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A beginner’s guide to the USA

Got a short stopover in NYC? Picture: Contiki

Got a short stopover in NYC? Picture: Contiki

Published Jun 24, 2016


The USA is a big, big country. And first timers to the area are forgiven for being overwhelmed in having to pick an itinerary and route to see as much as possible in the travel time they have available to them.

Whether you’re just passing through the USA, or are planning to explore the country in a lot more depth over a couple of weeks, there are tons of tour options to suit the time available to you.

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Anything from a quick city run-through in one day, to long haul tours spanning across cities over a few weeks - here are some of my top picks.

Got a short stopover in NYC?

There are a variety of trips that last anything from an hour to half a day that will show you the best of the city that never sleeps.

If you’ve got 75 minutes to kill, hop on a Liberty Circle Line Cruise. You’ll get a live narrated tour as you view New York’s skyline, the World Financial Centre and the Statue of Liberty.

Got two hours layover in New York? Why not take in the remarkable views of the New York City skyline? A Harbour Lights City tour is a must. Hop on board as the ship sails down the Hudson, cruises around the Battery, up the East River and back to the 42nd Street Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises pier. As you enjoy the landmark backdrop, colourful commentary from expert NYC tour guides punctuates the experience. It’s a great way to see more of the city if your time is limited in NYC.


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A photo posted by Contiki Vacations (@contikiusa) on Jan 17, 2013 at 5:48pm PST


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Three days is all you need for a quick LA Explorer trip.

Go local and explore LA on your own time with a two night package. Hit Hollywood Boulevard, visit Universal Studios or shop Rodeo Drive as you live it up in the City of Angels. With delicious restaurants and a rooftop garden that overlooks the breath taking city skyline, it’s got easy access to Hollywood & Universal Studios and is a short stroll from LA’s iconic attractions and evening hot spots and the metro.

A week in the USA is more than enough time to experience a Grand Canyon sunset, stargaze in Los Angeles, roll the dice in Las Vegas, indulge in the attractions of San Diego, and get your kicks on Route 66 – all in one tour.

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If you have a few extra days to spare, why not continue along Route 66 at your own pace by renting a Harley and seeing one of the most famous routes in the world, from the back of a motorcycle.

If you’re looking for a tour which covers everything from music and mountains, to monuments and beyond, an eight day Eastbound trip from New Orleans to New York is just what you need. Embrace big city beats and Nashville grooves; feel the beat in Memphis and New Orleans; drive through the Appalachian Mountains; explore monuments in Washington DC; and finally, see the sites in New York City. From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, this roadtrip swings south along the East Coast and captures the best cities, historical monuments and beautiful scenery from New Orleans and New York to and everything in between.



A photo posted by Contiki Vacations (@contikiusa) on Sep 22, 2012 at 7:20pm PDT


Starting in New Orleans, take an optional tour of Graceland, opt to relive history at the National Civil Rights Museum, or tour the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum – before making your way onto Nashville, where your journey toward New York continues.

When your tour ends, you can opt for a helicopter ride around NYC which provides awe-inspiring views of the Big Apple’s most iconic landmarks. As you soar above New York City down the East River, you will fly right over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges viewing the United Nations and Chrysler Buildings before cutting across to the sound-end of Central Park.

If you’re looking to bridge two iconic cities in 16 days, a San Francisco to New Orleans road trip should be on your bucket list. This adventure features amazing national parks, quirky landmarks and the spirit of America.

Learn about Navajo culture, play the odds in Vegas, bask in genuine Southern hospitality and get your cowboy on in Texas. Centrally located hostels in the cities and campsites in the wilderness keep you in the heart of the action no matter where you are.

As you can see, there’s tons to see and do in the USA no matter how long (or short) a trip you may be planning.

Adapted from a press release for IOL

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