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Honeymoon in United States

The hardest part of spending your honeymoon in the States is being spoilt for choice!

Pacific Region

The nation’s tallest mountains and deepest gorge, sub-zero ice fields, steamy tropical rainforests, remote islands and must-see cities await you in the Pacific states.

Rock climbing, mountain biking, boating, scuba diving, surfing, backpacking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, wildlife-watching – the Pacific Region beckons.

The vast Pacific Region begins in Alaska’s snowy north, leapfrogs over Canada, runs down the Pacific coast along Washington, Oregon and California, then sets sail for Hawaii. It also includes the remote islands of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas.

But within the great diversity is one constant: endless recreation. California blends frenetic cities with tranquil national parks. Oregon boasts photogenic coastlines and an interior where playing outside remains the single-minded focus. Washington charms with lush rain-fed forests to the west and valleys and vineyards to the east. Alaska features perpetually changing wilderness and astounding wildlife, while Hawaii hula dances into hearts with its volcanic topography highlighted by serene beaches.

Mountain Region

Basking in the beauty of the glorious Rocky Mountains, from ranch lands to ski slopes, dense forests to rushing rivers, the Mountain Region is an awesome home to wildlife and a rewarding destination for travellers.

Although it's known for its soaring snow-capped peaks, the Mountain Region encompasses much more. The grasslands of the Front Range on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains have their own quiet beauty. These wide-open spaces are stunning in their vastness, home to real cowboy and Indian culture. National parks and wilderness areas preserve ancient landscapes that harbor bison, bears and other species rarely seen elsewhere. Spectacular scenic drives are matched by an array of activities: skiing, horseback riding, fly-fishing, white-water rafting, mountain biking and much more. Discover ghost towns, watch a rodeo, hike gentle paths or backcountry trails, all against the magnificent Rocky Mountain backdrop.

Southwest Region

From food to festivals to architecture, the blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures encompasses many different landscapes and lifestyles in the Southwest.

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Grand Canyon, in high deserts and on sprawling prairies, the Southwest is simply enormous. Drive across this region on a classic American road trip - you can even follow old Route 66 for some of the way. Discover down-home hospitality in small farming and ranching towns, or superb restaurants, fine arts and nightlife in glittering cities. Try your luck in the casinos of Nevada and on many Native American reservations. The borderlands of the Southwest have a vibrant mix of Mexican, cowboy and Native American culture – ancient pueblos, fiery cuisine, rodeos, powwows, historic adobe buildings – all set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes and magnificent sunsets.

Midwest and Great Plains Region

Small-town festivals and big-city theater. Rodeo, ragtime, riverboats and the country’s breadbasket.

Farther west, the Great Plains take a dramatic geographic turn to broad expanses of prairie where homesteaders and ranchers tamed a remote and breathtaking landscape. Two centuries of commerce and cultural cross currents now render a rich traveling experience in this region, whether you’re on back-country roads or in smart urban centers.

Great Lakes Region

Majestic pines and powerhouse art. Coastal lighthouses and riverside jazz.

Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. They’re more like inland seas with forested islands, rock caves and sand-dune beaches. The Great Lakes were first charted by French explorers in the late 1600s. Towns on their coasts quickly prospered and attracted a steady stream of immigrants to this resource-rich section of the country.

Today, the lake-bordering states offer modern-day explorers - and vacationers - a first-hand look at the wilderness that inspired industrial innovation and powered great cities while furnishing scenic vistas of rural life.

New England Region

Lighthouses perched on rocky coastlines. Picturesque harbors and miles of sandy beaches. Mountain vistas, expansive lakes, and scenic villages. Let New England captivate you.

The historic heart of America, New England is a fantastic year-round destination filled with culture, learning experiences and outdoor adventures. Enjoy a wide variety of landscapes and interesting attractions all within an easy 1-4 hour driving range of Boston. Come in spring to see purple lupines cover the valleys of the White Mountains, or walk Boston’s Freedom Trail past iconic landmarks that tell America’s founding history. In summer, go boating, beaching, whale watching, or biking, then enjoy lobster fresh off the boat. New England in Fall attracts travelers from around the world to see the brilliant fall foliage sweep across the countryside. And in winter, this region is a snow-lovers delight with top-rated ski and snowboarding resorts, beautiful cross country ski trails, snowmobiling, and much more. You’ll be enchanted with New England.

Mid-Atlantic Region

Cities that never sleep and sleepy Colonial-era towns. Immense Wilderness and pocket parks. Cultural hubs and secluded hideaways.

