-Call: 0 9042 450 100 ( visa informations [ 1,23£/min plus network extras ])/  (0)20-7894-0925(general information)
-Website for entry requirements and formalities: London.usembassy.gov/visas-geinfo.htlm
-Call: 0 9001 850 055 ( English or German, 1,862€/ min, plus additional charges may applyfrom mobilephone)
-Website for entry requirements and formalities: germany.usembassy.gov/visa/infoservice/
-Call: 1 9944 2399 ( 15€ a call ) or +39 0646 741
|Making direct reservations||Distances|
|Public Holidays||American Consulates|
|Tempeture||Weight & Measurements|
|Driving in the US||Postal Services , Telegrams & Telephones|
|Electrical Current||Value Added Taxes|
The French consumer protection laws cannot protect or assist you with a problem when purchasing a tour directly with US travel suppliers. For any discrepancies that may occur, you can directly contact the American Consumer Protection Agency, in English, The Visit USA Committee provides extensive and rich supplier information on their site, nevertheless, they cannot be held responsible or assist in the follow-up of any problems incurred when booking directly with a USA Committee Member or with another US company.
-1 liter of wine or alcohol (per passager over 21 years old)
-200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 2 kg of tobacco
-Gift value that does not exceed US $100
-As a general rule, candies, condiments, spices, coffee and teas that are commercially packaged are generally ok, however bulk teas or spices, etc. are subject to inspection and if they are found to have insects, they may be seized and destroyed.
-Since September 26, 2006 liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted in carry-on bags on airlines however their contents must not exceed 100ml each (total 1 liter) and must be placed in a re-sealable transparent plastic bags. Items purchased in duty free are authorized on-board regardless of their contents.
Products not allowed:
-All meats, vegetal products and dangerous items ( guns, knives, files, scissors, sharp objects, matches…) are not allowed in carry-on luggage however are authorized in checked luggage.
-Certain pharmaceutical products only with medical prescriptions and translated in English are allowed in carry-on luggage.
-Since April 14, 2005, lighters are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage.
For more information: http://www.customs.gov
Renseignements : http://www.customs.gov
The right to purchase items free of duty(tax) are applicable to all products purchased from a non- European Economic Community country and must not exceed 430€ per person and be 15 years or older. In the event purchases exceed the 430€ amount, all items (clothes, material, electronics, jewelry) must be declared when re-entering an EEC country at customs and will be subjected to pay the respective TVA amount of the of goods purchased (if limit is exceeded). If your goods are not voluntarily declared and controlled, the person will risk paying fines.
If you are flying into the EU from outside the Euro Zone you are allowed to bring in the following, from January 1st 2010, provided you travel with the items and do not intend to sell them.
DOGS AND CATS:
When travelling with pets to the United States, a valid Health and Rabies Vaccination Certificate are required. Pets must have been vaccinated within a month before departure and also within 12 months. When entering the United States, pets must be physically identified with a tattoo or microchip that corresponds with the pet’s identification papers and health certificates. Quarantine is not required except for the islands such as Hawaii.
For more information, please contact one of the following US embassies:
United States Embassy websites:
Italy :http:// italy.usembassy.gov/visa
or: USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/NCIE or call the Hotline 001 301 734 85 90 or 001 301 734 78 85
When driving in the United States for a duration of 3 months or less,
your French or European Driver’s license with photo, class of your license, birth date, expiry date and conditions of your license must be readable to US authorities.
For information regarding driving license requirements for visitors to the USA from other countries, I can suggest the following possible sources of information:
The US embassy in your country (via their web site if available).
The web sites of US car rental companies. This information is unlikely to be available directly so you will probably need to obtain an email address to which you could send the question.
International Driving Licenses are not mandatory if your visit is less than 3 months and except for the State of Florida.
Each respective State has different laws. Please contact the specific representative of the State concerned. Contacts can be found on the website: http://www.expatries.org/index.php/Annuaires
All drivers must be at least 21 years old and in most cases be at least 25 years old to be able to rent a vehicle.
After 3 months, the driver is required to pass the State of residency’s driving permit.
Vaccinations for leisure travel are not required for entering the United States.
For more information: http://www.travelsante.com ( site francais ) www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/vaccines_index.shtml
110 volts/60 hertz system is the voltage used in the United States compared to the 120 volts/50hertz system used in Europe. The voltage in Europe is twice that of the voltage in the United States, and while many electronics are designed to adapt to voltage changes, it is crucial to check. The electrical outlet configuration or plugs in the USA are different than in Europe and an adapter is necessary.
