A roadtrip through the USA was something that has been on our bucket list for a long time. We were therefore very happy when this dream came true. However, the planning was difficult because there is so much to see in this country. Just think of all the national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Park or famous cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Quite an assignment to plan all this within two months. But we did it. Are you curious how our planning looked like? You can find our experiences below. For example, we may be able to help you plan a trip to the USA. It is worth visiting in your lifetime, despite some of the quirks the country has.
BEST TRAVEL TIME USA
You can visit America all year round. Each season has its own character and the weather conditions in each state are different. Between March and June you have good weather almost everywhere and you have to pay less for tickets. Before you go, examine when spring break (the beginning of the holiday for students) takes place. This is the most important holiday period in America and therefore prices are rising almost everywhere.
The price of flight tickets to America can vary from time to time and from destination to destination. For example, you pay between 200 and 300 euros for a single flight to New York or Los Angeles from Amsterdam. Of course there are sometimes discounts available to these destinations so keep an eye on this. Domestic flights in America are usually not that expensive. For example, for a flight from New York to Miami you only pay 80 euros (without luggage). Are you currently looking to score cheap tickets? Check out our tips to find cheap flight tickets.
In the USA you have many options to find a place to stay. The cheapest way is to rent an Airbnb. Through this website you can find a good room in an excellent location for about 30 euros per night. If you want a little more comfort, you can also book a hotel room. The prices are usually higher. In a city like New York, for example, you pay an average of 150 euros per night for a decent hotel. Of course there are also cheaper hotels, but these are often further from all sights and then you pay more transport costs. Hostels in large cities are also slightly more expensive due to their popularity. Of course you always have the opportunity to rent a camper and make a beautiful roadtrip. You pay an average of 100 euros per night for this.
In America you need a car for almost all trips. Because the distances between the various sights and cities are often far from each other. Renting a car is in most cases the cheapest and easiest solution. For a decent car you pay about 40 euros per day. Unfortunately, this is not the cheapest solution for young people under the age of 25 because you have to pay an extra 25 euros per day for a youth insurance policy. This increases the cost again.
A very cheap solution to reduce your transportation cost is using Uber and Lyft where you can get far in a city with 10 euros. And for longer distances you can use the Greyound buses. For example, here you pay 20 euros per ticket for a trip from San Diego to Los Angeles. Although renting a car in America is just a little bit easier. You have more freedom.
Unfortunately, you pay a high cost in America for healthy food. America is of course also the country of fast food. Do you go to a restaurant every day? Then this will be a significant amount of your budget, but that may be part of a trip in America. In our opinion, you should definitely taste the Dan’s Surf and Turf at BubbaGump. This is a combination of ribs with grilled shrimps. Delicious! If there is one dish that they can prepare better in America than anywhere else in the world, it is barbecue.
A cheaper alternative than going to a restaurant every day is doing your own shopping and cooking yourself. Although this is only possible if you stay in a house with a kitchen. Here, too, eating healthy is a lot more expensive than eating unhealthy food. You have large supermarkets such as Walmart and Target. But are you really looking for tasty, fresh and healthy food? Then you should definitely go to Whole Foods. A store that is a lot more expensive but completely organic.
WHAT TO DO IN AMERICA?
We must not tell you that America is a well-developed country. It is therefore not surprising that you can find free WiFi in many places. Only if you really want to have internet everywhere, for example to order an Uber on the streets, you will have to buy a new SIM card. Do not buy it at the airport. We suggest to buy it at one of the shops in the cities. You easily pay double the prices in the airports. Preferably take a prepaid card with which you can use the internet for free for a month. You can also charge these cards in gas stations. If you search well you should be settled for 40 euros.
If you are traveling to America for a period of less than 3 months, you must apply for an Esta online. This is a kind of visa with which you can enter the country as a tourist. Are you going to America for a longer period of time? Then you will have to contact the American embassy in your country. Pay attention! Not everyone just gets this ESTA. Whether or not you get one depends on several factors. You do not need any other special documents because your driving license from home is also valid in the USA. You do not have to buy an extra document for abroad! Even though some websites dare to claim this.
No vaccine in the United States is obligated. Only Rabies is still recommended. Although you can still get this vaccine after you have been bitten by an animal. You can find this vaccine in almost every hospital in America. What you do have to prepare for America is your travel insurance. Because without this insurance, a hospital visit can become very expensive. Some hospitals don’t even help you before they see your insurance papers. For up-to-date information, please check here.
Tips in America are obligated in some states. The employees of the catering industry often live from these tips. About 10, 15 or 20 percent will be added depending on how well you liked the food and service. Most of the times you decide the tip. But if you sit at a table with more than 6 people, the service is often automatically settled! So check your bill carefully. You are also expected to tip a taxi driver, guide and the maid. How much can you decide yourself.
In the USA you can pay almost anywhere with Mastercard or Visa. You often don’t even have to enter a code. Pay attention to this and make sure that you always see your card when paying for example at restaurants. We were once scammed by a waiter who took our creditcard with her because the payment device was allegedly broken. In addition, it is also recommended to always have some cash in your pocket. You can easily collect this at one of the ATM’s. Here you can also withdraw money with a normal bank card if you have activated the foreign option of this card. It is therefore not necessary to exchange money before departure to the USA.
America is a very safe country compared to some other countries. However, you should be aware that crime is also present here. Especially in large cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York you can get thefts. That is why it is always good to keep all your important documents and belongings in different places. In addition, it is also good to know that guns are not prohibited in every state. You hopefully never have to deal with that, but keep it in mind. It is not recommended to walk alone in big cities at night. Don’t do anything what you don’t do at home.