USA Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know

USA travel guide

Planning a trip to the vast and vibrant USA? Whether you're dreaming of cityscapes that touch the sky or serene landscapes that stretch beyond the horizon, the USA has something for everyone. In this guide, we'll share all you need to know about traveling to the United States. From the best times to visit to those bucket list experiences that make a trip truly unforgettable, we've got you covered.

In this guide:

USA flag at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge Unsplash

Best Time to Visit the USA

The USA is a year-round destination, but finding that sweet spot for your visit depends on what's on your bucket list.

  • Spring (March to May): Flowers are in full bloom, and the weather is just right, especially for the Southern and Northeastern states. Looking at you, cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.!
  • Summer (June to August): Perfect for beach bums and outdoor activities. It’s time to hit cities like Miami, but brace yourself for the tourist rush.
  • Fall (September to November): Cooler temperatures and stunning fall foliage make for picturesque drives, especially in New England.
  • Winter (December to February): Snow enthusiasts, unite! Hit the ski slopes in Colorado or experience the festive vibes of New York City.

Top Attractions in the USA

The US is brimming with vibrant cities and stunning regions. Here are a few we think you'll love.

New York cityscapeUnsplash

New York City

This bustling metropolis needs no introduction. The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park — they're all here in the Big Apple.

The best things to do in New York City:

  • Visit the American Museum of Natural History: Explore one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. From dinosaur fossils to the mysteries of outer space, there's something here to spark the curiosity of every visitor.
  • Explore Central Park: This sprawling park in the middle of the city offers myriad activities and picturesque scenery. Whether you're up for a leisurely stroll, a boat ride, or simply want to find a quiet spot to relax, Central Park is an oasis away from the urban hustle.
  • Admire the art at the Museum of Modern Art: Known as MoMA, this museum houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. It's a must-visit for art lovers who want to see works by Van Gogh, Warhol, and other renowned artists in person.
  • Stroll through Grand Central Terminal: More than just a transportation hub, Grand Central boasts beautiful architecture, including its famous celestial ceiling. Don't forget to check out the Whispering Gallery and the iconic clock atop the information booth.
  • Walk the High Line: An elevated railway transformed into a public park, offering a unique perspective of the city's architecture and the Hudson River. Its lush pathways make it a refreshing escape with plenty of art installations and green spaces.
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge: Strap on your comfy shoes and get ready for an Instagram-worthy journey across this historic bridge. Connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn, the walk offers stunning views of the skyline and a peek into the soul of the city.

Related: The 36 Best Things To Do in New York City

Golden Gate Bridge, San FranciscoUnsplash

San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, sizzling food scenes — San Francisco exudes an unmistakable charm.

The best things to do in San Francisco:

  • Explore the California Academy of Sciences: Home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and rainforest—all under one living roof — this scientific marvel offers an educational and entertaining experience for all ages.
  • Visit the Ferry Building Marketplace: A food lover's haven, the Ferry Building Marketplace is a bustling hub of local farmers, artisan producers, and independently owned shops, offering some of the city’s best tastes and flavors.
  • Ride the historic cable cars: No visit to San Francisco is complete without a ride on these iconic cable cars. It's not just transit; it's a rolling adventure offering stunning views of the city's hills and landmarks.
  • Take an Alcatraz Island tour: Dive into the intriguing history of Alcatraz by visiting this infamous island prison. The audio tour is a must-do, as it brings the stories of inmates and guards to life.
  • Discover the Mission District: Dive into the vibrant and culturally rich Mission District, known for its outstanding street murals, the lively atmosphere, and a diverse mix of dining and shopping options.

Bridge in Deception Falls, WashingtonUnsplash

The Pacific Northwest

This lush corner of the USA, encompassing Oregon and Washington State, is a playground for both nature lovers and urban explorers.

