Welsh Government
Export Hub
Create account

For further support or business advice
Call 03000 6 03000 or contact us

Find your next export market

flag United States United States: In the country

In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications

 

Accommodation

Luxury Hotels
Five star hotels
Hotelrooms
Hotels and Motels
First Class Hotels: the higher option
Budget Hotels: the standard option
Pension Bed & Breakfast: the economical option

All Hotels

USA Bed and Breakfast

Budget Hotels

Low Cost Hotels
Hostels and youth hostels
Hostels
Hotel Rules
Most hotels in the USA are not priced "per person", but are priced by the room. A double room usually costs only a few dollars more than a single room and four people in one room will cost little more than two people. This means great bargains for two or more people traveling together and willing to share a room.
For Further Information
Travelling in the United States of America
Lonely Planet - U.S.
 

Price Indications

Economy Room Less than 50 USD
Medium Price Room 50-80 USD
Good Quality Room Above 100 USD

Source: Lonely Planet

Return to top

Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
 
  • Fast Food
Fast food restaurants serving all sorts of delicacies from American style hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken to Italian pizza, Mexican tacos, Greek Gyros and Chinese egg rolls. Fast food restaurants are mostly inexpensive.
  • US Cooking
Fried chicken, meatloaf, baked potato, corn, baked beans and apple pie would be considered traditional American dishes.
  • Regional Cooking
New England cooking was heavily influenced by the cuisine of the original English settlers. Southern cooking has African influences. New Orleans area is a mix of Spanish, French and African styles. Finally, California cooking is known for combinations with Asian, Mexican and Spanish flavorings.
  • Ethnic Foods
In most cities, you will find food from Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa, South America, Asia and numerous other cultures.
Rules For Eating Out
Lunch is usually served between 11 am and 1 pm and dinner 5 pm to 10 pm. Do not forget to tip your waiter or waitress (20 % at a "sit-down" restaurant). Service is almost never included in the price of the meal. Sometimes, if you eat with a group of people over a certain number, the restaurant will add a service charge to your bill, which means you do not have to leave a tip.
 

Price Indications

Economy Meal from 5 to 12 USD
Medium Price Meal From 12 to 25 USD
Good Quality Meal > 25 USD
 
Food Specialties
American culinary specialities vary considerably by region. Some popular examples include:

Appetisers: crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, crab soup and Waldorf salad.
Main courses: chili con carne, burgers, chicken or shrimp gumbo, jambalaya and country ham.
Alcohol and cocktails: bourbon, eggnog and mint julep.
Baked goods: corn bread and peanut brittle.
Desserts: president's cake, red velvet cake and King cake.

Drinks
Soft drinks like Coca Cola, Fanta, etc. are the most commonly consumed beverages.

The legal drinking age is 21 years old. American beers, such as Budweiser and Coors, are popular with younger adults. High quality wines, beer and spirits (especially bourbon) can be found in the United States. Imported international alcoholic beverages can be easily found.

Dietary Restrictions
None

Return to top

Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Private and public transport is readily available in American cities. Public transport includes rail and bus services (present most of the time in all the cities); private transport includes taxi cab or limousine services.
Maps of Urban Networks
New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority. (MTA)
Los Angeles Metro
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
Urban Transport Agencies
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

New York City Transit
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Find an Itinerary
San Francisco Bay Area Transit Information
Ferrocarta
Taxi Companies
Call Taxi USA
 

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Los Angeles Intl (LAX) 24 km / 15 miles USD 30 / 30-35 min USD 3 / 30-45 min Available Available
Chicago O'Hare (ORD) 9 km / 5 miles 10 min Available Available Available
New York - Kennedy Intl (JFK) 21 km / 13 miles USD 45 / 40-60 min Available USD 5 /1 0-15 min Available
 

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The railroad network is good, but the rail networks are less dense and trains for passengers are slower and less frequent than in Europe. The network of intercity buses is denser and tends to be cheaper. Domestic airlines networks are extensive and frequently used for travel over long distances.
Rail Companies
Amtrak
 

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
American Airlines Major Yes Yes
United Airlines Major Yes Yes
Continental Major Yes Yes
Delta Major Yes No
Jet Blue Low Cost Yes No
Southwest Airlines Low Cost Yes No

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 
 
 

Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
While the laws/regulations are typically common across states, it is still important to remember that each of the 50 states has its own set of traffic laws and regulations. Many Europeans may consider driving in the United States to be cheaper, due to the comparatively low price of petrol.
Driver's License
An international driver's license must be obtained from your home country. This permit only verifies that you hold a valid license in your home country. It is your foreign driver's license that allows you to drive in the United States.
If you are a visitor to the United States and over 18, and have a valid driver's license from your home country, you may drive as long as your home country license remains valid. However, if you take a job or become a resident of the US, you must get a driver's license within 10 days.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
You can usually rent a car and drive with a valid driver's license from your home country. An international license may be helpful in convincing the car rental agent that you really have a valid license when they cannot recognize or understand your license. Some rental agencies will not rent cars to anyone younger than 25 years. Other agencies will rent to young people but will charge a higher fee. Some agencies will not rent to anyone over 71 years old.

