You will always get different information regarding the weather in America! The climate is temperate in most of the US. The seasons are the reverse of those in New Zealand with the hottest months being July and August. Generally, if you travel further south it gets hotter and seasonally more extreme the further you are north you travel and inland from the coasts. Winters in the northeast and upper Midwest can bring long periods below freezing even though it’s still warm enough to swim at the beaches in Florida and southern California.
Information on National Holidays in the USA
In addition to the regular public holidays there are other US holidays i.e Independence Day (4th July) and Thanksgiving (the last Thursday in November). Accommodation during this time is at a premium and should be booked well in advance. US School holidays vary from state to state, the main summer break is from the last week in June to the first week in September.
New Zealand passport holders can travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program as long as you make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months upon entry into the US and that you have no criminal record. Effective January 12, 2009, Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travellers will be required to obtain a travel authorisation via the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or open sea to the US. Under the VWP, ESTA information is now accessible online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov for citizens and eligible nationals of VWP countries which includes New Zealand. All tourists and people travelling to the USA will be required to provide their full address while in the United States in advance of travel. This information will be collected at check-in by the airline carrier. The address must contain the postal code.
In most American hotel rooms 2 double beds are supplied (often referred to as double double). These can be used for those wanting twin share or double share. Should extra bedding be required then a rollaway can be purchased for an additional fee. Maximum people travelling per room must always be adhered to (rollaways should be prebooked). Triple and quad prices are based on using existing bedding (unless a rollaway is booked and paid for). Rollaways are not available at all hotels.
Travelling with Children
Unless otherwise stated children in this brochure are from 3 – 9 years inclusive. Many attractions and transfers offer children under 3 free, however, some attractions charge adult prices when children reach 4 feet in height! Child costs are based on sharing with 2 adults using existing bedding (i.e. 2 double beds). However due to strict fire rules the maximum capacity for the room must always be adhered to. Should you require any further tourist information, please contact Harvey World Travel.
The USA works on a two pin plug of 110 – 120 volts. Most NZ appliances should work in the USA with an adaptor, available in New Zealand
Currency, Travellers Cheques & Credit Cards
This information was put together on the 19th May 2011. The US dollar is the preferred currency and the denominations are: 1c = Penny, 5c = Nickel, 10c = Dime, 25c = Quarter. Bank note denominations are: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Be careful with bank notes as they are all the same size and colour, so check carefully before handing them over. Your New Zealand currency can be exchanged at most hotels, however, at very poor transaction rates with the difference sometimes as high as 10%, so we highly recommend that you take US dollar travellers cheques. We also recommend that you travel with at least one credit card with you, as all American hotels will require a deposit as a guarantee for incidentals such as meals, telephone calls and laundry. Rental car companies are also very strict and are reluctant to rent a vehicle without a credit card guarantee.
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Tipping in America
Most service employees in the USA are on low retainers, the extra they receive in tips is viewed as part of their salary. As a general rule tipping should be between 15 – 20% of restaurant bills, and approximately US$1 per bag for porters, US$1 per day for house maids and sightseeing guides. As the US bills can look the same, it is often a good idea to put a few singles (US$1 bills) in a separate compartment in your wallet or purse, therefore making sure you don’t hastily grab a US$20!
American Theme Parks
To avoid long queues we recommend that you plan your theme park sightseeing outside of weekends and public holidays. Disneyland Resort now offers a FASTPASS system where you take a ticket with a time on it for your ride. This allows you to enjoy the rest of the park knowing that your place in the queue is still being held.
Some hotel’s in the US charge each night for the season that it falls into, whilst others use the first night to determine the rate for the entire stay. If your accommodation covers two seasons please check which of the above applies to your booking. Click here for our latest Hotel Rates in America
Hotel / Room Features
Some properties features may have an additional cost i.e: parking, business centre etc...This amount is paid direct to the hotel. We suggest this charge be checked at time of check-in. Contact your nearest Harvey World Travel Agent for more informtaion.
When to Go
The US is most popular with tourists during the summer, but this is when American families pack everything up and head out to visit Aunt Tilly. To avoid crowds (especially throughout the national park system), it’s better to go during autumn or early spring.
Information on Airport Security
The heightened security measures at US airports have been amended. The total ban on any liquids or gels being taken onto aircraft has been relaxed. ‘Travel size’ toiletries (90mls or 3 fl oz) stored in a clear, ziplock bag are now permitted. The requirements, in place for the foreseeable future, will mean some delay & disruption at airports & travellers should plan accordingly. For more information about the restrictions visit the US Transport Security Administration website