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United States

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Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel - dream vacation

520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Harrah\'s Resort Atlantic City
Harrah\'s Resort Atlantic City - dream vacation

777 Harrah\'s Boulevard, Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino and Resort
Tropicana Casino and Resort - dream vacation

Brighton and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City

Trump Taj Mahal
Trump Taj Mahal - dream vacation

1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Ave, Atlantic City

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a constitutional federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Nine time zones are covered. The geography, climate and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse.

At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2) and with over 324 million people, the United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area, third-largest by land area, and the third-most populous. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, and is home to the world's largest immigrant population. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city is New York City; nine other major metropolitan areas—each with at least 4.5 million inhabitants and the largest having more than 13 million people—are Los AngelesChicagoDallasHoustonPhiladelphiaMiamiAtlantaBoston, and San Francisco.

Paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the Seven Years' War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775. On July 4, 1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the colonies unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. The war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1781, were felt to have provided inadequate federal powers. The first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties.

The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, displacing American Indian tribes, acquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of legal slavery in the country. By the end of that century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The U.S. is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations.

The United States is a highly developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP. It ranks highly in several measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, and productivity per person. While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. Though its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the United States accounts for nearly a quarter of world GDP and over a third of global military spending, making it the world's foremost economic and military power. The United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year you are most likely experiencing cold, rainy, icy and snowy weather. It won’t be long now before some of us get “cabin fever,” that irresistible urge to break out…

Fantasy Fest in Key West

Key West, Florida

Want to learn about the best-kept secret for street celebrations? It’s a wild 10 day costume party in October called Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida.

Fantasy Fest is Burning Man meets Mardi Gras for Halloween on a tropical island. Except in a place where you can also stay in a beautiful B&B surrounded by ancient banyan trees.

A place so diverse that gays, bikers, pirates, artists, strippers and entrepreneurs are the norm, living a motto “One Human Family.” A place where you can watch the sun both rise and set over the ocean every day.

After knowing about the festival for years living in South Florida, I finally made it down to see what all the hype was about with my blogger friend Steph from Travel-Break.net.

Our week was incredibly fun, absurd, and liberating all at once.

Shiver Me Timbers!

Super Heroes Showing Some Skin

The Conch Republic

Key West is America’s own little Caribbean island, known as the Conch Republic to locals who fancy themselves a separate country. The island is located at the southern tip of the beautiful Florida Keys.

With certain laws being a bit more lax (like allowing “open containers” on the street) and such a unique blend of people and styles, you actually do feel as though you’re in another land.

Spend an afternoon walking past Key West’s pastel colored homes or browsing some of its 50 art galleries while still never more than a dozen blocks from the sea in any direction.

The whole island’s 1 x 4 miles is navigable by quaint lanes bordered by tropical flora, feeling a bit like a secret garden which you can navigate by foot, bike or moped.

Steph is Attacked by Sexy Spartans

Fantasy Fest Parade

Fantasy Fest Vibe

This magical little island gets even wilder when it celebrates Halloween for 10 days at the end of October in an incredible wonderland known as Fantasy Fest… where almost anything goes.

Bring out any piece of your character (or a different one every night)!

During the festival venues host their own special events. These celebrations create an entire world within themselves, worlds that you are encouraged to join in! They pull together a combination of local cuisine, talented artists, and fundraising for various local charities.

This collaboration makes each event take on a life of its own, feeding everyone’s creative inner-child that you’ll leave the festival feeling closer to.

There are costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, family-friendly parades, drag-queen contests, and more.

Pirates

Intergalactic Alien Invasion

Intergalactic Freak Show

The theme for 2015 was the All Hallows InterGalactic Freak Show, and it certainly lived up to its name. This small town welcomed 60,000 freaks, free spirits, and aliens from all over the country.

People spend months planning out their costumes (or lack thereof) for the multitude of themed parties that happen throughout the week. I got into the spirit of things by packing 3 different costumes myself — Greek God, Dirty Pirate, and Intergalactic Alien complete with full-body paint job.

One night Steph and I found ourselves at Irish Kevin’s annual Fantasy Fest 80’s party when who should crash the stage but Mr. Margaritaville himself!

Jimmy Buffett picked up a guitar and played along with the band for a few songs as the rest of us danced on like everything was normal.

Just a typical evening at Fantasy Fest in Key West.

Jimmy Buffett!

