United States Family Vacations & Tours
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United States Travel GuideSome information and tips about United States
About the USA
The United States of America is a federal republic of 50 states, and the third world largest country in size and the population with over 330 million people. Politically, the US is a federation of states, each with its own rights and powers. The capital city is Washington D.C. The United States has a total of six time zones. The States is bordered by the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. The US state of Hawaii is a group of islands located in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States. Alaska is the largest US state occupies a peninsula in the northwest of North America.
The United States is a representative democracy with three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., you will find many important sites connected to these branches, including the U.S. Capitol Building, White House, and U.S. Supreme Court.
There are federal laws that apply to the entire country. In addition, each state, county, and municipality has its own government and laws governing things like smoking and liquor sales.
The United States does not have an official language, but English is the most commonly spoken language and it is the official language in several states. Increasingly, information is also provided in Spanish because of the significant Latino population in the U.S. Besides English, the most commonly spoken languages in the U.S. are Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, German, Korean, Arabic, Russian and Italian.
Religious freedom is one of the founding cornerstones of the United States. There is no official national religion, but the diverse population celebrates myriad religions and spiritual beliefs. Places of worship are available for travelers, whether they are visiting small towns or major urban centers.
Attractions & Tours
The United States has countless options to fill your time and many beautiful places to relax. When planning a trip to the USA, the sheer breadth and variety of places to see and activities to experience can be daunting. Once you decide to travel to the U.S., you might need some help and recommendations on deciding what to do and see.
Knowing the right places to visit and how to get there can be a huge endeavor. Tour operators can be a very helpful resource in planning your trip to the United States. There are three kinds of tour operators: domestic, outbound, and inbound. Domestic tour operators usually are U.S. residents and they offer area tours such as the Pacific Northwest and National Parks, as well as specialties like Mississippi River cruises. You can book these tours from home or while you are in the USA. Outbound tour operators arrange for clients to travel from one country to another, while inbound tour operators provide local assistance for tours arriving in their country, providing help with details such as ground transportation, hotels, local tour guides, and restaurants.
There are 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States, 12 natural, 11 cultural, and one mixed site. Additionally, there are 19 properties listed in UNESCO’s Tentative List in the US. The most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites are Gran Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Everglades National Park, and Independence Hall.
Weather & Climate
The overall climate in the United States of America (USA) is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has an Arctic tundra climate, while Hawaii and South Florida have a tropical climate. The Great Plains are dry, flat, and grassy, turning into an arid desert in the far West.
In terms of temperatures and precipitation, there are very large differences throughout the country. The northwest is wet, the southeast fairly wet and the central part of America is dry. What is the best travel time? That all depends on where you want to go and what do you want to do on your holiday? Actually, you can travel to America all year round, but it depends on your destination.
Many government offices close on federal holidays and some private businesses may close as well. If the holiday falls during the weekend, the government may observe it on a different day. Federal employees receive pay and many receive time off for federal holidays.
New Year’s Day (January 1)
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January)
Washington’s Birthday (Third Monday in February)
Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
Juneteenth (June 19)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (First Monday in September)
Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
Veterans Day (November 11)
Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas Day (December 25)
Commonly Celebrated Holidays and Observances:
Some holidays honor specific groups and events, such as Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag Day, and Halloween. These are not federal holidays. Some holidays and observances receive presidential proclamations.
United States History
Declaration of Independence:
The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.
– It took Thomas Jefferson 17 days to write the Declaration of Independence.
– On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain.
– On July 4, 1776, Congress voted to accept the Declaration of Independence, marking July 4 as Independence Day.
The foundation of the American government, its purpose, form, and structure, are in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitutional Convention adopted the Constitution on September 17, 1787.
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It guarantees greater constitutional protection for individual liberties and lists specific prohibitions on government power. There are 27 Constitutional Amendments in all. The 27th Amendment, which was originally proposed in 1789, was not ratified until 1992.
The U.S. National Anthem:
The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States. To celebrate a victory over British forces during the War of 1812, U.S. soldiers raised a large American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 14, 1814. Inspired by those events, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which eventually became the Star-Spangled Banner and the United States national anthem.
Apply for Nonimmigrant Visas to the U.S.
1. Find out if you need a visa.
Check to see if your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you don’t see your country listed, you will need a nonimmigrant visa to visit the U.S.
2. Determine which visa you may need for your visit:
B-1 visa classification is for business travelers to consult with business associates, attend a conference, settle an estate, or negotiate a contract.
B-2 visa classification is for tourists on vacation and people coming for medical treatment, a social event, or participation in amateur contests for no pay.
3. Apply for a visa:
The process of applying for a visa will vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Follow the specific instructions for the country that you’re in.
In general, you will need:
– To complete online form DS-160, the nonimmigrant visa application form: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
– A photo
– A visa application fee
– To schedule an interview
Driving in the US (Foreign Nationals)
People who drive in the U.S. must have a valid driver’s license. If you’re a foreign visitor, some states require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a valid license from your own country. To find out the ID requirements of the U.S. state(s) where you will be driving, contact that state’s motor vehicle department.
What is an IDP and when should visitors to the U.S. get one?
An IDP is a form of identification that many countries around the world recognize. It translates your identification into 10 languages and allows you to drive legally in a different country.
If you intend to get an IDP, you must do so in advance of your travel. The United States does not issue IDPs to foreign visitors.
To get an IDP, contact the motor vehicle department of the country that issued your driver’s license.
You may need both your license and an IDP to rent a car in the U.S. If you’re planning to rent one, find out the rental company’s policies and other requirements in advance.
Beware of international driver’s license scams. Scammers may try to sell you a fake IDP. In addition to losing money, you may be subject to travel delays or legal issues if you use a fake IDP in the U.S. You can report international driver’s license scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
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