The distance between New York and Los Angeles is 9,300 km or 2800 miles! The United States spans over an immense territory and is 17 times bigger than France
for example. The States of Alaska and Hawaii are very different from the continental states and the islands of Hawaii are located 5 hours by airplane from the west coast of the United States.
One mile equals 1.607 km. 60% more time is needed to cover the same numerical distance however the roads are built for traveling long distances.
It is highly recommended when planning your United States trip, to concentrate your trip to one region or State. It is easy to under estimate the time needed to travel in the United States.
speed limits are strictly enforced and can add additional travel time. It is recommended to alternate long and short travelling distances from one day to the next! One does not want to miss the exceptional sites along the way.
January 1st: the New Year
3rd Monday in January: Martin Luther King’s Birthday
3rd Monday in February: President’s Day
Last Monday in May: Memorial Day
July 4th: Independence Day
1st Monday in September: Labor Day
2nd Monday in October: Columbus Day
November 11th: Veterans Day
4th Thursday in November: Thanksgiving
December 25th: Christmas
The American Consulates are open daily from Monday to Friday from 9h00 to 11h00 except on US and country specific holidays.
24 Grosvenor Square
Federal Republic of Germany
Italy :http:// italy.usembassy.gov/visa
Belgium :http:// Belgium.usembassy.gov/visa
1 yard = 0.914 meters
1 foot = 30.48 cm
1 inch = 2,54 cm
1 pound = 0,4536 kg
1 ounce = 28,35 g
1 gallon = 3,785 liters
1 quart = 0,946 liters
1 pint = 0,473 liters
To convert Fahrenheit temperatures into Celsius: subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit degree and multiply by 5 and then divide by 9
To Celsius into Fahrenheit: Multiply the Celsius temperature by 9, then divide by 5 and add 32
Example: 40 C = 104 F
1 mile = 1,6 km
5 miles = 8 km
50 miles = 80 km
100 miles = 160 km
In the United States, gratuities or tips are rarely included in services ( for example: restaurants and taxis). It has become, more frequent that restaurants will include gratuities in the final bill, when there are several clients at the same table. It is recommended to have additional cash to pay tips that range between 15 to 20% more than the bill. It is common practice to tip waiters, taxi drivers, tour bus drivers, tour guides, baggage handlers and valet parking services. Tips are an important part of their earnings. For Tour Guides, tips between $5 and $10 per person are recommended, and are given at the end of the tour. It is also recommended to tip the hotel concierge in luxury hotels as they often provide exceptional services. It is not common practice to tip public bus drivers, gas station operators or other public positions, only in exceptional cases.
Telegrams are managed by private companies, such as Western Union. In certain cases your hotel can handle sending a telegram however in most cases, you must go the closest Western Union or equivalent specialized company. Your telegram can be written in any language, and there are special rates available for sending your telegram overnight.
Public telephone booths:
-Local calls: 25 cents(varies)
-National calls in the United States: Call 0 for an operator who will give you the 3 digit number for the region you wish to call followed by the number of your correspondent. Anticipate coins to immediately pay for your call by placing the necessary coins in the telephone coin slot.
-Collect Calls or Person to Person: call AT&T to obtain a prepaid card 1800 423 4343.
Calling the US from a private telephone to Europe (example: France):
00 (for international numbers called
from France)1 (indicative for the US) followed by the 10 digit number. Example (222 333-4444: from France your dial 00 1 222 333 4444
Calling France from a private telephone in the US: 001 (for international numbers outside of the United States); 33 (indicative for France) followed by the number omitting the zero. Example: 01 44 55 66 77 = 011 33 1 44 55 66 77.
Mobile telephones: Only tri-band telephones function in the United States. To obtain an ATT mobile phone card contact the 1 800 423 4343. It is recommended to check with your local mobile telephone provider to inquire about using your mobile phone in the United States. There are special rates available and it is best to inquire before your trip.
-Local Information Services within the US: 411
-National Information Services within the US:1 ( followed by regional indicative with 3 digits) 555-1212 or for toll-free number 1-800-55-1212 (toll free numbers 1-800 are free of charge).
It is possible to call toll free numbers from France with 880 or 881.
-International Services: call 1 800 874 4000 extension 324
-Interpretation Services: 1-800-628-8486 (say “French” “German” “Italian” or other language)
-Emergencies (police, firemen, ambulance): 911
Dining in the United States offers an incredible local and international variety of foods.
