The United States is vast covering 50 states. I’ve done two road trips and I can tell you that this country is amazing, diverse, friendly, and inexpensive. Don’t limit yourself on your visit! Rent a car and drive. It’s the best way to get around especially as the cross country transportation isn’t good.
When travelling to the States you will need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Always use the official site here, It should cost you around $10. Any other sites are likely to pass on extra fees. I have some friends that didn’t realise and just used the first thing that popped up on google search and they were charged $60 or more.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country comprising 50 states with a population of over 327 million people.
- Washington D.C. has been the capital city of the United States since 1802.
- Tip: “See you later” is just an expression. People say this even if they never plan to see you again.
- Tip: “Please” and “thank you” are very important in the United States. Say “please” and “thank you” to everyone for even the smallest kindness.
- Tip: Say “Pardon me” or “Excuse me” if you bump into someone or even get close to someone. Americans also say this if they sneeze or cough or do not understand something someone has said.
Depending on the accommodation you’re looking for there’s lots to choose from. There aren’t many hostels outside of the cities, you’ll more likely find cheap hotels and motels. Hotels in cities start from $70 a night (in the major cities like NYC, they can start closer to $100). If you’re not keen on hostels or the price of a hotel then consider using Airbnb. I’ve used this to stay in some cities with great success. Remember the US is very vast and prices fluctuate a lot depending on what state you’re in, so check out my specific guides for more detailed information on accommodation.
- Get £25 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.
In America Food is very cheap. From fast food to cheap sandwich shops, you can eat really well on a budget. Expect higher prices in the major cities and coastal cities, but remember get talking and find that reasonable establishment all the locals go to!
For breakfast I do have a soft spot for iHop (International House of Pancakes) it never fails to disappoint. Remember if you you want eggs like we do back in England ask for them to be over easy. They don’t flick the juices over the top of the egg, but they flip it instead essentially giving the same effect. Sunny side up is cracked in the pan and left until the edges are brown and not flipped, leaving the raw yolk & egg white runny on top. Hash browns aren’t the same either. Where we have like a patty, American hash browns are simply shredded potato on a plate (still delicious), it’s what we would call a rösti.
- Tip: Raise your hand or index finger and make eye contact to signal a server.
- Tip: Order eggs over easy for a traditional english fried equivalent.
The best way to get around is to learn and use the public transport system, especially if you’re in a city. Busses, tubes, monorails all start from as little as $1. If your out of city or travelling then consider renting a car, if your with friends then splitting the costs makes this the cheaper option. As an alternative, Uber or Lyft are available in many different US cities.
In the United States the power sockets used are of type A and B.
Type A: This socket has no alternative plugs
Type B: This socket also works with plug A
Your need for a power plug adapter depends on the power plugs used in your own country. The Mu Worldwide Traveller Duo is a superb addition for those who travel light and it stays in my travel bag all the time. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world this has you covered and will keep you charged up and ready to go with US and Euro plug adaptors and two USB ports.
Three uniquely allows you to roam in the USA (and many other countries at no extra charge, even if you’re not a Three customer. To do so all you have to do is grab its Feel At Home offer. This is a superb offer for the States considering how expensive it is with other providers. (You can only roam on 3G, not 4G.)
All you have to do is order a free Three PAYG Sim, you will then need one of its add-on packages. Then your Sim should already be activated for international roaming, so Feel At Home will work automatically when you arrive in any of the countries covered. You’ll be able to use the allowance in your add-on in the same way as in the UK.
Failing that there’s another easy trick to get free roaming simply by swapping to an American Sim. (You’ll need an unlocked phone though) Otherwise, it may be best to stick to free Wi-Fi.
- When travelling to the States you will need to apply for a new ESTA travel authorization this should cost no more than $10.00. Always apply from the official site here.
- Calculate your tip and divide your bill by typing Tip Calculator on google.
- Free refills If you order a drink, most restaurants allow free refills while you eat your meal or refills at a low cost. Water is usually provided for free.
- Get a national park pass If you’re planning on visiting a number of National Parks, then this will get you into all the parks for free, so you don’t have to keep paying the entrance fee every time. It’s a one-off fee of $80 and will pay for itself after four parks.
- “Please” and “thank you” are very important in the United States. Say “please” and “thank you” to everyone for even the smallest kindness.
- Say “Pardon me” or “Excuse me” if you bump into someone or even get close to someone. Americans also say this if they sneeze or cough or do not understand something someone has said.
- Handshakes are usually brief. Light handshakes are considered distasteful. Use a firm grip.
- Eye contact is important when shaking someone’s hand.
- It is considered rude to stare, ask questions or otherwise bring attention to someone’s disability.
- Smoking is very unpopular in the United States.
- Holding the middle finger up by itself is considered insulting and vulgar.
- Get $5 credit for your first Lyft ride here. (Las Vegas only)
- Get $5 credit for your first Uber ride here.
- Get £25 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.