United States ResourcesMeagan2023-06-25T14:47:12-05:00
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!
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.
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).
Skyscanneris 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!
When I travel, I personally prefer to use VRBA. 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!
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.
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.
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.
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.