The American Breakfast is a complete meal ranging from $6 to $10. While lunches ($15 to $20) are normally lighter than traditional European lunches, the evening meal is the most important of the day ($25 to $40). An American specialty is their excellent beef often best prepared in specialized restaurants known as “Steak Houses. “Seafood” include both ocean, river and shell fish (for example New England lobsters). Fast foods are an excellent value for price with a large variety to choose from: steaks and hamburgers, Mexican, Chinese or Italian.
Drinking American wine in the US is affordable and offers excellent value for the price. Among the most well-known American red wines are Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon and the most popular white wines are Chablis, Chardonnay or Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
Prices for products and services (hotels, restaurants, products, etc…) are always marked without tax and are added at the time of purchase. The tax amount varies from state to state and even, from county to county. The valued added taxes from purchases in the United States are for the most part not refundable, except for the state of Louisiana. The traveller can only present invoices at the New Orleans Airport in Louisiana.
Travelling handicapped in the United States has been made easier for handicapped persons irrespective of their disability: physical (i.e. wheelchair, supplemental oxygen, etc…), mental or sensory. Most public places, by law, such as hotels, restaurants, public buildings, tourist sites, attractions and public parks offer handicap accessibility. It is recommended that handicapped travellers carefully plan their trip regarding their respective disability. For example, if a wheelchair is needed, a wheelchair spare tire and changing kit should be brought with the traveller.
George W. Bush advocated rights for the Handicapped by passing the Disabilities Act of 1990. This act provided the necessary funds to improve infrastructures and services for handicap accessibility. Entrance ramps to public buildings, sidewalk ramps, special equipment in Visitors Centers, special tracks at National Parks and numerous parking for the handicapped have been amended and improved for wheelchair access and circulation. Also, braille signs have been available and often found in elevators. Television monitors, internet or illustrations have been made available for hearing disabilities. Continual improvements are underway to harmonize standard handicapped regulations for all public places.
Before your trip.
The handicapped traveller can contact specialized agencies in the United States for information for travelling with disabilities in the United States. It is recommended that traveller contact the tour organizers before departure to inform, express concerns and anticipate difficulties with regard to the specific handicap.
For example in Europe, the large airports and train stations in Europe have also made great improvements for handicapped accessibility: amended infrastructures and services, additional handicap parking and special reductions. Explicit handicap travel information has been made available on their websites.
It is highly recommended to have the following vital information with the handicapped traveller at all times: an emergency number; name, telephone and address of traveller’s destination; blood type; medical indications (required medicines with contents, medicine prescriptions and allergies of any kind), all written in English.
In the United States, companion pets are rarely accepted in restaurants and bars and hardly ever accepted in administrations offices, tourist attractions, department stores and public transport. However, Seeing Eye Dogs or Guide Dogs cannot be refused by law in any of the above mentioned places and are also allowed on most airlines.
The numbers of handicapped travellers are limited per flight due to security reasons. Airlines can request that a handicapped person be accompanied by another person, depending on the level of the disability, age and flight time. A travel assistant is mandatory if the handicapped person cannot perform the following tasks:
fasten and unfasten seatbelts, use oxygen mask, eat or use the bathroom.
The airlines recognize different levels of disabilities. The airlines provide wheelchair assistance in the airport, to the aircraft and to baggage claim.
When making reservations, it is essential that the traveller communicate the type of wheelchair that will accompany the handicapped traveller: electric or manual, their weight and dimensions, type of batter dry or wet. Travelers should expect airlines to remove the wet-cell battery(s) from their wheelchair and seal them in a chemical-proof, spill-proof container. At the other end of the flight the wet-cell batteries and the wheelchair will be delivered separately.
For traveling, it is recommended to seal dry-cell or gel-cell batteries. These batteries also contain lead plates and sulfuric acid but since they are sealed, their acid can not escape or cause damage. An important note: If you are changing battery types from wet-cell to dry-cell or gel-cell, you must have a battery charger designed for your new type of battery.
More often wheelchairs are placed in baggage compartments. In some cases when aircraft cabins are full or aircraft size is too small, airlines will transport the wheelchair, however oversize baggage fees may apply.
Mentally disabled travellers can travel without an assistant with a medical authorization. Children under 12 with mental disabilities must be accompanied by an adult no matter the type of flight. Persons with psychological disorders must be accompanied by two people when the flight is longer than 2 hours. On-board the aircraft, handicapped travellers have access to special paid services.
