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Visiting Texas FAQ

Planning to visit us in Dallas, Texas ? Take a look at the Q&A below to get your planning in high gear !

Do I need a visum ? If you are not a US Citizen or a US Resident (Green Card Holder) then you will need either a real Visum or an ESTA form. For most countries you can apply online for an ESTA Visum. Belgian visitors can use

What is the temperature ? Take a quick look at the Dallas Average Temperatures - which will give you per month the average high (daytime) and low (nighttime) temperatures.

mckinney-temperature average

How do I get to Dallas ? Dallas has two main airports - an international Airport (DFW - Dallas Fort Worth) used by all major carriers and a regional airport called Dallas Love Field (DAL) mainly frequented by low cost carriers. Both airports have plenty of facilities and are connected to the major highways. DAL is located within the Dallas Belt Line, DFW is as the name already indicates located between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Do I need travel/health insurance ? Yes. Do contact your health insurance and do make sure you have coverage for the period you plan to spend in the US. Other than emergency services, you will not be able to get medical services at a reasonable cost unless you can show proof of medical coverage.

What is the best way to get US Dollar Bills ? Tell your bank you plan to travel to the US, and verify that you can use your ATM card in the US Cash machines - which typically happens through the Maestro and Cirrus networks. Verify with your bank which ATM machines (i.e. from which financial institutions) you can use without your own bank tagging on a transaction fee (those are typically the ATM machines of their associated banks). Any fees levied by US ATM machines are clearly listed on the machines. The exchange rate used for the cash-withdrawal is one of the best you can get at any given day - and there are plenty of ATM machines.

How should I check the current currency rates ? You can use Or use the site of the European Bank to get the official rates your European bank will apply.

How will I pay while in the US ? You do not need a lot of cash, every store and restaurant accepts credit cards - even for amounts lower than $10. Just make sure you tell your credit card company you will be traveling to the US, such that they do not block your credit card after the first transaction. Ask your Credit Card company which transaction fee they will charge you for US International transactions... Credit Card companies use a good exchange rate, but then hit you with an international transaction fee - depending on your card type and card issuer this can be anywhere between 0 and 5% !

Should I rent a car ? Yes. There is no getting around in Texas without a car. Do get a full-size car - they have a more powerful AC system and you will need it. Do not get a GPS from the rental car company... the better options: either there will be one build into the car (impossible to verify before you get the car), you can use your iphone/Blackberry, or you can buy a cheap GPS at the first electronics store (Best Buy, Fry's) for less than $100. The rental car company will charge you $12 per day (plus taxes).

What about all these tolls ? Most highways around Dallas are tollways. Not taking them is cheaper, but you will spend plenty of additional time. So be prepared to pay tolls. No need to keep spare change in the car : the toll bill gets mailed weekly to the owner of your license plate (the car rental company or whoever you rented the car from). Note that there are 2 very different rates... the rate for each toll gate if you have a toll-tag (which means that you prepay the tolls with a credit card on file with the NTTA toll company) and just about double when you wait to pay until the bill arrives. Your rental car company will apply this bill to the same rental car you used when renting the car.

How big is Dallas ? Big. So make sure you plan your visits to several things in and around Dallas using a map - i.e. Google Maps.

Taxes and tipping... Prices listed in stores and restaurants do not include Sales Tax (VAT) or service fees (tips). So do the math as you compare prices - make sure to include these extra charges ! Tipping is mandatory in all bars and restaurants... if you order directly from the bar tender, a $1/drink is a minimum. If you sit down at a table (and have a waiter) you should consider 15% as normal service (meets expectations) and 20% for places where you would (and will) return.

Can I use a European mobile phone in the US ? Sure... but you do have to check (1) that your phone can use the US bandplans. And you should realize that 4G (LTE) technology is different in the US as in Europe (2G and 3G technologies are equivalent - other than the frequency band plans). But (2) also check the roaming charges with your carrier. Cheaper alternatives to stay in touch... use Skype and Facetime using Free Wifi Services available in most coffee shops, McDonnalds, grocery stores, friends homes, ...

Official Documents... You need your passport (valid for at least 6 more months, electronically readable). If you plan to drive a car, you need an International Drivers License in English (or any US State issued license). You need a print of your ESTA visum or any other VISUM you will use. You need a statement of coverage from your health insurance company (or a number which can be called from the US to verify your coverage). Take copies of all these documents, and carry this copy in your luggage (or on a USB stick) - just in case.

Medicines... a lot of drugs can be bought over the counter... but most prescription drugs has different names and different concentration. So do bring any essential medicines with you. To avoid issues at the security checkpoints, carry a copy of the prescription form of your doctor.

To take with you on the plane... earplugs, headphones if you plan to watch movies/listen to music (consider the Bose noise cancelling headphones), your favorite headache medicine, a pen (to fill out the customs forms), a small LED flashlight if you have one (always comes in handy to look for things you dropped, keep kids busy, ...), a sweatshirt (it can get cold on the plane), ...

Not to bring to the US... cellphones which are not compatible with the US band plans, electrical appliances which will not function on 110V (look at the label on the power adapter) such as hairdryers, fruit and vegetables (not allowed), ...