So, being a complete noob at travelling, I have learnt a few things in the past week or two while planning a trip to the USA. Things that I think would make a really nice list.
Take TSA approved locks
So this is something that I found on a forum somewhere, and I'm glad I did so. When you travel to the USA with ordinary locks, apparently they'll be broken open for your baggage inspection. So in order to avoid that, TSA officials have keys to the TSA approved locks. I'm a little skeptical as I'm sure that criminals can easily obtain these, buuuuut it's still a step up from having no protection on your baggage. TSA approved locks can be bought at Mr. Price Sport (2 for R100), or from Dischem for about R10 more than that (and they come in bright and pretty colours!)
Make sure to buy plugs before leaving
This scared little guy (the plug point, don't you think he looks frightened/ surprised?) is the standard plug point in the USA. Also make sure that the things you are planning to charge won't be blown up by different voltages etc. (this is something that my Engineer fiance should actually write on!).
Get someone to check all of your times and dates
We had a very near dilemma because of a slight error. Our airport shuttle was going to arrive to take us to the airport at the time that we were supposed to be checking in! Luckily we noticed in time to change arrangements, but this could have messed up a huge chunk of our trip. Make sure that when you book things, you have someone else check them for you. Juuust to be super extra sure.
If you're scared of getting fat on your visit, invest in a resistance band and a skipping rope
This is something that I should have bought a long time ago as a travel aid. Resistance bands are light and compact, and may just be the difference between maintaining that tummy and getting a bulge.
There are numerous workouts available online, such as the one below.
Also, don't forget to take a skipping rope along. Skipping is something that can be done in a small space (just watch out for lights etc.!) and it's really good cardio.
Make sure that your dollars aren't too old
Something that you neeever would imagine to be a problem is the fact that sometimes if you have old dollars, they may not be accepted in the country. This is because the older dollars are easier to counterfeit. I went to Bidvest Bank Bureau de Change to swap some old dollars. They charged me R75 to swap them, which was nothing for piece of mind.
Book online beforehand
You'll notice that a lot of places have cheaper rates when you buy tickets online, so rather do that. Plan your trip well, and have everything paid for and ready. This avoids problems with having to carry around too much extra cash, and usually with pre-booked tickets you get to skip the line. Booking online saves a few dollars per ticket, so in the end you probably have enough left over for a whole extra activity, or even a very decent meal for two!