The card FREMEC (Frequent Traveler Medical Card) has been established for frequent disabled travellers. This card is issued by a Doctor from the preferred airline and has a 5-year validity. Simply communicate the number on the card when making airlines reservations and the traveller’s specific medical details will be immediately made available to the Reservation Agent.
Rental Car Companies have rental cars with manual controls for the qualified handicapped drivers. Some vehicles or vans have automated ramp access to accommodate electric wheelchairs. These types of rental cars/vans are normally placed at car rental pick-ups located at major airports. It is highly recommended that reservations be made well in advance of the trip because these type of vehicles are limited. Also, the car renter is often obliged to return this specialized vehicle at the same place rental car location of origin.
Your European handicapped parking card is not applicable within the United States.
Travelling by Bus or Train
Before travelling on public transport such as buses or trains, it is best to inquire before travelling about specific access and special reservations.
(US train system)
Office of Amtrack Access 2 W
60 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.
Washington DC 20002-4225
Call toll-free within the continental US: 800 USA RAIL (Ask for Special Services Desk) or www.amtrack.com ( see Special Needs & Accessibility)
-GREYHOUND ( US Bus system)
P.O. BOX 660362
Dallas, TX 75266-0362
Call toll-free: 800 822 2662 or 800 752-4841 ( ask for Customer Relations)
La plupart des hôtels annoncent disposer d’un nombre (parfois très) limité de chambres spécialement équipées (largeurs de portes agrandies, baignoires ou douches munies de barres d’appui et/ou de siège, etc). N’hésitez pas à contacter l’hôtel directement (et non pas la centrale de réservation dont l’employé n’aura jamais vu l’hôtel dont il s’agit) avant de faire un choix définitif, voire à demander des photos car il existe d’énormes différences d’une propriété à l’autre. Si la chambre est accessible, il faut aussi s’assurer que l’hôtel, lui, l’est bien… Si la chambre que vous avez réservée n’est pas disponible à votre arrivée et que l’hôtel n’a plus de chambre « accessible », il doit vous en fournir une au même prix. De même, si l’hôtel propose une navette gratuite à l’aéroport, celle-ci doit être « accessible ». Sinon, l’hôtelier doit vous transporter à ses frais.
Les grands parcs d’attractions et les musées sont la plupart du temps équipés pour recevoir les handicapés moteurs. Hospital Audiences Inc. est une association new-yorkaise destinée à favoriser l’accès des handicapés aux grands événements culturels de Big Apple. www.hospitalaudiences.org
* Informations générales
- En France
Les associations pour personnes handicapées ont la plupart du temps un service loisirs et voyages. Par exemple, l'Association des Paralysés de France (A.P.F.) :
17, bd Auguste-Blanqui, 75013 Paris.
Téléphone : 01-40-78-69-00.
- Agences gouvernementales américaines
Americans with Disabilities Act
Federal Transit Administration
Tous les aspects de la vie locale
- Access-Able Travel Source
P.O. Box 1796, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034
Téléphone: 303-232-2979 Fax: 303-239-8486
- Centers for Independent Living
Ces centres à but non lucratif ont un maillage par état assez important. Bien qu’ils soient à l’origine réservés aux handicapés locaux, ils peuvent fournir des informations précieuses sur la ville qui vous intéresse, notamment sur les transports.
* Voyageurs se rendant aussi au Canada
* Voyageurs handicapés moteurs et nécessitant un fauteuil roulant (location sur place)
3111 South Valley View Blvd.
Suite U105, Las Vegas, NV 89103
Téléphone gratuit aux E-U : (888) 441-7575
Téléphone : (204) 982-0657
Fax: (204) 478-1172
* Voyageurs malvoyants
The Braille Institute Education and Awareness
PO Box 491546
Los Angeles, CA 90049
* Voyageurs avec un handicap pulmonaire et/ou nécessitant le transport (ou la location) d’oxygène thérapeutique
- Medical Travel
16555 White Orchid Lane - Delray Beach - Floride 33446
1.800.778.7953 (téléphone gratuit aux E-U) - 561.921.0496 (semaine) - 561.921.0009 (Fax)
- The Oxygen Traveler
6307 Hansel Avenue - Orlando - Floride - 32809
1.800.308.2503 (téléphone gratuit aux E-U) - 407.438.8010 (semaine) - 407.447.5312 (Fax)