As much as it is both a symbol of freedom and a source of controversy, the United States of America still beckons millions from all over the world with its promise of opportunity or what is better known as the American Dream. It is often referred to as a virtual melting pot where diversity in culture, race, religion, and language blend together to produce a single, and for the most part, united nation.
The country is difficult to sum up in a single sentence. Political views, scientific discoveries and the latest Hollywood gossip make regular appearances in international newspapers, but these tidbits represent a tiny fraction of the culture existing within a landmass that is similar in size to Canada or China.
The United States can offer the traveler a breadth of sightseeing and adventure. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, the rich American landscape encompasses sweeping mountains ranges, national parks, sun-kissed beaches and wide open desert spaces. With such a vast terrain, it's been said that one of the best ways to see America is on a road trip. Pick up a copy of the pop culture favorite “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac and hop on the famous Route 66 for a cross country sample of American culture.
Highlights from United States
- New York City The city that never sleeps, NYC is the most populous city in the USA
- Yellowstone National Park Spanning through three states, Yellowstone National Park is home to the fierce grizzly bear and famous geyser, Old Faithful.
- Glacier National Park, Montana, or the Rocky Mountains, Colorado have some of the country's most spectacular mountain scenery.
- Camp out under the stars in the Mojave Desert like a real cowboy or cowgirl.
- Washington, DC The nation's capital and home to the Library of Congress, White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian and more.
- Visit one of the many stunning waterfalls in Washington State, the Evergreen State.
- Celebrate Mardi Gras or attend the Jazz Festival in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Lounge on the beach or learn how to surf in California, Florida, or Hawaii.
- Witness the Northern Lights in Alaska.
Hints and Tips for United States
- Research visa requirements prior to arriving. Some citizenships are allowed visa waivers (though travelers must apply for an ESTA online approval) while others must research the specific visa requirements and fees (up to $200) as details vary. If you are entering through an international airport, be prepared for stringent security and long lines. Simple daypacks and clothes can quicken the slow process.
- Exchange rates mean that America can be expensive for travelers visiting from other countries. Make sure to bring extra cash, especially for spending in the big cities.
- Travel Insurance -- The US has some of the best health care in the world but it's also extremely expensive. Travel insurance is a must.
- Tipping is customary in restaurants and is not included in the bill except for some parties that are large in number. Adding on a tip of 15-20% is standard.
- Although not as common as hotels or motels, there are youth hostels in The States.