The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel
How to do it
How do I get there?
European neighbours aside, few countries are easier to reach from the UK than the United States. Between them, British Airways (0344 493 0787; ba.com), American Airlines (0844 369 9899; americanairlines.co.uk), Virgin Atlantic (0344 874 7747; virginatlantic.com) and United (0845 607 6760; united.com) cover most of the landmass, and there are
few major US cities that you cannot reach from London with one change of plane or fewer. Your exact arrival airport will obviously depend on the region you wish to explore by car, but each of Miami (for Florida), Boston (for New England), Phoenix (the Arizona capital; for the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley), Atlanta (in Georgia; for the South), Austin (for
Texas) and Chicago (for Route 66 and the Great Lakes), plus San Francisco and Los Angeles (for California) receive non-stop flights from British airports.
How much will it cost?
The road trip is a type of holiday where you can expect to get roughly what you pay for; the longer the journey, the higher the cost (in days of car hire, number of hotel nights, petrol required, etc). The price will be capped at a pre-paid sum (excluding expenses) if you book a package (flights, car, hotels) with a tour operator (see below). But the same principle will apply – the more time spent on the road, the larger the figure. In general, expect to pay around £1,000 per person for every week away (not including gas or food).
Can I do it on a budget?
Yes. Taking the do-ityourself approach, where you merely book flights (perhaps landing at one airport, and flying home from another) and a rental car and decide everything else as you go, will allow you to keep a rein on costs, particularly if you opt for budget hotels. Better still, flights and a vehicle can be bought as a package – via the likes of Expedia (020 3024 8211; expedia.co.uk) or British Airways – for a basic level of consumer protection.
Do I need a visa?
No, but all international tourists need to apply for an Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) pass (valid for two years; $21) to enter the country (see esta. cbp.dhs.gov).
What about cash ?
The US dollar floats at roughly $1.15 to the pound sterling. Electronic transactions are now common in the US, but having cash for tips and small purchases is recommended.
Are there any particular driving rules?
Drive on the right. And keep to the speed limit. American police officers tend to be far more assertive in their approach to breaches of road rules than their
How regular are petrol stations?
Very. It is hard to run out of fuel – which is far cheaper than at home – in the US. That said, if you are driving long distances in the desert, top up when you can.
What is the latest Foreign Office advice?
Foreign arrivals must still present evidence of at least two doses of a Covid vaccine. See gov.uk/ foreign-travel-advice/usa for full details.