It is standard practice for resorts/hotels within the USA to charge a mandatory resort fee which is payable locally. This fee can be anywhere between 5USD to 40 USD per room per night and is not included in the cost of your Kuoni holiday.
Seattle & Portland
The PNW’s gateway cities are cool, quirky and multicultural. Seattle is a land of big business and high tech but there’s a real neighbourhood feel too with lots of indie shops and coffee houses. Over in Oregon there’s Portland – one of the hippest and most open-minded cities in the USA. It’s also the country’s craft beer capital: there are over 80 microbreweries scattered around the eclectic neighbourhoods.
Pacific Coast Highway
The entire coastline of the Pacific Northwest feels a like a hidden gem, with free-flowing roads, pristine rainforests and empty beaches. Stop for one of those picture-postcard Pacific sunsets and it’s likely that your only company will be a flock of snowy plovers darting in and out of the surf. Where the coast is more rugged, there are lighthouses that rival those in New England, caves that are home to sea lion colonies, and beaches scattered with rock stacks that rise out of the sea bed.
Wherever you are in the Pacific Northwest, natural beauty is never too far away. Seattle overlooks the busy waterways of the island-scattered Puget Sound and has Cascade Mountains backdrops; you can also get to Olympic (p52) and Mount Rainier National Parks within a couple of hours. Portland is the gateway to the Columbia River region and slopes of Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest mountain. Head south through the vine-carpeted Willamette Valley, up into the Cascade Mountains and you’ll reach Crater Lake National Park.
The farm-to-table movement is having its moment in the USA but few places can match the eat-local vibe in this corner of the country. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy some ‘slow food’ and in Portland you can hardly walk a few yards before passing a restaurant that creates mouth-watering dishes that are determined by the season. To stock up for a mountain meadow picnic or a beachside barbecue, head to one of the excellent farmers’ markets – there are more than 270 here, including Seattle’s world-famous Pike Place Market.
GMT -8 hours
US Dollar ($)
English is the official language, although many other languages are widely spoken in certain cities and communities. America has its own written US English spellings.
• British citizens must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
• You'll also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).
• No vaccinations are compulsory but it's recommended you have one for tetanus. • For more information, contact your GP or a specialist vaccination centre.
Tipping is an established and accepted custom in America. For good service, waiters and taxi drivers expect 15-20%, and counter and bar staff 10-15%. Porters can expect from $3-$5 per case, while tour guides can be given the equivalent of £2-£3 per day.