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    Destination of the Month: USA

    Washington DCThe inauguration of president Obama in January marked what promises to be an exciting new era for the United States. According to a report compiled by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and ABTA, one of the positive outcomes anticipated this year is a 13% increase in Brits visiting the many attractions this vast and beautiful country has to offer. It might sound like a cliché, but the USA really does have something for everyone, no matter what you look for in a holiday. From ski resorts to beautiful beaches, a vast choice of cosmopolitan cities packed with shops, museums and galleries, 57 national parks, deserts, canyons and the best theme parks on the planet. Add to this the lower fuel prices and falling cost of living and you might wonder why you haven't already made the United States your top choice for 2009.If the selection seems a little overwhelming, there are some great websites to help you pick a place within America's 50 states. Discoveramerica.com and usatourist.com are particularly good, with lots of detail for resorts and attractions in each region. As well as popular tourist favourites such as Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Orlando and San Francisco, some lesser known destinations are perfect for a more cultural experience, or a chance to see some breathtaking scenery.

    Check out the following as an example:
    • Arizona - geographically and culturally diverse with a strong Mexican influence
    • Montana - home to the stunning Glacier and Yellowstone National Park
    • Connecticut - full of beautiful coastal drives and world-class museums. Great for a romantic break and only a short journey from Boston or New York
    • Tampa - a classic American city contrasts with scenic coastline. Take a ferry to Cadalesi Island, a must-see for enthusiastic bird watchers and beach combers
    Generally speaking, the US is a car culture and driving is often the most convenient and economical way to travel. From a practical standpoint, public transportation within cities isn't highly efficient except in large metropolitan areas. So even if you're jumping between cities by plane, you may want to rent a car on arrival and drive. Set your own pace, wander down abandoned back roads, stop whenever and wherever you like.There's a handy guide to driving in the USA on the Auto Europe website to read before your trip. And as we've mentioned before, don't forget to register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) at least three days before you travel.

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