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Tips for travelling to the USA

Everything you need for your trip to the US of A.

With everything from stunning beaches and vibrant cities to rocky mountains and desert plains, the United States of America really does have it all. Here’s what you need to know before travelling to the USA.

What to see and do in America

Discover dynamic cities

Discover dynamic cities

Interested in a city break? From the east coast to west, the US boasts a huge number of world-class cities that visitors from all over the world come to explore – from the iconic Big Apple of New York City to the sunshine delights of Miami. Jazz fills the air of New Orleans, whilst the party never ends in the Sin City of Las Vegas. Boston is full of colonial history, and celebrities walk the Hollywood streets of Los Angeles.

Get back to nature

Get back to nature

The US covers a vast swathe of North America, with an abundance of natural beauty to be found in rural areas away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The country is home to an impressive 57 national parks, including the very first in the world: Yellowstone. Take a trip to the iconic Niagara Falls or marvel at the mighty expanse of the Grand Canyon. Head to the sequoia trees of Yosemite sitting among the mountains of California’s Sierra Nevada, or explore the natural wonder of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

Embark on an epic road trip

Embark on an epic road trip

One of the very best things about the US is the sheer diversity of landscapes and cultures within the country. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that America is home to many of the world’s most iconic road trips, taking in all the sights along the way. The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the west coast of the US, taking in the sun-drenched beaches from San Francisco to LA and San Diego, whilst a road trip through the southern states will see you explore the likes of Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta.

Watch a sports spectacle

Watch a sports spectacle

Sports play a significant role in American culture, with a wide variety of sports being popular across the country. Major sports leagues like the NFL (American football), NBA (basketball), MLB (baseball), and NHL (ice hockey) have massive followings and attract millions of fans. College sports, especially football and basketball, also hold a special place in American hearts and minds. The USA hosts major sporting events like the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, and the Olympics. Sports are not just entertainment but also a source of national pride and unity in the diverse American society.

Essential information for travelling to the USA


The currency of the USA is the US dollar, which is broken down into 100 cents.

As of March 2024, one British pound is currently worth 1.26 dollars.

Of course, costs can vary from state to state depending on where you’re visiting. But here’s a rough guide to what you can expect to spend in the USA, with prices in British pounds:

Inexpensive meal for one – £8.00-£15.00

Bottle of water – £1.50-£2.00

0.5 litre beer – £4.00-£6.00

Mid-range restaurant meal for one – £20.00-£35.00

Cappuccino – £3.00-£5.00

Local bus ticket – £1.50-£2.50

For up-to-date rates and more information on the US dollar, check out our dedicated pounds to dollar guide.

Buy US dollars with a Travel Money

Buy US dollars with a Travel Money

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It’s worth noting that tipping waiters and other service workers such as taxi drivers and hotel porters is expected in the USA—it’s not a requirement, but not leaving a fair amount as a tip can be seen as rude or even as an insult.

As a rule of thumb, you should pay 15-20% on top of your dining bill as a tip for good service. When paying for drinks at a bar, leave an extra dollar or two for the bartender.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to keep some small bills and cash with you while travelling around the USA. Luckily, we make it super easy to buy US dollars.

Travelling around the USA

By bus and train

Although distances are long between the cities of the US, there’s a comprehensive bus system in place, with the Greyhound bus being the most well-known. Trains are less well spread across the US and are often more expensive than both bus and plane journeys – but they do provide some great views! Check out Amtrak for more information.

By plane

To save time, domestic flights across the country are a great way to get around. You’ll need to book in advance to get a good deal, but a quick and easy flight will certainly save you a few hours on a bus or train.

Within cities

Most cities have an excellent and well-established public transport system, with plenty of buses, trams and subway systems. The notable exception here is LA, where public transport is somewhat lacking and most visitors find it easier to hire a car to get around.

Planning for your trip

It’s not just the fast food that’s supersized in the US — the country itself is a massive 9.834 million sq km. The climate varies greatly across the country, so if you’re travelling from place to place you’ll want to pack appropriate clothing and footwear for different seasons and activities.

Other factors to consider in planning your trip to the US include:

  • Accommodation and transportation—Research and book in advance, especially if you’re visiting popular tourist destinations.
  • Budgeting—Familiarise yourself with the currency exchange rates and tipping customs in the US and factor this into your budget along with expenses such as accommodation and transportation, food, activities, and souvenirs.
  • Communication—Consider purchasing a local SIM card or an international data plan so you can stay connected during your trip.

Entry requirements

Make sure to check the entry requirements for the USA, including visa requirements and any necessary travel authorisations. To travel from the UK to the USA, you will need to apply for a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) before your trip.

You should also ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your intended stay in the US.