United States travel tips
USA - some facts and figures
The USA makes for a particularly varied and interesting travel destination due to its diverse cultural influences and multi-facetted landscape.
The USA is considered to be a melting pot of many different peoples and cultures. The first colonial immigrants to the area, which was until then populated by "native Americans", were Europeans, predominantly of Spanish, French, English, German and Irish origin. In the course of time, immigrants from other regions in Europe followed: from Italy, northern and eastern Europe. The US Americans of European origin today still form 70% of the population of the USA. Asian immigrants, for example from China, Japan, Korea and den Philippines have, since the 19th century been moving predominantly to the west coast of the USA. In total, however, they form a relatively small group (about 4%). The Afro-Americans, descendants of the African slaves, constitute a 13% proportion of the population. They tend to live in the south of the USA and in the largest of the industrial states of the north.
USA - geography and interesting facts
The United States of America borders to the north with Canada and also shares borders with the CIS at the 100 km (62 miles) wide Bering strait in Alaska. To the south, it shares a border with Mexico. The state ends at the Atlantic Ocean to the east and to the west at the Pacific Ocean. By area the USA is the third largest state on earth. The country is a little smaller than Canada, half as big as Russia and 2½ times the size of Western Europe.
Apart from Alaska and Hawaii, 48 of the 50 states of the USA and the District of Columbia share one border and thereby form the heartland of the USA. The country is situated between 24 and 48 degrees latitude and between 67 and 124 degrees longitude, and four time zones prevail. The federal states of Alaska and Hawaii and the politically affiliated areas Puerto Rico and Guam lie outside these zones.
The landscape in the USA is very varied. On the Atlantic, there are many forest areas and mountain chains. On the peninsular of Florida, mangroves characterise the landscape, and in the regions of the Mississippi and the Missouri, there is a complex development of river systems. In the central area there are wide plains along with large mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachian mountains. There are dry and hot regions in the south-west, a temperate climate with rainforests in the north-west and several mountain regions on the Pacific coast. Impressive also is the arctic tundra in Alaska and the Hawaiian island chain in the Pacific ocean with the volcano Mauna Kea which has an altitude of 4,205 meters (13,795 ft).
What to know before travelling to the USA
Visas are needed to enter the country, please consult the foreign office for further details.
The most important language in the country is English. However, there are regional languages: in the south-west and in Florida, Spanish is spoken; in Louisiana, French; and in Pennsylvania, German. Furthermore, many of the languages of the Indians (Native Americans) and of the many immigrants for example from eastern Europe, are also spoken. About 22 million people in the country do not speak English.
The USA does not have an official language, but all official documents are written in English. The currency used is the US Dollar.
Flights to the USA: top destinations
Popular airports in the USA include New York's JFK and Miami airports. Other large cities worth visiting are LA, Chicago, Houston, Philly, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Detroit, San José and New Orleans.
However, due to the country's immense size and diversity, travellers are advised to choose their destination airport according to their particular interest, or consider taking internal domestic flight once there to explore more of the country. Roadtrips are also very popular.