While pop culture and Hollywood tales may have taught us that the US loves patriotism, country music and Oprah, there are a few other things you'll need to learn about the States on your own. Like how much to tip, where to get basketball tickets and will you live to regret eating that hotdog? Some we can't help you with, the ones we can are addressed below.
As it stands, Australian passport holders are eligible to holiday in the USA for up to 90 days without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. In order to travel under this program, you must apply and be granted authorisation through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization prior to your trip. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the minute visa information, contact your local US embassy or consulate.
The currency in the USA is the US Dollar. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the US Dollar fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider bringing a credit card or travel money card with you. Cash passports are ideal for international travel as they can hold a range of currencies, including US Dollars, and can be used like credit cards.
Get ready to be bombarded with the national question: "Would you like fries with that?''. What else would you expect from the country that invented the Happy Meal? While fast-food outlets of all persuasions are widespread in the States, there are plenty of other delicacies to try that don't involve being supersized. Like cream cheese bagels in New York, barbecue ribs in Kansas City, cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and clam chowder in New England. Soul food in the south is also a highlight with signature dishes including cornbread, gumbo and buffalo wings. And for something sweet, nothing beats a slice of all-American apple pie with a side of whipped cream and ice-cream. Yum!
When it comes to nightlife in the USA, Miami would have to be numero uno. The southern beach city with a Latino flavour enjoys a never-ending happy hour with revellers packing out clubs and dancing on beaches at all hours of the day and night. The country's other 24-hour party zone is, of course, Las Vegas - the city of sin, lights and mischievous bachelor parties. And then there's the city that never sleeps - New York - where a night out on the town could mean a diamond-encrusted martini at a Manhattan rooftop bar or an ice-cold beer in a basement in Brooklyn - depending on your budget.