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United States

The United States is a vast country known for its national parks, Hollywood, wineries, cities, road trips, and coastlines. Whatever kind of adventure you want to have here, this United States travel guide has everything you need for planning a trip!

The U.S. is one of the Best Destinations For Solo Female Travelers!

I was born and raised in the U.S., and I’ve traveled to almost every corner of it. I love exploring my home country, and I know you will too.

Ready to plan your trip? Then here’s your ultimate United States travel guide!

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U.S. City Guides

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Know Before You Go

Bring a photo I.D. to every bar and restaurant. Most establishments will have to check your I.D. for buying alcohol, even if you’re clearly over 21.

Avoid some of the crowds by visiting large cities and popular attractions on weekdays.

If you’re driving, get off the interstates and take some back roads. The U.S.’s scenic drives are some of its best attractions.

U.S. immigration officers can be intimidating, brusque, and downright rude on arrival at border control (even to U.S. citizens). So just stay calm, grin and bear through it, and answer any questions fully, politely, and calmly.

Be aware that laws and attitudes vary from state to state. What’s legal in some states can be illegal in other states.

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Explore The U.S. By Region

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Typical Costs When Traveling

Exchange Rate

The currency in the U.S. is the dollar. Exchange rates are subject to fluctuations, so be sure to check this as your trip approaches. On average, $1 is equal to about €,88, £.80 British Pounds, and 7.10 Chinese Yuan.

Keep in mind that all of these expected costs are an average. Prices in the cities will be higher than in small-town America and National Parks.

Accommodation

A hostel room will be about $40 a night (£30, €35, 285 Yuan). You can find a budget hotel in the $60–85 a night range (£45-65, €55-75, 425-600 Yuan). Mid-range hotels should be between $150–250 a night (£120-200, €130-220, 1060-1765 Yuan). More luxury accommodations start at $250 a night (£200, €220, 1765 Yuan) and go up from there.

Airbnb prices average around $160 a night (£125, €140, 1130 Yuan).

My Favorite Hotels In The U.S.

Food

Meals from fast-food restaurants, cafes, or food trucks will be between $6-12 (£4.50-9.50, €5-10,50, 40-85 Yuan). Dinner at a chain or local restaurant will be around $20 (£15, €18, 140 Yuan). Dinner at a high-end restaurant will start at $60 a plate (£45, €55, 425 Yuan) and go up from there.

Plan to spend around $5 on a glass of wine or beer (£4, €4,50, 35 Yuan) and $10 on a cocktail (£8, €9, 70 Yuan).

Fast-food might seem cheap in the moment, but it can add up. So if you’re road-tripping and need to save some money, bring a cooler and pack your lunch.

Transportation

Individual bus, subway, or metro tickets will be around $3 (£2.40, €2,65, 20 Yuan) and are valid for one trip. There will also be day, 48-hour, and 72-hour passes if you’ll be using a lot of public transportation in one of the larger cities.

Renting a car will start around $50 a day (£40, €45, 355 Yuan), and then you’ll need to pay for tips, tolls, and gas. You can find my favorite car rental sites here. Before renting a car, make sure you understand all insurance and driver’s license requirements.

The Best Road Trips To Take in the U.S.

Taxi fares within city limits average a $4 starting fee (£3.20, €3,50, 28 Yuan), then around $1.25 per mile (£1, €1,10, 9.50 Yuan). Uber and Lyft are widely available in all large and most mid-size cities as more affordable alternatives to taxis.

One-way domestic flights average $200 (£160, €180, 1415 Yuan).

Amtrak trains are a chapter and more scenic way to see the country. Prices for Amtrak range from $3 (£2.40, €2,65, 20 Yuan) for local trips to $700 (£560, €620, 4950 Yuan) for cross-country journeys. You can find all of Amtrak’s routes and pricing here.

You’ve also got the relatively cheap Megabus and Greyhound bus options.

Epic Road Trips In The U.S.

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Other Expenses

I’d budget around $40 a day (£32, €36, 283 Yuan) for entrance fees, tours, guides, snacks, tips, and souvenirs.

ATMs are widely available 24/7 in banks, malls, hotels, and every other street corner in cities of all sizes. Withdrawing cash from an ATM using a credit card usually incurs a substantial fee. So check with your bank and credit card company to make sure you know the best ways to use ATMs to pay as few fees as possible.

Visa and MasterCard are almost universally accepted in hotels, restaurants, and stores. In many situations, like renting a car or making a hotel reservation, a credit card will be required. Most gas stations require a U.S. zip code to pay at the pump, so if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to pay inside the gas stations.

United States Travel Guide Budget Destinations
Tipping

Tips aren’t optional in the U.S. Even if you have terrible service, you’d still be expected to tip because tipping is a significant part of people’s income. These are recommended tipping amounts (and you can always leave more if the service is excellent):

Restaurant servers: 15% – 20%

Bartenders: minimum $1 per drink and 15% – 20% per round

Taxi drivers: 10% – 15% rounded up to the dollar.

Hotel and airport porters: $2/bag or $5/cart

Valet parking attendants: a minimum of $2

Housekeepers: $2 – $5 per night. A card or envelope is usually provided in the room for leaving a tip.

Suggested Daily Costs

Lower End: $150 a day (£120, €135, 1060 Yuan). Midrange: $250 a day (£200, €225, 1770 Yuan). Higher End: $350 a day and up (£285, €315, 2475 Yuan).

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Incredible Vacation Homes In The U.S.