King & Queen of Fantasy Fest

Fantasy Fest Events

Some highlights of Fantasy Fest include The Coronation Ball where the Conch King and Conch Queen make an appearance. They win this royal title by having raised the greatest amount of funds for AIDS Help. In 2007 they raised over $200,000 and since 1989 almost $2.6 million has been donated.

Goombay is a two day street party held in Key West’s Bahama Village neighborhood. It’s named after the goatskin drums that generate the party’s rhythms and celebrates the heritage of Key West’s large Bahamian population with food, art and a lot of dancing.

Other popular events include the Zombie Bike Ride, Pet Masquerade, Anything But Clothes Party, Rum Barrel Pirate Bash, Airbrush Expo, Sloppy Joe’s Toga Party, and much more.

You can find a full listing of events on the Fantasy Fest Website.

On the last day, the festival culminates with the Fantasy Fest Parade down the town’s main Duval Street spanning the 1 mile cross-stretch from the Atlantic to the Gulf shore.

There’s No Place Like Home

Arrrrrgh! Rum Barrel Pirate Bash

Festival Tips & Advice

While basically an extended adult costume party at the end of October, Fantasy Fest doesn’t always fall on Halloween itself. It did this year (2015), but that’s not always the case.

There’s some nudity at Fantasy Fest, but that’s not all it’s about. You’ll find people of every race, age, body type, sexual-preference, and career here too. A celebration for judgement-free and open-minded people.

With only 75 taxi cabs and 60,000 people during the event, finding a taxi isn’t always easy. Renting a bike might be a good option for getting around, provided you don’t drink too much.

No Fantasy Fest experience is complete without some body paint. Airbrush artists from around the country set up shop to make your dreams reality. Prices range from $100 to $800+ depending on how intricate the work is.

Need a cure for your killer hangover the morning after? Grab a bite to eat at Blue Heaven or some strong cuban coffee at Cuban Coffee Queen.

Psychotic Clowns

Don’t Mess With These Two…

Getting There

So how do you get to this crazy party called Fantasy Fest in Key West? Fall down a rabbit hole? Hope a tornado picks up your farmhouse in Kansas? Fortunately you can just drive 160 miles South from Miami on Highway US 1.

It’s a beautiful road trip over endless bridges across the Florida Keys, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other.

A quick 45 minute puddle jumper flight from Miami or Ft Lauderdale airport directly to the island is also possible. I hope I’ll see you there in 2016! ★

More Information

Location: Key West, Florida [Map] Accommodation: Casa Marina Resort Costume Rental: Crazy About Costumes Useful Notes: The theme for Fantasy Fest 2016 will be “Political Voodoo & Ballot Barbarians”. Dates for 2016 will be October 21st – October 30th. You can learn more about the festival at FantasyFest.com or start planning your trip to the Keys at www.fla-keys.com. Recommended Reading: The Key West Bucket List

READ NEXT: Ultimate Key West Road Trip

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

You’re on a culinary tour of San Francisco. You’ve visited an esteemed winery in Napa or Sonoma… check. You’ve visited one of the Bay Area’s great craft beer breweries… check. You’ve visited a Japanese-inspired sake brewery… wait, what?!? Brewers have been making sake, a fermented rice alcohol, in Japan for over a thousand years. In […]

The article Visiting a Sake Brewery… in San Francisco? originated at EverInTransit.com

There’s nothing very like seeing a perfect, streaming wellspring. The spouting water can be sufficient to blow your mind.

The Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Las Vegas might be known for betting and gambling clubs, yet there’s another motivation to visit the popular Vegas Strip. The Fountains of Bellagio give an amazing show four times a hour for anybody cruising by. Best of all, the water execution is free. That can come in very convenient in the event that you’ve had some misfortune at the blackjack table.

The Dubai Fountain in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

On the off chance that you like the Fountains of Bellagio, you’re certain to love the magnificent Dubai Fountain. The same creators built up the arrangements for every one. It cost about $220 million to build, yet the splendid exhibit of lights and moving water make it worth each penny. There’s even music to set the state of mind and add to the happiness.

The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain in Seoul, South Korea

If you’re looking for a vibrant and colorful fountain, look no further than the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain in Seoul. It’s located on the Banpo bridge and is currently the longest bridge fountain in the world. Thousands of stunning LED nozzles give the fountain its striking colors.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

They say when you’re in Rome, you ought to do as the Romans do. Most local people will instruct you to visit the astounding Trevi Fountain. The mix of lavish figures and falling water will spellbind you. It’s unquestionably a stop you ought to make in case you’re on an Italian occasion.

