Skip navigation

Travelling to the USA – what you need to know

Statue of liberty

Essential information for your trip to the USA.

If you can’t do it in America, where can you? This place is the land of dreams, a collection of world-famous cities, vast countryside and snow-capped mountain ranges. 

You could spend a lifetime exploring this exciting land. Whether you plan on catching some waves in California, or cruising off the coast of Florida, the list of things to do is endless.

Some information before you travel

 Travel insurance
Travel insurance is essential for any trip to America. All medical care is private.

If you need treatment while in the States it could end up costing a small fortune, which is why travel insurance for the States is usually more expensive than other worldwide travel insurance.
Get a travel insurance quote  

Currency 
US Dollars

Money info 
Credit/debit cards are the most popular methods of payments in the US. Most restaurants/hotels will accept these.

ATMs
are widely located in all major towns and cities.

It is a good idea to carry some cash on you if you plan on driving, as most toll booths don't accept cards.

Tipping
in the US is common. In restaurants and bars, tips are usually calculated as a percentage of the bill.

Anyone that offers a service will be expecting a tip, e.g. taxis, airport porters, bell boys and valet.

Official language 


English

Biggest state by population
California
 

Time difference


There are nine time zones in the USA ranging from GMT -10 in Hawaii to GMT -4 in the east.

Visa requirements
UK citizens can visit the US without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. You must complete a form before entry, using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). You're required to have a valid passport for the duration of your intended stay.

Vaccinations
It's unlikely that you will need any new vaccinations if your're going to the States.

It's best to check with a GP before you travel, they can advise of what treatments you may need and check your routine vaccinations are up to date.

Driving in the US 
Driving is a big part of trips to the US, with many visitors opting for fly-drive holidays, giving you the freedom to discover the open road.

If you plan to drive in the US you'll need the following:

- Full valid driving licence
International Driving Permit (IDP)

If you plan on driving a car, you're required to be over 21, but some companies may require a minimum age of 25.
British embassy/consulate
British embassies/consulates can be found in many major cities across the US.

Climate
Because of the vast size of the US, climates range from temperate, tropical and subarctic.

Some parts of the US are prone to extreme weather and natural disasters. Check the weather conditions of your destination and follow suitable advice before you leave.

Main attractions
Each state offers something spectacular for visitors, including:

Statue of Liberty - New York
Las Vegas - Nevada
Hollywood - California
Disneyworld - Florida
The Grand Canyon - Arizona 

National Dish
When thinking of American food, hamburgers and hot dogs spring to mind. Along with supersized portions!

The style of cuisine here is influenced by many immigrants who've settled here over the years.

Popular foods include:
New York-style pizza, Maine lobster, pancakes with maple syrup, and Philly steak sandwich. 


Other things to consider


The legal drinking age is 21 in the US. You will be asked for ID on the purchase of alcohol. Each state has its own rules on alcohol consumption.

 Local information site  
discoveramerica.com


Ready to uncover the USA?

Make sure you get a great deal on your travel insurance. Compare prices now!

Get a travel insurance quote


Travel insurance

Find the right travel insurance for a city break, your summer holiday or even a global adventure.

Travel insurance

Like this? Share it



Do you have a travel related question?

See all travel related questions
Travel insurance FAQ