Welcome to another edition of Travelstart FAQ Friday with me, Nick Paul. Last week we were asked a couple of questions about the USA , this is obviously a very popular destinations for South African’s.
We thought we would look at 5 things to budget for when travelling to the US:
The US visa costs 160 USD, which is roughly around R1700 currently.
Flights are probably going to be your biggest expense. Let’s have a look at prices into the different parts of the US:
- Washington, D.C.: R9000+ find cheap flights here
- New York City: R9000+ find cheap flights here
- Florida: R12 000+ find cheap flights here
- Texas: R11 000+ find cheap flights here
- Chicago: R9000+ find cheap flights here
- Los Angeles: R12 000+ find cheap flights here
- San Francisco: R12 000+ find cheap flights here
- Hawaii: R15 000+ find cheap flights here
- Alaska: R15 000+ find cheap flights here
These are prices from Johannesburg for a round-trip ticket and include taxes. If you are departing from places like Cape Town or Durban you can add R1000 – R2000 on to the ticket price.
3. Car Hire
I highly recommend doing a road trip in the US. The prices pretty much go New York vs. everywhere else. New York prices for a cheap car will be around R4500 per week. If you are looking at other cities outside of New York such as Florida, prices will be around R2500 per week.
One of the great things about America is difference in price between an entry-level car and an SUV can be only a couple of hundred Rand on a weeks trip. I would highly recommended getting a bit of a nicer car. Petrol is not too expensive at around R11 a liter and you will feel a lot more comfortable and confident in a bigger car.
Once again New York is probably the most expensive city in terms of hotels. Expect to pay around R3000 per night for a hotel in a decent area in downtown New York. If you look for a hotel slightly out of town expect to pay R1200+ for a room per night. For most other US cities expect to pay R2000+ for a decent hotel in a decent location.
I would also suggest, if you adventurous enough, and want to stay with locals try Airbnb. Prices go down to as little as R1000 per room per night for a 2 sleeper. In some cases you will be staying in a room within someone else’s house, so just bear that in mind.
5. Tax & Tipping
In the US Tax is added at the point of payment for groceries, restaurant bills and clothing etc. It ranges from 0% for mandatory tax in certain states such as Montana, Delaware, New Hampshire and Oregon. It can go up to 12% in states such as Arkansas, but most states are between 8% and 11%.
When tipping a waiter you are expected to pay 15% – 20% on top of the bill. This is obviously a lot more than in South Africa so be prepared to budget for this.
That’s it from me, 5 things to budget for when travelling to the US. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel if you have any other travel related questions ask them in the comments below. Who knows, next week we may turn it into a video.