First Timer Questions

Travel Forums North America First Timer Questions

Last Post This thread is marked as being about USA
1. Posted by baillie79 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!


Few questions from a first timer, who is visting the US in early June. I'm booked on a coach trip, lasting 9 days: 3 nights on New York, 3 at Niagara Falls, 1 in Philadelphia, and 2 in Washington. My accommodation is all paid for, and breakfast is included. Being my first time traveling to the US, or anywhere that requires a passport for that matter, there are a few things I'm not sure about.

  • How much money will I need to take with me?, I'll need money for food, probably some trips and general spending etc
  • Am I best to take a mixture of travelers cheques and cash or just cash?
  • Can travelers cheques be used as cash, or do they need to be exchanged?
  • I'm going to sign up for a new credit card, one with 0% foreign commission, is the chip and pin system used in the US, as it is here, or will I have to sign for it?
  • Is there anything else a first time traveler should be aware of?

There's probably some other things which I have forgotten about, but I can always post again tomorrow, thanks to anybody who takes the time to reply.

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

The chip/PIN system for credit cards in North America is just starting to come out (ironically, it's SA that's more advanced, since they're technology is newer). Some merchants have the technology, but I'd say most don't--you'll need to sign a lot of the time.

I wouldn't bother with traveller's cheques, either--you'll do fine with a credit card and a few trips to an ATM. Don't carry too much cash over, if any at all. The U.S. has plenty of convenient ATMs and your credit card will be accepted just about everywhere.

Enjoy your trip!

3. Posted by avf136 (Budding Member 22 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

I second everything tway said. I live in the Washington DC area and I don't know of any merchants who use chip and pin. Yes there are ATM's everywhere, just be aware that most of them will charge a small (couple of dollars at most) fee since your card isn't from their bank.
Oh, and be sure to dress lightly - DC in June will be hot and humid.
Have fun!