Discover America Radio

Money

ATMs

ATMs are available 24/7 at most banks, and in shopping centres, airports, grocery stores and convenience shops. Most ATMs charge a service fee of $2.50 or more per transaction and your home bank may impose additional charges. Withdrawing cash from an ATM using a credit card usually incurs a hefty fee; check with your credit-card company first.

For foreign visitors, ask your bank or credit card company for exact information about using its cards in the U.S. ATMs. If you will be relying on ATMs (not a bad strategy), bring more than one card and carry them separately. The exchange rate on ATM transactions is usually as good as you’ll get anywhere. Before leaving home, notify your bank and credit-card providers of your forthcoming travel plans. Otherwise, you may trigger fraud alerts with atypical spending patterns, which may result in your accounts being temporarily frozen. Smaller businesses may refuse to accept bills larger than $20.



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Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Credit Cards

Major credit cards are almost universally accepted. In fact, it’s almost impossible to rent a car or make phone reservations without one (though some airlines require your credit card billing address to be in the USA – a hassle if you’re booking domestic flights once there). It’s highly recommended that you carry at least one credit card, if only for emergencies.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Currency Exchange

Banks are usually the best places to exchange foreign currencies. Most large-city banks offer currency exchange, but banks in rural areas may not. Currency-exchange counters at the airport and in tourist centres typically have the worst rates; ask about fees and surcharges first.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Taxes

Sales tax varies by state and county; taxes vary by city.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Tipping

  • Tipping is not optional; only withhold tips in cases of outrageously bad service.
  • Airport & hotel porters $2 per bag, minimum per cart $5
  • Bartenders 10-15% per round, minimum per drink $1
  • Hotel maids $2-4 per night, left under the card provided
  • Restaurant servers 15-20%, unless a gratuity is already charged on the bill
  • Taxi drivers 10-15%, rounded up to the next dollar
  • Valet parking attendants At least $2 when handed back the keys



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Traveller's Cheques

Since the advent of ATMs, traveller’s cheques are becoming obsolete, except as a trustworthy backup. If you carry them, buy them in U.S. dollars; local businesses may not cash them in a foreign currency. Keep a separate record of their numbers in case they are lost or stolen. American Express and Visa traveller’s cheques are the most widely accepted.



Lonely Planet logo

Includes content provided by Lonely Planet. The views expressed in Lonely Planet content are those of Lonely Planet, told without fear or favour. This information is as accurate as possible, but it is provided ‘as is’ and we accept no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience resulting from this information. You should verify critical information (like visas, health and safety) before you travel.

©2012 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. 

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