United States Transportation

How to Get Around United States


Traveling by plane

According to top-medical-schools, it takes about 5 hours to fly from the eastern United States to the west, and about 2 hours from the north to the south. Since there is very strong competition between the airlines, the flight prices are quite different. In addition to the usual First and Economy Class booking classes, there are numerous special tariffs and discounts. The major airlines American Airlines (AA), United (UA), Delta (DL) and Southwest Airlines (WN) serve cities in all states of the USA. American Airlines (AA) hubs are: Los Angeles (California), Phoenix (Arizona), Chicago (Illinois), New York City, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Charlotte (North Carolina), Dallas (Texas) and Miami (Florida) ; United (UA): New York, Washington DC, Chicago (Illinois), Houston (Texas), Denver (Colorado), Los Angeles (California) and San Francisco (California); Delta (DL): Los Angeles (California), Seattle (Washington), Salt Lake City (Utah), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Cincinnati (Ohio), Boston (Massachusetts), Detroit (Michigan), Atlanta (Georgia); Southwest Airlines (WN): including Houston (Texas), New York City, Denver (Colorado), Los Angeles (California), Phoenix (Arizona), Chicago (Illinois), Washington DC Alaska Airlines (AS) also flies to various other states to a variety of Alaskan destinations including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Bethel and Dillingham. ExpressJet Airlines (EV), as a partner airline of American Airlines, Delta and United, operates its fleet primarily on behalf of these airlines and flies between various cities in the United States.

Air Travel Note

Attention: As of May 3, 2023, travelers aged 18 and over will need an ID document (e.g. US driver’s license, passport, etc.) that meets the REAL ID criteria for domestic flights. US ID documents that meet the REAL ID criteria are usually marked with an asterisk.

Flight times

Detroit – New York: 1 hour 40 minutes; Los Angeles – Chicago: 4 hours 15 minutes; Los Angeles – New York: 5 hrs 20 mins; Miami – Chicago: 3 hours 10 minutes; Miami – Los Angeles: 7 hours; Miami – New York: 2 hours 40 minutes; New York – Chicago: 2 hours 50 minutes; New York – Dallas: 4 hours; New York – Detroit: 2 hours; New York – Los Angeles: 6 hours; New York – Miami: 3 hours 10 minutes; Seattle – San Francisco: 1 hr 50 min. For additional flight times see States from AZ.


STA Travel offers three air passes for the USA: The Jet Blue Airpass lets you book 3 or more flights across the entire Jet Blue network in the USA at once. The Jet Blue Airpass is valid for 90 days, can be changed flexibly, and luggage is included. Airpass American Crossing for the route Anchorage – Seattle – New York – Fort Lauderdale. Airpass East Coaster for the route Chicago – New York – Boston – Washington. Both Airpasses are valid for young people under the age of 26 and students with an ISIC card.

Traveling by car/bus

The best way to explore the country is by car, although the distances are vast. You should estimate the driving times correctly in order to avoid overexertion. The driving conditions are excellent, all places are connected to the road network. Tolls: There are numerous toll roads, tunnels, bridges, etc., especially in the eastern United States. So-called turnpikes and parkways are privately financed and therefore subject to a fee. Petrol stations are mostly open around the clock. You often have to pay in advance (Pay First) or deposit a credit card. In the USA, you fill up in gallons (1 gallon corresponds to 3.78 liters), to which the displayed prices also refer. Gasoline is significantly cheaper in the US than in Europe.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Car rental

Car Hire: The well-known international car hire companies are available at all major airports and in major cities. The minimum age for drivers is usually 21 years; but also 25 for some car rental companies. An international driver’s license is not required, but is recommended. Bookings in the country of departure are usually cheaper than in the USA. Drive Away: AAA and Auto Drive Away offer the ability to transfer cars on certain routes. You have to leave a deposit and pay for the gas yourself; the arrival time is mandatory and leaves little leeway for sightseeing (those who arrive later have to pay large fines). Some companies offer this service as far away as Canada. For more information, contact Auto Driveaway, tel. 1-800-346 22 77 (toll free). Campers/Motorhomes: Campers and motorhomes are another great way to get to know the vast country. There are numerous models with different levels of comfort. Insurance: Travelers renting a vehicle in the US are strongly recommended to have liability insurance with at least €1 million coverage.


Greyhound World Travel, the largest bus company in the USA and another 11,000 bus companies provide all states with inexpensive connections. Greyhound intercity buses are air-conditioned, have reclining seats and toilets. Greyhound serves an extensive route network throughout the country and also connects the USA with Mexico and Canada. Greyhound Lines offers discounts for children and students. Flixbus serves cities in the US Southwest such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego.


