United States travel essentials, including map of the USA, American holiday info, United States travel advice and articles on travel in the USA
As the third largest country in the world, it’s hard to find a more varied landscape than the United States of America. From the glaciers of Alaska to the deserts of Arizona, the sun-soaked beaches of California, Florida and Hawaii, to the majestic Rocky Mountains, travel in the USA is nothing short of spectacular.
If you’ve got a set of wheels, cruise across the country on the legendary Route 66 and stop off in Amarillo for a traditional steak. Try your hand at luck in the infamous casinos of Las Vegas, visit America’s history at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North Carolina, or witness the staggering views of the Grand Canyon.
See the geysers of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and brush shoulders with the stars in Los Angeles. Whatever your scene, you can find it in America – and plenty more besides…
Learn the lingo. American English may sound the same as our own language, but take note of the few differences – you don’t want to ask for jelly and end up with jam!
Be bear-aware. If you are staying in a national park, especially if you are camping, make sure you are fully clued-up on camping etiquette to avoid an extra tent-mate in the middle of the night: read a bear guide for the area, avoid perfumes and body sprays, don't eat food in your tent and keep all food and cooking equipment in a locked car away from tents.
Wanderlust web intern Holly Gurr on the one thing she wished she'd known on arrival:
"The tipping system. Although tipping in the USA is not compulsory per say, it is quite rigidly ingrained in social etiquette. Aside from leaving a little something for waiters in restaurants, it is conventional that a $1-2 donation should also be given to doormen, bellhops, cab drivers, coatroom attendants, grocery packers, bar tenders, travel guides, housekeepers, and the like."
Don't be caught out by the weather, says Katherine Price:
“Like many of the uninitiated, I had always thought of California as a hot, sunny state, and so dressed accordingly. That was until we got to San Francisco. When the fogs roll in from the sea, San Francisco can be absolutely freezing cold, windy and damp. Bring a good jacket.”
The best time to visit is entirely dependant on what you want to do. Summer is the brightest time in Northern areas, and the main holiday season stretches from May to August. Ski resorts pick up in the winter, and visiting the country in the spring or autumn periods can avoid the extremes of temperature.
For long distance travel across the country, there are thousands of domestic flights a day which, although potentially costly, are a quick way to get from A to B.
If you're travelling by public transport on the road there are several major bus companies providing cheap, efficient travel; Greyhound buses serve many of the larger towns and cities, and tickets can be booked in advance. The smaller Trailways company can be slightly cheaper and reaches to some remote places not covered by Greyhound.
Car rental is easily available and is a competitive market in the USA, but most companies won't rent to under 25s and none to under 21s.
There is a fairly extensive rail network but compared to other transportation this can be both costly and timely – one of the benefits however is it allows you to see the scenery in comfort.
Localised transport is generally efficient and reliable.
Hotels range from budget to top end prices – price is generally an indicator of quality. There are many hostels available throughout the Northeast, the Northwest, California and the Rocky Mountains, but very few in the Midwest. Most have gender-segregated dorms.
Most national forests and parks offer cabins or camping; campsites can vary from offering plenty to no facilities.
USA is known for its fast food, but you'll easily find options beyond burgers and fries. Food can vary radically between states, even if they are geographically close.
In multicultural areas such as New York City, there is a wide range of food to be found from many different cultures. Southern style cooking is popular in Texas, whilst Louisiana plays home to the Cajun style of food.
Fish and seafood is popular in the coastal mid-Atlantic area, whilst there is a strong Spanish/Mexican influence in the South West. Coffee is very popular, with chains stretched across the country – visit the dawn of mass market coffee at the very first Starbucks in Seattle.
These small towns in Mexico bring the traditional flavour you're looking for. They offer everything from colourful cathedrals and folk art, to cenotes and azure seas. And, yes, also some tequila... More
From Rio’s famous Sambadrome to Notting Hill Carnival on the streets of West London, these colourful and cacophonous street parties are guaranteed to shake off the cobwebs and get you dancing... More
Outlander is back in 2020 with season five, but where can you relive the show's Scottish magic for yourself? Follow in Claire and Jamie's time-travelling footsteps with these iconic filming locations... More
With it’s rolling green hills, honey-coloured villages and grasslands full of wild flowers and wildlife, the Cotswolds are the archetypal English landscape. These walks will help you make the most of it... More
The Mayor of London recently announced plans for the UK capital's first car-free day, which will take place on 22 September. Like the idea? These places are permanently car-free, and open to visitors... More
Life doesn’t end at 70 and nor should your travels. These amazing, life-affirming tours prove that there’s still adventure to be had, just with a few extra creature comforts... More
Calm your nerves by visiting one of these striking places around the planet, bathed in shades of turquoise, cyan, dark and bright blue... More
Whether navigating great rivers, winding round remote islands in search of endemic wildlife or crossing continents in the wake of great explorers, these adventure cruises are sure to float your boat... More
Tambor is a tiny, tranquil Central American town and wildlife haven, offering endless birding opps, access to blissful, crowd-free beaches, and local experiences you won't find in the guidebooks... More
The popular, UNESCO-listed city of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico’s central highlands has been named the 2019 American Capital of Culture. Photographer Graeme Green shares his reasons to go now... More
Full of artistic experiences, homespun businesses and creative cuisine, dynamic Austin is forward-thinking culturally, politically and demographically. Here's why you should visit... More
ATM has spent years painting the planet's most endangered birdlife in bright, unignorable murals over our towns and cities, all to make us pay attention. Discover some of his finest work here... More
From jostling floating markets in Thailand to islands made from reeds in Lake Titicaca, these incredible attractions are colourful, uplifting and gravity-defying … and guaranteed to float your boat... More
Adventures await in the wild windswept region of Patagonia. The intrepid explorer’s dilemma — which thrilling expedition should be tackled first? More
You can see bears - brown, black, grizzly and polar - in a number of different, and slightly unusual, ways. All are equally thrilling. Phoebe Smith shares the best ways to try bear watching for yourself... More
Sometimes overshadowed by its bigger sibling Dallas, Fort Worth deserves a brighter share of the spotlight. Its Western heritage, thriving cultural scene and true grit make it a classic Texan city... More
Longing to see grizzlies up close and personal, Phoebe Smith sets sail for Canada’s little-known Khutzeymateen Provincial Park to watch them (safely) by boat… More
Off-season doesn’t necessarily mean bad season. Sometimes, it's worth putting up with less-than-perfect weather for low prices, unbelievable wildlife encounters and incredible natural phenomena... More
From rugged coasts and wildlife-rich reserves, to waterfalls, river valleys and moorland, Devon is best explored by foot. With two national parks and a UNESCO-listed coastline, you're spoiled for choice... More
The Inca Trail and the ruin city of Machu Picchu is undoubtedly a travel icon. But where else can you discover ancient towns, city remnants and the fascinating histories of entire cultures in Peru? More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
From: £Contact usMore …
From: £1879.00More …
From: £3180.00More …
From: £1829.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!