Travel Planning
United States of America
Travel Planning
United States of America

United States of America at a Glance

America is a puzzle, and a beautiful one, at that. It’s pieced together of almost every imaginable landscape, from sandy tropical beaches and fierce deserts to lush rainforests and frozen tundra. And on top of it all resides the American population, itself a patchwork of cultures and ethnicities mixed together through centuries of immigration.

Traveling in America can be done once, or it can be done over the course of a lifetime. There’s an infinite supply of attractions, no matter which your personal tastes run. Love cities? How about New York, Los Angeles and Chicago? Want to bake on the beach? Try Florida, Hawaii or even Alabama. Eager to get off the grid in untouched wilderness? Set your sights on Alaska, the Rocky Mountains and the borderlands between Minnesota and Canada. Hungry for some American food? Prepare to be surprised by the vast array of regional specialties, from Southern barbecue (itself a hugely diverse category) and East Coast seafood to West Coast fusion and Midwestern rib-sticking casseroles.

Wherever you point your compass in the United States, you’ll be greeted by people who embody the country’s spirit of enthusiasm, optimism and independence. Once you’ve experienced an American welcome, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

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Top Forum Questions about United States of America
Regions
  • U.S. Northeast U.S. Northeast
  • U.S. South U.S. South
  • U.S. Midwest U.S. Midwest
  • U.S. Plains U.S. Plains
  • U.S. Mountain U.S. Mountain
  • U.S. Southwest U.S. Southwest
  • U.S. West Coast U.S. West Coast
  • Alaska Alaska
  • Hawaii Hawaii
Popular Places
  • New York City New York City
  • Los Angeles Los Angeles
  • Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park
Getting There
Major Airports
  • Major Airport Los Angeles International Airport
  • Major Airport LaGuardia Airport
  • Major Airport John F. Kennedy International Airport

Passport / Visa Requirements

All travelers to the United States are required to hold a valid passport; the passport should be valid for six months beyond your departure from the U.S. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 37 participating countries to travel within the United States without a visa for 90 days; travelers must have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel, return travel tickets and a passport with a photo and an electronic chip. Visitors not eligible for VWP must apply for a non-immigrant visa. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department's travel website.

Need to Know

Severe Weather Tornados are most likely occur in the country’s midsection from spring to the middle of summer. Intense heat also leads to fires, often in the West, during summer. Hurricane season goes from June to the end of November. Winter blizzards in the north can start as early as October and continue on into March and even April.

Safety Concerns Crime rates vary widely; they’re generally higher in urban areas than rural locations. Taking general safety precautions is wise, e.g. avoiding dimly lit streets and areas not frequented by travelers, wearing inconspicuous or no jewelry and carrying small amounts of cash.

Health Concerns Drinking water is safe throughout America. Health concerns are more likely to come into play during hiking, trekking or other outdoor exploration, during which insect-borne diseases (lyme disease, West Nile virus, etc.) and wildlife encounters can be an issue. Whether you twist your ankle on a city street or break a leg in the woods, health care in America, though first quality, is astronomically expensive; health insurance should be carried whenever possible.

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