Car rental agencies always offer collision damage waiver insurance (CDW) and theft insurance at very high prices that can significantly increase the price of a car rental. You should not drive without insurance in the US but you can find another way to get your insurance for a cheaper price or check with your credit card issuer to see if it provides such coverage.

Rental Agencies
Advantage
Budget
Dollar
Fox Rent A Car
National
Tolls or Taxes
Highways tolls differ from one State to another. Please go to U.S Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration.
Road Maps
Map of the United States Map
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps
MapQuest
Live Search Maps
Traffic Conditions Online
National Traffic and Road Closure Information
Traffic online in real time
Parking Facilities
In the main cities, there is little free space. Parking lots and garages are found in most cities.
 

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
The minimum age for driving is 16 in most states but some states will not allow unrestricted driving until 18.
Side of the Road For Driving
Right
Speed Limits
  • 25–30 mph (40–50 km/h) on residential streets
  • 35–45 mph (55–70 km/h) on urban arterial roads
  • 50–65 mph (80–105 km/h) on major highways inside cities
  • 45–65 mph (70–105 km/h) on rural two-lane roads
  • 55–70 mph (90–110 km/h) on rural expressways
  • 65–75 mph (105–120 km/h) on rural Interstate highways

The speed limit in most states is now 65 miles per hour (about 110 km/hr) except where signs indicate slower speeds.

Safety Belts
Obligatory
Permitted Amount of Alcohol in the Blood
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed laws defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent.
National Roads Organizations
Federal Highways Administration
Department of Motor Vehicles

Return to top

Time and Time Difference

Current Local Time
It is %T:%M %A In New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia
It is %T:%M %A In Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas
It is %T:%M %A In Los Angeles, San Diego
Summer Time
From April to October.
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Return to top

Climate

 
Type of Climate
Temperatures and climate vary considerably across the United States. Below are some average temperatures in several U.S. Cities:

Chicago: -7°C in January, 20°C in June

San Francisco:12°C in January, 18°C in June

New York from 0°C in January, 22°C in June

For Further Information
U.S. Department of Commerce: Climate Analysis Branch National Weather Service Federal Emergency Management Agency - Disaster Information
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

 

Climate

Return to top

Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
The U.S. still uses the English Imperial units. It still has no definitive plan for the adoption of the International Metric System.
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degrees Fahrenheit (F).
 

Use our service Measurement converter.

 
Electricity
 
  • Voltage
110-120 volts
  • Frequency
60 Hertz
Type of Electric Socket
For the USA, these are the electric sockets that can be used: Type A & B (National Electrical Manufacturing Association) (North American 15 A/125 V ungrounded).
Type of Telephone Socket
RJ11, found in most homes and offices in North America for single line telephones. RJ14 and RJ25 also fairly common, using the same size connector as RJ11, but with two and three phone lines, respectively, connected.
DVD Zoning
Zone 1

Return to top

Paying

Domestic Currency
American Dollar
ISO Code
USD
To Obtain Domestic Currency
It is helpful to have some dollars with you upon arrival into the United States. If that is not possible, you can change foreign currency into USD at a bureau de change or withdraw USD directly from ATMs.
Possible Means of Payment
Credit cards can be utilised nearly everywhere. Traveller's cheques may be used; however, they are becoming less commonly accepted in retail locations and less popular.
 

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator

 

Return to top

Speaking

Official Language
There is not an official language at the national level; however, English is the official language of the majority of American states and the most commonly spoken language.
Other Languages Spoken
Spanish is the most commonly spoken language after English. While regionally concentrated in states such as Arizona, Texas, California, Florida and New Mexico, there are Spanish-speaking enclaves across the country. In communities with large immigrant populations, other languages are spoken, including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German, Polish or Greek. Moreover, there are many languages spoken by Native American populations (Navajo, Cree, Cherokee, etc.).
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
English as a Second Language (ESL) programmes offered by universities or private schools. Foreigners can take English classes at different levels and improve their writing and speaking skills. There are many online websites offering English courses (for example, visit the BBC or British Council).
Free Translation Tools
Cambridge Dictionaries : Online Dictionary
Linguee : Online Translation

Return to top

 

Emergency Numbers

Police, Medical and Fire 911
Non-emergency municipal service number 311

Return to top

Communications

Quality of Communications
The USA has one of the most developed network systems. Competition in the telecom market has become a race to be chosen by the customer to deliver bundled communication services, including voice, wireless, data, TV and cellular. In this infrastructure-based competition, Cable TV is in the lead.
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From the United States, Dial 011
To Make a Call to in the United States, Dial +1
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers
The number of digits of national telephone numbers is 10 (3 digits for the area code + the number).
See here the detailed list of US regional codes.
Mobile Telephone Standards
The U.S. mainly uses Analog, TDMA, CDMA and GSM 1900. It is important to note that each standard may have multiple frequencies. Phones that can support multiple GSM frequencies may be able to work in the US, but another option is to purchase a pre-paid card. 
National Mobile Phone Operators
AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, SBC, BellSouth, Sprint, Qwest
 

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
.us
National Internet Access Providers
Comcast, Earthline, Aol.
Access in Public Places
Accessible in a lot of places: Free wifi point access in different places in big cities.
Access in Hotels
Accessible in most hotels.

Return to top

Any comment about this content? Report it to us.

 

Learn more about Travel in the United States on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2022