How to plan your trip
The United States has some of the most dramatic and unspoiled landscapes in the world. This includes more than 211,000 km² of national and state parks (a bit less than the size of the United Kingdom), ranging from deep canyons to volcanoes, great lakes, deserts or snow-capped mountains, all with marked hiking routes.
Parking regulation in the US
Parking in most cities and towns isn't usually a problem. However, parking is restricted or prohibited in many streets. Parking regulations may vary according to the area of a city, the time of day, the day of the week or even the season. Most cities are divided into parking zones, which may be indicated by colors.
All you need to know for renting a car in the US
Car rental is common in the US, as public transport is generally poor. When travelling long distances, most Americans go by air and rent a car on arrival.
The open road in an RV
Taking a vacation or long trip in a motor-home is a unique way to experience some of the spectacular sights and countryside on offer in different parts of the US. For some people it’s ‘camping in comfort’, for others it’s just a really convenient way of traveling around without having to be packing all the time.
The best ways to the USA
With its enormous variety of landscapes, no other country is suited to road trips quite like America. The United States has just about everything to offer: the sedimentary rock formations of the Grand Canyon, the geysers of Yellowstone National Park, the volcanos of Hawaii, the redwood trees of Yosemite, the snowy peaks of Utah and the prairies of Kansas.
Lots to see
Family holidays need to be carefully planned. You need to make sure there is plenty to do for your kids so that they enjoy their break and keep out of mischief. If you’ve picked San Diego, you’ve already made a smart choice. There’s plenty to be doing in America’s Finest City.
How to buy a new or used car in the US
Most cars are cheaper in the US than in other countries and hardly anyone pays the list price. Car dealers are usually willing to negotiate and prices may vary considerably from dealer to dealer.
Long-distance, city & rural buses in the US
There are two main kinds of bus service in the US: urban bus services and long-distance buses. Buses are the most widespread form of local public transport in the US, where more than 1,000 inter-city and suburban bus companies operate services to around 15,000 cities and towns, the vast majority of which have no other public transport services.
Airports, fares & tips
The American airline business is extremely competitive, and consequently Americans enjoy the cheapest air travel in the world and are the world’s most frequent fliers. Major American airlines such as American Airlines and United, can feed passengers to some 250 domestic destinations.
What you should know
Taxis (cabs) are inexpensive in the US compared with many other countries and are plentiful in most cities (except when it’s raining, you have lots of bags, or you’re late for an appointment). Taxis are usually easily distinguishable, and most often are painted bright yellow.
Quality of service and regulations
A number of US cities have underground railways, including Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC. Many cities also have an efficient urban railway system, including Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Fares,bookings and general information
The railway (railroad) was responsible for opening up the west in the 19th century and played a major role in the development and exploitation of the whole North American continent. However, it fell into rapid decline in the latter half of the 20th century, losing much of its former business to the car, air travel and long-distance buses.
What to consider when selling a car in the US
Before you embark on a process that can be stressful consider whether you want to sell your car privately or trade it in.
Which insurances do you need for your car in the US?
One of the most surprising things about car insurance is that it isn’t mandatory in some states, e.g. Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, etc. These states have ‘financial responsibility’ laws, requiring you to post a bond, cash deposit or approved self-insurance with the state to cover damages if you’re involved in an accident.
How to secure your car in the US
Car theft is rampant in the US, where a car is stolen on average every 20 seconds and thefts from motor vehicles run into tens of millions. If you’re driving anything other than a worthless heap you should have comprehensive insurance, which includes cover for theft.
Interstate, federal and state highways
The standard of American roads varies enormously from eight-lane freeways in urban areas to gravel or dirt tracks in remote rural areas. Generally, American roads have fewer road markings than European roads.
Regulations and penalties
Speed limits vary from state to state and are usually signposted. The federal recommended maximum speed limit on freeways is 55mph, often referred to as the ‘double nickel’. This has been increased to 65mph on rural interstate highways in some 40 states. Check local speed limits and look out for speed restrictions.
Regulations, permits and insurances
Motorists with a full car driving licence may ride a motorcycle (up to 125cc) without passing a test or obtaining a special licence. US motorcycle tests are mostly superficial and in most states there’s no restriction on the size of bike a rider can ride after passing his test. No test is necessary for moped riders.
Gasoline prices and oil reserves
Three grades of unleaded petrol, known as gasoline, are available: regular, special or mid-grade and premium or super as well as diesel, which is used by most small trucks, but few cars.
The American automobile association
There are many national and regional motoring organisations (automobile clubs), providing emergency breakdown and repair services for motorists. Around a third of the US’s 160 million motorists belong to an automobile or motor club, by far the largest of which is the American Automobile Association.
Walking the streets of America
The US is a dangerous place for pedestrians, where they comprise some 13 per cent of all motor vehicle related deaths. When crossing any road you should take extreme care and whenever possible cross at a pedestrian crossing or walkway, traffic lights, junction or other ‘safe’ place.
Which road maps do you need?
There are a huge number of road maps available, from town street plans to atlases covering the whole country. Unlike maps in most countries, American road maps are often organised by state, which makes planning an inter-state trip difficult.
Service providers in the US
You must be extremely careful who you choose to service or repair your car, as vehicle repairs generate more consumer complaints than any other service industry. Repairs and servicing at new car dealers and service stations are the most expensive, while the cheapest are small, specialised repair shops, department store chains and general repair shops.
The enforcement of driving rules in the US
Despite the TV and film image of speeding reckless drivers, traffic laws in the US are taken seriously and strictly enforced. Each state has an agency responsible for enforcing highway traffic rules and regulations, e.g. state troopers or the highway patrol, employing patrol cars, motorcycles and aircraft.
What to do in case of an accident in the US
If you’re involved in an accident in the US, you have to know some tips before doing the procedure.
Regulations in the US
Drunk driving is a serious problem in the US, where excessive alcohol is estimated to be a factor in some 40 per cent of all traffic fatalities. More than 1.8 million people are arrested for drunk driving each year, a small fraction of the millions who drive while under the influence of alcohol.
The American “style” of driving
Like motorists in all countries, Americans have their customs and idiosyncrasies, many of which are peculiar to a region, state or city. Chicago has the reputation of being one of the worst places to drive, and the traffic in New York City may frighten you to death.
Safety regulations in the US
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory for drivers and front-seat passengers in the District of Columbia and all states except New Hampshire, where only those under 18 are required to belt up. Seat belt laws usually apply to children in any seat and in some states, adult passengers in rear seats must also wear them.
What you need to know when driving in the US
The list includes some of the most common road rules and some tips designed to help you adjust to driving conditions and avoid accidents.
A city of contrasts
New York is one of the most fascinating cities in the whole world. The Statue of Liberty is a potent symbol for the 'New World'. The most populous city in the United States of America is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities that came over to America in order to start a better life.
Credit history, auto insurance and registration
There are many obstacles that expats face when buying a car in the United States. James Krulder, General Manager of International AutoSource advises expats on the top five things they need to know.
Public transport, taxis and more
Atlanta, Georgia, is known as being a city that is extremely hard to navigate, even for the locals. The suburbs of the main city are almost impossible to reach without a car and the public transport system is fairly limited. Below are some top tips to make sure you can easily travel around Atlanta and avoid getting lost!