What you need to know before traveling to United States of America

The United States spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico plus the states of Alaska and Hawaii. Home to more than 320 million residents, the U.S. covers more than 3.80 million square miles. The country offers something for almost everyone, from the big industrial cities of the eastern United States to the relaxed resorts of the south, to the majestic national parks. With more than 69 million international travelers visiting the United States each year, US tourism is a major industry and travel-related businesses.

  • Key facts
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    New York City is the most popular tourist destination in the United States. It's easy to see why. This melting pot of cultures is America's cultural and economic capital and features something for virtually every taste and interest. Just a few of the many New York attractions include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the New York Metropolitan Art Museum, Greenwich Village and Central Park. However, this bustling metropolis is only a sample of all there is is to see in this vast country. Just a few of the other places you'll want to consider visiting when you travel to the United States include:

    • Washington DC

    • Miami and south Florida

    • Los Angeles and southern California

    • Denver and the Colorado Rockies

    • Boston

    • Chicago

    • The Hawaiian Islands

    • Seattle and the Pacific northwest

    • San Francisco

    Of course, these suggestions only touch the surface of all that there is to see in the United States. No single visit can even come close to see all the many natural and man-made attractions in the country.
    English is the official and primary language of the United States. However, Spanish is widely spoken in the southwestern U.S. and in south Florida. You'll also find pockets of French-speaking Americans in south Louisiana and northern Maine. In general, however, it's best to learn at least a few words of English before you travel.
    The official U.S. currency is the U.S. dollar.
  • Weather & when to go
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    There's really no bad time to travel to US. The sheer size of the country guarantees that the weather is nice somewhere in the 50 states. High season for travel to most parts of the U.S. is during the summer, from early June to late August. Ski season in the western U.S. runs from mid-November through mid-March. Warm weather resorts, such as those in south Florida and along the Gulf coast are most popular between January and April. Just a few of the average high temperatures in the United States include:

    • New York City -- 38/4 F/C in January; 84/29 in July

    • Miami-- 73/23 F/C in January; 88/31 in July

    • New Orleans-- 63/17 F/C in January; 90/32 in July

    • Los Angeles-- 64/18 F/C in January; 81/27 in July

    • Seattle-- 43/7 F/C in January; 73/23 in July

    • Chicago-- 30/-1 F/C in January; 84/29 in July

  • Getting around
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    Traveling by road is the most common way to get around the United States and the country has an expensive highway system. Car rentals are available in all airports and in most cities, even the smaller ones. The exception to this is the big, east coast cities like Boston and New York City, where driving and parking are difficult. There, you'll be better off taking the subway to get around. Train service is limited in the United States, except along the east coast. Amtrak operates several main train routes, such as between Chicago and San Francisco and between New York City and Sanford, Florida, but most have only one train per day.
    Virtually all U.S. cities of any size have an airport. Major international gateways include New York City's Kennedy Airport, Miami International Airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Know before you go
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    It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with American public holidays before you finalize your plans to visit USA. All government and public offices are closed on these days. Attractions and stores are generally open on holidays, except for New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Public holidays in the United States include:

    • January 1 -- New Year's Day

    • The third Monday in January -- Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday

    • The third Monday in February -- Presidents' Day (honors the birthdays of

    • George Washington and Abraham Lincoln)

    • The last Monday in May -- Memorial day

    • July 4 -- Independence Day

    • The first Monday in September -- Labor Day

    • The second Monday in October -- Columbus Day

    • November 11 -- Veterans' Day

    • The fourth Thursday in November -- Thanksgiving Day

    • December 25 -- Christmas Day

    To reach emergency services, such as emergency medical assistance, the fire department or the local police department, while traveling in the United States, dial 911.
    You need to carry a valid passport to enter the United States. In addition, citizens of most countries outside of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the countries of the European Economic Community will need to obtain a tourist visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy before arriving in the United States.
  • Travel tips & recommendations
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    • Mealtimes in the United States are earlier than in many other parts of the world. Lunch is typically eaten around 1:00 PM and dinner between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

    • American food varies by region. However, some of the country's specialties include hamburgers, grilled steaks, pizza and fried chicken. Seafood is plentiful on the coasts, particularly lobsters on the east coast and salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

    • Wine regions in the United States include the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California, the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Craft beer and small, independent breweries are also becoming popular in the United States.

    • There are many 24-hour stores in the United States, especially grocery and big box stores. Other retailers are generally open seven days a week, although independent stores may close on Sundays. Store hours vary, but many open at 10:00 AM and close around 7:00 PM.

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