Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States

2020-2021 America Pandemic Adventures Filipino Solo Trip
May 08 to May 24, 2021


United States served also as the 15th country on my 2020-2021 America Pandemic Adventures Filipino Solo Trip, the new normal of traveling.

My Covid19 Preparation: Sinopharm Covid19 Vaccinated (2-shots) since Aug. 2020. http://www.theviewingdeck.com/2020/09/covid-19-phase-iii-inactivated-trial.html

Visa: Philippine passport holders need to apply before travel, I have US B2 Visa (2019-2029). http://www.theviewingdeck.com/2019/06/how-to-apply-for-united-states-b-2.html

Country of Origin: Guyana / Arrival Airport: Miami, Florida 
Departure Airport: New York, New York / Country of Next Destination: Philippines (Homeland)

Airport Immigration Issues: After two hours of long queueing in Immigration lane, I was assigned on a Lady Officer with tough interrogation. Knowing that I came from Guyana and Ecuador on a holiday vacation only as a Philippine passport obviously gave her a doubt on my capability to do so. Her interrogation ended by inserting a yellow slip with comment "intensive" and endorsed to another Lady Officer to bring me to their office. Inside I saw a lot of stranded passengers which are heavily interrogated. Again, same set of questions were provided. This experience was exactly the same when I arrived in Tel Aviv Airport, Israel last 2013 (Solo Backpacker also). In a matter of around 10 minutes I was given again a yellow slip but this time it has an authorize to enter remark. Even though I'm used to this kind of treatment, I still feel bad and sad while walking for the next assigned boarding gate.  

Places Visited: Miami (Florida), Washington DC, Alexandria (Virginia), Wilmington (Delaware), Baltimore (Maryland), Trenton (New Jersey), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Boston (Massachusetts), New Haven (Connecticut) and NYC, Niagara (New York)

1. If you are Philippine passport holder, ensure that there's at least 3 to 4 hours transit in between arrival coming from international flight going to domestic flight. In my case, I did not make the flight to Buffalo, New York coming from Miami due to more than 2 hours queueing in Immigration. You should have a Plan B of your alternate destination in case of re-booking. My plan B was going to Washington DC. 

2. In my opinion, aside of long queueing, be prepared of the Immigration Officer "intensive interrogation" especially if traveling alone, traveling for so long, country of origin is not a usual destination and don't have any US resident friends/relatives.

3. For cheapest fare, book Greyhound (bus) and Amtrak (train) trip in advance, much better if its almost a month before the intended trip date. The closer the date, the expensive fare you will get. Greyhound has a reasonable fare than Amtrak but Amtrak has a lot of destination and departures available. 

4. Failed to visit Niagara Falls on initial part of the plan before the outbound flight due to flight offload experience courtesy of American Airlines, Miami to Charlotte transit then Buffalo. Despite my flight ticket was a regular fare, they gave priority to other passengers unfortunately. I'm mad because; (1) it's my dream to see the Niagara Falls, (2) wasted flight from MIA to BUF, (3) my Greyhound overnight bus booking worth $82 was wasted also, (4) I need to book for hotel in Washington DC because I arrived early, (5) destroyed my mood to travel. I filed an email complaint, AA just gave me 10,000 bonus miles instead of the refund I requested. 

5. Philippine government suspended all flights coming from UAE from May 15 to 31 (due to Covid19 India variant) , declared only just 2 days before my flight departure (May 16). My outbound flight is transit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As such, I bought new flights (QF, 5J) for a whooping 1,200 USD just to get home in soonest. My credit card limit was max-out  

6. FREE Covid19 Vaccine and PCR Test (I saved $100 per test) anywhere in United States, especially in New York City Manhattan its everywhere. I took my another vaccine, Janssen in CVS Pharmacy (Boston branch). My previous Covid19 vaccine (Sinopharm) is not documented since it was for volunteer purpose although it was done as standard two-shot. I took three sets of PCR Test (Nasal Swab) in Manhattan's CityMD, LabQ and Metropolitan Drugstore with 1-2 days result processing. No out of pocket cost for all of those. 

7. On airport arrival, United States requires Negative Covid19 Test (Antigen/PCR) only within 72 hours validity.

8. On airport departure, my next destination Philippines transit to Doha and Hongkong requires only Negative Covid19 Test (PCR) within 72 hours validity. United States provides FREE Covid19 PCR Test with 1-2 days result (physical passport is always required as identification).

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

Pandemic Travel Tips in Solo Backpacking the United States 

0 comments:

Post a Comment

much of thanks for visiting the viewing deck ^_^

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...