The La Joute Fountain in Montreal, Canada

The La Joute Fountain puts on an awesome exhibition. It’s a phenomenal spot to spend a mid year evening. Look as tender streams swing to gigantic streams that shoot up into searing rings. Every execution keeps going more than 30 minutes so you’ll have a lot of time to value this excellence made of bronze.

The Floating Fountains in Osaka, Japan

Isamu Noguchi was the originator and driving force behind this interesting wellspring. It contains a few structures that give off an impression of being coasting in mid-air at stunning statures. The configuration may look like enchantment, however the main mystical thing is the lovely consequence of streaming water.

The post Amazingly Beautiful Fountains around the World appeared first on Geeky Traveller.

It’s been a funny couple of months.  The end of 2016 was crazy. In just 2 months I spent time in 11 different countries on 5 different continents. I was a part of two big campaigns – one in India and the other in Spain and Italy.  I taught a travel photography workshop in Cuba, […]
By adjusting mind-sets and doing some planning, American workers can combat the growing trend of taking fewer paid vacation days.
The leaders of TripAdvisor and American Airlines are among those critical of the order related to seven predominantly Muslim countries. Tour operators hope Iran trips will continue.
The State Department’s cancellation of the visas of people from seven mainly Muslim nations has thousands of legal residents fearful of leaving lest they be unable to return.
After President Trump’s travel ban was announced, uncertainty about visas for Americans who want to visit Iran has led operators to cancel trips.

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas

National Geographic

The award-winning National Geographic Kids United States Atlas features lively maps, and graphics; updated essays and statistics; 8 thematic map spreads, on topics such as immigration, natural hazards, the water crisis, and the "greening" of America; same-size physical and political maps for each region for easy comparison; vibrant photo essays on each region and state; more than 350 full-color illustrations; 80-plus pages of National Geographic maps; 50-plus info graphics; updated state fact boxes; geo-whiz facts; state flags, birds, and flowers; comprehensive place-name index with coordinates for easy reference; and glossary of geographic terms.      Just like its companion volume National Geographic Kids World Atlas, the USA atlas is INTERACTIVE. A specially designed Web site will allow kids to link directly to hundreds of National Geographic maps, photographs, and articles plus videos, music, games, and more that will expand their knowledge and perspective about this country and its states and regions. All maps are custom-designed for middle-grade students by the Society's world-famous cartographers and each is shown in the context of surrounding areas. Throughout, locator maps and color coding make it easy for kids to keep track of where they are and to quickly navigate from region to region and state to state.     The combination of large, detailed, yet easy-to-read maps--both physical and political; stunning, full-color photo essays; information-packed thematic spreads; and the interactive component sets this atlas apart from every other U.S. atlas currently available for the 8­-12 age market and makes it an invaluable resource.

Rand McNally Signature Map of the United States

Rand McNally

Updated and redesigned, Rand McNally's Signature United State wall map features eye-catching bold and vivid colors that make this the perfect reference piece sure to stand out in any home, classroom or office. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Printed on high quality paper. U.S. FeaturesState capitals, national parks and time zones clearly markedColor-matching relief shows mountain ranges and other elevation changesClearly labeled state and city names for easy locationFolded MapProduct dimension: 50" x 32"

Road Atlas 2017: Large Scale

Rand McNally

2017 Large Scale Road AtlasOverviewGive road-weary eyes a break with this spiral-bound Large Scale edition featuring all the accuracy you've come to expect from Rand McNally, only bigger. Updated atlas contains maps of every U.S. state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 detailed city inset and national park maps and a comprehensive, unabridged index. Road construction and conditions contact information for every state conveniently located above the maps. Contains mileage chart showing distances between 77 North American cities and national parks with driving times map. Tough spiral binding allows the book to lay open easily.Other FeaturesBest of the Road® - Our editor's favorite road trips from our Best of the Road® collection follows scenic routes along stretches of coastline, both east and west, to forests mountains, and prairies; and through small towns and big cities. For a weekend or a week there's something for everyone.Tell Rand! As much as we work to keep our atlases up to date, conditions change quickly and new construction projects begin frequently. If you know of something we haven't captured in our atlas, let us know at randmcnally.com/tellrand.Tourism websites and phone numbers for every U.S. state and Canadian province on map pages

50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do

National Geographic

This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You'll discover the world's longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America's oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. Each entry provides detailed travel information as well as fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

Rand McNally 2017 Road Atlas (Rand Mcnally Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico)

