If you have just arrived in the United States, one of the first challenges you will face will probably be mobility. No matter where you come from, moving in the US is a matter that will not go unnoticed, especially if you come from a country with efficient or at least robust public transportation. Sooner rather than later you will realize that the United States is a country designed to get around by car, so before you read on, that’s the recommendation: get yourself a reliable and affordable car as soon as possible. Likewise, how to achieve it is not exactly easy, we will give you some advice on how to get around the United States with ease.
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How to get around the United States with ease
Buy a car
Having your own car is, by all accounts, the most efficient way to get around the United States. If you come from another country, especially from Latin America, you will realize that large cities in the United States are designed with multi-lane highways that surround them, while the streets and avenues are also wide. There are exceptions, like New York, where the Subway is a more efficient option than the car. Likewise, in cities with famous traffic jams with Los Angeles, the car is the most efficient way to get around.
That said, if you’ve just arrived in the US and started working, you probably have to put your income on other priorities than buying a car. You’ll notice another important cultural difference: Americans love roomy cars. They are comfortable, yes, but they also use more gas, so better imitate the Europeans and get yourself a compact car or a Prius, but since this is a relatively expensive model, the advice is to go for a second-hand car.
Where to buy a good second hand car? Chances are that where you live there is a good market for used vehicles. Talk to your neighbors or people you know, word of mouth is king in this regard. Similarly, to get a price reference, we recommend you search online platforms. Some of the most reliable are:
Use the public transportation
After the private car, and as long as you are in a city, the second best option (and also the most affordable) to get around is public transport, and that includes buses and the subway.
For reference, in Los Angeles the base fare for buses and subways is $ 1.75, base amount that only gives you access to one-way trips, and if you plan to make several transfers – a recommended option if you are traveling as a tourist – is to purchase a transportation pass for one day, the price of which is $ 7 dollars.
Also, if you plan to tour the city throughout the month, you can buy a monthly pass, which costs $ 100 in the case of Los Angeles.
If you’ve just arrived in the United States and you’re still not 100 percent fluent in English, the good news is that technology is on your side. Applications such as Google Maps have precise information on the different lines of public transport. And if this one in the United States is not the most efficient in terms of interconnectivity, it is definitely on time. Of course, take into account that you could spend several minutes at a stop until the bus arrives.
Uber, Lyft and taxis
Another public transport option is Uber Y Lyft. These applications work in practically all cities in the United States and are convenient, because you only need to have their application on your cell phone to request a car wherever you are.
Also, before it was necessary to have a debit or credit card to use Uber or Lyft. That requirement is a thing of the past, because today you can pay either of the two services in cash or use prepaid cards.
Finally, another option that you can use is a taxi. However, there are important differences here with respect to how these operate in some Latin American countries. In general, you will not find places where you can take a taxi, so you will have to call a company that offers this service, give the address where you are and the place where you require the service, as well as the date and time at which you need it.
Every city has different companies, so be sure to search sites like Google for a local business.
And for longer trips …
Take the train or take a flight
Because the United States is a huge country, the easiest way to travel from coast to coast or between states is to take a flight or train.
On the other hand, if what you want is to take a train trip, the most extensive company is Amtrak, which has 30 routes throughout the United States (and some more in Canada). Several of the routes take you through the main cities of the United States, and although they are not the fastest option to travel, it may be the most striking if you are looking to enjoy the landscape. Travel rates vary depending on your destination, but will always be cheaper than a flight (we calculated a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles and the price ranged between $ 74 and $ 84).