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Ταξιδιωτικός οδηγός για τις ΗΠΑ- USA travel guide

Travel guide for the USA

Almost everyone dreams of visiting the USA at least once in their lives. We have grown up with countless scenes from movies, we have listened to the most famous music bands, we have seen the movie stars, and so much more. So, we want to experience all this glamour first hand, at least once in our lives, and not just through media hype. However, the United States is huge, and also pretty expensive. Therefore, we are writing this article to cite our experiences and knowledge in order to help you decide  which state to visit, as well as the costs of such a trip.

General Information

  • In order to enter the USA you need to apply for an ESTA. You will find information about how to apply here
  • The electricity current is 120V and the frequency is 60Hz. Plug types Α/Β.
  • The currency is the US dollar with an equivalency of 1 €=1,08  USD. In order to be updated on currency exchange visit the website: XE Currency Converter.
  • If you travel frequently it’s a good idea to get a surf roam sim for global internet with very low charge and use in over 200 countries, including the USA. For more information look here.
  • Religion: As it is a multicultural nation you will meet every kind of race and religion, and they are all acceptable.
  • The biggest cities based on their population are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Hiouston and Philadelphia.

Budget

As the USA is made up of 50 different states we obviously have a huge range of options as to where to stay. The options differ according to the needs of each person, their preferences and their budgets. In the categories of low & mid budget we can find the following prices on average.

EAST COAST28 €-110 €
MIDWEST23 €-83 €
NEW ENGLAND28 €-100 €
THE SOUTH23€-74€
TEXAS23€-92€
SOUTHWEST28€-92€
NORTHWEST28€-100€
CALIFORNIA28€-110€
HAWAII32€-120€
ALASKA28€-92€

As far as the high budget category goes flats or 3 star hotels can start from 180€ per night for a double room. However, they can even exceed 1000€ in a 5 star hotel in the center of Manhattan or in some beach resort in Hawaii.

Traditional Food

One cannot really say that the USA has traditional food. There is a fusion of many cuisines, borrowed from many different cultures, and rendering it impossible to point some dishes out as being traditional. For example, Chinese food is not so Chinese and Τex Mex is not so Mexican. Below you will find the dishes which are most popular in the USA:

Hamburger: A tasty, unhealthy American classic. It started in Connecticut and has received various changes, such as the Hawaiian hamburger with pineapple and teriyaki, and the peanut butter and jam version.

Hot dog: Directly linked to the baseball culture. The main ingredient is the sausage in the bread roll with various other accompaniments. 

Fried chicken: The main product of the South becoming more and more popular.

ΒΒQ: Probably the most American food that exists. Good quality steaks, marinated in sauce and lightly grilled. Well known brands are Texas BBQ, Kansas City, Carolina and Virginia.

Tex Mex: Texas and Mexico. Tex-Mex Cuisine mostly consists of shredded cheese, meat, beans, peppers and mainly tortillas. Less hot and spicy than the Mexican version and based on simple ingredients.

Donuts: Characteristic snacks which we have seen in many movies as well. A fried, round bun with various toppings such as sugar, chocolate, truffles, etc. There are also salty versions.    

Organic Food: Over the years, there has been a huge increase in organic food and a focus on health. Not only will you find organic products in every health food store and supermarket but in some there will also be ready organic take-away meals. Of course, a lot of restaurants cater to vegans and vegetarians and organic consumers.

Transportation

Bus: In every big city you will find a bus route that will take you anywhere. The most well known companies are Greyhound, BoltBus and MegaBus.

Train: The trains in America are not similar to the ones in Europe. They are limited and luxurious with expensive tickets. 

Car: A very good idea is to rent a car and take a road trip between cities, such as the popular Route 66.

Check for prices here.

Airplane:  Transportation between states by plane is the most common, as distances are huge. For example, the flight from Los Angeles to New York is, on average, 6 hours by plane and 42 hours by car.

What to Do

Mid-Atlantic

Delaware | Maryland | New Jersey | New York | Pennsylvania | Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.: The capital of the US, deriving its name from its first president and founder. You can visit The White House, Capitol, Obelisk and the historical Smithsonian institute. Also the monuments of the presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln are a few key points of interest whilst you are visiting Washington D.C..

White tower to Washington DC of the USA

Maryland: Known as the  «Miniature of America». Offers many entertaining activities, from amusement parks (Trimper’s Rides and Amusement Park, Six Flags), to beaches (Ocean City Beach), nature lovers (National Park Washington Monument) and snow lovers (Wisp Resort). 

