|Cities United States (USA)
country code: US
continent: North America
capital: Washington, DC
EU membership: no
NATO membership: yes
GPS: 38 00 N, 97 00 W
United States Dollar: USD
1USD = 0.789 EUR
Travel advices and warnings United States (USA)
|Arriving in the United States
||Before arrival, you will receive either a white I-94 (if entering with a visa) or green I-94W (if entering on a visa waiver) form to complete. Most persons arriving in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are no longer issued with I-94W cards, however, as the qualifying paperwork was filled out with the ESTA application.
||Citizens of the 36 countries within the Visa Waiver Program, as well as Canadians, Mexicans living on the border (holding a Border Crossing Card), and Bermudians (with British Overseas Territories passports) do not require advance visas for entry into the United States.
Check: http://travel. state. gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990. html
|Car rental in United States
||Renting a car in the U. S. usually runs anywhere from $20 and $100 per day for a basic sedan, depending on the type of car and location, with some discounts for week-long rentals.
||Gasoline ("gas") is sold by the gallon. The American gallon is smaller than the UK gallon, and equals 3. 785 liters. The U. S. octane scale is different from that used in Europe; a regular gallon of U. S. gasoline is rated at 87 octane, the equivalent of about 92 in Europe. Diesel is not as common, but still widely used and available at most stations, especially those catering to truckers. Untaxed "offroad diesel", sold in rural areas for agricultural use, is dyed red and should not be used in cars, as there are heavy fines if you're caught.
||Almost all Americans speak English. They generally use a standard accent (native to the Midwest), popularized in the 20th century by radio, TV and movies. In many areas, especially the South and Texas, in New England, in New York City, and in the upper Midwest, you'll find distinctive regional accents and dialects. Nowhere should this pose any problem to a visitor, as Americans often admire foreign accents and most will approximate the standard accent to help you understand them, or try to speak your language if they can. Even so, visitors are generally expected to speak and understand English. Many Americans are familiar with Spanish, or French, but few are fluent in languages other than English, unless they are from immigrant communities. Even popular tourist sites may have signs only in English, or perhaps one or two other languages.
||Currency exchange centers are rare outside the downtowns of major coastal and border cities, and international airports, however many banks can also provide currency exchange services. Most automated teller machines (ATMs) can handle foreign bank cards or credit cards bearing Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus logo; note, however, that many ATMs charge fees of about $2. 50 for use with cards issued by other banks (often waived for cards issued outside of the U. S. , but banks in one's home country may charge their own fees). Smaller ATMs found in restaurants etc. often charge higher fees (up to $5). Some ATMs (such as those at Sheetz gas stations and government buildings such as courthouses) have no fee. Another option is withdrawing cash (usually up to $40 over the cost of your goods) when making a debit-card purchase at a large discount store such as Walmart or Target, or at many supermarkets. Stores almost never charge a fee for this service, though the bank that issued your card may
|Places for shopping
||Unless you live in Australia, Canada, Europe or Japan, the United States is generally expensive, but there are ways to limit the damage. Many Europeans come to the United States for shopping (especially electronics). While prices in the United States are lower than in many European countries, keep in mind that you will be charged taxes/tariffs on goods purchased abroad. Additionally, electronics may not be compatible with standards when you return (electrical, DVD region, etc. ). As such, the savings you may find shopping in the United States may easily be negated upon your return. A barebones budget for camping, hostels, and cooking your food could be $30-50/day, and you can double that if you stay at motels and eat at cheap cafes. Add on a rental car and hotel accommodation and you'll be looking at $150/day and up. There are regional variations too: large cities like New York and Los Angeles are expensive, while prices go down in the countryside. Most U. S. cities have suburbs with good hotels that are often much more affordable than those in the city center and enjoy lower crime rates. Thus, if you plan to rent a car and drive between several major cities on a single visit to the U. S. , it is usually a better idea to stay at safe suburban hotels with free parking, as opposed to downtown hotels that charge exorbitant parking fees.
||- Hairdressers, other personal services: 10-15%
- Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
- Bellhops: $1-2 per bag ($3-5 minimum regardless)
- Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
- Shuttle bus drivers: $2-5 (optional)
- Private car & limousine drivers: 15-20%
- Housekeeping in hotels: $1-2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
- Food delivery (pizza, etc. ): $2-5, 15-20% for larger orders
- Bicycle messengers: $3-5
- Tour guides / activity guides $5-$10 if he or she was particularly funny or informative.
- Taxis: Tips of 10-20% are expected in both yellow cabs as well as livery cabs. A simple way of computing the tip is to add 10% of the fare and round up from there. - Thus, if the meter reads $6. 20, you pay $7 and if the meter reads $6. 50, you pay $8. Always tip more for better service (for example, if the cabbie helps you with your bags or stroller). Leave a small tip if the service is lousy (for example, if the cabbie refuses to turn on the AC on a hot day). For livery cabs, tip 10-20% depending on the quality of the service but you don't need to tip at all if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance (leave an extra dollar or two anyway!).
- Full-service restaurants: 15-20%. Many restaurants include a mandatory service charge for larger groups, in which case you do not need to tip an additional amount - check the bill.
||During any emergency, dialing 911 (pronounced "nine-one-one") at any telephone will connect you to the emergency services in the area (police, fire, ambulance, etc). Calls to 911 are free from payphones and any mobile phone capable of connecting with local carriers. Give the facts. The dispatchers will send help. Unless you are calling from a mobile phone, the 911 operator can almost certainly trace your line instantly and locate you.
||American mobile phone service (known as cell phones regardless of the technology used) is not very compatible with that offered elsewhere. While GSM has been gaining popularity, the U. S. uses the unusual 1900 and 850 MHz frequencies; check with your operator or mobile phone dealer to see if your phone is a tri-band or quad-band model that will work here.