A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to the United States
What's in this United States currency guide:
The official currency of the United States is the US dollar, with symbol $ and currency code USD.
The strength of the US dollar looks likely to continue when, at the annual Jackson Hole central banker’s getaway, Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the US central bank will ‘keep at it’ and is likely to keep raising interest rates to battle surging inflation.
A clear reflection of this is that the US Dollar index (measure of the USD strength against basket of currencies) is approaching 20 year highs.
13 Sep 2022
29 Jun 2022
27 Sep 2021
28 Sep 2017
29 Sep 2012
02 Oct 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend US dollar.
America is the birthplace of LA, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Boston and New York City – each a brimming metropolis whose name alone conjures a million different notions of culture, cuisine and entertainment.
This is a country of road trips and great open skies, where 4 million miles of highways lead past red-rock deserts, below towering mountain peaks and through fertile wheat fields that roll off toward the horizon. The sun-bleached hillsides of the Great Plains, the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, the sultry swamplands of the South and the scenic country lanes of New England are a few fine starting points for the great American road trip.
When time is tight, book a flight. The domestic air system is extensive and reliable, with dozens of competing airlines, hundreds of airports and thousands of flights daily. Flying is usually more expensive than traveling by bus, train or car, but it’s the way to go when you’re in a hurry. Main ‘hub’ airports in the USA include all international gateways plus many other large cities. Most cities and towns have a local or county airport, but you usually have to travel via a hub airport to reach them.
International travelers who plan on doing a lot of flying might consider buying a North American air pass. Passes are normally available only to non–North American citizens, and they must be purchased in conjunction with an international ticket. Conditions and cost structures can be complicated, but all passes include a certain number of domestic flights (from as few as two to as many as 16, depending on airline network) that typically must be used within a 60-day period.
For maximum flexibility and convenience, and to explore rural America and its wide-open spaces, a car is essential. Although gas prices are high, you can often score fairly inexpensive rentals (NYC excluded), with rates as low as $20 per day.
Most cities and larger towns have dependable local bus systems, though they are often designed for commuters and provide limited service in the evening and on weekends. Getting around between cities via bus or train can often be a bit cheaper than getting a cheap flight, so its something to consider depending on your travel taste and how much time you want to save travelling. Middle-class Americans prefer to fly or drive, but buses let you see the countryside and meet folks along the way. As a rule, buses are reliable, cleanish and comfortable, with air-conditioning, barely reclining seats, lavatories and no smoking.
Compared with other modes of travel, trains are rarely the quickest, cheapest, timeliest or most convenient option, but they turn the journey into a relaxing, social and scenic all-American experience, especially on western routes, where double-decker Superliner trains boast spacious lounge cars with panoramic windows.
Don’t just stick to the cities, National Parks in the USA are some of the best things about the US. Stunning landscapes, Ranger guided tours and facilities and consistently excellent, while the information handed out for free is amazing. And you you don’t need to be a hardcore hiker to explore rugged, remote parks. The policy of putting in drive-up viewpoints and easy, flat paths makes the parks remarkably easy to travel round, even if you’ve limited mobility.
Eating out is relatively cheap and you may find that one meal could easily feed two. When tipping for food 15%-20% of the cost of the meal is expected as it is considered part of a waiter’s wage.
The USA has made tremendous contributions to the arts. Georgia O’Keeffe’s wild landscapes, Robert Rauschenberg’s surreal collages, Alexander Calder’s elegant mobiles and Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings have entered the vernacular of 20th-century art. Chicago and New York have become veritable drawing boards for the great architects of the modern era. And from the soulful blues born in the Mississippi Delta to the bluegrass of Appalachia and Detroit’s Motown sound – plus jazz, funk, hip-hop, country, and rock and roll – America has invented sounds integral to modern music.
One of the best ways to see a good chunk of the states is to hit the road with your best mates or family. A road trip is like your own personal hop on hop off bus except you get to make the rules. Try a scenic drive on California’s Pacific Highway 1!
If you’re planning a trip on the East Coast during the winter months (December – February) just remember it can get very cold and chances are it will snow. The roads can be extremely icy and be very hazardous in winter.
Using New York, Los Angeles and Miami as examples to compare the area (㎡) of prime property that $US1million buys in the US (Q1 2018) the sizes are: New York 25㎡, Los Angeles 58㎡ and Miami 78㎡.
This is compared to equivalent areas for Hong Kong 22㎡, London 27㎡, Singapore 37㎡, Paris 45㎡, Shanghai 50㎡, Tokyo 70㎡, Berlin 74㎡, Mumbai 94㎡, Istanbul 110㎡, Dubai 138㎡ and San Paulo 172㎡.
You can read about the best providers and compare the latest deals for international money transfers to the United States in our Send Money to the United States guide.