New Jersey: You can visit sunny beaches like Atlantic City with the famous Boardwalk. Also you can visit the National Recreation Area and Delaware Water Gap, with the spectacular waterfalls. There are so many picturesque landscapes, the well known lighthouse Cape May, and many other interesting sights.

Philadelphia: The biggest city in the state of Pennsylvania, also known as “Philly”. It’s worth visiting the Bell of Freedom, which is in the Liberty Bell Center, and is considered a national heirloom. The movie Rocky Balboa was filmed there with the corresponding statue next to the Palace of Independence. For more information gathered from our trip to Philly look here.

Rocky Balboa Statue to philadelphia of the USA

New York:The Big Apple or the city that never sleeps. Roam around the skyscrapers, discover the many, different neighbourhoods with their various cultures, take a walk in Central Park and live the city’s dream. For more information gathered from our trip to New York look here.

New york city downtown
The South

Alabama | Arkansas | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Louisiana | Mississippi |  Carolina | Tennessee | Virginia | West Virginia

Arkansas: Directly linked to its mountains, lakes and rivers, this state offers many outdoor activities in nature.

Florida: The sunny city with Miami and Orlando, and Walt Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. 

Florida to the USA

Louisiana: Let yourself sway to the rhythms of the rich jazz cultureinNew Orleans, the city with the impressive nightlife and architecture.

Midwest

Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | North Dakota | Ohio | South Dakota | Wisconsin

Route 66: The most famous route of the US, for which many songs have been written. Measures a distance of 2,451 miles and passes through Chicago, Illinois down to Santa Monica in California. Crossing over 8 states, a must-do road trip through the US by car or by motorbike like Easy Rider.

The famous route 66 to the USA.

South Dakota: One of the most special attractions is the Rushmore mountain with the faces of the 4 presidents carved out on the edge of the cliff. You might be lucky enough to see flocks of buffalo and bison.

Illinois: Visit «the city of the winds», Chicago, famous for its modern art galleries, the high skyscrapers and its cutting-edge comedy.  

The Southwest

Arizona | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Texas

Arizona: There is a spectacular array of landscapes and areas of geological interest, the most famous being the Grand Canyon, the enormous, colourful gorge with over 1.5 kilometres depth.

New Mexico:You will be entranced by the yearly air balloon festival, with the Mexican air, the Sandia Mountains and the local, spicy specialities.

Oklahoma: With dozens of technical lagoons,national parks, casinos, museums, a wide choice of nightlife and restaurants, the urban areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa have a lot to offer.

The West

Alaska | Colorado | California | Hawaii | Idaho | Montana | Nevada | Oregon | Utah | Washington | Wyoming

Nevada:The city with the super shows, Las Vegas in the middle of Death Valley desert, with images we have all seen from movies and sayings like «whatever happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.

Welcome to Las Vegas at Nevada state.

Alaska : A few of the activities which this city has to offer are are the Northern Lights, admiring the whales, go fishing out in the open sea or live it up in the luxury cities of, δραστήριες πόλεις Anchorage and Fairbanks. 

Hawaii:  The tropical destination of the USA for water sports, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, exploring the volcano and diving on its beautiful reefs.

California: Enjoy surfing on its legendary waves, or cruise along Pacific Coast Highway in your car. Live the glamorous experience of Los Angeles and Hollywood.

New England

Connecticut | Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | Rhode Island | Vermont

The periphery of New England, has a more old fashioned aura than the other cities of the Atlantic. The well preserved buildings, the quaint lighthouses on the coastline and the traditional food are the reasons for visiting.

Go skiing in the White Mountains, taste barrel beer in Maine, take a  road trip to Cape Cod and eat as many lobster rolls as you can.

Packing Tips & and When to Go

Although you can visit the USA any time, be aware that climate changes from one state to another. So prepare your trip according to the zone you’re visiting. In most states winter lasts from December to April and summer lasts from June to September. The areas close to the northwest Pacific have better weather conditions, whereas in the Midwest, south and eastern coastline weather conditions are damper.

Autumn and Spring in the USA are sunny, with warm temperatures and occasional rainfall. From April until June the Midwest areas face serious hurricanes.

