Traveling in the U.S. After Camp

One of the many benefits of coming to the U.S. with CIEE Camp Exchange USA is that you get up to 30 days to travel the U.S. after the program end date listed on your placement agreement form. We have prepared the travel guide below to help you make the most of this time.

Please note: CIEE advises against traveling outside the U.S. during your 30-day grace period. Should you travel outside of the U.S. during this time, you may not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. on your J-1 visa. For more information, please click here.

Traveling Smart

When traveling in the U.S. after camp, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Travel with friends whenever possible.
  • Plan ahead. Research hotels, hostels, and transportation.
  • Always tell friends and coworkers where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Make sure you have the phone numbers of your friends and camp in case you need to reach them. This can be useful in case of an emergency.
  • Take your important documents with you.
  • Protect your personal property at all times; if there is a safe where you are staying, lock up your valuables and important documents.
  • Never hitchhike. No matter what you’ve heard, this is no longer a common practice in the U.S.

Transportation

There are many modes of transportation available in the U.S. Your mode of choice will depend on where you are, where you are going, and your budget. For more information, please make a selection below.

PLANE

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Air travel is a great way to travel long distances in the U.S. It can often be cheaper than bus or train, and is usually much faster. There are more than 1,000 airports throughout the U.S., so you can usually find one near where you’re trying to go.

To get the best fare, it’s wise to book in advance. There are many websites that make it easy to compare tickets. These include:

PRO TIP: Be on the lookout for student discounts!

TRAIN

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Traveling by train is not as common in the U.S. as it is in many other countries. However, Amtrak has an extensive network and offers everything from single tickets to monthly passes, making it another great way to get around the U.S.

PRO TIP: Be on the lookout for student discounts!

BUS

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Greyhound is the largest bus company in the U.S., and serves more than 3,800 destinations across the country. It offers single tickets as well weekly and monthly passes, making it a convenient and cost-effective way to travel.

PRO TIP: Be on the lookout for student discounts!

CAR

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During your post-camp travel period, CIEE recommends that you use public transportation such as buses, trains, and planes whenever possible. If public transportation is not available and you choose to rent a vehicle, you MUST obtain the proper auto insurance that covers medical and liability requirements. Note that some car rental companies require an international permit in addition to your international driver’s license. Most car rental agencies will also not rent an automobile to persons under 25 years of age.

If you choose to rent a vehicle, you should know the following:

  • Motorcycles/mopeds and recreational vehicles are NOT covered on your CIEE Insurance plan
  • CIEE insurance is NOT Auto Insurance
  • Each state has unique minimum insurance requirements and it is your responsibility to know them and to ensure you meet them
  • You must have a valid driver’s license

Basic safety tips for driving in the U.S.:

  • Always wear your seat belt – it is the law
  • Follow the rules and speed limits posted on the road
  • Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Do not drive when you are tired
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving; it is against the law in many states


PRO TIP: Don’t want to rent a car but still need a ride? Check out on-demand taxi/ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber.

Accommodations

If you are looking for a cheap place to stay while you travel, hostels are a great option. They offer a comfortable night’s sleep in friendly and safe surroundings. Plus, hostels make it easy to meet other travelers. There are also many budget hotels and motels across the U.S. These are especially affordable if you are traveling in a group and split the cost of a room.

For help finding a hostel, motel, or hotel in the place you want to visit, check out these websites:

 

Travel Guides

One of the best ways to ensure you make the most of your time traveling the U.S. is the plan and research where you want to go and what you want to see. There are many useful websites and guidebooks with information about every state in the U.S.

A few ideas to get you started:

PRO TIP: Cities and states often have their own tourism websites, which are also a great resource for travel planning.