay them off quickly, then you are really gambling with your money. On the other hand, federal loans normally come with fixed rates and they even offer a few different ways to receive debt forgiveness.

  1. It’s Hard to Get Grants

Most people think that in order to be eligible for grants you have to either have a ridiculously high GPA and SAT scores or come from a low-income family. On the contrary, there are all kinds of grants out there and they are offered for different reasons. If you do a little bit of research, you will assuredly be able to find a grant being offered that reflects your talents and your strengths. When you do, you’re going to want to apply immediately and see if you can get any financial assistance.

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