USA

Within the USA’s 50 states lies an astoundingly unique melting pot of cultures, history, landscapes and cuisines. For hundreds of years, travellers have brought their hopes and dreams to this amazing country. No matter what your interest, the USA has something for everybody, from its vast and illustrious national parks to its charming small towns; from sprawling urban jungles to endless highways cutting through desolate deserts. There are countless things to choose from when planning a visit to the staggeringly diverse United States of America.

When to Visit

Crossing various time zones, there is always good weather somewhere in the United States. Summer is the most popular time to visit, but winter offers plenty for the more active looking for snow. Los Angeles weather ranges from 14-25ºC degrees year round with New York averaging from 5-30ºC degrees.

Highlights

NATIONAL PARKS The USA has over 55 national parks offering an abundance of wildlife and spectacular scenery. Yosemite has a pristine alpine environment, Yellowstone is known for its flurry of wildlife but the Grand Canyon is still the most famous.

ICONIC DRIVES There’s no better way to experience the soul-stirring landscapes, quaint towns, desert skies and seaside villages, than whilst driving at your own pace. From the Pacific Coast Highway to the iconic Route 66, there is a drive for everyone.

RANCH LIFE Get a taste of the real ‘Wild West’, known for its horses, hats, history and hospitality. Ranch life offers the opportunity to experience lifestyles and landscapes which appear to have been untouched by the modern world.

NEW ENGLAND New England is the birthplace of America. Take in the green mountain ridges backed by white village spires, quintessential harbours, and historical icons. The region is rich in colonial history, quaint architecture, and delicious seafood chowder.

NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE Few cultures or groups of people have as rich and varied a history as Native Americans filled with struggle, strife and triumph. Today Native American tribes continue to maintain their cultural heritage through painting, carving, sculpting and traditional dress.

MUSIC No other place has such diverse musical influences as the USA; from the honky tonk bars and country music in Nashville to the roots of blues and gospel of Memphis and jazz bars of New Orleans.

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Useful Information

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Rabies (particularly if working with animals) should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers to the United States. Dengue Fever occurs in the US, thus insect avoidance measures may be recommended depending on your itinerary. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to the United States should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries.

Electricity

Electrical Plug: USA Voltage: 110-120 Volts Modem Plug: US (same as New Zealand) Source: Korjo Travel Products. To purchase electrical/modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au.

Communications

Country Code for the USA: +1 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: 911

Shopping

In the U.S., the various levels of government generally do not regulate the hours of the vast majority of retailers (though there are exceptions, such as blue law), and with the main exception being shops licensed to sell spirits and other alcoholic beverages (for shopping hours, see alcohol sale hours by state) and car dealership. Shopping hours vary widely based on management considerations and customer needs. Key variables are the size of the metropolitan area, the type of store, and the size of the store. Typical store shopping hours: Monday - Saturday 9 - 10 a.m. to 8 - 10 p.m. (9:00 - 10:00 to 20:00 - 22:00) Sunday 11 - 12 noon to 5 - 7 p.m. (11:00 - 12:00 to 17:00 - 19:00).

Tipping

Tipping is a widely practiced social custom in the United States. In restaurants,[52] a gratuity of 15% to 20% of the amount of a customer’s check is customary when good service is provided.[53] Tips are also generally given for services provided in golf courses, casino, hotels, food delivery, taxis, and salons.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Personal comportment often appears crass, loud, and effusive to people from other cultures, but Americans value emotional and bodily restraint. The permanent smile and unrelenting enthusiasm of the stereotypical American may mask strong emotions whose expression is not acceptable. Bodily restraint is expressed through the relatively large physical distance people maintain with each other, especially men. Breast-feeding, yawning, and passing gas in public are considered rude. Americans consider it impolite to talk about money and age.

Getting around

There are numerous underground train systems in operation in major cities including New York (subway), Washington, DC (metro), Boston ('T'), Chicago (train) and San Francisco (BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit); others are being planned or built. There are also several tramway and trolleybus systems, including the much-loved antique trams found in San Francisco, although in many cities a car will be needed to get around, due to lack of public transport.

Language

English 82%, Spanish 11%, other European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific Island 2.7%.

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