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United States of America

USA Flag | ATC

Click here to see some of the pictures taken in the USA!

Contents:

History: The area known today as the USA was inhabited by indigenous natives before the arrival of various European explorers. Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering America. Over time, many Europeans escaped persecution in their homelands by making the grueling journey across the Atlantic to the east coast of America. These settlers eventually formed their own government and, with the success of the Revolutionary War, kicked out the ruling British powers and formed a constitution-based republic of states. The original 13 colonies expanded with the Louisiana purchase of 1803, which essentially removed the French presence in America. The Texan Revolution resulted in the annexation of Texas and the Mexican-American War saw half of Mexico’s territory transferred to the USA. Manifest Destiny set in, and Americans pushed ever westward, from sea to sea. A final treaty with the British in 1846 saw the Oregon Territory handed to the USA and the basic mainland map of America was drawn. In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii were added to the country and all 50 states were given stars on the nation’s flag.

USA sketch | ATC

The USA was involved in WWI, WWII. The first World War left America left America in the Great Depression while the second World War boosted the country to new economic heights. The Cold War with the Soviet Union after WWII resulted in the collapse of the USSR and the reign of the US as world superpower. Meanwhile, American culture continues to spread across the globe, including American films, fashion, music and political ideologies.

USA Regional Map | ATC

Transportation: Transportation in the USA lags behind other developed nations because of the size and independence of the people. Automotive transportation is preferred, but public transportation like bus and train networks, are lagging. Air travel is common, and each state has a major airport that services most other states and internationally. Water transportation is not common except for recreation.

Money:  The Dollar. Exchange rate: $1 USD = 0.73 Euro. 1 Euro = $1.30 USD.

The USA is expensive when it comes to clothing, electronics and cars but cheap for staple foods. Travelers may find brand-name hotels too expensive, and discover an inadequate supply of hostels. Most internal travel is done by driving, so camping is popular but sites are hard to get to without your own mode of transportation. If you travel slowly without flying or driving, you’ll find it can be cheaper. Amtrak trains are a decent option for regional travel, and affordable.

Food: Eating in America can be quite a culinary experience depending on where you are. Each region has its own specific foods. The south is known for large portions of chicken, potatoes and vegetables while Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine dominate the central south. Seafood is a favorite along both coasts and casseroles and other hot dishes are synonymous with the Midwest. Because of the diversity in America, you’ll find whatever ethnic foods you crave while visiting, though Italian, Mexican and Chinese are the most common ethnic foods. Food prices vary by region, and are overall cheaper than Europe but more expansive than Asia and South America.

Image USA | ATC

Interaction with residents: Medium. If you are traveling in the south or Midwest, you’ll find people are very friendly and eager to chat, while extreme northerners and coastal folks are less likely candidates for interaction. Any city center is a poor place to look for conversation, while rural areas are known their friendliness and charm.

Suggestions: Since traveling in the USA by public transportation can be frustrating, you might want to consider renting a car or constricting your travel to a single state or region. Also, if you don’t want to eat fast food for every meal, look around online or do a bit of research in the areas you’ll be visiting to find amazing restaurants and cafes. American cafes are not like European ones, US cafes serve massive servings of hearty meals at low prices, and usually do not serve liquor.

Recommendation level: 7


Most people on the planet want to visit America, whether to start a new life or simply to see what all the fuss is about. Doubtless, you’ve heard of New York and California, and probably the cowboys of Texas. A visit to America can be daunting, however, because of its size and the diversity of things to see and do. We recommend it because of the sights, the people and the culture, but the rating is not a 10 simply because traveling in America is difficult due to poor transportation options, and expensive in major cities.

Image USA | ATC

Visas: Everyone needs a visa to come to America, even European nations need paperwork to prove their identity. Entry/Exit requirements for the USA can be found with the US Embassy in your area.

Route: We landed in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and traveled by land to South Carolina, then to Alabama, then to North Carolina before renting a car and driving to Rockford, Illinois. Now in the Midwest, Lauren went to Washington by train while Mike flew to New Hampshire. Eventually, the duo headed to Texas by car and back to the Midwest then back to Washington, essentially traveling in America the most inefficient way possible.

USA Route Map | ATC

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cities we visited:

Ft. Lauderdale, Columbia, Ozark, Winston-Salem, Beech Mountain, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, South Padre Island

What we saw:

The Eastern Northern Southern and Western coasts and borders, Amtrak, endless fields and cattle, miles of untouched mountains and plains, resort towns, wealthy mountain dwellings, downtown areas in major cities

How we funded the escape:

Traveling in the USA is expensive! Luckily we're from America and thus had relatives and friends across the country to visit. Transportation took the most money, followed by food. We had to save to travel in the USA-- the most expensive place we've been in years!

Related articles:

America Images | ATC

Key Facts about America:

Population: 307,212,123 (2009 est.)

Urbanization: 82%

Life Expectancy: m=75, f=80

Religion: 51% Protestant, 23% Catholic, 2% Mormon

Type of Government: Constitution-based federal republic

Capital: Washington D.C

Independence: 4 July, 1776

President: Barack Obama

GDP - PPP : $47,500

Exports: agriculture, chemicals, consumer goods

Location:

Located in North America, between Mexico to the south and Canada to the north, and stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans.

Coordinates: 38 00 N, 97 00 E

Covers: 9,826,675 sq km

Photography:

To see some of the hundreds of images taken in the USA, check out the photos page.

America Image Reel | ATC

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