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USA

Capital: Washington

Type of government: Federal constitutional republic with a presidential system.
Head of state: Barack Obama.
Land area: 9 629  048 Km2 (4th biggest country in the world).
Population: 310 000 000 inhabitants
Languages: English
Geographical make up: The United States are divided into 50 states and 14 territories.

Climate: The major part of the country is located in the temperate zone. The country has a big variety of climate from its frontier with Canada to the most tropical zones of Mexico. See the annual temprerature averages as below :

Month/City

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

BOSTON

-2

-1

3

9

15

20

25

22

18

13

7

0

CHICAGO

6

4

3

9

15

20

23

22

18

12

4

-3

DALLAS

6

9

14

19

23

27

30

29

25

20

13

8

HONOLULU

23

23

23

24

25

26

27

27

27

26

25

23

LAS VEGAS

7

10

13

17

23

29

32

30

27

20

11

7

LOS ANGELES

15

16

16

18

20

21

24

24

23

21

18

15

MIAMI

20

20

22

23

26

27

28

28

27

26

23

20

NEW YORK

0

1

5

11

17

22

25

24

21

16

9

2

PHILADELPHIE

0

1

5

11

17

22

25

24

20

13

7

2

SALT LAKE CITY

-2

1

5

10

15

21

26

24

18

12

5

-1

SAN FRANCISCO

11

12

13

13

14

15

15

16

17

17

14

11

SEATTLE

5

6

8

10

14

16

18

18

16

12

8

6

WASHINGTON DC

2

3

7

13

19

23

26

25

21

15

9

4

 

Time zone: from –4h et –11h (GMT)

Currency: American Dollar (1 euro= 1.20 $ USD depending to the fluctuations).

Traveling season: As the country is big and has several climates, such as the snow & cold of Alaska or the desert heat of Nevada, every season is an ideal season to visit the USA. It all depends on your destination and the kind of activities you would like to enjoy.

Public holidays:
January 1st: New Year
3rd Monday of January: Martin Luther King's Birthday
3rd Monday of February: President's Day
Last Monday of May: Memorial Day
July 4th: Independence Day
1st Monday of September: Labor Day
2nd Monday of October: Columbus Day
November 11th: Veterans Day
4th Thursday of November: Thanksgiving
December 25th : Christmas 

Tips: In USA, it is customary to give an average of 1$ UDS/person to the guides of the city tours, 4$ USD/person/day to the tour leader and driver. In the restaurants, in accordance with custom, you are strongly encourage to give a a tip equivalent to 15-20% of the bill before taxes.

Clothes to bring:
-Winter: big lined boots, gloves, and scarves, hat and hot coats especially for the mountainous areas and Alaska.
-Spring & fall: woollen clothes, anoraks and raincoats.
-Summer: light clothes and preferably in cotton, jacket or sweater for the evenings.  For the hiking in the National parks, make sure to have good shoes. 

Circulation into the country:
In such a vast country, different types of transportation are available to move from one place to another. Sometimes you even need to use several means of transportation.

Plane: To move from a region or from a state to another, it can be interesting to take the plane. Many domestic flights serve the greatest number of American cities.

Care hire: Renting a car is one of the best way to travel into USA. As the gas is much less expensive than in many countries, it is less costly to hire a car and travel at your rate.

Bus: The bus companies Greyhound or Trailways provide frequent connections between many cities and the regional companies such as Megabus et Boltbus offer reduced rates for the very busy destinations.

Train: USA does not have high speed train network like in Europe. You only have the company Amtrak on the east coast which offers the Acela Express trains. They serve the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington in very effectively by being both fast & frequent.

Public transportation: the means of transportation vary from one city to another. The metro and bus network is well-developed in big cities such as New York. In San Francisco it is interesting as a tourist attraction to take the cable car.

Health: no compulsory vaccination.

Electricity:
110 volts with American plugs. Make sure to have an adapter for flat plugs.

Opening hours: The offices and the stores are generally open from 9-10am to 5-6 pm during the weekdays (exept on thursdays and friday evening, closing at 9 pm). Please note that the shops are also open on sundays. The supermarkets and convenience stores are open late in the evening in the big cities even 24/24h.

Shopping: Clothing and sport shoes are the flagship products to buy once there, because of the low prices with the Factory outlets. Please note that the prices in the shops, restaurants and other retailers are shown exclusive of taxes. You must add between 5% and 10% of taxes depending each state.

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