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Guide to Currency and Prices in the USA

A vast, diverse country, America’s 50 states each have their own particular charm, making the USA a captivating travel destination. From Disney World to the Las Vegas strip, the Big Apple to the Everglades, the USA has something for everyone.

The national currency is the dollar (USD). Exchange spending money before you go or once you’re there, but bear in mind you’ll get a poorer deal if exchanging money on arrival at the airport. You could also take your credit or debit card with you and withdraw spending money from ATMs.

Dining out in the USA

With each of the USA’s 50 states offering a cacophony of local food and drink, a trip to the country is sure to excite your taste buds. If you’re heading to the bright lights of NYC, make sure you get your teeth into a huge slice of New York pizza. Prices range anywhere from £1 a slice to £20 for a pizza pie, but regardless of the price, that gooey, oozy cheesy goodness is bound to leave you wanting more.

If you’re heading to the bustling city of Las Vegas, prepare to be dazzled by a diverse array of cuisine, from melt-in-the-mouth steaks to double-stacked, cheese-topped, bacon-filled burgers. While prices vary from place to place, a meal in a basic restaurant should cost around £12 per person, increasing to around £20 for a three-course meal somewhere a little more fancy.

If you’re Florida bound, make sure you try deep-fried conch fritters (a tropical marine shellfish with a spiral shell) topped off with a decadent slice of Florida Key lime pie. Price-wise, eating out in Florida is a little cheaper than Vegas, with a three-course meal costing around £16 per person.

The price of drinks

The birth place of Coca-Cola and Jack Daniel’s, America has a long history of producing some of the world’s best-loved fizzy drinks and alcoholic tipples alike. It’s unsurprising then, that a glass of Coke in a restaurant is cheaper than the UK, costing in the region of £1.20-£1.50 depending on the area you’re in.

Other regional favourites include Florida orange juice, loved for its super-sweet and refreshing taste.

Why not spice up your trip to the USA and indulge in a cocktail or three? Long Island Iced Tea, purportedly invented in the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, is made from vodka, Tequila, light rum, Triple Sec, gin and a splash of cola. Or go for a Manhattan, made from whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Just don’t forget that the legal drinking age in the USA is 21!

If you prefer beer to spirits, America has got your back. Home to well-known super-brands such as Coors and Budweiser, you’ll also find a wealth of craft pale ales. Expect cheaper prices than at home: a pint of American-brewed draught beer costs around £2.50 in Florida, while New York’s prices are steeper at around £5.50 a pint.

Out and about

If you’re heading straight for the magical gates of Disney World, we don’t blame you! An enchanting place for youngsters and grown-ups alike, it’s sure to create lifelong memories. Day tickets for the Disney parks in Florida start from £20/day for adults and £19/day for children with free entry for children under 3 years old.

If you’re planning a trip to the city that never sleeps, the list of activities that await you is endless, but no trip to NYC is complete without a trip to the Statue of Liberty. Entry costs start from around £15 for full paying adults and includes access to Ellis Island, the gateway to America for some 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954.

How much spending money should I take to the USA?

The amount of spending money to take on a trip to the USA all depends on where you’re going and what you plan to do. As a general rule, the cost of living is pricey in New York, with Las Vegas and Florida coming in a little cheaper.

Budget for around £100 a day for food, drinks and activities in NYC and a little less in Florida and Las Vegas – unless you’re planning to gamble all your life savings on red! Most importantly, be aware that restaurants and bars in central tourist hotspots will work out much more expensive than places a little further out.

Tipping in the USA

The tipping system in the USA can be confusing at the best of times. While service charges aren’t a legal requirement, expect severe backlash from your waiter or waitress if you fail to add a tip of between 15%-25% to the final bill. Make sure to tip taxi drivers, bartenders and porters around 20% of the final bill, too.

*Prices correct at the time blog was published and are subject to availability. T&C’s apply.