From the welcoming arms of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to the aromas of restaurants in countless ethnic neighborhoods, from the dazzling casinos in Atlantic City to reliving America’s history in Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic Region is a one-stop-shop for culture, history, outdoor and urban adventures.

Capital Region

The nation’s seat of government. A wealth of museums. Verdant mountains and roaring rivers. Fishing and rafting. This is the Capital Region.

In the midsection of the East Coast sits the U.S. capital, stately Washington D.C. It’s especially beautiful in the spring, during cherry blossom season. The city’s cherry trees were a gift from the Japanese people in 1912.

Surrounding this power-driven city is an abundance of natural glories: the mountains, forests and rivers of Virginia and West Virginia, and the beaches of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. There are quaint fishing villages on the coast, bucolic mountain towns born when the railroads where first built and, here and there, large cities with rich histories. There are surprises around every curve in the road – and the roads are very, very curvy.

South Region

Blessed by nature, steeped in history and enriched with culture, this is a destination for all seasons. Welcome to the South.

From the charms of a small-town street fair to the churning excitement of urban nightlife, the South offers nearly every kind of holiday experience imaginable.

Variety is the essence of the Southern travel experience. From the Carolinas to Louisiana, you will discover a region of great contrasts: sun-drenched beaches and rugged mountain trails; meandering rivers and cascading waterfalls; Old South plantations and New South urban centers; spectacular theme parks and amazing natural vistas; extraordinary cultural attractions and exciting sporting venues; down-home cooking and sophisticated dining.

You will find gritty outdoor adventures as well as luxurious resort experiences in each Southern state. And you’ll discover that each state has a distinct flair for “Southern Hospitality” – a storied tradition carried on by congenial people who coax you to slow down and enjoy the journey.

Travel Tips

Currency and Taxes

Spending While You’re Here

U.S. currency comes in coins (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and, less commonly, 50¢ and $1) and bills ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and, less commonly, $2). Two tips: Keep 25¢ pieces (quarters) on hand for parking meters, buses and subways. If you can help it, don’t pay for low-cost items with larger than a $20 bill – shopkeepers may be unable – or unwilling – to make change.

You can exchange foreign currencies at most large banks, tourist centers and at agencies in the terminals of major airports. But you’ll receive the best rate using an automated teller machine (ATM). They’re everywhere, though some banking networks charge fees of $1-2 per transaction.

Another way to optimize the exchange rate is to make purchases with a credit card. Major credit cards are widely accepted across the U.S. In fact, some businesses, such as hotels, require a credit card to confirm a reservation. Keep some U.S. currency or traveler’s checks on hand for use in an emergency.

Taxes

The U.S. doesn’t have a national sales tax comparable to the value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST) found in other countries. Instead, individual U.S. states and localities (counties and cities) set their own rates of taxation.

Thus, the sales tax you may be required to pay depends on where you are and even what you’re buying. Sales tax on food items, for example, may be lower than for merchandise; tax on gas is often higher.

Keep in mind that sales tax is never included on a price tag. Since sales tax isn’t collected on a national level, you can’t obtain a refund on departure. However, many states don’t charge tax on items shipped out of state. Inquire at the store, especially if you are making a large purchase.

Two states – Louisiana and Texas – have limited sales tax refund programs (www.taxfreetexas.com; www.louisianataxfree.com). And several states – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon – don’t have any state sales tax at all.

Health & Medical

Medical facilities can be found in all hospitals as well as urgent care clinics. Hospitals emergency rooms and urgent care clinics do not require appointments, though in non-life threatening situations, it may be helpful to call ahead. Health care is superior in the US but it can be very expensive because there is no universal health care. Traveler’s health insurance should be purchased prior to travel to the U.S. in case of an emergency. Prescription medication should be brought from home and carried in its original, labeled container. The nationwide emergency phone number for police, fire and ambulance is 911.

Social Customs

U.S. culture is as diverse as the geography, and what’s considered good manners often changes from region to region. Americans are generally an easygoing people – famously open and welcoming – but observing a few customs will guarantee a successful trip.

Dress is generally casual; business dress is sometimes required in high-end restaurants and private clubs, but less frequently than even a few years ago. Nevertheless, if you are attending a special event, it’s probably best to risk being overdressed, rather than too casual. Small gifts are appreciated if you are visiting someone in their home.

Tipping is customary for service industry professionals: waiters, bartenders, taxi drivers, hairdressers, hotel porters and chambermaids, coatroom attendants, parking valets and airport skycaps. Tips are an important part of their income. The tipping custom in the U.S. is 15 percent of the total bill – 20 percent or more for exceptional service. Tip coatroom attendants $1 per garment; parking valets $1-2 when you drop off your car and another $1-2 when you pick it up; hotel porters and airport skycaps at least $1 per bag; and hotel chambermaids $3-5 a day.

