North America

What can I expect from traveling in North America?

Traveling in North America offers a diverse range of experiences, since the continent is home to a variety of cultures, landscapes, and attractions. North America encompasses 23 countries, among them Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, Central American countries, and several smaller island nations situated in the Caribbean Sea. In North America, you can find geographical diversity, bustling cities, cultural variety, historical sites, wildlife, theme parks, incredible beaches and so much more.

Below are some suggestions for planning your journey to the North American continent:

  • Language Considerations – While English is widely spoken, especially in the United States and Canada, it’s helpful to learn basic phrases in the local languages, especially if you’re venturing into non-English speaking countries. Many people in other North American countries (like Cuba and Mexico) can speak some English, but it’s helpful and respectful to learn a few phrases in Spanish as well.
  • Visas and Documentation – Check the visa requirements for the countries you’ll be visiting. If you’re interested in visiting the USA, most travelers (even from the EU) will need to apply for an ESTA. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned return date.
  • Seasonal Considerations – North America experiences diverse climates at the same time, unlike planning a trip to Europe, where summer is the peak season across most countries. Be aware of the weather conditions in the regions you’ll be visiting and pack accordingly. Consider the high tourist season and plan accordingly to avoid crowds.

Bucket List Experiences in North America

Explore Banff National Park - Canada
Dive in the Great Blue Hole - Belize
Explore Old Havana - Cuba
Float in Bacalar Lagoon - Mexico
Road trip on Route 66 - USA
Zip line in the rainforest - Costa Rica
Climb Dunn's River Falls - Jamaica
Marvel at Niagara Falls - USA/Canada
Take a seaplane tour - Bahamas
north america bucket list - bacalar mexico
California lifeguard stand

Typical Costs When Traveling

The daily travel expenses in North America can have significant variations, influenced by factors such as the specific country you are visiting, your personal preferences, and your chosen travel style. Generally, exploring Canada and the USA tends to incur higher costs compared to travel in Mexico or Belize. While it’s not impossible to travel Canada and the USA on a tighter budget, it can be challenging due to the elevated costs associated with popular destinations like national parks, theme parks, large cities, and beautiful beaches. On the other hand, countries in Central America, such as Guatemala and Belize, can be explored comfortably with a limited budget. For this rough budget breakdown, I will be use the USA and Guatemala as examples.


Budget Travel – USA: $35 – $55 per day 

Budget Travel – Guatemala: $10 – $30 per day 

  • Stay in budget hostels or private rooms in Airbnbs

Mid-Range Travel – USA: $150 – $250 per day 

Mid-Range Travel – Guatemala: $50 – $100 per day 

  • Stay in mid-range hotels or Airbnbs

Luxury Travel – USA: $250+ per day 

Luxury Travel – Guatemala: $130+ per day 


While there aren’t many options for street food in the USA (mostly fast food restaurants), there are numerous options in Guatemala. Average minimum food costs per day:

USA: $40 per day

Guatemala: $15 per day


The majority of the USA lacks convenient public transportation options (with the exception of New York City), making it likely that you’ll need to rent a car for travel. In Guatemala, visitors can get around using small vans or minibuses, and there are tourist shuttles available connecting major tourist destinations.

North America Travel Destinations - Collage

Mid-range suggested daily budget – $220 (USA) or $80 (Guatemala)

*Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a mid-range hotel or Airbnb, eating at affordable restaurants, and using local transportation (if possible) or renting the cheapest car. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat at nicer restaurants, expect this to be higher!

Money Saving Tips

Travel during off peak season Consider traveling during the off-peak or shoulder seasons of your destination in order to take advantage of lower accommodation and activity prices.
Cook your own meals If you're staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen, you can save money on dining by cooking your own meals. Many destinations (especially in Central America) have local markets where you can buy fresh ingredients.
Explore free activities Research free attractions, parks, and events. Many cities offer free walking tours, museums with free entry days (or free entry with a student ID), and outdoor activities that won't cost you anything.
Get travel insurance (especially if you are visiting the USA) While it may seem counterintuitive, investing in travel insurance can save you money in case of unexpected events like trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. I highly recomment travel insurance every time you travel, but especially in the USA where costs of medical care are astronomically high.

My Must Read Guides For Traveling North America ↓


Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

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