From movies to sky scrappers, you probably think you know everything there is to know about the United-States. But what if the Hollywood sign lost some of its letters ? What if New-York City’s avenues were not that straight ? If you want to check this out, there’s only one solution : come to the USA and check it out yourself !
You probably won’t be able to shake the American clichés away in one short trip – Americans tend to perpetuate the myths. That’s why you’ll have to dig a little deeper and get to know some of the most interesting cities in the world, discover outstanding landscapes and meet a more than welcoming population.
Of course the United-States official language is english, but be prepared to hear many different accents (especially if you are used to hearing British, Australian or Indian english !).
Don’t worry, if you don’t speak perfect english, Americans are very tolerant and will probably even find you accent cute.
The official currency is the American Dollar (USD). It’s probably a good idea to have a currency converter on you phone to manage your expenses more easily. Almost all banks will be able to exchange your local currency for $$$ and you’ll find banks everywhere … they even have drive-thrus !
If you need cash, it’s even easier, on top of banks you’ll find ATMs (cash dispensers) in nearly every shop ! At the cash register in supermarkets you could even be asked if you want to withdraw money. So don’t worry about money managing in the USA, it’s easy.
And oh, you will without a doubt need a credit / debit card to rent a car or book a hotel room. Be sure to know if you have a credit or debit card, they will ask you when paying.
To go from a place to another, the best solution is having a car. Yep, it is not just in movies, Americans go everywhere by car. For instance, they have Drive-Thrus for EVERYTHING : banks, drugstores, groceries, liquor stores … and of course fast food. Gas is pretty affordable and there are no tolls, on large avenues you’ll see that driving is really easy (in cities on the other side .. it can be a little bit more complicated). If you’re staying less than 90 days, you’re home country driver’s licence will be enough, but if you stay longer be sure to get your International Driver’s Permit. When renting a car, better get insured (not included in the car rental).
Funfact : on highways and bypasses you’ll see “fastlines”. Most of them are one or two lanes on the left of the road for cars carrying at least 2 people. They were added to stimulate carpooling and are quite efficient if you want to get where you are heading faster ! Because, yes. You guessed it, most Americans are alone in their car !
If you were wondering what side the steering wheel is on, it’s on the left side and Americans drive on the right side of the road. And don’t forget distances are given in miles not kilometres (1km = 0,62 miles).
Don’t forget that in the USA, taxes are never included in the displayed price … You will pay an extra 9 to 15,5% of the displayed price in the hotel industry and an extra 2,9 to 7,5% for other industries. Taxes may vary from one state to another. And don’t forget about tips, they are almost always expected in the service industry.
About accommodations :
Getting something to eat :
Traveling around :
If you need to join / go to your embassy while in the United-States, go to this website for the address, phone number, email adresse and website : https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/united-states
For any on the spot emergency, call : – 911.
Here are the different booking plateformes for your activities :
USA’s tourist office :
National Parks :
Rent a car :
To find out about fellow traveler’s best American experiences and get inspired, go to :