With famous cities, epic landscapes, pop culture icons and enthusiastic locals, the United States has got something for everyone.

From the sunny beaches of San Diego and the glacial wonder of Alaska to the luminous cityscapes of New York at night, there are magic moments waiting around every corner and that’s before you crack open the wide world of spectacular parks, from Bryce Canyon to Yellowstone to Yosemite.

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6 Jan 2020
US & Canada Discovery Winter
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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

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United States travel highlights

Transport in United States

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun. 

Depending on which trip you're on while in the US, you may find yourself travelling by:

Passenger boat ferries people along the scenic waters Alaska

Ferry

Be amazed by enormous glaciers and stunning, icy landscapes while travelling on a ferry in Alaska.

Tour group cycle through Yosemite National Park

Bicycle

Use pedal power to see the best of Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Cycling is a great way to see the sights and get fit at the same time.

Street cars on the tracks in San Francisco

Streetcar

Take in the sights while enjoying a ride on one of San Francisco’s icons – the streetcar.

Accommodation in United States

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible. 

When travelling with us in the US you may find yourself staying in a:

Traditional Navajo structure in USA

Hogan

Spend a night sleeping in a hogan – a traditional Navajo structure built with an open roof to view the stars.

Western USA Highlights

Utah Parks Circuit

Group of travellers sit on balcony in Cabin in Yosemite

Cabin

Get back to nature and enjoy staying in quaint cabins throughout the beautiful national parks of America.

Best of Alaska

Mt Rushmore to Yellowstone

United States holiday information

At a glance

Best time to visit United States

Culture and customs

Eating and drinking

Geography and environment

History and government

Top 10 Must-See Cities in the US

Shopping

Festivals and Events

Health and Safety

Further reading

United States travel FAQs

Entrance requirements to the USA have changed in recent years so please read the following instructions carefully, even if you have travelled to the USA before.

Many countries now operate under a visa waiver program (meaning a visa isn't required) however you still need to obtain an authorisation which confirms that you have been approved to travel. This authorisation must be obtained in advance of travel.

Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can travel to the USA without a visa for a 90 day stay, if they meet certain requirements. Travellers from all Visa Waiver Program countries must present a machine-readable passport (which meets US requirements) at the port of entry to enter without a visa, otherwise a US visa is required. You can get further information from the US Department of State website:
- http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors.html

Also please note, all travellers from Visa Waiver Program countries must obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to their flight from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

All ESTA registration applications or renewals require a US$14.00 fee paid by credit or debit card. You should apply for your visa waiver authorisation at least 1 week prior to travel to avoid any last minute delays. You will require your passport details and your address in the US (you can use the starting point hotel/hostel address).

Please note that if there is any discrepancy between the name on your ESTA, your passport, your tickets and even your frequent flyer membership, you may be detained at Immigration and subject to a secondary inspection which could take a few hours. If you have recently changed your name, please check that your details have been updated everywhere.

If you are from a country eligible for the visa waiver program but are a dual citizen of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or if you have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan since 1 March 2011, you will not longer be eligible for the visa waiver program and will instead need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Please see the Department of State website for more information: http://travel.state.gov//content/travel/en.html

Tipping is very much a part of the culture in the US. Tips are expected at restaurants, cafes and diners, as well as by taxi drivers, valet attendants, porters and hotel maids. People working the service industry generally receive the minimum wage, which is quite low and therefore rely upon tips as a major source of their income. In general, leave 15% of the bill at places serving food, $1 to bar tenders and a few dollars for hotel staff who provide a personal service like carrying bags or cleaning your room.

Internet access is excellent in the US, and internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots are easily found in most cities and major towns.

Mobile phone coverage is excellent in most parts of the US although coverage may be patchy in remote, mountainous areas like national parks and canyons. Ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive.

Western-style flushable toilets are the norm in the US.

Cup of coffee = US$1.50-2
Hotdog from street cart = US$2-3
Newspaper = US$0.50-$2
Cinema admission = US$10-12

Drinking water from taps in the US is considered safe unless otherwise marked. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.

Major credit cards are widely accepted by stores in the US. Smaller cafes and shops may not accept credit cards, so ensure you carry enough cash to cover small purchases.

ATMs are common in the US, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns and cities.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

  • 1 Jan New Year's Day
  • 2 Jan New Year's Day Holiday
  • 16 Jan Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday
  • 29 May Memorial Day
  • 4 Jul Independence Day
  • 4 Sep Labor Day
  • 10 Nov Veterans' Day Holiday
  • 11 Nov Veterans' Day
  • 23 Nov Thanksgiving Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in the US go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/united-states-america/public-holidays

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Travellers walk through plantation in Charleston, USA

How we're giving back

In United States, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.