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North America Travel Guide, Tours & Things to Do

Planning a holiday in amazing North America? Get inspired on the Top Oz Tours and Travel Ideas website. We go way beyond Oz! Our North America travel guide is packed with tips for getting the most from your trip.

North America travel guide
North America travel guide: Niagara Falls, Canada/USA

Whether you’re visiting captivating Canada, the mighty United States of America, or fascinating Mexico, the travel experience of a lifetime awaits you on the North American continent.

With its cosmopolitan city centres, vibrant First Nations culture, glorious scenery, and incredible wildlife, Canada is a destination with universal appeal. Aussies immediately feel at home here, and wherever you choose to roam in the ten million square kilometres that make up the world’s second largest country, you’ll be made to feel more than welcome.

The country’s west has long been a favoured destination for Australian travellers, and combining a road or rail adventure through the Rocky Mountains with an Alaskan Cruise is one of the most popular holiday options. The Rockies encompass snow-capped peaks, blue-green glaciers, endless conifer forests, and historic pioneering towns, and will hold you spellbound for the duration of your stay.

New York City travel guide

North America Day Tours, Activities & Experiences

While you’re in the west, take some time to get to know Vancouver — renowned for its cultural scene, food and shopping. Over on verdant Vancouver Island, British Columbia’s capital Victoria offers a trove of historical attractions.

Head east to the fascinating French-speaking cities of Quebec and Montreal. Stroll the cobbled streets of the old city centres and try traditional Quebecois cuisine, such as game meat pie. Poutine (French fries, gravy and cheese curd) is Canada’s unofficial national dish, and you’ll find it on every menu. Don’t miss a visit to charming capital Ottawa or cultural and economic powerhouse Toronto — the gateway to thundering Niagara Falls.

North America travel guide
North America travel guide: New York City, USA

From coast to coast, the USA is packed with memorable experiences and could keep a first-time visitor busy for months. Explore some of the greatest cities in the world, including New York, Washington DCLos Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Hit the theme parks in Orlando, Anaheim, and San Diego, or revel in the endless entertainment options along the glittering Las Vegas strip. Southern cities like AtlantaCharleston, and Savannah have an intricate history to share, while Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans are must-visits for music lovers.

However, a visit to the United States isn’t all about big city life. Leave time to heed the call of the country’s staggeringly beautiful wild spaces, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Rocky Mountains (which cross the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).

Top ten things to do in North America

Mexico offers a North American cultural experience like no other and is so easy to do when combined with a US holiday. Explore the vast National Museum of Anthropology and popular Frida Kahlo Museum in sprawling Mexico City, and dive into its extraordinary culinary scene. Learn about the ancient Mayan civilisation at fabled archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan, and get in some towel time in the hedonistic beach resort centres of Cancun, Cozumel, and Cabo San Lucas. Your time in Mexico won’t be anywhere near enough, and you’ll leave the country yearning to return!

Use this North America travel guide to access destination information, and find tours and guided experiences. Enjoy your holiday! Browse North America travel guides, tours, and things to do

North America multi-Day tours and trips

Save $100pp on North America Multi-Day Tours

North America travel tips

1. Only got a limited amount of time to get to know a new city? Our Big Five City Guides can help. We break each destination down into culture, history, dining, shopping and relaxation must-sees and dos. Access our city guides here.

2. Check the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for travel advisories about your chosen destination.

3. North America is a huge continent with massive variations in climate across the USA, Canada and Mexico. Check the average temperature carefully for your travel dates and pack accordingly.

North America travel guide
Go whale watching in Victoria BC, Canada. Image: Prince of Whales

4. Peak season in North America is generally the summer months of July and August. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can be good times to travel, especially to Canada where hotel prices are lower and the main tourist centres are less crowded. Spring is also the time to spot newborn wildlife, such as bear cubs in the Canadian Rockies. Winter is a wonderful time to visit many North American cities, but be prepared for sub-zero temperatures in many cases.

5. When booking point-to-point airfares within the USA and Canada be aware that very few airlines (including full service options) include checked luggage in the ticket price. Pre-book your checked luggage when you purchase your ticket. It’s significantly cheaper than paying at the airport. Remember that US airlines overbook flights as a matter of course. Always check in early to avoid the possibility of being bumped from your flight.

