About United States:
With its vast variety of landscapes and climates across 50 states, the United States hosts countless ecosystems. In the continental U.S., the Atlantic plains rise up to the Appalachian Mountains, which then drop off into the grasslands of the Midwest. These Great Plains stretch west to the Rocky Mountains which, with the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, form a massive bowl comprised mostly of arid desert. Beyond, the sand beaches and rocky shores of the west coast spill into the Pacific. California is home to both the lowest and highest elevation in the 48 contiguous states: Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet and Badwater Basin in Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.
The United States is the world’s oldest federation, a constitutional republic and representative democracy. Its capital is Washington D.C.
The primary language spoken in the United States is English.
Life in the United States
Shopping and banking hours: Shops and stores are generally open Monday to Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open all day, every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (or later; check locally). Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and some branches are open from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Meal times: Breakfast is served at hotels from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. In restaurants, lunch is served from noon to 3:00 p.m. and dinner is usually served from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but with substantial local variation.
Tipping: In restaurants and bars, leave 15 to 20 percent of the total. Taxi drivers receive 10 to 15 percent of the fare. For luggage assistance, offer from $2 to $5 depending on the service provided.
The United States public holidays: The United States public holidays, festivals, or calendars of events may affect your travel planning. You may find an official list here. For a description of US holidays, click here.
The people’s library: For both U.S. and international travelers, a fascinating resource on American history and culture is the U.S. Library of Congress. Originally Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection, the library maintains a website that is not only a library catalog, but a clearinghouse for wide-ranging information on U.S. history, folk life, geography, the performing arts, and more.
In addition to the well-known standard repertoire of American food, considerable regional variation reflects the cultural heritage and seasonal harvest of individual areas.
In the southwestern states and California, dishes are Mexican- and cowboy-influenced. In Washington State, the bounty includes fresh salmon and other Pacific seafood. In Montana, game, freshly caught fish, and steaks predominate. And in New England, seasonal produce and local specialties such as cheese and maple syrup are ubiquitous, and delectable Maine lobster and seafood are a highlight.
Country Walkers visits a range of U.S. destinations, spanning the continent from Maine to Washington State. Tour dates coincide with the ideal weather and conditions for an active vacation.
Fall in New England means stunning foliage, warm days, and crisp nights. Spring and fall in the desert climates of California’s Death Valley, Colorado, and Utah start off with chilly mornings that turn into dry and sunny days. Summer in Washington State, Montana, and California can offer sunny days and cooler nights—with local variation and seasonal precipitation in all regions.
For up-to-date exchange rates for the U.S. dollar with other currencies, see oanda.com.
Contact your bank or your credit-card company for details on fees and card use when travelling, and to inform them of your travel destination and dates so they do not freeze your accounts when they see charges appear from out of town.
We recommend having a variety of payment options readily available to help you start your trip: ATM card(s) and credit card(s).
Electricity: Alternating current of 120V and 60Hz is used in the United States. The majority of plugs are Type B, with two square and one round prong. For a full listing of electrical outlets worldwide, see electricaloutlet.org. If you are visiting the United States from outside North America and bringing your own hair dryer or other electrical device, you will need a travel converter, available at most hardware, travel, or consumer electronic stores. For laptops or an electronic device with a dual voltage switch, you will only need the adapter plug, not the converter.
Phone: The United States country code is “+1.” Cell phone coverage throughout The United States is extensive, but we cannot guarantee adequate signals on all American phone models or while on walking trails or in remote areas.
Internet: Internet access is generally widely available; however, all of the hotels used on our tours do not necessarily provide it, or they provide it at an additional cost. Details regarding Wi-Fi availability in each hotel are available in the Itinerary Overview that you’ll receive once you’ve reserved.
The United States spreads out over several time zones. Find the official time at your U.S. destination at time.gov.
A wealth of travel information is available at discoveramerica.com. For a list of all U.S. official state tourist boards, visit usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel-Tourism/State-Tourism.shtml.
The United States has an enormous international and domestic air network with dozens of airlines and hundreds of airports. For travel to various regions and airports, individual state tourist boards offer travel and airport information: usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel-Tourism/State-Tourism.shtml.
Amtrak: The United States national train company is amtrak.com . You may book your train travel directly with them.
Other local transportation
Long-distance bus travel can also be a convenient way to reach a destination. National companies include Greyhound, Trailways Trailways, and Megabus megabus.com; check locally for smaller regional long-distance bus companies.
Major car rental agencies are available at airports, city centers, and train and bus stations. Taxis are available at all major airports, cities, train and bus stations, and in smaller towns, and can be reserved in advance (your hotel can usually provide assistance).
For more information, contact Country Walkers.