The best time for a trip to the USA depends on the region being visited and the type of trip you want to make. Because the country is so large, it has different climate zones. When planning a trip to the US, it is therefore important to look up the climate of the specific area being visited and adjust the departure date accordingly. Another important preparation for a trip to America is to apply for an ESTA, the mandatory travel authorisation for the USA.
Best travel time depends on the region
Because the climate in the United States varies from region to region, it is not possible to name a single best period for a trip to the USA that applies to the whole country. For example, a visit to the south-east is recommended at a different time compared to a trip along the west coast. For example, a trip to Alaska in the winter is only suitable for hardened adventurers, while other US states can be visited during the winter months without any problems. Another key factor to estimate the best travel time is whether you are visiting urban areas or national parks and nature reserves. Some states and regions have pleasant temperatures all year round, while others are better visited in a specific season. Below, you can see which months are most suitable for a trip to some of the best-known tourist areas in the USA.
Desert climate in West America
A number of states in western America, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Oregon have a partial desert climate. This means that it is very warm during the day, while it can get quite cold at night. In the summer months, daytime temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. What’s more, these are the states most visited by tourists in summer. In the winter months, it can cool down considerably in the west. The best travel time for the west of America is therefore in the spring or autumn, because temperatures are pleasant and there are relatively few tourists.
The east coast: from Virginia to New York
The climate in eastern America is comparable to that in Central Europe. For a city trip to New York, Boston, Washington or one of the other cities on the east coast of America, it is therefore also recommended travelling in spring or autumn. This way, you avoid the blizzards that occur regularly in winter and the hot temperatures in summer. Travellers who don't mind the cold and want to experience The Big Apple during Christmas can choose to travel in December.
The south-east of America: the Sunshine State
Florida isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing: the state has an average of more than 300 days of sunshine a year. However, like all states, Florida also has specific months when it is most optimal to visit. It is recommended to travel between the months of December and May. During the hurricane season, from June to November, Florida can face extreme weather conditions. However, it is also possible to travel during this period because the inhabitants of Florida and the accommodations in this state are well-prepared for possible hurricanes.
Hurricane Dennis in Florida
ESTA USA application
An ESTA USA can be applied for at any time. You do not need to know when exactly the trip to the United States will take place when filling in the application form. After the ESTA has been granted, travellers may decide for themselves the date on which they will arrive in the USA. The ESTA is valid for two years from the moment it is granted. This allows you to plan your trip with quite a bit of flexibility. The departure date can easily be postponed without having to apply for a new ESTA, or having to pass on changes to the immigration department. As long as the two-year validity period of the ESTA has not yet expired and all passport details on the ESTA are still correct, you can travel with the ESTA regardless of any changes in the travel date.
Travellers who find out that their destination is more suitable for a trip at another time can therefore simply use their ESTA at a later time. However, make sure that you still have the same passport that was used when applying for the ESTA and that you have not moved to another country. If you acquired a new passport or moved to another country, you will need to apply for a new ESTA or visa before you can travel to the USA again.