Look before you light up. Smoking is much less accepted here than it once was. In fact, it’s restricted in many establishments and often banned entirely. Even entire cities – including Seattle and New York – are “smoke free” in most public areas. Check for no-smoking signs and never light up unless you’re sure it’s allowed. It’s polite to ask for permission if you’re in the company of others.

Every culture has some quirky do’s and don’ts. Here are a few of America’s: Observe queues and don’t cut in line. Be aware that Americans are fanatics about showering and hygiene. Keep your voice down when talking on a mobile phone in public. And only use your phone in appropriate places where others will not be disturbed by being a party to your conversation.

Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting, but many Americans are quite casual and demonstrative: it’s not altogether unusual to receive a hug and sometimes even a friendly kiss on the cheek from someone you’ve only just met.

Communications

Internet service in the U.S. is widespread and fast. Connect for free at most public libraries and, for a fee, at cybercafés, copy centers and hotels. Many coffee houses offer free wireless if you have your own Wi-Fi-enabled computer.

Make calls from any public phone using a pre-paid phone card or phone credit card. Use a coin-operated pay phone (30-50¢) for local calls. Pre-paid phone cards generally offer the best rate, especially for international calls. Pick one up at airports, hotels, bus stations, grocery and convenience stores. Purchasing or renting a mobile phone that operates on a U.S. network is another, pricier option.

Send an international airmail postcard or letter weighing up to 1 ounce for 69¢ to Canada and Mexico and 90¢ elsewhere. Domestic first-class rates start at 41¢ for a letter and 26¢ for a postcard. Purchase stamps and post mail at the local post offices and some banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.

U.S. Holidays

Officially, there are no national holidays in the United States, though the federal government has designated ten “legal or public holidays.” Each of the 50 states sets its own holidays, however, most states observe the federal ("legal or public") holidays. In 1971, the U.S. Congress voted to fix many holidays on Mondays, rather than on a particular calendar date, so workers have a long holiday weekend:

New Year’s Day January 1
Martin Luther King Birthday
Third Monday in January
President’s Day
Third Monday in February
Memorial Day
Last Monday in May
Independence Day
July 4
Labor Day
First Monday in September
Columbus Day
Second Monday in October
Veteran’s Day
November 11
Thanksgiving Day
Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day
December 25

Some States observe holidays that are not recognized by the federal government. For example, New Jersey celebrates Lincoln's Birthday, Good Friday and Election Day; Virginia celebrates Lee-Jackson Day, honoring Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan ("Stonewall") Jackson, and the Day after Thanksgiving, affording state employees a four-day holiday weekend.

Transportation and Driving

The U.S.’s transportation system is well maintained and extensive. Go by airplane, bus, train or car. Locally, you’ll find metros, ferries, trolleys and taxis. But avoid hitchhiking anywhere in the U.S.; it’s not efficient or safe.

Given the country’s size, flying is the fastest way to get from one place to another. Most interstate flights connect through main airports in large cities known as “hubs.” Even if you’re flying to a destination within the same state, you may have a more or less lengthy stopover in a hub.

When booking flights, check all airports near your destination – sometimes you can find a better fare or a less busy airfield. New York City is served by three airports: Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark, New Jersey. Manhattan is easily accessible from all of them. Similarly, travelers to Chicago will be fine landing at O’Hare, one of the world’s busiest airports, but should also look at flights into Midway, an easy taxi ride into town.

Passenger train travel in the U.S. has largely been supplanted by air transport, but it’s still an excellent way to hop between urban centers within a region like Seattle and Portland or Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Amtrak, the national rail service, travels all over the country but its most appealing service is on scenic routes such as Chicago to San Francisco, on a train called the California Zephyr. Amtrak offers 15- and 30-day unlimited USA Rail Passes as well as a number of regional rail passes.

Greyhound is the major long-distance bus, or coach, carrier within the U.S., but Trailways offers more regional routes. If you plan on using the bus frequently, before leaving home, purchase the discounted Greyhound International Ameripass, which is available only outside the U.S.

The U.S. is a car culture and driving is often the most convenient and economical way to travel. From a practical standpoint, public transportation within cities isn’t highly efficient except in large metropolitan areas. So even if you’re jumping between cities by plane, you may want to rent a car on arrival and drive. You’ll find car rental outlets at all major airports. Indulge in that uniquely American pastime, the road trip. Set your own pace, wander down abandoned back roads, stop whenever and wherever you like. It’s prudent to take the LDW/CDW (loss/collision damage waiver) insurance on your rental.

