For Malaysians just to visit US, you have to get a visa, and the visa itself is pretty hard to get. I heard that it's better if you're a non-muslim but I have a friend who failed to get his visa TWICE. So yes, this is a post on how I manage to get my visa with a 99% success rate, manage to somewhat-land a job that allows me to travel for a month to 9 places across the country with only "the initial amount i pay."
Okay so I like I mentioned previously, I worked for 3 months before I started travelling so that's kinda cheating. So when I mean 10,000 it's the amount of money I spent coming to USA (inclusive of visa, flight tickets and pocket money). Here's the breakdown of it:
Spendings (I'm going to use USD 1 = RM 4 as a conversion):
(Going) KK-KL-Guangzhou-LA-Minneapolis: USD 574.64 (approx RM 2298.56)
(Back) LAX-NRT-SG-KK: USD 656.75 (RM 2627)
USD 800 cash in hand, min amount you must have going to US (approx RM 3200)
OOTB fees: RM 3999
It's worth it to go through agent because it's legit and have the paperwork done for you.
Visa: RM 720
International Student Identification Card (ISIC): RM 60
So after what I have initially brought to USA, I did not withdraw any money or had any sum sent over, I didnt even use my credit card (yay score!).
Total: RM 12,904.56
Pretty sure I used less than 10k tho, probably cause of the conversion rate.
The best part?
So above are the places that I managed to visit! All in all I spent about 3k or less. I went to Chicago as well, but it was during my work period, so I didn't include it in, you can find my Chicago post here.
So for 3 months I worked my arse off, and then I started travelling with the money I earned.
Discounts? How? Tips & Advices:
#travelhacks Apply for ISIC or IYIC to get discounts on accommodations from Hi hostels, Amtrak tickets, Flight tickets.
#travelhacks If possible, avoid travelling for A MONTH, you get really tired in the end and all you wanna do is stay in the apartment or hotel.
#travelhacks use www.thrillist.com to check for free shows and to-dos at each state.
Transport : USD 800 (Estimated)
(Includes car rentals, domestic flights, Amtrak tickets and Megabus)
#travelhacks you can drive around the states with MALAYSIAN DRIVING LICENSE, so you don't need to especially apply for that international driving license. We rented car at different states and never had any problems.
#Tip If you're below the AGE of 25, there is an additional charge for car renting (about $25-$30).
#travelhacks don't wanna go through 5 different airline website to see which one is cheaper? I always used skyscanner. But there are a bunch of website out there that'll be more than happy to help you compare.
Accommodation: USD 519
#travelhacks Always CHECK ONLINE and then CALL to see if you can get a lower cost (you usually can). We saved a few hundreds this way.
#travelhacks Apply for ISIC or IYIC to get discounts on accommodations from Hi hostels, Amtrak tickets, Flight tickets (book through staravels.com)
#travelhacks If you're going alone, look for hihostel or any international student hostel. If in a group, compare price with hotel, resorts, airbnb, apartment.
Bottom line is:
It is very possible to travel around The States without burning a hole in your pocket and also try to go and visit the states before Trump becomes president(?) (if he ever will be, heaven forbids) because I'm pretty sure by then the entries allowed will decrease, assuming he kept his word on abolishing J1 visa and making sure Muslims not be able to enter.
Doesn't this all feels like a dream? Oh how I miss those days and the 3 of you :')
Oh and I happen to stumble upon this guy's website and it's pretty informative, you can check it out here.
Picture Credits: Shanice, Ivan and PK.
Feel free to ask any questions on my Work and Travel experience and if you have better websites to share or any #tips & #travelhacks, I'm more than happy to hear it.