Travel guide to United States

» United States
All your desires could be fulfilled in this country - the consumer paradise. You can find anything from beautiful white sandy beaches filled with palm trees to large forests, deserts, excellent skiing opportunities in the mountains and fascinating cities which never sleep.

Facts

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Local name
The United States of America
Capital
Washington DC (607.000)
Size
9.809.155 km2
Principal Languages
English
Principal Religion
Protestantism
Inhabitants
270.298.524 (1998)
Government
Federal republic
Geography
The United States cover a large part of the North American continent. The country borders on Canada and Mexico. Understandably, the geographical variation is immense because of the size of the country. The climate stretches from subtropical to arctic with an equally broad variation in flora and fauna. The country has three large mountain ranges: the Appalachians in the east, the Rocky Mountains in the west and the Sierra Nevada along the border between Nevada and California.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

The most popular time to go to the States is in the summer from June to August, but spring and autumn can also be a good choice. Travellers should be aware of the fact that to the East of the Rocky Mountains summers can be very hot and humid. If you visit the country in the winter the opportunities for skiing are good.

Literature

Lets Go 2000 USA Lonely Planet USA

Local conditions

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Currency

US Dollars (US$)

Net cafes

There are Internet cafés in almost every single city in the United States.

In case of emergency

For emergencies in the States dial the following number: Police, ambulance and fire department: 911.

Tipping

An approximately 15 percent tip is customary at restaurants, in hotels and in taxis.

Timezone

When it is 12 oclock in the UK, its 7 a.m. on the East coast, 6 a.m. in the central part of the States, 5 a.m. in the Western mountain regions and 4 a.m. at the West coast.

Weight and Measures

In the States the following units of weight and measurement are used: Length: miles Weight: pounds (lbs) Fluids: gallons

Photography

There are no specific rules about photography.

Drinking water

You can drink the tap water without worries.

Electricity

In the States the following power source is used: 110/120 volts AC, 60Hz.

Behaviour

There are no specific rules about behaviour.

Business Hours

Most banks are open from 9.00 to 16.00 (Mon-Fri), but some have prolonged opening hours. Stores are usually open from 9.00 to 18.00 (Mon-Sat), but some shops have longer opening hours and some are open on Sundays as well. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day. Offices are open from 9.00 to 17.30 (Mon-Fri).

Food and drink

In the States the opportunities are myriad when it comes to eating. You can find anything from five-star restaurants to ordinary eating-places and fast food chains. Anything is served, and there are many international kitchens and restaurants from other countries. A very common thing to eat, though, is a dish consisting of beef and salad, and barbecues are very popular when the weather allows it. When it comes to drinking you can get everything from good wine to excellent beer and fine liquor.

Disabled travellers

The conditions for disabled people are reasonable in most places in the States, though it does vary from town to town and from state to state. Generally most buildings and means of transport provide good access opportunities for wheelchairs, but it is always a good idea to contact the places you want to visit and ask in advance.

Holidays

There are big variations from state to state. The dates mentioned below affect all public offices and apply in most states. New Years Day: January 1st Independence Day: July 4th Veterans Day: November 11th Christmas Day: December 25th Shifting holidays: Martin Luther King Day: the 3rd Monday in January The Presidents day: the 3rd Monday in February Columbus Day: the 2nd Monday in October

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are many camping sites in the country, and many of them are situated near national parks and other nature sights.

Hotels

There are hotels in every city and in every area of the States. There are many luxurious hotels representing international hotel chains, but there are also many medium-priced and low-priced options. The standards of the hotels are generally good.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

There is a network of guesthouses across the States. Normally it is a cozy and charming way to put up for the night at a reasonable price. B&Bs are often run by private persons offering rooms and breakfast to overnight guests.

Hostels

There are hostels all over the country. They can be found in almost all cities and areas and are normally a good place to spend the night at a low cost. In some cases it can be a good idea to book in advance if you want to be sure to get a room.

Other Accommodation

In the southwestern part of the country many farmers offer overnight accommodation and vacation activities including riding and chasing herds of cattle.

Local transport

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Planes

Domestic planes connect all larger cities in the country, and because of the large number of different airline companies competing with each other prices can vary immensely.

Bus

The bus services in the States are highly developed. You can go almost anywhere by bus at a reasonable price. The largest long distance bus company is Greyhound.

Trains

There are good train connections in the country. Trains run between all larger cities, and going by train offers you the great opportunity of enjoying nature while travelling. Amtrak is the biggest train company with more than 500 routes. Many places you can buy travel cards allowing you to board and alight from the train when you want to.

Taxi

There are taxis in every city in the States. Most of them use taximeters and they can easily be hired in the street.

Car rental

Because of the well-developed road system the car is a good means of transport in the States. It is possible to rent cars in almost every city; you have to be over 21 years old to rent one, though.

Boat or Ferry

There are good opportunities for going by boat and ferry along the coasts and on lakes and rivers - especially on the Ohio River, which is one of the most heavily used rivers in the world.

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