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United States of America

United States of America travel guide

Travel in the USA, where the buffalo roam, the deer and the antelope play and the skies are not cloudy all day. Or so the folk song goes

As the third largest country in the world, it’s hard to find a more varied landscape than the United States of America. From the glaciers of Alaska to the deserts of Arizona, the sun-soaked beaches of California, Florida and Hawaii, to the majestic Rocky Mountains, travel in the USA is nothing short of spectacular.

If you’ve got a set of wheels, cruise across the country on the legendary Route 66 and stop off in Amarillo for a traditional steak. Try your hand at luck in the infamous casinos of Las Vegas, visit America’s history at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North Carolina, or witness the staggering views of the Grand Canyon.

See the geysers of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and brush shoulders with the stars in Los Angeles. Whatever your scene, you can find it in America – and plenty more besides…

Wanderlust recommends

  1. 24 hours in New York Spend 24 non-stop hours in New York on the A train. It runs all night through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens
  2. National Parks Make touring the United States' impressive network of National Parks even better with a discount pass. As well as Yosemite and Yellowstone, Arches in Utah and Badlands in South Dakota are underrated parks with stunning landscapes that you would never find elsewhere
  3. Discover the many sides of Hawaii Find the true Hawaii, beyond hibiscus shirts, Elvis with a ukulele, hips in hula skirts and Jack Lord on a hotel balcony cocking a gun
  4. Brush shoulders with the stars Don your sunnies and head to Hollywood Boulevard in LA for some serious star spotting
  5. Road trip Take an epic American-style road-trip journey across Route 66, or whichever Interstate grabs you. America is perfect for road trips; the roads are long, wide, straight, and the landscapes breathtaking. However, avoid the coastal roads of California if you're not keen on driving the cliff sides
  6. Literary tips Follow the trails of the Beat Poets in San Francisco or explore the musical history of Seattle

Wanderlust tips

Learn the lingo. American English may sound the same as our own language, but take note of the few differences – you don’t want to ask for jelly and end up with jam!

Be bear-aware. If you are staying in a national park, especially if you are camping, make sure you are fully clued-up on camping etiquette to avoid an extra tent-mate in the middle of the night: read a bear guide for the area, avoid perfumes and body sprays, don't eat food in your tent and keep all food and cooking equipment in a locked car away from tents. 

I wish I'd known...

Wanderlust web intern Holly Gurr on the one thing she wished she'd known on arrival:

"The tipping system. Although tipping in the USA is not compulsory per say, it is quite rigidly ingrained in social etiquette. Aside from leaving a little something for waiters in restaurants, it is conventional that a $1-2 donation should also be given to doormen, bellhops, cab drivers, coatroom attendants, grocery packers, bar tenders, travel guides, housekeepers, and the like."

Don't be caught out by the weather, says Katherine Price:

“Like many of the uninitiated, I had always thought of California as a hot, sunny state, and so dressed accordingly. That was until we got to San Francisco. When the fogs roll in from the sea, San Francisco can be absolutely freezing cold, windy and damp. Bring a good jacket.”

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