However, you have to keep in mind that the USA is characterised by diversity. You will come across extreme weather conditions, either too cold or too hot. For example, in Alaska the temperatures might reach -62 degrees celsius (!), whereas in Nevada in Death Valley the temperature may rise as far as 57 degrees celsius.

For this reason you must pack according to the area you are visiting. Always bringing along a compact umbrella, a hat for the sun and comfortable shoes as there is a lot to explore on foot.

PERSONAL FACT: We visited New York and Philadelphia in August and although it was quite hot there was a sudden rain pour. We hadn’t brought an umbrella so we had to buy one in New York for $18. Following that, we forgot our umbrella in the hotel and had to buy a second one in Philadelphia for another $18!

Useful Words

English is spoken everywhere. The spoken English differs in every state as in some states it’s American English and in other states it’s intermingled with various dialects, as for example in Canada. The second most spoken language is Spanish. In conclusion there will be no problem in communicating as everyone speaks fluent English. In the event you meet Spanish speakers we quote a few words so you may be able to exchange a few words.

YesSiGood morningBuenos dias
NoNoGoodnightBuenas noches
HiHola!I would likeQuisiera
How are you?Cόmo estasThank youGracias
My name isMe llamoPleaseNada

Useful Sites & Apps

Nowadays, before or during travelling we always have some useful websites and apps. They guide us towards the destinations we want according to our budgets. We have chosen certain websites and apps which have helped us a lot, or have been recommended a lot and have high grades. Apart from the really well known ones there are also a lot of lesser known ones which can assist you just as well. We offer you our proposals below:

Booking.com

With a plethora of choices, traveller grades, and a lot of offers for those who have booked many destinations, promo codes for you and your friends, discounts and many other advantages. Start booking to discover all the available options and offers. Check for available rooms and prices for cities all over the USA here.

Air Bnb

With over one million properties all around the world, and always increasing. Ideal for a low budget stay even in expensive areas. Furthermore, because you stay in people’s villas, houses or flats you are made to feel more at home by the host of each destination and the homely surroundings. For available rooms check here.

Hotels.com

Registering here is free and easy. Every hotel on this platform will grant a free tenth night, so if you stay for ten nights the tenth night is free. 

Trip Advisor

This is a very well known website for travellers with a lot of information. It is the largest travelling platform in the world where you can view thousands of reviews, opinions and recommendations as to where and how to travel, even for the most demanding traveller. Look, compare and then visit.

Omio.com

Whatever you need is a click away. Find the best offers from the best companies for trains, buses, planes and ships. Travel to Canada, the USA and Europe. We use it often when we are already abroad and want to visit a neighbouring country. Check availale routes here.

Kiwi.com

The first website which every traveller always checks with. Direct, fast pricing and comparing of air tickets throughout the world. We love the filter “Towards any destination” which presents to us, in order of pricing, all the flights available to our chosen destination. The best solution for a last minute trip. Check flights and prices around the USA here.

GetYourGuide

A site which all adventurous travellers love as well as those who wish to visit museums and concerts. All the available activities and tours around the world gathered in a concise list. Read the reviews from each traveller well before booking your activities in order to avoid any misunderstandings with the organisers of each activity as to the days and times. We have tried it many times in America, Asia and Africa without any problems.

Discover Cars

For car rentals at the lowest prices. Car service in over 150 countries, with many offers and support in over 12 languages and with any special requirements.

Hotel Tonight

Here you will find last minute discounts on vacancies from hotels. This is an amazingly simple app and it doesn’t take long to book a room. You may search in each town for sights and maps. Furthermore, you can check the reviews and photos of other travellers in order to be sure about the trustworthiness of each hotel. It also has a 24/7 customer service. If you’re stuck somewhere and you need a room desperately, this is the perfect app for you.

City Maps 2Go

Maps for travelling, hiking, mountain cycling and many other activities. A necessary app for every adventure, activity or touring abroad. You may only download one map per country, whereas it was possible to download two in the past. For an additional map you need to pay.

You can mark all the places of interest on the map you have downloaded. Whether they are sights, shops, or restaurants you can use the directions guide to get there. The great advantage to this app is that you don’t need to have internet connection although it might get stuck a few times. Nevertheless, it is quite a reliable and useful app.

EXTRA TIP

Once you have marked all the places you want to visit prior to your trip, you can also book your accommodation accordingly. This way you can be sure you’ll be staying somewhere close to all places of interest.

iVisa.com

More information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.

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