United States -

History
Culture
Climate
Regions
Geography
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Other destinations

These are some of the larger and more famous destinations outside of major cities.
  The Grand Canyon
  Yellowstone National Park
  Yosemite National Park
  Death Valley
  Glacier National Park aka Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

See United States National Parks for a list of all national park areas.

Work

America is a mecca for job-seekers from around the globe, but it can be difficult to get documentation to work legally in the US. Some work permits are given out on a quota system according to the seeker's country of origin.

The safest course for an applicant is to find work in the USA before arriving, and let the company you plan to work for sponsor you for a work visa, but this can be quite difficult to do, and is usually time-consuming. The best opportunities in this regard are for people who bring skills currently in short supply in the USA.

Information

The Federal system of government in the USA puts the states in charge of tourism and the federal government in charge of foreign policy. The result of which is that the Federal government provides the best information about legal requirements for entry, while the most detailed information about places to visit and see will be provided by the state tourism bureaus which will be happy to send you maps and literature. Contact information will be available in the individual state entries.

The United States of America ("USA", "US", "United States", "America", or "The States") is a large country in central and north-western North America. The USA also includes several Pacific islands (primarily represented by the state of Hawaii) and an unincorporated Caribbean territory (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). One of the largest and richest countries in the world, it has a mixture of densely-populated urban areas with wide areas of low population and incredible natural beauty.

With a history of immigration dating to the 17th century, the USA prides itself on its "melting pot" of different cultures from around the globe. Even the briefest visit to the United States is a study in contrasts. The USA is difficult to characterize because of its size and diversity, diversity in both geography and in people, but an overview will help travelers to see these differences and perhaps help to find what it is that interests them most, since it is not realistic to see a little of everything unless one has a very long time to spend indeed. Part of the States' appeal is that you can experience so much diversity in one country.

Holidays

The US has a number of holidays - official and/or cultural - of which the traveler should be aware (special events, closures, changed schedules, disruption, etc.) Note that holidays observed on Mondays are usually treated as weekend-long events.
  New Years Day (January 1) - most businesses closed; hangovers from parties the previous night, football parties
  Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January) - many government offices and banks closed; diversity-awareness programs
  St. Valentine's Day (February 14) - no significant closures; romantic evenings out
  St. Patrick's Day (March 17) - no significant closures; Irish-themed parties in the evening
  Easter (a Sunday in March or April) - few significant closures; religious observances
  Memorial Day (last Monday in May) - most non-retail/tourism businesses closed; extensive travel to beaches and parks
  Independence Day / Fourth of July (July 4) - most businesses closed; nationalist parades, fireworks after dark
  Labor Day (first Monday in September) - most businesses closed; extensive travel to beaches and parks
  Columbus Day (second Monday in October) - many government offices and banks closed; few observances
  Halloween (October 31) - no significant closures - trick-or-treating and costume parties in the evening
  Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November, unofficially the Friday and weekend after) - most non-retail businesses closed; family gatherings, Christmas shopping
  Christmas Day (December 25) - most businesses closed the evening before and all day; exchanging gifts, religious observances

Cities

America has over 10,000 cities, towns, and villages. The following is a list of the most famous among travelers.
  Washington - the national capital, home to America's most grand public buildings as well as a thriving multi-cultural community
  New York - the "Big Apple" is America's largest city and a global economic and cultural capital
  Los Angeles - the home of Hollywood and the film industry, palm-fringed Los Angeles offers mountains, beaches, sunshine and everything else visitors look to find in California
  San Francisco - one of the most photogenic cities in the world, San Francisco offers a diverse array of attractions, and is a popular gateway to the California coast and Yosemite National Park
  Chicago - the "Windy City" or "Second City", bustling heart of the Midwest, transportation hub of the nation, notable for its large number of architectural gems and monstrous skyscrapers.
  Boston - the capital of Massachusetts retains much of its colonial charm, but is kept young by its multitudes of students
  Miami - the brash center of South Florida and popular practical and cultural gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America
  Atlanta - the largest city in the South-Eastern United States. Home to the largest aquarium in the world, and to corporations including Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, UPS, Home Depot and CNN.
  New Orleans - the big easy's atmospheric French Quarter is notorious for its annual Mardi Gras

Other cities can be found in their corresponding regions.

Stay healthy

The USA is the only industrialized nation in the world with no national, universal healthcare system. Americans generally use private health insurance, paid either by their employer or out of their own pocket. As a traveler, make sure you have either traveler's insurance or insurance provided by your government, before arriving in the USA. Getting health care in the US without insurance can be quite costly. The medical infrastructure is mostly handled at a city or county level. Many hospitals are private, not-for-profit institutions, with the rest managed by big business, city governments, religious, or charitable organizations. Some will not admit patients who are not members of a health insurance program with which they are affiliated.

A certain amount of free health care for the poor is available at all hospitals that accept government subsidies, and that is a very large percentage. Hospital "emergency rooms" are required by law not to turn anyone away, emergency or not. The waiting time can be long (hours) except for a serious emergency. Note that emergency room care costs about 2-3 times as much as care from a regular doctor. Some cities provide free clinics, or low-cost walk-in clinics, but these often provide only limited services and are not recommended for those with insurance. Planned Parenthood (1-800-230-7526) has clinics and centers around the country providing birth control and other reproductive health services, as well as general healthcare services for any mother or child under the age of 18.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License


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