About the U.S.
- Language: English
- Currency: U.S. Dollar ($)
- Exchange Rate: $1USD~ €0.91 / £0.79
- Time Zone: EST (GMT-5), CST (GMT-6), MST (GMT-7), PST, (GMT-8),
- High Season: Varies, generally June to August
- Visa Requirements: Most (except Canada) need either an ESTA or a Visa to enter the U.S.
- Electricity: 120v AC with 2-prong plug
- Emergency: 911 for police, ambulance and fire
- Transportation: Cars are the most convenient way to get around. Major cities like New York or Chicago also have convenient public transportation. For longer journeys, flying is best.
- Accommodations: International hotels and AirBNBs are popular.
On the Road– Jack Kerouac
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naiveté and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.
The Great Gatsby– F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterpiece and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel. Contemporary scholars emphasize the novel’s treatment of social class, inherited wealth compared to those who are self-made, race, environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream.
The House on Mango Street– Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes- sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros’ masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
Lonely Planet’s USA is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Catch a Broadway show in New York, marvel at the Grand Canyon, and drive the Pacific Coast Highway; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of the USA and begin your journey now!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas– Hunter S. Thompson
This cult classic of gonzo journalism is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.
For more book suggestions, see my list of Books to Read Before Visiting the United States.
Are you ready for The U.S.?
- Book Your Flights– To find the cheapest flights, flexibility is a must. Some great options are Google Flights for the calendars to find the cheapest options, Skiplagged, and Skyscanner. For more options, see our resources page. Remember, you may need to fly within the country as many popular locations are hours if not days of driving apart.
- Find Transportation- If you’re driving, look into Rentalcars.com before arriving to find the best rates. Amtrak train services are also available to/from some major cities.
- Book Your Accommodation– Look at Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Expedia for hotels in the U.S. You can also look at AirBnB or VRBO as we’ve had great luck finding inexpensive, large, and clean homes to rent.
- Book Tours and Experiences- Check Viator or Klook for some of the best tours and attractions for a great price for experiences like the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, or Yellowstone National Park.
- Stay Connected– If your phone’s data plan is going to be expensive, order an eSIM card before you go, or just head to any major store like Target, Walmart, etc. to find one in person.
- Buy Travel Insurance- I always recommend World Nomads for insurance. It’s better to protect yourself in case of mishaps. Learn more about World Nomads in this FAQ post.
- Pack Your Bags– Check out my packing lists, or my favorite travel gear to help you remember all of the essentials.
- Learn About the U.S.: Learn about the U.S. with guidebooks like Lonely Planet, or, novels and books about the country, or, shameless plug, search around my site for more info.