Traffic regulations: – alcohol limit in most states: 0.8 ‰, under 21 years: 0.0 ‰. Strictly speaking, however, the blood alcohol limit is generally 0.0 ‰, since driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited in the USA if driving behavior is impaired (DUI = driving under influence). It is therefore generally not advisable to drive after drinking alcohol. There are strict controls and high penalties. – Using a phone while driving is illegal in most states. – No smoking in the car when underage people are driving. – School buses with hazard lights on must stop in both directions. – Parking spaces are usually chargeable and equipped with machines for payment. Parking is forbidden at curbs marked in yellow and in the vicinity of hydrants and driveways (3 m distance). Outside of town, you are not allowed to stop or park on the road. There are often heavy penalties for parking violations. – Right turns are allowed at red lights after a full stop in all US states except New York City; Exception: traffic signs with a crossed-out right-turn arrow or the inscription ‘No Turn On Red’. – Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists in most states. – It is generally recommended to drive with your headlights on during the day as the laws vary from state to state. – Carrying a fire extinguisher and first aid kit is also recommended. Each state has other different traffic rules and regulations. Important NOTE: If you are stopped by the police, you should stay in the car, open the window, keep your hands clearly visible on the steering wheel and wait for instructions. Speed ​​limits vary by state: within built-up areas: 25-30 mph (40-48 km/h); on interstate highways: 55-70 mph (88-112 km/h); on US and state highways: 55-85 mph (88-136 km/h). Signs on motorways indicate the maximum speeds; Exceeding the limit can result in high penalties.

Roadside Assistance

The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: Tel. +49-89 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49-89 76 76 76. The American Automobile Association (AAA), Tel. +1-407-444 7000, helps ADAC members with breakdowns and accidents. In addition, he keeps maps, tour suggestions and other information material free of charge in his branches for ADAC members.


You must carry your national driver’s license with you. An international driver’s license is recommended but not required.

Traveling in the city

Some US cities have a good public transportation system. There are subway networks in several major cities, e.g. B. in New York (Subway), Washington DC (Metro), Boston (»T«), Chicago (Train), Los Angeles (Metro) and San Francisco (BART – Bay Area Rapid Transit). In addition, there are several streetcars and trolleybuses, including San Francisco’s popular vintage cable cars. In the USA, the colors on the curbs mark different parking and stopping zones: red: no stopping; Yellow: Loading Zone – loading zone for vans; Yellow and black: truck loading zone; Blue: Disabled parking space; Green: 10 minutes parking; White: Passenger Loading Zone – boarding and disembarking only. Annotation: Parts of the subway network can be dangerous off-peak and at night, but offer fast, cheap, and reliable service during the day (especially in New York, Boston, and Chicago). Using other means of transport during the day is often very inconvenient.

Locally on the way by train

Almost all long-distance trains are operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), with suburban and short-haul trains operated by regional companies. Amtrak’s route network covers 46 of the 50 US states. However, many routes are only served once a day. San Francisco and Las Vegas are served by Amtrak-operated bus routes (Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches). From the Chicago hub there are connections to Seattle, Portland, Oakland (bus to San Francisco), Los Angeles via Kansas City – Albuquerque – Flagstaff, San Antonio via St. Louis – Dallas and New Orleans via Memphis. A connection exists between San Antonio and Los Angeles via El Paso – Tucson – Phoenix. Trains also run from Los Angeles to New Orleans. The ACELA Express, a bullet train, runs hourly during peak hours between downtown Boston, New York and Washington. Driving time between Washington and New York is 3 hours; between New York and Boston 3.5 hours. Amtrak also operates a car train, the Auto-Train, from Lorton, Virginia near Washington DC to Sanford, Florida near Orlando. The DB Autozug commutes daily in about 17 hours without stopping between the two places. The trains usually have couchette cars, sleeping cars, a restaurant, cafe, club lounge and on the trains in the west also observation cars. For more information, contact Amtrak, Tel. +1-215-856 7952 and the Amtrak representatives in Hamburg: CRD International, Tel. +49-40-300 616 70 and Berlin: MESO Reisen, Tel. 0800-200 60 88.

rail passes

Information on the USA Rail Pass from Amtrak see Getting to the USA.

Note on the train journey

Average travel times: Chicago – New Orleans: 19 hours; Chicago – New York: 18 hrs; Chicago – Washington DC: 17 hrs; Los Angeles – Dallas: 46 hrs; Los Angeles – Chicago: 69 hours; New York – Miami: 30 hrs; New York – New Orleans: 30 hrs; New York – Washington DC: 4 hours. See States AZ for additional travel times.

Traveling by ship

The ship connections on the rivers, lakes and coasts are very good. There is a lot of shipping traffic on the Ohio River and the Mississippi. The Great Lakes: Passenger, cargo and pleasure boats operate the great rivers and lakes from Duluth, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo. Princess Cruises offer East Coast, West Coast and Alaskan cruises. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises West Coast Cruises.

United States Transportation