Rand McNally

2017 Road AtlasOverviewThe Rand McNally Road Atlas is the most trusted and best-selling US atlas on the market. This updated North American atlas contains maps of every U.S. state and Canadian province, an overview map of Mexico, and detailed inset maps of over 350 cities and 20 U.S. national parks. Road construction and conditions contact information for every state conveniently located above the maps. Contains mileage chart showing distances between 90 North American cities and national parks along with a driving times map. Other FeaturesBest of the Road® - Our editor's favorite road trips from our Best of the Road® collection follows scenic routes along stretches of coastline, both east and west, to forests mountains, and prairies; and through small towns and big cities. For a weekend or a week there s something for everyone.Tell Rand! As much as we work to keep our atlases up to date, conditions change quickly and new construction projects begin frequently. If you know of something we haven't captured in our atlas, let us know at randmcnally.com/tellrand.Tourism websites and phone numbers for every U.S. state and Canadian province on map pages

Rand McNally United States Map

Rand McNally

Rand McNally's United States folded map features clear, easy-to-read cartography showing all Interstate and U.S. highways, along with clearly indicated cities, points of interest, airports, boundaries, and more. Rand McNally folded maps have been the trusted standard for years, offering unbeatable accuracy and reliability at a great price. Interstate and U.S. highwaysIndications of cities, points of interest, airports, boundaries, and moreMileage chartMileage & driving times mapNational facts and symbolsToll roads chartUnited States physical mapVisitor information

Rand McNally Western United States Regional Map

Rand McNally

Rand McNally's folded map featuring the Western United States is a must-have for anyone traveling in and around this part of the country, offering unbeatable accuracy and reliability at a great price. Our trusted cartography shows all Interstate, state, and county highways, along with clearly indicated points of interest, airports, county boundaries, and more. You'll see why Rand McNally folded maps have been the trusted standard for years. Regularly updated, full-color mapsClearly labeled Interstate, U.S., state, and county highwaysDetail maps of major cities, a mileage chart, and a Mileages & Driving Times MapIndications of parks, points of interest, airports, county boundaries, and moreEasy-to-use legend Detailed index Convenient folded sizeStates covered: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 8th Edition (National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States)

National Geographic

In time for the National Park's 100th birthday, this flagship, best-selling guide is fully revamped and updated with all new text, photographs, and design. National Geographic writers hit all 59 national parks—including Pinnacles, the newest in the crown—for intensive on-the-ground research. 300 photos and 80 colorful maps complete the extraordinary package. Practical and comprehensive coverage includes engaging, individual park descriptions and brief history, travel planning tips, itineraries and directions, activities, park lodges and hotels, visitor center contact information, and camping information. Well-known national parks writers provide new insights into the parks and share favorite spots for viewing scenery, wildlife, sunsets, and more in this Centennial edition.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

The possession of firearms and the frequency of violent crime are generally more prevalent than in Canada. Within large metropolitan areas, violent crime more commonly occurs in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods, particularly from dusk to dawn. Verify official neighbourhood crime statistics before planning an outing.

Robbery and assault can also occur in wealthy residential or commercial districts. Exercise caution, particularly at night. Violent crimes, particularly assault, are often connected to alcohol and drug consumption. Remain alert and discreet while in entertainment areas.

Canadians have been the victims of crime such as break-ins, assaults and pickpocketing in the Miami area, sometimes during daylight hours. Theft occurs in the North Miami Beach area, at South Beach and at airports, particularly from trunks of parked cars. Be alert, as criminals use a variety of techniques to steal personal belongings.

Passport theft is on the rise. Ensure that your travel documents are secure at all times.

Driving to Mexico

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada currently advises against non-essential travel to the Mexican side of the border region with the U.S., and does not recommend crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by car, due to continuously high levels of violence linked to organized crime in those areas. For more information on travel to Mexico, please consult our Travel Advice for Mexico.

Air travel

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North America. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in North America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in North America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

All hospitals must accept and treat emergencies, regardless of the person’s ability to pay. Clients will, however, be charged for all services rendered.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal and prescription drugs

The U.S. zero tolerance policy imposes severe penalties for the possession of even a small amount of an illegal drug.

Even prescription drugs and syringes used for legitimate medical purposes come under intense scrutiny. Carrying medicines in their original containers and carrying a duplicate of your original prescription, listing both the generic and trade names of the drug, is recommended. Never carry a package or luggage for someone else unless you have been able to verify the contents completely.

