Are you dreaming of a vacation to the United States? With its rich cultural heritage, wide open spaces, and world-class attractions, it’s no wonder why so many travelers choose America as their destination. From bustling East Coast cities like New York and Washington D.C., to the adventure of the West Coast with destinations such as Yosemite National Park and Monument Valley, there is something for everyone! Whether you’re looking for vibrant city life or an outdoor escape away from it all – read on for everything you need to know about traveling in the United States!

Pacific Northwest Coast in Oregon, USA with waves crashing on beach.

 

 

Practical Info

usa-infographic

 


 

Getting to the United States

 

You are going to have to fly. Then once you are there you may need to fly around within the United States because the country is massive. 

 


 

When to go

 

Hypothetically, you could visit the United States during any season, depending on what you want to go for. Visit from June-August for beaches and summer activities, September-November for foliage, apple picking, and pumpkin carving. From November-December, many cities have dramatic holiday displays and decorations to admire, as well as plenty of events for the kids. December-February provide ideal months for skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor winter activities. The spring months of March-May are reserved for wildflower blooms, flower shows, Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

 

For lower costs, visit in April-May or September-October. Prices for travel are high in November due to Thanksgiving.

 


 

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset in San Francisco, California.

 

what to see

 

New York CityStatue of Liberty, UN Headquarters, Empire State Building, Times Square, Nightlife
Los AngelesFilm Industry, Venice & Santa Monica Beaches
Washington, D.C.Capital City, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House
ChicagoDeep-Dish Pizza, Wrigley Field, Lakeside City
San FranciscoGolden Gate Bridge, Cable Cars, Hilly Bayside City
BostonAmerican Revolution History, Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, Seafood
Las VegasGambling, Strip Clubs, Nightlife, Entertainment
MiamiBeach Life, Nightlife, Art Deco Architecture
ProvidenceCulinary Scene, Waterfire, Art, Culture
SeattleSpace Needle, Pike Place Market, Coffee
OrlandoDisney, Theme Parks, Family Destination
Salt Lake CitySkiing, Hiking, Outdoor Activities, Mormon Culture
DenverAccess to Rocky Mountains, Art Museums, Sports Games, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
CharlestonAntebellum Architecture, Southern Charm, Magnolia Plantation
San AntonioAlamo, River Walk, Tex Mex

 

The United States is simply too big to list all of the major cities and their different personalities. Depending on your interests, you’ll surely find somewhere that suits you in the USA.

 


 

Getting around within the United States

 

This is one country where it’s almost necessary to rent a car. The rail system in the United States is not as well-connected as in Europe, and also much, MUCH more expensive! The country is so big that, if you want to do your own thing, renting a car is your best bet.

 

Flying within the country is also quite expensive – to be honest, I fly from Boston to Europe cheaper than elsewhere in the United States. If you must fly within the country, the budget airlines are Spirit, Frontier, and Jet Blue – just don’t expect much in the way of luxury (or leg room, for that matter).

 


 

Detailed USA Articles

Alabama
Arizona

California

Colorado

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii       

Kauai

Oahu

Idaho

Illinois

Kentucky

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Missouri

Montana

Nevada

New Mexico

New York                                                           

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon                                                                    

Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico South Carolina South Dakota

Rhode Island

Tennesee

Texas       

Utah

Virginia

Washington

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

 


 

Flight Resources

 

Skyscanner is the website I use for all of my flights. Other travelers also like Momondo.

 

Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Netherlands’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!

 


 

Accommodation Resources

When I travel, I prefer to use VRBO. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my dog(s) travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on pet-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests. Also, by getting your own apartment (or shared apartment), you’ll have use of the kitchen, allowing you to cook your own meals and save some cash by avoiding expensive dinners.

If you’re traveling long-term, VRBO usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are not as significant as in Europe, but it’s still worth a shot!

For run-of-the-mill hotel stays, Hotels.com usually offers the best deals. Also be sure to check out the Budget hotel chains, such as Motel 6, La Quinta, Super 8, and America’s Best Value Inn. Hostels can be overpriced in the United States and the hostel culture prevalent in Europe is virtually nonexistent.


