With its bright lights and big cities, the United States of America is home to some of the world’s most recognisable sights.

From the red sands of the desert to the sun-kissed beaches of the West Coast, the mountainous peaks of the Rockies to the flashing neon lights of Memphis, the USA is a melting pot of geographical and pop culture wonders. If your interests lie in active adventures, musical odysseys or foodie delights (such as indulging in the best fried chicken in the world), the USA pulls out all the stops.

United States travel highlights

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United States holiday information

United States facts

Local culture of United States

Geography & environment

Shopping guide to United States

United States festival calendar

Food & drink in United States

Further reading

United States travel FAQs

Entry requirements for the USA have changed in recent years, so please read these instructions carefully.

 

Many countries now operate under a visa waiver arrangement (meaning you don’t need a visa) however you still need to obtain an electronic authorisation which confirms you’ve been approved to travel. This must be obtained in advance. You can get one from the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

All ESTA applicants require a US$14.00 fee, which you can pay online. You should apply for your visa waiver authorisation at least one week prior to travel. You’ll need your passport details and your address while in the United States (just use the address of your starting hotel).

Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can travel within America for less than 90 days without a visa, if they meet certain requirements. 

Tipping is a big part of service culture in America. You’ll be expected to tip in restaurants, cafes and diners, as well as taxi drivers, valet attendants, porters and hotel maids. People in these industries generally earn minimum wage, and therefore rely on tips as a major source of income. In general, 15% is appropriate in restaurants, $1 or $2 to bartenders and a few dollars for hotel staff. 

Internet access is excellent in the US, with all towns and cities having great connections and plenty of Internet cafes. Wi-fi is common. 

Overall, mobile phone access is excellent throughout the country, but it may be patchy in the more remote areas like National Parks and canyons. Ensure global roaming is activated on your phone before you arrive, but please be aware that this may incur extra data charges. 

Flush toilets are standard in all American restaurants, hotels and cafes. 

  • Cup of coffee = US$1.50-2
  • Hotdog from street cart = US$2-3
  • Newspaper = US$0.50-$2
  • Cinema admission = US$10-12

Drinking from taps in the US is considered safe, unless there are warnings saying otherwise. For environmental reasons, please consider a refillable bottle or canteen as opposed to a disposable water bottle. 

Most US stores accept major credit cards, but it’s always worth carrying around plenty of low denomination cash, in case cards aren’t accepted or if you need to tip someone. 

ATMs are common in America, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one in the major towns or cities.

Yes. All Peregrine passengers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip. Your insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day. 

For a current list of public holidays in [country] go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/[country]/public-holidays