Los Angeles airport transfers
Compared to Australia, activities, food and drinks are generally cheaper in the United States. However, how much cheaper depends on where you're visiting.
That's because despite being one country, each US state (and at times cities within each state) operates its own set of rules and sales tax rates, which affects the end cost of everything from souvenirs to meals. For example, in Montana, the sales tax is 0%, but in Louisiana, it's 10%.
This is why determining how much to budget depends on where you're visiting. For example, you'll find cities such as New York City, Washington and Los Angeles on the higher end of the scale while Nashville and Detroit (Michigan) are more budget-friendly.
For spending money, we recommend bringing the following, based on your travel budget:
The exchange rate is approximate and was obtained from xe.com on 16 November 2018.
Cash and card are both widely accepted throughout the US, with the exception of cash-only payments for street food vendors or small bars/restaurants.
ATMs are widely available so it's easy to get cash from your debit or travel money card.
Taxis, like other goods and services, vary in price across the country. For example, in New York City, taxi rates start at US$2.50 (AUD$3.45) and are US$2.50 (AUD$3.45) per mile with your typical medium fare being $20.50 (AUD$28.41).
In Los Angeles, taxi rates start at US$2.85 (AUD$3.95) and are US$2.70 (AUD$3.74) per mile and your typical medium fare is US$22.30 (AUD$30.90).
In cheaper cities like Detroit, the start price is US$2.50 (AUD$3.45) but the per mile cost falls to US$1.65 (AUD$2.29) per mile to deliver a typical medium fare of US$11.80 (AUD$16.38).
These rates were acquired using TaxiFareFinder.
Zipping around from A-B around the USA? Again, costs vary depending on where you're hiring your vehicle from.
For example, a week-long rental in New York starts at US$260 (AUD$360.34) for an economy vehicle booked a month in advance. In Los Angeles, a similar week-long hire from downtown starts from US$125 (AUD$173.23), and in a more inexpensive city like Orlando, it starts from US$114 (AUD$158.60).
Prices were found using our car rental search engine. Prices may also vary depending on demand and the type of vehicle hired.
For more information regarding car hire, including deals, popular road trips and driving FAQs, check out our USA car hire guide.
Like everything else, food and drink can differ quite a bit depending on which area of the country you're in.
Overall, you can expect to pay around US$5 (AUD$6.89) or more for fast food to US$50+ (AUD$69+) for fine dining.
The cost of beer is pretty standard across the country and ranges from US$5 ($6.89) in local pubs to US$10 (AUD$13.78) at restaurants. A glass of wine typically costs between US$7-$15 (AUD$9.65-$20) per glass.
Tips and taxes are not included in these prices. For tips, 15-20% is expected.
Popular attractions in the US include visiting the Empire State Building (AUD$50), seeing a show on Broadway (AUD$110+), visiting the Grand Canyon (AUD$137+) and visiting Walt Disney World (AUD$150+). Many of these can be pre-booked online through sites like Viator, which can save you money via early-bird discounts and also help you manage your on-ground budget.
For those on a strict budget, the US doesn't scrimp on free attractions. This includes visiting MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) in New York on Friday night, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, San Francisco's Cable Car Museum and Chicago's Millennium Park.
If you're visiting numerous attractions, you may even consider purchasing a Smart Destinations multi-attractions pass.
Get Your Guide
Get Your Guide
While you can purchase SIM cards at the airport upon arrival, you'll often find a larger range of options available if you hold out and purchase one at a dedicated mobile phone carrier in the city.
Generally, prices are US$35 (AUD$48) for 1G or US$45 (AUD$62) for 4G.
For tourists staying 3 weeks or less, plans exist that are US$30 (AUD$41) for 2G.
You can also pre-purchase SIMs online so you can hit the ground running when you arrive.
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