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U.S.A.  (The United States of America)

I've lost count of the number of times I've been to the USA, I think it's around the 20 mark. My main destination is NYC, my favourite place to visit around the globe. I also love NY state, mainly as I have good friends there, but also the people in general are just awesome.

The Pic that I look back on the most is one I took while travelling around the USA on a 30 day Amtrak ticket after leaving university. I read a lot of beat culture books, and love counter-culture writing, the likes of Charles Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, William Burroughs, Ken Kesey and of course Jack Kerouac. The City Lights bookstore was instrumental in some of these authors successes, and represents the home of this style of writing to me.

Essential Information

Language: English (Official), Spanish, Various Native American languages

Currency: The mighty US Dollar

Visa: Most countries get a 90day tourist visa on arrival, as well as being photographed and finger printed

Plug: Two flat prongs 110v

GMT: GMT - 5 (Eastern) to - 10 (Hawaii)

GDP Ranking (IMF): 6th £30,200 (similar to Switzerland and UAE)

Communications: Country code is +1

Health: Insurance is essential for the USA as medical care is very expensive.

When to Visit: The USA has northern hemisphere seasons, the northern half of the country can experience heavy snow and accompanying restrictions on travel, particularly away from the coasts. The south can be visited year round, along with Hawaii. The far South East may suffer from hurricane season between June and November.

Personal Safety: The USA can be a very dangerous country, mainly in the large cities. The rich poor gap continues to widen, along with a failing drug war. The prevalence of guns and automatic weapons only adds to the problems. Check the areas you're visiting before travelling. Most cities have crime limited to certain zones, usually known as ghettoes and inhabited by the poorer citizens. New Orleans is different, and anywhere outside the French Quarter could potentially be dangerous. Miami, Washington and New Orleans have the highest crime rates. Most visits are trouble free if common sense is used. F&CO information is here.

Getting Around: The most popular way to travel around the US is via airplane, mainly due to vast distances. Air travel is usually cheaper than other forms of transport. Most major towns and cities are on the bus network. The rail network in the North East is pretty good, but elsewhere, Amtrak can be unreliable and experience delays. I circumnavigated the USA on Amtrak on a 30 day pass, and lost 24hrs in delays. However, the views and level of comfort was amazing.

What to see/do: America has enough to do to fill several lifetimes. It has history (Jamestown, Boston, Gettysburg, New Orleans) numerous theme parks (Six Flags, Knoebels, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, Cedar Point and a two little known parks owned by Disney), amazing metropolises (New York, Philidelphia, Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and LA) glorious national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Everglades, Glacier Bay etc etc) beach resorts for sunseekers (St. Petersburg, Miami, Malibu, Cape Cod, Myrtle beach, Hawaii etc) and hiking (Pacific Coast Trail, Appalachian Trail, Mount Whitney, Denali National Park).

Food & Drink: America's most popular food and drink are Budweiser/Miller and McDonalds/Burger King.