Personal medication may be subject to U.S. drug importation laws and regulations. In general, personal importation of a 90-day supply of medication is allowed, but only if the drug is not available in the U.S. Prescription drugs imported through the mail from Canada are carefully scrutinized. For further information, please consult the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Laws

A serious violation of the law may lead to a jail sentence or, in some states, a death sentence. The jail sentence will be served in a local prison. Canada and the U.S. do, however, have a treaty that permits a Canadian imprisoned in the U.S. to request a transfer to Canada to complete the sentence in a Canadian prison. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and American authorities. Canadian citizenship confers no immunity, special protection or rights to preferential treatment.

Imports and exports

A non-resident may bring merchandise worth up to US$200 free of duty for personal or household use into the U.S. On visits of 72 hours or more, you may carry an additional US$100 worth of merchandise free of duty as gifts for other people. Certain items are prohibited. More information is available from the U.S. CBP.

For information on personal duty purchase exemptions at the border when returning to Canada, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

Travel to Cuba

Residents of the U.S., including Canadian citizens, are subject to U.S. law regarding travel to Cuba. They are prohibited from spending money (in any currency) relating to Cuban travel unless they are licensed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Pets

When examined at a port of entry, cats and dogs must show no signs of diseases communicable to humans. If there is evidence of poor animal health, an examination by a licensed veterinarian might be required, at the expense of the owner. The U.S. authorities may also require a health certificate. Vaccination against rabies is not required for cats. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entry, except for puppies under three months of age. Other animals are also subject to controls or quarantine requirements. Additional information is available from the U.S. CBP and local authorities.

When you return to Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will require proof of vaccination against rabies for all cats and dogs over three months of age. For detailed information, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Automobile insurance

If you are entering the U.S. by personal automobile, you should check with your insurance agent to verify that your existing coverage is valid or sufficient for the areas you will be visiting and for the duration of your visit. If you are going to remain in a specific location in the U.S. for a considerable period of time, verify with the local authorities that your vehicle registration and driver’s licence will remain valid.

Many states have mandatory automobile insurance requirements, and many require motorists to carry appropriate proof of insurance. Each state’s motor vehicles department can give you more specific information. The American Automobile Association and the Canadian Automobile Association can provide detailed information to their members.

If you are in the U.S. and wish to drive to Mexico in your personal vehicle, you may need to purchase liability insurance as well as additional auto insurance. Contact your insurance agent and the local Mexican tourist office for further information. See our Travel Advice and Advisories for Mexico.

Hitchhiking

Never cross the border with a hitchhiker or as a hitchhiker. Though you may not be carrying anything illegal, the hitchhiker in your vehicle might be, and you could be implicated.

Be equally careful about who and what you carry in your vehicle. As the driver, you could be held responsible for the misdeeds of your passengers, even if committed without your knowledge or involvement.

Money

The currency is the U.S. dollar (USD). Canadian currency, traveller’s cheques in Canadian dollars, and personal cheques drawn on Canadian banks are not widely accepted or easily negotiable in the U.S. All major credit cards are accepted throughout the U.S.

There are banking machines that will accept Canadian bank cards, but these may be limited depending on your account access. Despite these difficulties, do not carry large amounts of cash. Non-U.S. residents generally cannot negotiate monetary bank instruments (international bank drafts, money orders, etc.) without having a U.S. bank account.

There is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the U.S.. However, if you carry more than US$10,000 in monetary instruments (such as U.S. or foreign coin, currency, traveller’s cheques, money orders, stocks or bonds) into or out of the U.S., or if you receive more than that amount while in the U.S., you must file a report (Customs Form 4790) with U.S. Customs. Failure to comply can result in civil and criminal penalties, including seizure of the currency or monetary instruments.

Climate

Hurricane season

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November, in the southeastern states. Consult the website of the National Hurricane Center for additional information on weather conditions, stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.

Volcanoes, tornadoes and earthquakes

Some volcanoes in the U.S. are active and seismic activity also occurs. For up-to-date information on volcanic activity, consult the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s website. Additional information on volcanic and seismic activity in the U.S., as well as on possible tsunami threats to Pacific states, is available from the U.S. Geological Survey. Consult the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service for information on tornadoes. You should know the address and telephone number of the nearest embassy or consulate general of Canada in the event of an emergency.

Wildfires

Hot, dry weather conditions and strong winds often lead to wildfires during the summer. Remain alert to local developments through the media and modify your travel arrangements accordingly. In the event of a wildfire, follow the advice of local authorities. If you suffer from respiratory ailments, take into account that the air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.