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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA            North America Enquiry Form

From the bustling east-coast cities, through the deserts of the mid-west to the west coast with its mega-cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles; the swamps of Florida, the snow capped peaks of the Rockies and the glory of fall in Vermont, the United States is truly a vast and exciting land.

Needing no introduction, the most famous gateway to the United States is the ‘Big Apple’, New York. Founded in 1792 and situated on the Hudson River, New York is the ‘unofficial capital’ of the United States. Her most famous landmarks, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, are well known worldwide. 

United States holiday

Manhattan, Broadway, Times Square; theatres, museums, art galleries, landscaped parks, world famous shops are all at home here. The dynamic and vibrant cosmopolitan feel of New York is the result of centuries of migration from all corners of the world. No language, cuisine or culture is a stranger to the Big Apple, which is truly representative of that other famous landmark, the United Nations Building.

United States holiday

GOOD TO KNOW    Back to top

Time: The USA is divided into six time zones. Eastern Standard Time is GMT -5, and Pacific Standard Time is GMT -8, Alaska is GMT -9, and Hawaii GMT -10. Other than Indiana, Arizona and Hawaii, all states observe daylight saving time in summer.

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the two, flat-pin type, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter, which can be purchased in most major departure airports.

Money: The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.


Currency Exchange Rates

USD 1.00 =

USD 1.00

GBP 0.54

CAD 1.13

AUD 1.33

ZAR 7.13

EUR 0.78

NZD 1.63

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only. Please go to our Currency Converter for the latest rates.


Language: English is the official language.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK passport holders require a valid passport for travel to the USA. Under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), most British citizens do not require a visa for holiday, transit or business purposes providing their passports are machine-readable, the stay does not exceed 90 days and a return or onward ticket is held. Note: Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Protected Person, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do require a visa.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians do not require a visa, only a valid passport, or a Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate if arriving directly from Canada. Visitors should hold tickets and documents required for return or onward destination.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program. Passports must be valid at date of entry. A return or onward ticket is required if travelling by sea or air. If the onward ticket terminates in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands, travellers must be legal permanent residents of those countries. From 26 October 2004, nationals must hold a machine-readable passport (MRP) to qualify for the Visa Waiver programme.

United States holiday
United States holiday

Passport/Visa Note: Visitors entering the country under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) must have a machine-readable passport (MRP) that has a bar code on the photo page. From 26 October 2006 eligible travellers under the VWP must include biometrics in their machine-readable passports if they wish to enter the country without a visa, containing unique personal data such as fingerprints or iris details. All new passports issued on or after 26 October 2005 must contain a digital photo image in order to travel visa-free. Due to new security measures, all visitors to the USA will have a photograph and two fingerprints taken by an inkless scanner on arrival, including those travelling visa-free under the Visa Waiver Programme.

Health: There are no specific health risks associated with travel within the USA. Medical facilities are excellent, but expensive. Only emergencies are treated without prior payment and treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds. Good medical insurance is essential.

Tipping: A 15% tip is expected by taxi drivers, bartenders, hairdressers and waiters, but don't tip in fast-food or self-service restaurants. In expensive restaurants or for large parties tip 20% of the bill. It is normal to tip staff in hotels. In more expensive accommodation there is sometimes a bed tax, often as high as 15%, and it is worth checking that this is included within the quote.

Safety: Travel within the United States is generally trouble-free; however travellers should be aware that the US shares with the rest of the world an increased threat from terrorist incidents. Security has been heightened particularly at airports. Visitors are cautioned that terrorist attacks in the past have occurred in public areas and there is a risk of being caught up in any future incidents. Travellers should also be alert to the dangers of car and street crime in cities and should use common sense and take basic precautions. Visitors should avoid wearing expensive jewellery and walking in run down areas and try to stick to main highways and use well-lit car parks. Do not sleep in your vehicle on the roadside or in rest areas and avoid leaving luggage on display in cars. If hit from behind while driving, indicate to the other driver to follow you to a public place and call for Police help. Lighters are now officially banned from all domestic and international flights. The ban means that no lighters will be allowed anywhere on the airplane, not even in the baggage hold. Attacks by alligators have caused three deaths in May 2006 in Florida, and residents have been advised to avoid walking pets near canals or other bodies of water, particularly at night, or to swim in vegetated areas. Southern USA is prone to hurricanes between June and November. One of the worst and most costly hurricanes ever to hit the United States, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on 30 August 2005, causing extensive damage, loss of life and flooding along the coast, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The southern Gulf Coast communities were declared Federal Disaster Areas. It is estimated that it will take months for the clean-up operation to take place, particularly in New Orleans.

Customs: Laws vary from state to state, including speed limits, the age of consent and the age at which you may legally buy and consume alcohol, but this is usually 21 years.

Communications: The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. The outgoing code is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). The US has numerous area codes, which must be dialled before the local number required (e.g. New York Manhattan, 212, and Washington DC, 202). Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. The largest GSM networks are T-mobile and Cingular. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.

Duty Free: Travellers to the United States who are returning residents of the country do not have to pay duty on articles purchased abroad to the value of $800 provided their stay was longer than 48 hours and their duty-free allowance was not used in the 30-day period prior. For passengers arriving from Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, a duty-free allowance of $1,200 is allowed. The following items are included in this: 1,000 cigarettes or a reasonable amount of tobacco or 100 cigars. Travellers over 21 years are allowed 1 US quart of alcoholic beverages; and perfumes, lotions and other goods for personal use. Restrictions may apply to goods from Cuba, Cambodia, Korea and Vietnam. It is prohibited to import Cuban cigars from any country. Further information may be obtained from the nearest US Consulate. Travellers to the United States who are non-residents do not have to pay duty on the following items: 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes or 2kg tobacco, or a proportionate mix of these. Travellers over 21 years can import 1 US quart of alcoholic beverages. Non-residents may enter the USA with gifts to the value of $100 provided their stay in the USA is not less than 72 hours and that the allowance has not been used in the preceding six-month period. Please note that it is a punishable offence to make false statements to a US customs officer. Prohibited items for residents and non-residents include: meat or meat products, poultry, narcotics, marijuana, dangerous drugs, absinthe (or alcohol containing artemisia absinthium); plants; seeds, vegetables, fruits, soil, live insects, snails and other living plants or animal pests. Fish is prohibited unless it carries disease-free certification. Salmon and trout, including eggs canned, pickled or smoked may only be imported from North America. Imports from or exports to Iran and leather souvenirs imported from Haiti are prohibited. Wildlife and animals or their by-products carry restrictions. All types of lighters and matches are not allowed in luggage, unless properly sealed in an enclosed container. Dairy products and eggs from specified countries are not allowed. Firearms and ammunition are not allowed without the necessary license and permit.


Please complete the North America Enquiry Form and we'll come back to you with ideas and costs for a wonderful holiday in the United States
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