Iowa — Travel Tips
More than 90 percent of Iowa’s population is white, though there is a wide diversity of European ethnicity. Germans make up the largest European ethnic group, so it’s possible to hear German spoken in traditional rural communities like the Amana Colonies. But English is overwhelmingly the language used in Iowa, and there is very little accent to worry about with this Midwestern dialect.
In America, the only currency in use is the US dollar (US$). Banknotes are available in denominations of US$1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. There are 100 cents in a dollar, and coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents. Visitors who need to exchange foreign currency will need to visit a bank, probably in a major city like Des Moines. ATMs are readily available in downtown areas of cities, in bank branches, and major stores like supermarkets and Walmarts. Major credit cards are another convenient way to pay in Iowa, with Visa, MasterCard, and to a lesser degree, American Express accepted in most businesses. Travelers’ checks will need to be cashed at a bank.
Iowa is in the Central Time Zone (GMT -6, GMT -5 during March 12 – November 4).
Iowa and America in general use electricity at 110-120V, 60Hz. Flat two-prong plugs are commonly used, so a universal plug adapter kit is a good idea to bring along if traveling from Asia or Europe.
In the United States the dialing code is +1. Iowa uses five area codes depending on the section of the state. In Des Moines and the surrounding area it is 515, while the Cedar Rapids region uses 319. The other three area codes are 563, 641, and 712. This website is useful to find the exact area code for any town in Iowa. Mobile phone coverage is available across the state via several carriers, and wireless internet service will only be easily found in Iowa’s larger cities and college towns at businesses like coffee shops and libraries.
When entering the United States, each passenger over 18 years may bring one liter of alcohol, 200 cigarettes (or 50 non-Cuban cigars or two kilograms of tobacco) and gifts valued at US $400 without paying duty tax. There are no duty-free shops at Iowa’s airports, so this won’t be an issue for international visitors.
Consulates serving Iowa
Canadian Consulate, Chicago: +1-312-6161860
German Consulate, Chicago: +1-312-202-0480
Netherlands Consulate, Chicago: +1-877-388-2443
French Consulate, Chicago: +1-312-787-5359
Australian Consulate, Chicago: +1-312-419-1480
British Consulate, Chicago: +1-312-970-3800
Emergency services: 911