Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. All passport holders must check with the US Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
US Dollars are the currency that is used throughout the country. Bank Machines are available throughout most parts of the United States and are generally easily accessible. There may be a charge to use ATM's in some areas. Credit cards are also widely accepted throughout the US.
The US uses 120V, 60Hz alternating current. Most consumer electronics are designed as dual voltige and are capable of accepting voltages from 110V to 230V and between 50-60Hz. For those devices a plug adapter is generally sufficient.
Since most Americans have internet access at home and in their offices, internet cafes are not common outside of major metropolitan, tourist or resort areas. In general, most public libraries have free Wifi available; most chain hotels usually provide in-room internet connections; many coffee shops, book stores and some fast food restaurants also provide free wireless internet access.
Phoning home from hotels can be very expensive since all hotels add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you
make from your room and this charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (pay phones).
Your Travel Director can direct you to local markets and shopping areas but cannot guarantee to find you the lowest
price. However, North America is a shopper’s paradise full of unique and interesting items. Business hours for shopping in
North America are usually seven days a week, 9 am – 8 pm in most major cities. Smaller places may close on Sunday. Various tax concessions and duty-free shopping may be available to international visitors; however, they may vary depending on the amount spent. You must present documentation (passport and/or visa) that you are a foreign national or non-resident. Your Travel Director will be pleased to assist with information, but Trafalgar cannot be responsible for any subsequent queries.
We suggest the following as a guide to general tipping practices in North America:
• Room service waiter: US$1-2
• Taxis: 10% of the fare on the meter
• Cocktail server/bartender: 50c per drink
• Restaurant server: 15-20% of the total bill. It is appropriate to include the tip in the total when paying by credit card,
or to leave a tip on the table with the bill when you leave.
Dress in the US tends to be fairly casual. For everyday clothes, jeans and T-shirts are generally acceptable, as are shorts when the weather is suitable. Sneakers (athletic shoes) are common; flip-flops and sandals are also popular in warm weather.
When dressing up for nice restaurants or upscale entertainment, a pair of nice slacks, a collared shirt, and dress shoes will work almost everywhere. Ties for men are rarely necessary, but jackets are occasionally required for very upscale restaurants in big cities (such restaurants almost always will have courtesy jackets on offer if you forget).
At the beach or pool, men prefer loose bathing trunks or boardshorts, and women wear bikinis or one-piece swimsuits. Nude bathing is not generally acceptable and is usually illegal except at certain private beaches or resorts; even women going topless is not usually accepted by most people, and is also illegal in some states.
Generally, Americans accept religious attire such as hijab, yarmulke, and burqa without comment. However, do be aware that in places of heightened security such as banks, municipal buildings, and so on, wearing clothing which covers the face may be regarded as suspicious behavior and is generally unadvisable.