These tips will help you on your travel to and in the USA:
- Emergency number is 911.
- There are no vaccinations required.
- Make sure you have a good international medical insurance before traveling to the United States. Because medical treatment is costly in the US.
- If you rent a car, make sure you have a good insurance that covers all from damage to liability,…
- Physically challenged traveler: the US is a comfortable place to visit. For more information.
- Electricity: a voltage of 110-120 volts is used in the US. So check your electrical appliances if they can operate on these volts. You will also need an adapter, because the outlets and plugs are different than in Europe. You can find these at the airport in Europe.
- Cell phones: you need a tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHZ) phone. More information on PrePaid cell phones.
- Taxes: the USA lists net prices, so the State and City taxes are added when the item is purchased. This is different for every state (usually it’s between 6%-15%). Don’t forget if you book a hotel, this usually isn’t included, so check how much more it will be.
- Alcoholic beverages: the legal age for buying and consuming alcohol is 21 in all states. This age restriction is taken very seriously and you have to show ID first if you look young.
- Currency is US dollar. Make sure you have some one-dollar bills available when you arrive, because we’re not used to this, but tipping is a tradition here! So don’t be surprise if they look at you when your luggage has been delivered to the front desk or to your room. They expect a tip. Common is 1 $ – 2 $ per item (depending on the weight of the bag).
- Tipping: waiters, taxi drivers, hotel maids, porters… are paid low wages and tips are part of their paycheck. Even though it’s your decision on what you want to give based on the service they provide, there are some indications.In a restaurant the gratuity is usually between 15%-20% of the net amount on the receipt (in fast food restaurants and self-service dinners, there is no gratuity necessary). Hotel maids get a tip of about 1 $ a day. Taxi drivers get 10%, if you have luggage it‘s 15%.
- If you rent a room in the US, rates are per room. Taxes are usually not included though! So, make sure to check this.
- The sizes of the meals are huge in the US. If you’re a small eater, you can easily split lunch/dinner… Try it first and see what you think. Drinks can almost always be refilled for free. Just ask!
- National Parks offer passes for all parks. If you’re visiting more than one National Park with your car, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy an annual pass. Depending on how many parks you’re planning to visit. Check it out. If you’re visiting more than one National Park with your car, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy an annual pass. Depending on how many parks you’re planning to visit.
- Grocery stores are usually open until late in the evening, if not 24/24 hours, 7/7 days! General shopping: stores are usually open until around 9 PM and on Sundays closes around 5-6 PM.
- A large number of hotels offer laundry facilities. Provided by the hotel itself (a special bag is placed in the room) or by coin operated facilities.
- Sports are major in the States. Okay, we, in Europe have our soccer, but in the US all sports are major. And it’s an AWESOME experience to see a game (even if you’re not that in to sports). Just to feel the atmosphere that fills up the air at a game. Check out a baseball, basketball, football or hockey game.
rebecca tyson says
i love this post!! im from the UK and can only dream right now of visiting anywhere in the USA!! the tipping part of this was really helpful, i will have to remember if i ever do get the chance to travel there!
Thanks Rebecca! Glad it was helpful. I`ll have my fingers crossed you can go soon. It`s such a great destination!