The U.S. interstate highway system is excellent and well maintained. Though gas prices have been rising in the U.S., they are still lower than most international visitors are accustomed to paying. Gas stations are plentiful along highways and in cities, and can usually provide maps and road directions, too. Speed limits vary on American highways, but are typically 55-75 miles per hour. Speeds are posted and often enforced by highway patrol officers. Driving under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs is a serious offense in the U.S. and can result in inconvenience, embarrassment and expense (and criminal charges?).

Hitchhiking is illegal in many U.S. states.

511 Travel Hotline

Many states and metropolitan areas now participate in the 511 Travel Hotline, which provides road travelers with information related to traffic, weather, road conditions, construction, etc. Just dial 511 from your cell phone or from a roadside telephone to get up-to-the-minute advice. For an overview of participating destinations, go to http://www.deploy511.org/deployment-stats.html

Lodging

While hostels are a reliable choice in many parts of the world, the U.S. doesn’t have an extensive hostelling network. For that type of low-priced, communal experience, try outdoor camping. The U.S.’s national and state parks offer an enormous number and range of campgrounds – from simple tent sites to developed areas with hot showers – and opportunities for backcountry camping. Make advance reservations during busy seasons and check with the park ranger about permits if you’re heading into the backcountry.

You can also pitch your tent, rent a cabin or hook up your rented RV (recreational vehicle), campervan or motor home at the endless string of private campgrounds crisscrossing the country. They vary in quality and cost, but many offer amenities like swimming pools and convenience stores.

Hotels and motels are the mainstays of U.S. lodging; you’ll find them in every city, town, even at remote interstate truck stops. Hotels range from budget to five-star luxury. Motels (it’s a motel when the door to your room is accessible from the outdoor parking area, rather than from an interior hallway) stop at mid-range prices.

For generally higher-end accommodations with lots of character, try Bed and Breakfasts (referred to as B&Bs) or lodges. B&Bs are often in beautifully-decorated historic homes; lodges can be comfortably rustic and situated in scenic surroundings.

Measurements
The U.S. measurement system is based on the English system of measurement and is referred to as U.S. Customary Units. The metric system is used in some specific fields of work, including the medical field, but U.S. Customary Units remain the standard for most Americans.

Length in the U.S. is based on four customary measurements; inch, foot, yard and mile:

U.S. Divisions Metric
1 inch = 25.4 mm
1 foot = 12 inches = 0.3048 m
1 yard = 3 feet = 0.9144 m
1 mile = 5,280 feet = 1.609344 km

Americans generally measure rooms and buildings in square feet; carpets in square yards and territory in square miles.

Liquid measure in the U.S. is generally based on number of fluid ounces. Beverages are usually measured in fluid ounces with single servings ranging between 8 and 16 ounces. Milk is usually sold in cups or half pints, pints, quarts and gallons. Water volume for bathtubs, ponds, swimming pools, etc., is usually described in gallons.

U.S. Divisions Metric
1 fluid ounce (oz) = 29.573 53 mL
1 liquid pint = 16 fl oz = 473.176 5 mL
1 liquid quart = 2 pt/32 fl oz = 946.352 9 mL
1 gallon = 4 qt /128 fl oz = 3.785 = 412 L Weight in the U.S. is measured most commonly in ounces and pounds.

U.S. Divisions Metric
1 ounce (oz) = 28.349 523 125 g
1 pound = 16 oz = 473.176 5 mL
Produce and other fresh foods, such as meat are usually sold by pounds.

Voltage

Wherever you stay, don’t forget to pack an AC and plug adapter – the U.S. uses 110 to 120 volts and electrical plugs with two flat parallel blades.

Clothing Sizes

The current U.S. standard clothing sizes were developed from statistical data in the 1940s and 50s. They are similar in principle to the EN 13402 European clothing size standard; however, these sizes are no longer used by U.S. clothing companies.

In recent years, a move towards specialty sizing including Women’s Petites (for women under 5’4), Women’s Plus sizes (for women size 14 and up), Men’s Big and Tall (for men over 6’0 tall). Many stores specialize in clothing for these specific body types, though in department stores, the special sizes are often located in different sections of the store.

Men's shirt and pants sizes are more consistent than women's clothing sizes because they reflect the actual size of their dimensions in inches.

If you decide to buy clothes in the United States, the rule of thumb is “try it before you buy it.” Sizes vary greatly between manufacturers.

Source: www.discoveramerica.com

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