USA Family Holidays FAQs
What is different about your holidays in the USA?
We have developed our USA collection to get the optimum balance between independent and guided activities. There are some places where you don’t need a guide and you will have more fun exploring independently. However, there are also activities and places where having a guide will deeply enhance your experience. We strike a careful balance between these two and, having tried and tested the trips ourselves, believe we have developed itineraries that are unique and exciting.
In a nutshell: Handpicked activities and accommodation and a balance of independent vs guided
How do we get there?
You can get direct flights from the UK to the USA. Some of the most competitive fares are from London to Las Vegas, but you can also fly to Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles direct. Flight times to Las Vegas are approximately 10 ½ hours. For this reason, coupled with the time difference, we strongly suggest you try to get direct flights as having to go via another gateway airport adds time and pain to the journey, especially on your outbound flights. In the summer months of July & August, expect to pay from £850 for return flights to Las Vegas. Cheaper deals are available for Easter and October half terms. Experience shows that it pays to book ahead with trans-Atlantic flights, as prices are prone to increase closer to the departure date.
We are ATOL bonded and can happily help with your flight booking.
Do we need visas?
British passport holders are eligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme. You need to provide your flight information and passport details and pay an administrative fee. Applying is pretty straight forward and can be done via this official website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
Once you arrive in the US, you will need to queue for immigration. You will need to do this even if you are in transit. You will need to provide finger prints and eye scans (although children won’t need these.) It is well worth having extra treats to hand out to tired children as the queues are long.
How much will it cost?
Our USA family holidays start from £850 per person, based on a family of four travelling together. This price covers a hire car, all accommodation and activities as per the itineraries. On top of that, you will need to budget for flights, which are from £850 in the summer holidays, closer to £600 for Easter and October half term. Once there, you will need to budget for tips, entrance fees, petrol and food - expect to spend from $150 per day, although this price will depend wildly on where you eat and viist.
How long do I need?
To a certain extent, the answer to that question is how long is a piece of string? It really depends on how long you have and your budget. The costs of flying out to the USA are not insignificant, so we suggest that you plan your time carefully.
Most people need at least a couple of days to adjust to the time difference, so you will need to allow yourselves a couple of rest days at the beginning of your holiday. This time, more than any, you will appreciate splashing out on some nice accommodation with a pool, especially if you are arriving in the middle of the summer; hot and tired children is not a great combination.
We have two and three week itineraries for you to choose from. If you have three weeks, then you can go at a slightly gentler pace and see most of the highlights of the area. Two weeks will not be enough time to see everything, so we have put together a range of itineraries for you to choose from.
What is it like travelling in the USA with children?
The USA is a very family friendly destination to visit with children. The entire tourism industry is set up to deal with families; from the hotels to restaurants and national parks. The pitfalls are the long car journeys and the fact that children don’t always find admiring views and Mother Nature as fascinating as adults. This is why we have designed our itineraries to have a mixture of active and adventurous pursuits, as well as self-guided aspects, to ensure that a balance is struck on your holiday.
When is the best time to go?
The South Western States enjoy a four season climate, although experience more extremes than in the UK. Winters can be cold with plenty of snow. Summer temperatures can be high (reaching the high 30’s in places) and the humidity means that there can be thunderstorms, especially in July & August.
Spring and autumn have milder temperatures, making it an ideal time for keen hikers to visit. We suggest that if you want to spend any time hiking in the Grand Canyon, then you are better saving your visit for these seasons.
The National Parks tend to be busier around the public holidays and school holidays (June / July)
What is the accommodation like?
Accommodation for families is usually in larger hotels which we have chosen for the facilities and location. Our experience tells us that travelling with children in the heat of the desert makes a swimming pool a necessity, especially after a long drive. Room options are usually a choice between inter-connecting rooms or sharing two large beds (which is what most domestic travellers choose to do) Many, but not all, hotel rooms have tea & coffee making facilities, wifi and a tv as a standard. Some may also have a fridge and microwave. Breakfast is not offered as a standard, although is included in some places.