The best things to do in the Pacific Northwest:

  • Hike in Olympic National Park: Imagine a place where you could wander from rugged coastlines to alpine peaks and ancient rainforests all within a few hours. From the lush Hoh Rain Forest to the rugged Pacific shoreline, prepare to be wowed.
  • Savor Portland's culinary scene: Dive into the city’s famed culinary scene, from farm-to-table restaurants to the bustling food cart pods offering everything under the sun.
  • Go whale watching in the San Juan Islands: The San Juan Islands offer some of the best whale watching in the world, giving you a front-row seat to nature's grandeur.
  • Visit Crater Lake National Park: Ever wonder what pure, deep blue looks like? Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, is the answer. Whether you’re gazing into the mesmerizing waters from Rim Drive or setting off on a hike to Wizard Island, Crater Lake is a must-see gem of the PNW.
  • Explore Seattle: Seattle is the pulsing heart of the Pacific Northwest, with its innovative spirit and rich cultural tapestry. Start your day with a visit to Pike Place Market (yes, catch a flying fish if you can!), then make your way up to the Space Needle for jaw-dropping views of the city and beyond.

Aerial view of ChicagoUnsplash


Wind your way through the Windy City, where architectural marvels meet deep-dish pizza.

The best things to do in Chicago:

  • Explore Navy Pier: It's one of Chicago's most-visited attractions, and for good reason. There's something for everyone, from lush gardens to amusement rides, and it's a fantastic spot to enjoy spectacular views of Lake Michigan.
  • Catch a game at Wrigley Field: If you're a sports fan, you can't miss experiencing a game at this iconic ballpark, home to the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
  • Laugh out loud at The Second City: Known for its famous alumni, this improv comedy club offers shows that are often the highlight for many visitors looking for a good laugh in the city.
  • Step out onto the ledge at Skydeck Chicago: Located at Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago offers a chance to step out on a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor, giving you a view of the city like no other.
  • Reflect at 'The Bean': Officially named Cloud Gate, this shiny, mirror-like sculpture located in Millennium Park is a must-see and provides a unique skyline reflection that's perfect for photos.

Building in the New Orleans French QuarterUnsplash

New Orleans

Famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations, this vibrant city is a melting pot of cultures and boasts incredible music scenes, historic neighborhoods, and fabulous Creole cuisine.

The best things to do in New Orleans:

  • Kayak along Bayou St. John: Discover New Orleans from a different perspective. Paddle your way along the serene waters of Bayou St. John, a scenic waterway weaving through the heart of the city. This local favorite offers a slice of tranquility amidst the city's hustle and bustle.
  • Visit the St. Louis Cathedral: Situated opposite Jackson Square in the French Quarter, the St. Louis Cathedral is a stunning structure and a place of tranquility in the midst of New Orleans' bustling city life. Its Spanish Colonial architecture makes it a sight to behold.
  • Jump on a New Orleans swamp tour: For a different kind of adventure, join a swamp tour. Get a chance to see alligators, snakes, and other wildlife while learning about the swamp ecosystem and historic bayous.
  • Explore Frenchmen Street: Known as the local's version of Bourbon Street, Frenchmen Street is one of the best places to hear live music in the city. The street is lined with bars and clubs hosting an array of music genres.
  • Savour food on a Beignet tasting tour: Last but not least, your trip to New Orleans wouldn't be complete without tasting Beignets. These deep-fried pastries, covered with powdered sugar, are a staple in New Orleans' cuisine.

Girl standing at the edge of the Grand CanyonUnsplash

The Southwest (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah)

This region incorporates the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the eclectic charm of Santa Fe, the dramatically stunning Monument Valley, and, of course, the fun-filled extravaganza of Las Vegas.

