The Ultimate Travel Guide To The United States (USA)

Everything you need to know about visiting the United States
The flag for the USA which is a top destination for travelers

What To Expect

The USA is extremely popular with tourists.  It is a very large country with many diverse climates, landscapes, and cultures.  It is home to many of the most famous cities in the world including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, and Miami, to name a few.

Because of its size, most people only visit specific parts of the US on their trips, typically the East Coast or West Coast.  Some people also opt to visit Alaska and Hawaii which are two totally distinct parts of the USA.  Others visit Texas and the South.

However, a lot of people also choose to do roadtrips since there are so many sights and attractions throughout the whole country.  It’s impossible to list them all here so a bit of research is needed if you want the full American experience.  

America is a very diverse country and is very accustomed to tourists and foreigners, especially in its major cities and tourist attractions.  And although there is a rail network, most people find it easier to travel by air, car, or bus instead.

The USA has a lot to offer and is a great choice for your travels!

The United States (USA)
The White House in Washington, DC

Canadians do not need a visa to enter the USA and can stay up to 6 months.  Citizens of most other developed countries can enter the USA visa-free for up to 90 days, provided that they obtain an ESTA in advance if entering by air or sea (not needed if entering by land or local ferries from Canada or Mexico).  If you are not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you must go to the nearest US embassy and apply for a B-2 Tourist Visa to be granted entry. 

There are no health risks in the USA requiring any specific travel vaccinations for normal travelers.  Make sure you are up to date on your standard vaccinations and consult a health professional for further advice.

The United States (USA)

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Key Information

Population: 328 Million
Capital City: Washington, DC
Languages Spoken: English
Currency: US Dollar (USD/$)
Railways: Amtrak & Brightline (in Florida)
Driving Side: Right

Largest Airports:
1. Atlanta (ATL) – Hartsfield-Jackson
2. Los Angeles (LAX)
3. Chicago (ORD) – O’Hare
4. Dallas (DFW) – Fort Worth
5. New York (JFK) – John F. Kennedy

Best Time To Visit

Keep in mind that the weather in the USA varies by region.  The country is vast and contains multiple different climates within its borders.  Generally, the Northern States will be colder than the Southern ones, but it varies by region.  It’s best to research what the weather will be like for the specific state or region you plan on visiting.

The best time to visit the USA is during its shoulder seasons (September-October & April-May) when you aren’t surrounded by a million other tourists and the weather is not too hot, but not too cold either.  Your flights & accommodation will be cheaper and you won’t have to wait in long line-ups when visiting some of the main attractions.

If you have to travel during the high season, make sure to book your transportation and accommodation in advance as the summer is the busiest time of the year in the USA!

High Season: June – August
Low Season: November – March

Top 5 Destinations

The United States (USA)
New York City
Los Angeles which is a top destination for travelers in the USA
Los Angeles
The Grand Canyon which is a top destination for travelers in the USA
Grand Canyon
Las Vegas which is a top destination for travelers in the USA
Las Vegas
San Francisco which is a top destination for travelers in the USA
San Francisco

Currency Information

US Dollars which is the currency used by travelers in the USA

The currency used in the USA is the US Dollar (USD/$).  The bills come in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, & $100.  The Dollar is further divided into 100 cents (¢).

The coins come in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, & 25¢.  Other names for the coins include: 1¢ – penny, 5¢ – nickel, 10¢ – dime, & 25¢ – quarter.

Use the currency converter below to determine the latest exchange rate.

Cellphone Information

The USA has excellent 4G LTE coverage, but is also one of the few countries that still uses CDMA networks in addition to GSM ones.  

However, you will be fine if your phone is GSM-compatible with the primary 3G frequency and at least one of the primary 4G LTE bands used in the country. 

Learn more about this in my Guide to Travel-Ready Phones.

Information about local prepaid SIM cards in the USA

Calling Code: +1
Emergency Number: 911 (Police, Ambulance, & Fire)
3G Frequencies Used: 1900 (primary) + 1700 & 850
4G LTE Bands Used: 2, 4, 12, 17, & 66 (primary) + 5, 13, 14, 29, 30, & 71

Power Outlet Information

The Type A power outlet which is in use in many places around the world
Type A
The Type B power outlet which is in use in many places around the world
Type B

Just like most of the Americas, the USA uses both the Type A and Type B power outlets interchangeably.  Type A plugs can fit in Type B outlets, but not vice versa.

Get your compatible Type A & Type B adapter here.

The voltage used in the USA is 120V.  Learn more about how this may affect your electronic devices in my Guide to the Top Travel Accessories.

Mount Rushmore which is a top attraction for travelers in the USA
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

Tipping Guide

Tipping is very much expected in the USA and some locals might even get upset if you forget to tip them so here are some important guidelines to follow:

Hotel Bellhops: $1-2 per bag
Hotel Housekeepers: not expected
Restaurant Servers: at least 15% of the total bill, up to 20% or 25% for good service
Cafés & Baristas: $1-2 per drink (if receiving table service)
Bartenders: at least $1-2 per drink
Taxi/Uber Driver: 10-15% of the total fare
Tour Guide: 10-15% of the total tour price on single-day tours and at least $10 per day on multi-day tours

Note: if you’re with a large group, sometimes you will see “gratuity included” on your bill.  This means a tip has already been added to your total and you do not need to tip extra.

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