United States Travel Guide | The best tips from the sea to the shining sea
What time zone is the United States in?
GMT -10 to -4
What currency do they use in the USA?
United States dollar
What language do we speak in the USA?
Mainly English and Spanish
What power adapters do you need for the United States?
Type A and B
What is the average flight time to the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii)?
8 to 11 hours
Culture and etiquette
Pay for things
One of the main things tourists get caught in America is sales tax. This varies from state to state, but it should be borne in mind that the price on the label is often not the total price you will pay. It can be an unpleasant shock at the checkout if you are not prepared for it. So it’s worth knowing in advance the sales tax in the state you’re visiting so you can factor it in as you navigate and avoid an annoying exchange at checkout.
Tipping is a common practice in the United States. Those who work in the service sector are paid a low wage in the hope that tips will make up for the shortfall. Most of the time 10% is the bare minimum, so where you can afford it and have received good service, a higher tip is always appreciated.
There is no federal ban on smoking in public in the United States (federal means at the country level rather than the state level), so smoking laws vary from state to state. other. 26 states currently ban smoking in closed public places, but there are a variety of exceptions, so if you’re unsure, this article is a good place to start.
In many ways, leasing a car in the United States is essential, as most places are designed around the use of a car. In big cities there are public transport networks like the metro, but once you get out of town a car can become a necessity.
If you rent a car, you can plan epic road trips like the famous Route 66. Exploring by car or RV is without a doubt one of the best ways to see all of America.
Top Tips for Driving in the United States
- Most freeways and freeways are free to use, but in some states there will be toll roads – these are roads you pay for and are generally faster than the alternate route.
- In the United States, you can turn right at a red light. You don’t have the right of way – but if it’s clear, you can turn. Treat it like a UK stop sign and check oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
- Engaging is not illegal in the United States – when driving on the interstate or on the freeway in particular, be sure to check all of your blind spots before changing lanes.
- The highway and highway junctions will not always be on your right – watch out for signs, the exit may not be on the side you expect.
- Americans love 4-lane stops (roundabouts haven’t taken everywhere yet!). At a 4-lane stop you must come to a complete stop, then traffic will continue depending on who is at the intersection first.
- If you are driving in snowy areas in winter, it is advisable to use snow chains – these are often available for an additional charge from car rental companies.
- When you refuel you often have to pay BEFORE you pump – this may be paid at the pump or you may have to go inside to clear the payment.
- Americans do not use flashing lights to indicate priority or to say thank you. If you flash your lights, it probably won’t be interpreted as you want it to.
Jabs, visas and other advice
UK passport holders must apply for an ESTA before traveling to the United States – you apply online and an application costs $ 14. There are a lot of companies that claim to do this for you, steer clear of them, the process is quick and easy to complete on your own. You will need your passport details, contact information, and details about where you will be staying in the United States.
For up-to-date advice on jabs, visas, and other foreign advice, we recommend that you follow the government website.
For all emergency services, call 911.
Airport transfers in the United States
Pre-book your USA airport transfers to popular destinations such as New York, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington and San Diego with prices starting under £ 20.00 with cancellations FREE up to 3 days before departure.
Car rental in the United States
Prebook your car hire in the USA, with prices starting from just £ 27.13 per day with FREE cancellations *
What are the current testing requirements for the United States?
We aim to keep this information up to date, but we advise you to always check the current entry requirements on gov.uk before traveling.
If you are looking for a recommended supplier, you can find and book it through our Covid Testing FAQ page.
UK Currently, unvaccinated travelers are not permitted to enter, except for exceptional reasons.
United States Test to get out (optional)
Children 10 years of age and older are required to provide the same tests as adults.
Children aged 5 to 9 need to take a pre-departure test and a day 2 test only.
UK Children under 2 are exempt.
United States Children under 18 have the same testing requirements as adults.
Are there any restrictions once you arrive?
Requirements vary from state to state and may include mandatory masks or vaccine passports. Some states require proof of vaccination or a negative test if you are from another state. Please check state level requirements.