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Money Saving Tips

1
Use CityPass CityPass gives you discounted ticket packages for top attractions throughout the U.S. in cities such as New York, Seattle, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta. The cost of a CityPass is less than the combined price of visiting these attractions individually. Plus, you get to ``skip the line`` at most places.
2
Camp When you're visiting national parks, go camping instead of staying in a hotel.
3
Eat Off The Beaten Path Don't eat at restaurants near famous landmarks. You'll pay a premium to eat in Times Square or near places like The Mall in D.C. or The Bean in Chicago.
4
Don't Fly Domestically Instead of flying between destinations in the U.S., rent a car, hop on a Greyhound bus, or take an Amtrak train.
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United States Travel Guide Books

United States travel guide

United States travel guide

United

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How to Prepare for the U.S.

Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, and influenza.

Passport Health has additional information on current vaccinations and diseases in the U.S., and I recommend visiting their website for the most up-to-date travel requirements.

Visas

For entry, citizens of the EU, Great Britain, and Australia will need a valid passport for the length of their stay. Canadians must have a valid passport but don’t require a return ticket.

Most nationals don’t need a visa when visiting the U.S. for less than 90 days. The exceptions are countries excluded from the Visa Waiver Program. The World Travel Guide has more information on the U.S.’s visa and passport requirements.

iVisa is an incredibly helpful resource for obtaining visas. iVisa makes the usually complicated and confusing process of getting a visa easy by taking care of everything for you. You fill out a simple online application, and then iVisa takes care of everything else.

Etiquette

Shake hands when meeting someone. Some Americans will hug, but the majority will want to shake hands unless you’re close friends.

Don’t assume you can smoke somewhere. Smoking is prohibited almost everywhere that’s indoors, and many patio restaurants, parks, boardwalks, and beaches have also banned it.

Be on time. It’s considered very rude in the U.S. to keep someone waiting.

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When To Go & What To Pack

Electrical outlets in The U.S. are Types A and B. So British, European, and other travelers will need an adaptor.

Because of the U.S.’s size and varied geography, it’s a year-round destination. But some months are better times to visit than others depending on the region. And what you bring depends on where you’re going. So here’s your guide to each region of the U.S.

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What To Wear

There are no dress requirements for men or women in the U.S. You’ll just want to make sure your clothes are warm or cool enough for the time of year and the region you’re visiting.

I recommend having at least one “dressier” outfit for dinner at a nice restaurant or for visiting higher-end clubs or bars. But for the most part, you can wear whatever you want most anywhere you go.

If you’re visiting a religious site, you’ll want to wear more modest clothes out of respect.

Comfortable, practical, and interchangeable clothes are always smart choices in the U.S. And bring your most comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking A LOT!

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Have you been to the U.S.? Comment below with anything you’d add to this United States travel guide!

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Shop My U.S. Travel Essentials
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Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the number 1 vacation spot in the US?

    This depends on who you ask. New York City is the most-visited city, Napa Valley is the most-visited wine region, California is the most-visited state, and The Great Smoky Mountains is the most-visited national park. You can’t go wrong with any of The United States’ cities, road trips, or national parks!

  • How much does it cost to backpack America?

    United States travel guide budget costs:

    You can get by on less than $100 per day backpacking through the U.S. Camping, staying in hostels, using public transportation, cooking your own meals, limiting your drinking, and doing free activities such as walking tours, hiking, and visiting public beaches will save you money.

  • How much money in US dollars do I need for 2 weeks?

    On average, you should follow these suggested daily budgets:

    Budget/Backpacking: Less than $100 a day.

    Lower End: $150 a day.

    Midrange: $250 a day.

    Higher End: $350 a day and up.

  • How can I travel across the US cheaply?

    1. Travel in the shoulder and off-seasons.

    2. Take day trips to more expensive cities. Visiting New York City, Napa, Anaheim, Chicago, Miami, and other popular cities in the U.S. as day trips can save you a lot of money on accommodation.

    3. Do free activities – scenic drives, self-guided walking tours, hikes, and visiting public beaches.

    4. When you’re visiting national or state parks, go camping instead of staying in a hotel.

    5. Use your points. Reward points from the best travel reward credit cards can go a long way to offset the cost of a U.S. trip.

    6. Instead of flying between destinations in the U.S., rent a car, hop on a Greyhound bus, or take an Amtrak train.

    7. Bring a cooler on your road trip. Fast food might seem cheap when you get it, but it can add up. So if you’re road-tripping, bring a cooler and pack out food to save some money.

    8. Eat out for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch prices are always lower. So when you do eat out, dine in the afternoon instead of the evening.

  • Is a passport required to travel within The United States?

    All nationals require a valid passport to enter and leave The United States. Most nationals don’t need a visa when visiting the U.S. for less than 90 days. The exceptions are countries excluded from the Visa Waiver Program.

    A passport is not required for domestic travel, but you will need a government-issued photo ID if you want to rent a car or fly.

  • Is it safe to travel to The United States?

    The United States is one of the safest countries for solo female travelers. I’ve traveled extensively through my home country of The United States, and I’ve never felt unsafe. But, as with any destination, you need to take precautions to keep yourself safe. Don’t walk by yourself at night, stay in a secure and well-located hotel or vacation home, use slash-proof, lockable, and RFID-protected bags and purses, and always have a charged cell phone with you.

  • Can an immigrant travel within The United States?

    Immigration laws and levels of enforcement are constantly in flux, so always consult an immigration attorney or reputable sources for up-to-date information. In general, immigrants with a valid visa status or green cards will not be restricted from traveling domestically by air, train, bus, or car. However, domestic travel is not advised for those who are undocumented or who have immigration applications pending.

  • Where should I travel to in April in The United States?

    April is one of my favorite months to travel in The U.S.! The wildflowers will be blooming, the snow will be melting, wildlife will re-emerge, and it won’t be too hot or humid in the southern states.

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This United States travel guide is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this United States travel guide are entirely my own. Some of the links in this United States travel guide are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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