America – the land of opportunity. This great nation is a melting pot of different traditions, races and religions. The USA is made up of 50 states, but they’re more like countries and counties. Each one offers something different and exciting to explore.

Based on our research, we know that the USA is the number one choice for gap years and sabbaticals. Not surprising really, since this diverse country has literally something for everyone.

Our survey tells us that people flock to the States to embrace the worldly opportunities, to inspire themselves to find a new career path, or to take time out from education or work stress. Sound familiar? We spill the beans on everything you need to know about travelling in the USA.

Central Park New York USA

Where to go in the USA

Best for city life: New York City, New York

Best for culture: Southern states, including Texas and Louisiana

Best for the coast: California – we’d recommend San Diego, Los Angeles and Malibu

Best for scenery: The Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Colorado Mountains

The best things to do in the USA

  • See the Statue of Liberty and take a stroll in Central Park in New York
  • Join the party atmosphere at the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans
  • Visit a stadium for live basketball, American football or baseball
  • Discover a natural Wonder of the World at the Grand Canyon in Arizona
  • See the White House in Washington DC
  • Admire the geysers at Yellowstone National Park
  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and take in the views of San Francisco

Essentials: what you need to know

When is the best time to go the USA?

  • Southern states: The weather is comfortably warm in the spring
  • Pacific North West: The mountains are lush and green in the summer, with relaxed temperatures
  • North East: Go in autumn when the weather is cool and the leaves turn to beautiful colours. The busy tourist season is also over.
  • The Rocky Mountains: Visit in winter, when you can hit the slopes and go skiing or snowboarding

Visa: You will need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) before you travel.

Vaccines: no

Currency: US Dollar: $

  • Fun Fact: Slang for ‘dollar’ is ‘buck’ – “Hey, can I borrow five bucks?’

Time zones:

  • Mainland USA UTC -8:00 (West Coast) to UTC -4:00 (East Coast),
  • Alaska: UTC -9:00
  • Hawaii: UTC -10:00

Language: English

Tipping:

  • Food & drinks: 15%-20%
  • Taxis: 10%-20%
  • Salon services: 15%-20%

Slang

  • Pie: Pizza – “Want a pepperoni pie for dinner?”
  • Jonesing: Craving – “I’m really jonesing for a soda.”
  • Pants: Trousers – “I love your pants, where are they from?”
  • See ya: Goodbye – “I’ve got to go, see ya.”

Five dishes we love:

  • Texas BBQ – a traditional, slow-cooked style of preparing meat
  • Chicago Deep Dish – as the name suggests, a very deep and dense pizza
  • New York Bagels – a doughnut-shaped sandwich with a hole in the middle
  • In-N-Out Burger – One of America’s most popular fast-food options
  • New Orleans Jambalaya – a rice dish with chicken, shrimp and spicy andouille sausage

Sounds great, how do I get there?

Take a look at our great offers and deals for cheap flights to the USA.

 

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