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Golden gate bridge in San Franscisco, California, United States

USA Travel Guide

From the bustling streets of New York City to the sunny beaches of California, the USA offers a myriad of travel experiences. Explore the awe-inspiring natural wonders of the Grand Canyon, witness the dazzling lights of Las Vegas, or take a road trip along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Washington, D.C., or indulge in the vibrant music and food scene of New Orleans. With its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and countless attractions, the USA promises an unforgettable travel adventure.

Travelling in the USA is an opportunity to discover the unique cultures and traditions that shape this diverse nation. Experience the charm of the southern states, sample mouthwatering barbecue in Texas, or witness the spectacular fall foliage in New England. Take a journey through time in historic Boston or explore the stunning national parks of Yosemite and Yellowstone. From the glamour of Hollywood to the natural wonders of Alaska, the USA offers something for every traveller. Embark on a journey of discovery and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of the United States.

Key Facts

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  • Depending on your point of view, the USA is one of, if not the, most important country in the world, and as such, you should see it!
  • It’s enormous – roughly 4800km coast-to-coast east to west, and 2400km north to south. Even if you are not a fan of America or Americans, you will find lots to enjoy there.
  • It is a great travelling destination, extremely easy to travel around and very friendly. Americans are very welcoming in their own country.
  • It’s excellent value for money, but it is not cheap. You might spend more than you plan to in America because there is so much to see, do… and buy!
  • It’s excellent value for money, but it is not cheap. You might spend more than you plan to in America because there is so much to see, do… and buy!
  • They speak English and you will have no communication problems.
  • If you are going to Australia, a great way to get there is via America.
  • You can work there for the summer if you are a student and then travel around.
  • The weather is usually great in the summer, but watch out, in the winter the north freezes.

The capital city is Washington D.C. which is actually neither in a state nor a capital; it is a district!  This is so that no state can lay claim to being the home of the capital. The city is where the Congress (Parliament) sits, but is not the commercial centre of the country.  See the White House (famously smaller than it looks on TV!), or the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial – you will truly experience the political heart of America in Washington D.C.

  • New York City, otherwise known as the big Apple or ‘The City that Never Sleeps’. You could spend an entire year in New York and never run out of things to do. It’s no wonder that people have been migrating to the city for centuries making it one of the biggest mixtures of cultures in the world.
  • The Statue of Liberty: The iconic image that greeted thousands of immigrants when they first entered America to start their new life.  Still an impressive figure dominating the city it can be reached by a regular ferry.  If you want to look inside and climb up for a city-wide view you will have to book well in advance.
  • The Rockefeller Centre is the best place to go for views of Manhattan.  From the top you can see the city stretch out before you, across to spectacular views of Central Park.
  • Central Park itself is an iconic location in New York and the city wouldn’t be the same without it.  An impressively large stretch of green in the centre of the urban sprawl, a stroll through Central Park could lead you anywhere: Just take your time, enjoy a break from the city pace and you will probably end up chatting to a friendly local.  There is a zoo, ice skating, fountains and so much more on offer within the park, you can easily while away a whole day here. 
  • Fifth Avenue is the shopping district in New York - and one of the premier shopping districts in the world.  Pick up a bargain or indulge in designer labels if your budget allows.  This is where to head if you want to do some serious damage to your wallet!
  • Times Square is best seen at night with its flashing lights and dazzling colours.  When the lights of Broadway glisten you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped right into one of your favourite movies.
  • The Empire State Building, yet another icon of modern America, is worth a visit and making the effort to go all the way to the top.  Visiting at night is best, so that you can see New York sparkling away beneath you… it truly is the city that never sleeps.
  • ee the New York Yankees play a game.  Sport in America is unlike anything else; a spectacle of celebrity appearances and bright lights.  If you’re on a tight budget try seeing a college game - you will see real pride in their sport, with passions running wild on the pitch.
  • ee the New York Yankees play a game.  Sport in America is unlike anything else; a spectacle of celebrity appearances and bright lights.  If you’re on a tight budget try seeing a college game - you will see real pride in their sport, with passions running wild on the pitch.
  • See the White House, the home of every President of the United States since 1800. 
  • The National Mall has several memorials that stand testament to the great history of the United States of America.  The Lincoln Memorial is home to a giant statue of Abraham Lincoln, in honour of the 16th President.  It is from here that Martin Luther King gave his iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech.  In front of the memorial is the reflective pool which has been used in may films, although unlike Forrest Gump, you shouldn’t wade out into the water! Around the pool are the Korean War Memorial and the World War II memorial - moving reminders of some of the losses America has endured in conflict. 
  • Los Angeles – beaches, bars, shops and of course Hollywood! 
  • Have fun night and day in Las Vegas, see the famous strip, take a gondola ride in a mock Venetian canal, or have a flutter in the casinos!  
  • San Francisco – take a cruise around Alcatraz and walk along the mighty Golden Gate Bridge. 
  • Explore the awesome beauty of the Grand Canyon.  An incredible site of natural beauty, ‘awe-inspiring’ doesn’t begin to do it justice.  America’s cities dazzle you with sky scrapers and urban living on an epic scale, but the Grand Canyon’s natural scale dwarves them all.  Taking a walk through the Grand Canyon is a challenging but incredible experience and one that won’t easily be forgotten. 
  • Hire a car and do a road trip! 
  • Yosemite National Park and Zion National Park – Beautiful 
  • Welcome to the Wild Wild West.  Fancy yourself as Clint Eastwood, Henry Ford or John Wayne?  Then make sure on your American trip you don’t miss the stunning views in Monument Valley.  It’s like being in a real life Western but without the danger!  Or visit The Valley of The Gods which you’ll soon discover lives up to its name. 
  • Mount Rushmore is perhaps the greatest tribute paid to any of America’s historical figures: Four Presidents have their faces carved into the Mountain for all to see, in honour of their service to the country.  Visit it and debate who could be the fifth man, or the first woman, to join them there.

