Travel, Vacation and Tourism in the U.S.
The United States is a beautiful country. With breath-taking national parks, world famous attractions and spectacular cities, there is something for everyone.
How to travel around in the U.S.
The easiest way to travel in the U.S. is driving. There are freeways and state highways leading you to practically anywhere in the country. And it is fun too. Driving along the West Coast on 101, across the country on interstate 10, or simply cruising on Route 66 is quite an experience all by itself.
The recent blossom of personal GPS devices makes it even easier to tour the U.S. by car. One thing to keep in mind is that although most freeways have rest stops or towns not too far apart, there may be sections where you could drive for a couple hours without seeing an exit. So plan ahead, especially in the Winter. Always keep an emergency kit, a cell phone, extra batteries, food, water and other emergency supplies in the car when you travel long distance. Also pay attention to the free call boxes scattered along the freeway, which will come in handy when you are stuck and don't have cellular coverage.
If you are a temporary visitor, you may still be able to rent a car and drive legally with an international driving permit (IDP). There are special requirements on driving with a foreign license, so make sure you understand the restrictions.
It is beneficial to understand the U.S. highway system and numbering conventions.
Despite the advantages of driving, flying may be necessary in some cases. Fortunately the U.S. has a sophisticated network of flights that can quickly get you from one city to another.
Although you can buy tickets directly from any of the major airlines in the states, including United, American, Delta, Northwest, Continental, etc., it is often cheaper to use an online travel agency. You may want to compare prices on Priceline
, Hotwire, Expedia or Travelocity as they do sometimes offer significant savings. Priceline also has a unique way of buying air tickets (or book hotel rooms and rental cars): name your own price, where you make a low offer and see if the website accepts it.
If you have time, taking a train ride is not a bad idea. It can be quite entertaining actually, especially if you have children or elderly accompanying you on the trip. The drawback is that you still need some kind of transportation at your destination. But it is fun and comfortable. Check with Amtrak to see schedule and pricing information.
Most cities have a relatively convenient public transportation system, although only a few own subways. City buses will take you to most of their popular attractions. If not, you can always take a taxi. If you do plan to take buses at some point, it helps to visit the city's website beforehand and check out individual lines and schedule. Although inconvenient sometimes, buses cost significantly less and can be safer than other means.
Top U.S. Cities for Tourism
- 1. Las Vegas:
A truly dynamic and glamorous city rising above the Nevada desert, Las Vegas attracts over 36 million visitors every year from every part of the world! You may be dazzled by the sheer number of luxury hotels and casinos - MGM, Wynn, Venetian, Luxor, TI, Caesars Palace, and many more, at affordable prices. There are also plenty of world-class golf resorts, fine restaurants, shopping malls, and of course, spectacular Las Vegas shows.
- 2. New York City:
For many people, and not just New Yorkers, New York is simply referred to as The City. Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Manhattan, the Emperor's Building, Times Square, Broadway Theaters, Museums, Central Park, all in one extraordinary place.
- 3. San Francisco:
Almost a tiny city sitting along the California coast, San Francisco is nothing short of magnificent. The Golden Gate Bridge remains a top destination for international travelers all year long. Hilly roads, Fisherman's Wharf, China Town, cable cars, and miles of beautiful beaches are among San Francisco's most popular attractions.
- 4. Chicago:
Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S. The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, and The Field Museum are all world-class and perfect places for family visits. The Sears Tower Skydeck not only offers a bird-view of the entire city, but an exhibit that tells Chicago's glorious history and diverse culture.
- 5. Seattle:
Beaches, lakes, mountains, and skyscrapers, Seattle really has it all. Pike Place Market, Space Needle and Seattle Waterfront are always popular among tourists, who may or may not have seen the movie.
- 6. San Diego:
The finest city in America, San Diego offers miles of graceful beaches and plenty of beautiful parks. Although the second largest city in California, San Diego will impress you with clean air, blue sky, perfect weather (almost all year round), as well as many resort-like beach towns. The world-famous San Diego Zoo and the SeaWorld Adventure Park are perfect destinations for a family vacation.
- 7. Los Angeles:
Home of Hollywood, Los Angeles is the world's entertainment center and packed with movie stars. Disneyland in nearby Anaheim adds to its glory. You may also want to visit Universal Studio, The Getty Center, Museum of Art, Beverly Hills and Malibu.
- 8. Orlando:
Orlando is best known for its theme parks - Disney World, Universal Studio and Sea World. Add warm weather and beautiful coastal views, Orlando is perfect for family vacations.
- 9. Honolulu:
As the largest city in Hawaii, Honolulu offers everything you are looking for. Miles of peaceful beaches, extinct volcano, luxury but affordable resorts, a modern downtown and the famous Waikiki beaches nearby. In addition to enjoying tasty Hawaiian food, you may want to visit the Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head State Monument, Nuuanu Pali Drive and the Waikiki Aquarium.
- 10. Boston:
Harvard University and MIT give Boston a unique polish and make it very attractive to young visitors. For sports fans, you will have plenty to do with Celtics, Red Sox and the Patriots in town. A convenient subway system makes it easy to navigate around the city and see the Duck Tours, the Common and many museums.
Top U.S. Attractions for Tourists
- 1. The Grand Canyon
- 2. Yellowstone National Park
- 3. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
- 4. Disneyland (Orlando and Anaheim)
- 5. Sea World (Orlando and San Diego)
- 6. Times Square (New York)
- 7. Statue of Liberty (New York)
- 8. Universal Studio (Los Angeles and Orlando)
- 9. San Diego Zoo (San Diego)
- 10. Niagara Falls (N. of Buffalo)
- 11. Waikiki beaches (Hawaii)
- 12. The White House and Lincoln Memorial (DC)
- 13. Bellagio Fountains (Las Vegas)
- 14. South Beach (Miami)
- 15. Anchorage (Alaska)