Top 10 travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US

So, it’s really happening; you’re setting off on the adventure of a lifetime to work and travel in the United States. There’s lots to think about, so here are some things you should know before you go.

Whether you’re in the process of arranging your J1 or you’re just thinking of heading off to the States to experience what work and travel is like over there, we’re here with ten important travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US.

Taking the leap to apply for your J1 is one of the best decisions you could make. However, it can be pretty daunting moving all the way across the globe, especially if you’re going alone or if you’ve never spent a long time away from family.

So, if you want to make sure you’re ready for the move, read on to discover our top ten travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US.

10. Keep in touch with family and friends – not just for emergencies

Kicking off our list of travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US is remember to stay in touch with your family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in meeting new people and starting your new adventure that you can sometimes forget about the guys back home.

Make sure you have a mobile phone that can work for international calls so you can keep your loved ones up to date with what you’re doing and contact them in case of an emergency.

9. Take enough money – make sure you have enough to get set up

Credit: pixabay/ geralt

We highly recommend working out your budget before you go. You don’t want to end up arriving on the other side of the Atlantic to find you don’t have enough to cover your rent.

Bring enough cash to ensure you can cover your security deposit and your first month’s rent. You might also need some extra cash to furnish your new place.

8. Consider getting an international driving permit – makes getting around so much easier

Depending on where you’re based, it might be a good idea to get an international driving permit before you go. If you’re based in a big city, you probably won’t need to drive thanks to easy-to-use transport links.

However, if you’re based in a more remote area, it might be a good idea to get a car to ensure you can get around easily. In this case, we recommend getting an international driving permit to ensure you’re legal on the roads.

7. Secure accommodation before you go – you don’t want to be stuck looking when you get there

It’s best practice to have your accommodation secured before you go. This way, you will save some money by avoiding landlords looking for vulnerable students in need of immediate accommodation.

Giving yourself the time to browse and research options also means you’re more likely to end up somewhere that’s safe, clean, and good value.

6. Get to know local laws – stay out of trouble

Local laws can change from state to state and district to district. We highly recommend getting to know these before you go so you avoid getting yourself in any legal trouble by accident.

For example, public order offences often come with higher penalties than they do in Ireland. So, it’s best to brush up on the legalities of where you’re going to avoid any trouble.

5. Save the details of Irish Embassies – you never know when you’ll need them

One of our best travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US is making sure you know how to contact your nearest Irish embassy.

Should anything happen like losing your passport or you need to get home in an emergency situation, being able to contact the embassy easily will be a lifesaver.

4. Make sure to get suitable health insurance – don’t get caught up by huge healthcare bills


Healthcare is incredibly expensive in the United States. So, it’s super important to ensure you have appropriate healthcare cover before you go to avoid incurring huge medical bills.

Many J1 visa companies will ask that you arrange your health insurance through them before you leave for the States. You can ask them about options and choose the best one for you.

3. Start the process as early as possible – help ensure you have a smooth experience

You need to have an offer of employment before you go so it’s best to start the process as early as possible.

CVs or resumes in the US are slightly different from what is expected in Ireland. So, make sure you look up the advice to stand out to employers. We recommend sending yours away as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to consider any offers you get.

2. Look after your passport – it’s your most important possession

Your passport is your most important possession when you’re travelling abroad. Without it, you won’t be able to get home and it can take a lot of time and money to arrange a replacement.

You hear lots of cases every year of students misplacing their passports. So, we recommend keeping yours in a safe and memorable place to avoid any issues.

1. Enjoy it – it will be an experience of a lifetime


Topping our list of travel tips for Irish J1 students going to the US is to just enjoy it.

It will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience during which you’ll have the opportunity to learn different cultures, meet new people, and experience a completely different way of life.

Don’t stress too much about all the things you need to know before you go. There’s plenty you’ll be able to work out along the way and there is plenty of support to help if you need.

Just embrace every moment, soak it all in, and enjoy!

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