America is the home to the fast-food nation and the origin of some of the most famous chains and brands in the world.  However, beyond the big names, such as McDonalds, KFC etc. there are the little diners that started it all and it is worth visiting at least one to have your slice of Americana with a splash of syrup, bacon and pancakes.   For the best burger in New York go to a Shake Shack, a small chain which do burgers of high quality for non-extortionate prices.   A wide range of Italian food is also available in New York as is Asian food and also seafood and cheeses.  With such a blend of cultures making up the fabric of New York it is unsurprising that there are such a range of different dining options.
Pinning down ‘American Cuisine’ is a tough task as each state has their own specialities, but common foods are steaks, burgers, pizzas, cheesecakes, milkshakes and pancakes; and that’s just scraping the surface.  Areas of the Deep South will serve you ‘grits’, a corn based porridge which can be an acquired taste!  You might also be served jambalaya, a Creole rice dish with meat and seafood, typical to the region.  Where ever you go you are sure to get large super-sized American portions which come with a big smile.  Remember to tip because in America the majority of waiting staff make most of their income through tips!

Have we mentioned that the United States is a vast country? The weather is different in every part of the United States and to give a general weather overview is virtually impossible.  There are dramatic regional variations and it can also vary widely with the seasons.

Generally the summer is hot everywhere. The winter is very cold in the north and midwest regions, and warm in the southern states. The winter sees lots of snowfall in the north and rainfall in the east is significant throughout the year. In the northwest the rainfall can be heavy year-round.

In New York City the summers are very hot, the autumns bright and beautiful, the winters very cold and the springs short and warm. In Los Angeles it’s cool in the winter, warm in the spring and autumn, and very hot in the summer.

In the south, the summers are hot and humid, and the winters are quite warm, but can have lots of rain. In the southwest, the summers are dry and hot and the winters dry and warm.

The best option is to visit the BBC’s weather page ( and to check your destination individually by state or city.


Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up to date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company


Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travel.

The first language is English albeit with a few Americanisms thrown in: trousers are pants, rubbers are erasers, lifts are elevators etc. but most of these minor differences you will already be familiar with from films and TV. 

The US has a different electrical system from the UK. They use a two and three pin small plug with flat sides, and the current is 110 volts. This means that with UK appliances, you will need an adapter plug and possibly a transformer for UK appliances which have a higher voltage.

Much of American culture is very similar to British culture; just bigger, brighter and friendlier.  It is worth noting that drinking is illegal under 21 and this can be quite strictly punished.  Parts of America, particularly in the South, are very religious and conservative but if you respect everyone’s views you will find the American people are some of the happiest you’ve ever met - they are always ready to tell you to ‘have a nice day!’ 


There are no major health issues with travelling to America, just check our general guide to health when travelling.


No specific warnings, but it is advisable to check the FCDO website for any warnings before travel.

As with any major country, many American cities have some areas to be avoided and some incidences of crime.  Using your common sense and keeping to well-trodden routes should help eliminate risks.

Please read our general guide to safety when travelling.

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