All you need to know before visiting the USA

Budget

The United States of America is known to be an expensive travel destination. However, the prices vary greatly by region. You can save a lot of money by avoiding major tourist destinations, eating street food, and staying in hostels or motels.

USA landscape

Accommodation prices vary greatly from city to city. Prices for private rooms start at 80 USD (65 EUR) in New York City, 35 USD (28 EUR) in Tennesse, and 17 USD (14 EUR) in Roswell, New Mexico.

Food prices vary from extremely expensive to very reasonable. Prices for a budget dinner on average start at around 20 USD (16 EUR). Street food and fast food restaurants are generally a lot cheaper.

Transportation costs vary from 2.50 USD (2 EUR) in NYC to 1.50 USD (1.2 EUR) in Knoxville.

To save some more money, check out our Budget cutting tips.

Where to stay

You can find great accommodation options on Booking. Make sure to search for private rooms popular for romance. 😉 On Airbnb you can rent furnished apartments – those are usually cheaper than most hotels and they offer you the real American experience.

USA culture

Best time to go

The best time to visit the USA depends on where you’re going and what you’re planning to do. The USA is a huge country and the climate varies by region. Read more about the best times to visit New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami.

Other information

Planning and preparation: check out our planning routine here.

Packing: check out the honeymoon adventurers’ ultimate packing list here.

♦ For other travel tips check out Travel like a pro, Travel for couples, Honeymoon styles, Honeymoon activities, Responsible tourism, and Travel resources.

Language: The national language in the USA is English. Spanish is also widely spoken. Check out the typical travel vocabulary in English here.

USA national flag

Currency: United States Dollar (USD)

♦ Visa or other entry requirements: All nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries who plan to travel to the United States for temporary business or pleasure under VWP are required to apply for ESTA (in advance). For more information, visit US Visa. Travelers from any other countries must obtain a B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa in advance.

♦ Electricity standards: The power plug types in the USA are A and B, the standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

♦ Time zone: UTC-05:00 to UTC-10:00

Immunization recommendations and requirements: There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States. However, it is recommended to get travel vaccines and medicines for tetanus and hepatitis B.

USA tropical landscape

Health and safety tips:

You should always make sure to follow the usual travel safety precautions:

  • Leave your jewelry and other valuable belongings in the hotel safe.
  • Keep your emergency cash apart from the rest of your money.
  • Dress comfortably and carry only the items you will need for the day.
  • Don’t carry a lot of money.
  • Always make sure to lock your room before leaving the hotel.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Try to maintain a low profile and do your best to fit in.
  • Carry a travel wallet/money belt/money pouch for carrying money and documents safely.
  • Avoid contact with potential scam artists.
  • Avoid showing off valuable belongings (like cameras) in public.
  • Don’t count your money in public.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings at all times.

For other common safety concerns in the USA, check out Lonely Planet’s safety tips. For common health concerns check out Lonely Planet’s health tips.

USA traditional food

To stay healthy while traveling, check out our health travel tips.

• Tap water is generally safe to drink. When in doubt, ask the locals or drink boiled, bottled or filtered water instead.
* Always make sure to reuse a water bottle to cut down on waste.

Local Customs: The USA is one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world and the locals are generally friendly, open-minded, and accepting of every culture, race, and religion. Greetings are often informal. When meeting someone in person a friendly handshake is customary. Address a person using his or her last name and the appropriate title until specifically invited to use his or her first name. Personal space is very important to most locals, as well as punctuality. There is no particular dress code required on the streets of America. Avoid wearing a bikini elsewhere than on the beach. Tipping is mostly not mandatory, but it is customary. The average tip is 15% to 20% of the total meal cost. Be tactful when discussing religion, money, politics or sex.

USA big cities

Check out top things to see and do in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Miami.

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