6. Tipping is expected in the USA, particularly within service industries such as hospitality where it represents a considerable part of the income of workers. The amount can be anywhere between 10 and 20% of the cost of your meal. Groups of six or more diners can attract an automatic service charge of up to 20%. Prices displayed in restaurants and bars in Canada don’t usually include the government sales tax and service charge. Don’t get caught out. The final bill can be significantly higher than anticipated.

North America travel guide
North America travel guide: San Francisco, USA

7. Food hygiene standards across the USA and Canada are excellent, but may be less so in Mexico. Restrict your intake of water to sealed bottles and always opt for food options that are freshly cooked. Avoid fresh salads and vegetables, which may have been rinsed in contaminated water. Avoid ice altogether unless you are absolutely certain it has been made from purified water. Practice high levels of personal hygiene and pack a comprehensive first aid kit.

8. When visiting cities such as New York where there are lots of tourist activities on offer, consider the New York Pass or its equivalent. It will save you money, particularly over stays of three or more days. Accommodation in key tourist centres like New York and Chicago can be very expensive — and very small! Try booking accommodation outside the main centres, but with easy access to public transport. Free Wi-Fi is widely available in the USA and Canada in hotels, bars and restaurants.

North America travel guide
North America travel guide: Chichen Itza, Mexico

9. While travelling in North America be vigilant but not paranoid. Be open to experiences but be aware of your surroundings and personal safety at all times, particularly in remote neighbourhoods. Exercise extra caution in Mexico’s larger cities. It’s unwise to use public transport at night. Keep valuables concealed. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Trust your intuition!

North America travel essentials

You can book many aspects of your holiday on the Top Oz Tours and Travel Ideas website, including hotels, car hire, travel insurance, and more. When you purchase a product or service using the following links from our partners, we receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay, and it enables us to continue to provide readers with amazing travel inspiration.

Flights

Compare airlines, flights, and fares in one place with Booking.com. They don’t charge any credit card fees and you can always see exactly what you’re paying for in the price breakdown. You can book one-way, round-trip, and multi-city flights, and change your travel dates with ease when you opt for a flexible ticket option (an additional cost applies). It all adds up to a great flight! Search for flights with Booking.com

Hotels

If you’re looking for a great deal on your next hotel or homestay, look no further than Booking.com. Their mission is to make travel affordable and accessible to more people, and to deliver seamless accommodation experiences that complement your holiday. Search for hotels and homestays with Booking.com

Car hire

Discover Cars is an award-winning (World Travel Awards) car rental comparison website, which helps customers find, compare, and hire cars at the most competitive prices globally. You’ll get access to meticulously maintained cars, 4WDs, and minibuses from the world’s leading brands, and at the best possible price. Search for hire cars with Discover Cars

Campervans & motorhomes

Make Jucy your first choice for campervan and motorhome hire. Since 2001, this progressive company has had a vision to be world-famous for enabling experience seekers to discover happiness on the road. The Jucy crew live and breathe their core values of passion, pride, family, and fun, and these values influence every one of their interactions with customers. They’re ready to help you find ‘your happy’! Search for campervans and motorhomes with Jucy

Day tours & experiences

Search and book day tours, guided experiences, and attraction tickets and passes worldwide with Top Oz Tours and Viator. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book through us, and you’ll have access to the widest choice of activities and most competitive prices. Browse day tours and experiences

Multi-day tours & trips

Travelling on an extended tour with a local guide is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the destination of your choice. Top Oz Tours has joined forced with Tour Radar to bring you a fabulous range of multi-day tours and trips from the world’s leading operators. Travel with like minded people and get the best possible price on the holiday of your dreams. Browse multi-day tours and trips

Travel insurance

World Nomads aims to be a part of every traveller’s journey by providing a reassuring range of travel insurance services. Travellers can buy insurance, extend their policy, and claim online, 24/7, on the road or from home. Travel insurance benefits include coverage for emergency medical and evacuation or repatriation, lost baggage, trip cancellation, and more than 150 adventure activities. Get an insurance costing from World Nomads

Do you have any tips to add to our North America travel guide? We would love to hear from you. Please send us a message.

The information contained in this guide is general in nature and does not constitute professional advice in any way. We make every effort to ensure this content is accurate, but we do not guarantee it. You should do your own research and seek the advice of professionals before acting or relying on any of the information provided in this guide.

Additional images: Bigstock

 

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