Traveling Luck for United States
United States is located in North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico.
Land in United States is vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii.
American land covers an area of 9631420 square kilometers which is about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; almost two and a half times the size of the European Union
As for the American climate; mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
American(s) speak English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census).
Places of note in United States
- East New York
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- New South Memphis
- Fort Worth
- South Boston
- El Paso
- Oklahoma City
- New Orleans
American National Map
Regions of United States
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- United States (general)
- West Virginia
Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $42,000. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004 and 2005 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Soaring oil prices in 2005 and 2006 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through mid-2006. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.
American natural resources include coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Mt. McKinley is highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent
American religion is Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10% (2002 est.).
Natural hazards in United States include tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the midwest and southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development.
- The US Department of Homeland Security has lowered its terror alert status to "orange" or high for all flights into the US that have originated from the UK. The terror alert level also remains at "orange" for all other international and domestic flights in the US. Definitions for the US Advisory System can be found on US Department of Homeland Security.
- Around 6.5 million British nationals visit the United States each year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main types of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in the USA are for replacing lost or stolen passports, money and other documents, road accidents, and street-related and other crimes. The majority of cases occur in New York City; the tourist areas in Florida (principally Orlando and Miami); and Los Angeles and San Francisco. You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime in cities.
- The hurricane season normally runs from June to November, and can affect the whole of the southern USA. Please see the Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice and the Hurricanes page on the FCO website for more information.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
United States Country Profile.
You should bear in mind the following:
- Do not leave your door open at any time.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and carrying valuable items in run down areas.
- Do not sleep in your car by the roadside or in rest areas.
- Avoid leaving items on display in cars.
- Try to stay on main roads and use well-lit car parks.
- If hit from behind while driving, indicate to the other driver to follow you to a public place and call 911 for Police help.
You should learn US traffic laws before coming to the country. For example, both the speed and drink driving limits are lower than in the UK.
It is worthwhile buying a detailed road atlas of the areas through which you are travelling.
Find out the prevailing weather conditions before embarking on a long journey, e.g. in mountainous and isolated areas where there is increased likelihood of snowfall, or in dry desert areas where you may need extra water and petrol stations could be scarcer than usual.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Laws vary from state to state, including speed limits and the age of consent. So does the age at which you may legally buy and consume alcohol, but this is usually 21 years.
The plant Khat (or Qat) is an illegal narcotic in the US. You will be arrested and detained with the possibility of a prison sentence if you are caught trying to take Khat into the US.
If you get into any difficulties with US Authorities, you should explain to them that you are a British national and ask to speak to a UK consular officer. Please see: What We Can Do To Help.
Several million British nationals travel to the US annually under the VWP without any problems. Only people described as a "British Citizen" on the photo page in their passport qualify to enter the US under the VWP. If you are described as a "British Subject", "British National (Overseas)", "British Overseas Territories Citizen", "British Dependent Territories Citizen", "British Protected Person" or "British Overseas Citizen", you will need a visa.
You will also probably need a visa if you fall into one of the following categories (Note: this list is not exhaustive).
Medical treatment can be very expensive; there are no special arrangements for British visitors. The British Embassy and Consulates-General cannot assist with medical expenses.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on health, visit the Department of Health’s website at: www.dh.gov.uk.
The hurricane season normally runs from June to November, and can affect the whole of the southern USA. There are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself if you are travelling to an area where hurricanes are common, including:
- Telling friends or family in advance about your itinerary and calling them to let them know of your plans if a hurricane moves into the area in which you are staying.
- Pay close attention to local media outlets.
- Keep important numbers handy such as airlines, tour operators, travel insurance providers and the nearest Embassy or consulate.
- Ensure you have access to supplies of food, water, radios, torches, first aid kit etc.
Forest and bush fires are a danger in many dry areas in the US, particularly on the west coast – you should monitor media reports about fires in your areas and take all necessary precautions.