The best things to do in the Southwest:

  • Explore Monument Valley: A landscape photographer's dream, Monument Valley straddles the Utah-Arizona border and is owned by the Navajo Nation. With its iconic red sandstone formations that tower up to about 300 meters, there couldn't be a more picturesque scene to capture.
  • Gaze at the Grand Canyon: Words fail to capture the majestic allure of the Grand Canyon, a natural wonder that stretches for over 277 miles. Famous for its stunning geological colors and erosional forms, visitors can hike, take a helicopter tour, or simply marvel at the sunrises or sunsets from the rim.
  • Visit the beautiful Painted Desert: The colors in this desert's stratified layers of rocks and mesas are nothing short of extraordinary. Located in Northern Arizona, the Painted Desert is the perfect place to enjoy an awe-inspiring hike.
  • Hike Cathedral Rock: Known for its vibrant red rock formation, Cathedral Rock in Sedona offers a short but majestic hike rewarding you with breathtaking views.
  • Walk the Las Vegas Strip: Stroll down the famous Las Vegas Strip, with its neon lights, iconic hotels, and replicas of wonders from around the world, from the Eiffel Tower to the canals of Venice.

Hidden Gems in the USA

America is vast. While you might be drawn to the often-trotted routes, here are five lesser-known gems to add to your itinerary:

Savannah, Georgia

This historical city boasts cobblestone streets, Spanish moss-draped trees, and a rich, storied history.

The Finger Lakes, New York

This region is famed for its vineyards and boasts a collection of beautiful lakes, making it an offbeat but brilliant choice.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Time seems to have stopped on this car-free island, renowned for its fudge, scenic attractions, and distinctive local culture.

Taos, New Mexico

Experience artistic culture melded with great outdoor adventures, all garnished with a topping of the rich indigenous heritage.

Beaufort, South Carolina

Often overlooked for its flashier cousins, Beaufort surprises visitors with its southern charm, historical significance, and stunning low-country landscapes.

Arches National Park in UtahUnsplash

Bucket List Experiences

While it's difficult to narrow it down to just ten, here are some unmissable experiences:

  • Tackling the Times Square madness in NYC
  • Embarking on a road trip down Route 66
  • Exploring the breathtaking Grand Canyon
  • Catching a Broadway show
  • Surfing on the California coast
  • Witnessing the magic of Yellowstone National Park
  • Feeling the jazz rhythms in New Orleans
  • Joining the baseball fervor at a live game
  • Stargazing at Alaska's Northern Lights
  • Riding a cable car in San Fransisco
  • Taking a selfie with the Hollywood Sign
  • Walking through history on Boston's Freedom Trail
  • Feeling the mist of Niagara Falls

Denali National Park, AlaskaUnsplash

Travel Tips for the USA

Finally, some essential tips to help you on your American sojourn:

  • Entry and exit requirements: Most travelers require a visa to enter the United States. Consult the nearest US Embassy for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Language: While the US is a multilingual society, English is the most widely spoken language, and it's good to have a basic grasp of English.
  • Currency: The currency is the US Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but cash is handy for small establishments and tips.
  • Getting around: The US has varied local and national travel options, including planes, trains, buses, and cars. Major cities typically have a metro or subway system.
  • Plugs and adapters: The US uses type A and B plug sockets. The standard voltage is 120 V, and the frequency is 60 Hz. Be sure to pack a universal adapter.

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USA eSIM: Stay Connected With Airalo

Stay connected during your trip to the United States with an eSIM from Airalo. An eSIM is a tiny SIM that's embedded in your device and works 100% digitally. You can download an eSIM plan for your destination and instantly connect to a mobile network. There's no need to find a SIM card vendor, manage multiple SIMs, or worry about roaming fees. 

Here are just some of the benefits of using an Airalo eSIM:

  • Connect to a mobile network within minutes.
  • Choose from flexible local, regional, and global data plans.
  • Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges.
  • Store multiple eSIM data plans on your device.
  • Need more data? Top up in the Airalo app.

You're all set to plan a trip to the USA! Head to the Airalo store to browse eSIMs for the United States and 200+ countries and regions worldwide.

Ready to try eSIMs and change the way you stay connected?

Download the Airalo app to purchase, manage, and top up your eSIMs anytime, anywhere!

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