The United States of America is my home country. It’s a melting pot of different cultures and therefore has something for everyone. Visitors can go surfing on the coast of California, explore the wilderness in Alaska, go skiing in Colorado, or enjoy the city life in New York. Whatever it is you travel to ‘Murica for, you’ll be able to find it. Everyone is extremely friendly, extremely talkative and contrary to media, are always interested in people who visit their country.
Just a few posts on the USA
Currency: US Dollar $ (USD) (Click here for current conversion rates)
Visa: Certain countries qualify for a Visa Waiver Program so that visitors may travel the U.S. for up to 90 days. (click here to see which countries are qualified and click here for other visa requirements)
Wifi friendly: Yes. Not only do most coffee shops have wifi, but many bars and restaurants also have wifi. Certain cities also provide free wifi in the streets for the public to use.
SIM cards: T-Mobile is rated the best for travelers and is the most cost-efficient for visits under 3 weeks. AT&T, however, has the best coverage albeit slightly more expensive.
Unique tip/ Experience: Rent a car and drive from the west coast to the east coast or vice versa!
Hostels: Hostels are not very popular in the U.S, therefore they can be extremely pricey across the country, most starting around $20 and only going up from there. If you want to spend $20 on a hostel, just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Hotels: Cheap motels can be found throughout the U.S, but prices vary depending on which city. Motel 6 and Super 8 are known to be extremely cheap (around $30/night) but they are not usually near any tourist destinations.
Airbnb: There are a lot of Airbnb’s throughout the U.S. and are pretty affordable and clean. They provide the traveler with a feel of the local life in each city as well as more privacy in comparison to a hostel.
Couchsurfing or Camping: The best way to keep a budget is through Couchsurfing. If you are unfamiliar with the website, it is a website built for people to host their homes for travelers for free. It’s also a great way to get to know the locals. Camping is also big in the U.S. Visit Free Campsites to find free campsites!
Food & Drink
Whenever people ask me what do American people eat, I’m always stumped. Chinese food? Pizza? Steak? Sushi? We have it all. True to the stereotype we do like our burgers though. In fact, there is a war on burgers in the U.S. The west coast boasts of quality fast food through In ’N’ Out (the best in my opinion) while the midwest shows off with their signature White Castle and the East Coast battles themselves with their two choices of Shake Shack or Five Guys (my favorite on the east coast). Don’t worry, you will not be restricted to burgers throughout your trip. Every state has a different food that they are famous for. For example, you have to try the Mexican food in California, the pizzas in New York, and Cajun food in Louisiana.
If you are looking for cheap drinks, happy hour is the best way to go. Generally, it is between 4 and 7 pm, but it depends on the restaurant/bar. Look for the best happy hour in your area.
The USA is known for their tipping system and while it may seem as an annoyance, it is expected at all restaurants and eateries. The accepted amount to tip is between 10-20% of the bill.
How to get there
There are several international airports which visitors can fly into. They are all extremely busy and when arriving can seem a bit intimidating with the amount of TSA yelling at you and police roaming around. Keep in mind that when going through security ALL electronics that require to be charged must be removed from your carry on bag. However, arriving by land from Canada or Mexico is fairly easy. Depending on which part you are crossing from you can walk, take a bus, or drive a car. Expect to have your car searched if driving.
There are several ways to get around in the U.S.A. and all depends on which city you are in. Cities like New York have a useful subway system whereas San Diego has a trolley system and Los Angeles has a bus system to be desired. Many locations in the U.S. use Uber or Lyft which can be cheap if you choose the shared ride option.
It may seem like it’s easy to travel across each state, but it all depends on what you are looking to get out of your travels. Flying will be the most efficient and if planned ahead you can actually find some cheap flights throughout the U.S. If you’re trying to stay away from flying the Greyhound bus will take you far, but it is also very uncomfortable. The Amtrak is another popular form of travel and much more comfortable than the Greyhound, but also can be pricey. The other option is renting a car which gives you more freedom, but keep in mind that it costs extra to drop your car off in a different location than your original starting point.
Phrases to know
Thank you= thank you!