Cheap Flights to USA

New York, USA image

USA overview

The United States of America, sprawling across the middle of North America, includes 48 mainland states, Hawaii to the southwest and Alaska to the north. American Samoa, Guam, Marianas, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are also part of US territories.

In this vast nation, breathtaking natural wonders compete for your attention with mammoth and fascinating manmade cities of towering steel and glass. Travellers arriving on flights to America have a huge choice of fascinating destinations to explore. The energy and creativity of New York City have made it the cultural, fashion and financial capital of the US. New England is steeped in history and blessed with beautiful scenery, especially in autumn when the changing foliage creates a spectacular blaze of colour. The Blues Highway, from New Orleans in Louisiana through Mississippi and Memphis to Chicago, is a classic road trip along the trail of America's music legends. 

Florida is about beaches and theme parks, from Disney World to nearby Orlando's Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

On the West Coast, popular California boasts a spectacular rugged northern coastline and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. The Napa Valley wine region is a magnet for foodies and wine connoisseurs, LA is the home of Hollywood and San Diego enjoys a relaxed West-Coast vibe.

USA climate

Given its size, the climate varies throughout the US but some regions experience the changing seasons more intensely than others. The West Coast enjoys fine weather  year-round, while the Pacific Northwest Coast (Washington, Oregon) has cool summers and mild winters. The Midwest is known for its intense summers and winters and frequent tornadoes and thunderstorms, while Florida enjoys the warmest winters on the eastern coast.

When to fly to USA

Peak Season:

There's never really a bad time to catch flights to the US, but New York is most pleasant in spring and autumn. May and June are comfortably warm, while LA gets hottest in August and September.

San Francisco is  pleasant year-round, while Las Vegas is best enjoyed in spring and autumn. Orlando is teeming with families during US summer holidays (July and August), when temperatures can reach 37 degrees Celsius.

Off season:

Cheap flights to the US are always found during the off season.

Getting around USA

Americans love their cars and their road trips, but there are many low-cost airlines, including no-frills leader Southwest, JetBlue, AirTran and Spirit Airlines to fly you around quicker.

If you're intent on hitting the highways a la Route 66,  you'll find all the major car rental agencies at most US airports, including Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.

By bus: GotoBus.com has a handy online service for more than 100 bus companies and tours throughout the US, from budget to luxury options.

By rail: AmTrak (www.amtrak.com) covers the States and the major cities in Canada. Check online for routes and weekly specials.

USA insider information

  • New York is a Mecca for shoppers, from mega-department and fashion stores to cutting-edge designer boutiques. Serious shoppers can maximize their time by taking a tour of one of the shopping districts. Shop Gotham's two-hour walking tours (from about US$25) have been likened to having a shopaholic New Yorker show you the coolest places to shop.
  • Get a culture fix at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which presents an annual program of mostly free recitals and concerts by students, faculty and guest artists.
  • Orlando's majestic Harry P. Leu Gardens are a 20-hectare botanical oasis in the middle of the city. On site is a restored 19th century farmhouse, now a museum that evokes a time when citrus, rather than theme parks, dominated the region. (Gardens open daily from 9am-5pm; adult/child US$7/2; free admission on Mondays).
  • In Las Vegas start the day with an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast at the “killer whale in a sea of buffets" - at the Spice Market Buffet at the Aladdin Resort & Casino.
  • Take a historic musical journey along the Blues Highway, from the Dixieland Jazz bars of New Orleans, to Memphis (and Elvis's Graceland) and the blues trail along the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. The classic road trip takes you through the home of the blues. For information on festivals and events along the way, check out www.msbluestrail.org.
  • Big Tip - don't forget to tip. Between 15 and 20 per cent is standard in the US. Irate waiters have been known to follow non-tipping diners onto the street demanding an explanation.

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How much do things cost in USA?

Los Angeles
Taxi - fixed fee
$ 3.90
Cappuccino
$ 4.42
Petrol (1 litre)
$ 1.22
1 km taxi journey
$ 2.43
New York
Taxi - fixed fee
$ 2.85
Bottle of local beer (0.5 litre)
$ 2.09
1 hour taxi waiting fee
$ 34.19
Pack of Marlboro cigarettes
$ 13.67
Honolulu
Petrol (1 litre)
$ 1.28
Local draught beer (0.5 litre)
$ 5.70
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
$ 1.99
Meal at McDonald's or similar
$ 9.11
San Francisco
Large bottle of water
$ 2.82
Pair of Nike shoes
$ 88.71
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
$ 4.40
Meal at McDonald's or similar
$ 7.91