Safety Tips

The United States falls somewhere in the middle in terms of safety. It’s such a large country with so many different areas, that it entirely depends on where you are going. That being said, all major cities have some aspect of danger to them, particularly in the ‘seedier’ areas. You’ll find areas you feel safe and areas you don’t feel safe in most all cities you visit. Trust your judgment and remove yourself from situations in which you feel unsafe.

Particularly important in the more touristy cities (lookin’ at you, New York and LA) be aware of common scams that are geared toward the unsuspecting tourist.


 

Florida mangroves in the everglades.

Money Saving Tips

The United States is a fairly expensive country to visit, particularly when coming from most of the rest of the world. That being said, some regions of the country are definitely more expensive than others. Areas near larger cities and more populated states (New England, New York, D.C., California, Chicago) are going to be your most expensive places to visit.

If you want to visit the States but are looking for places that don’t cost quite as much, the Southern States (the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana), the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon), and areas that are further from major cities will likely be cheaper.

Go to a local grocery store and cook your own breakfasts and dinners. Eat out for lunch – most restaurants have lunch menus that have smaller portions and lower prices. Find BYOB restaurants to save money on alcohol.

If you don’t already have one, create a Pinterest account! Pinterest is an invaluable resource for travelers. Simply input ‘Free things to do in….’ and see all the great options that come up. There are plenty of free things to do in the major cities.

Speaking of cities, get yourself a city pass if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing – museums, tours, public transport, etc. are usually highly discounted with the purchase of a city pass.


Covid resources for the United States

Before making any travel reservations, be sure to check the COVID restrictions currently implemented in the United States. Be aware that things are subject to change with no notice and that most travel insurance companies do not cover COVID-19 for cancellations or treatment. Travel safely, wear a mask, socially distance, and follow all local regulations.


FAQs About Traveling to the United States

  1. Do I need a visa to visit the United States?

    • Visa requirements for visiting the United States vary depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Citizens of some countries can enter the U.S. for short stays (up to 90 days) under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Others may need to apply for a tourist visa. Check with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
  2. What’s the best time to visit the United States?

    • The United States is a vast country with diverse climates. The best time to visit depends on your destination. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are generally pleasant for travel across the country. Summer (June to August) is ideal for beach destinations, while winter (December to February) is perfect for winter sports in places like Colorado or Vermont.
  3. What’s the currency in the United States, and can I use credit cards?

    • The official currency is the United States Dollar (USD), and credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments. It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases and in case you visit places that do not accept cards.
  4. What languages are spoken in the United States?

    • English is the primary language spoken in the United States. However, due to its diverse population, you’ll also find people who speak Spanish, Chinese, and other languages.
  5. Is tap water safe to drink in the United States?

    • Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout the United States. In rare cases, it’s recommended to use bottled water, which is readily available.
  6. How do I get around the United States?

    • The United States has a well-developed transportation system, including domestic flights, trains, buses, and an extensive road network. Rental cars are a common choice for exploring, but many cities also have public transportation systems like subways, buses, and trams.
  7. What are some must-visit places in the United States?

    • The United States offers a wide range of attractions, including New York City, Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and the beaches of Florida. Explore historic cities, natural wonders, and cultural sites.
  8. What is American cuisine like, and are there vegetarian/vegan options?

    • American cuisine is diverse, with dishes like hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, and regional specialties. Vegetarian and vegan options are available in most restaurants, particularly in larger cities.
  9. Is it customary to tip in the United States?

    • Tipping is customary in the United States. A 15-20% tip for good service in restaurants is standard. In cafes and bars, rounding up the bill or leaving a dollar per drink is common.
  10. Is it safe to travel in the United States?

    • The United States is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Use common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and staying aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded or tourist-heavy areas.
  11. What should I pack for my trip to the United States?

    • Pack clothing suitable for the season and activities you have planned. Comfortable walking shoes, layers, and any specific items you need for your destination, such as swimwear or hiking gear.
  12. What is the legal drinking age in the United States?

    • The legal drinking age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 21 years old in the United States. Please adhere to these age restrictions when ordering alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants.

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Top Travel Resources for the United States