Lonely Planet guide to America

Published: 05 December 2007

The USA is home to several of the world's most exciting cities, some truly mind-blowing landscapes, a strong sense of regionalism, a trenchant mythology, more history than the country gives itself credit for and, arguably, some of the most approachable natives in the world.

The US was fashioned from an incredibly disparate population who, with little in common apart from a desire to choose their own paths to wealth or heaven, rallied around the ennobling ideals of the Declaration of Independence to forge the richest, most inventive and most powerful country on earth.

When To Go:

The US is most popular with travellers during the summer, but this is when American families pack everything up and head out to visit Aunt Tilly. To avoid mobs (especially throughout the national park system), it's better to go during autumn or early spring.
America - Fast Facts:

  • Full Name: United States of America (USA)
  • Capital City: Washington DC
  • Area: 9,630,000 sq km / 3,718,143 sq miles
  • Population: 290,000,000
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC -5 (Eastern); GMT/UTC -6 (Central); GMT/UTC -7 (Mountain) ; GMT/UTC -8 (Pacific Standard); Daylight saving start early April. Daylight saving end
    late October
  • Languages: English (essential); American English encompasses a multitude of regional accents of differing degrees of intelligibility.Spanish (other); Spanish has effective dual-language status in parts of southern California, New Mexico, Texas and Miami. Native American languages (other); There are 400,000 speakers of Native American dialects.
  • Religion: Protestant (50%), Roman Catholic (25%), Jewish (2%), Muslim (1%)
  • Currency: US Dollar (US$)
  • Electricity: 110V 60Hz
  • Electric Plug Details: American-style plug with two parallel flat blades above a circular grounding pin; Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades
  • Country Dialing Code: 1