Welcome to the United States! We hope you enjoy your stay in the U.S. and Washington, DC. The following information will help you acclimate to the United States. Also, discover all the fun and exciting attractions that our host city has to offer!
Business hours in the United States are extensive in the services sector. One can shop for clothing, food and other items or find an open restaurant very late in the evening, and in some cases, 24 hours per day. Business hours for banks and government agencies such as the post office are more limited—typically between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.—though some may have extended hours.
Calendar dates are expressed in the month-day-year order in the United States. This is contrary to the system used in many other countries. For instance, the 8th of July, 2020, would be listed as 7-8-2020 rather than 8-7-2020.
Customary Meal Hours
Breakfast: 6:30 – 8 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Dinner: (Main Meal) 5:30 – 8 p.m.
As with other services, extended restaurant hours for meals are readily available in the United States. On weekends, many Americans combine the meals of breakfast and lunch into a single "brunch." Many full-service hotels offer brunch buffets on Saturday and Sunday.
Electronics in the United States operate with a voltage of 110-120 volts, 60 cycles. If your equipment requires 220 volts, you will need to bring a transformer and plug adapter; converters can be difficult to find once in the United States.
In general, one can dial 911 from any phone for emergency services, including police, ambulance and fire department. However, hotels and convention centers have their own emergency numbers, which will be posted on the phones and in the guest directories.
Gasoline is commonly referred to as petrol outside the United States. It is readily available for purchase 24 hours a day.
Cash machines are also known as automatic teller machines or ATMs in the United States. They are easily found in the United States near banks and in malls, shops and large hotels, as well as on the street in major cities such as Washington. Service is reliable. The exchange rate is generally better at an ATM than at a bank currency exchange counter. Foreign currency exchange service is provided at all major DC airports (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Most retailers in the United States accept cash, credit cards and traveler's checks.
Smoking is widely prohibited in Washington, DC. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is a non-smoking facility. Smoking is strictly prohibited in all areas, including loading docks, service corridors, freight alleys, etc. at all times. If you smoke, take care to ensure that you are in an area where it is permissible to do so. Tobacco products may not be sold to anyone less than 18 years of age.
To make international calls from a telephone in the United States, dial the international calling number (011), followed by the country code, then city code, then phone number. For instance, to reach Harrod's in London, dial 011-44-20-7730-1234. If you require operator assistance, an AT&T International Operator can be reached by dialing 00.
A twelve-hour clock utilizing a.m. and p.m. designations is standard in the United States. The twenty-four hour clock is used only in military settings. Washington, DC, is in the eastern time zone, observing daylight savings during the 2020 Annual Meeting.
|212||100||Boiling point of water|
|76||24||Average High Temperature in Washington, DC in May|
|32||0||Freezing point of water|
|98.6||37||Normal body temperature|
|86||30||Hot summer day|
|68||20||Mild spring day|
Tips or gratuities are optional payments given in addition to a required payment, usually to express appreciation for excellent service. How much to tip is a personal judgment; the information below serves only as a guideline to typical amounts. One should never offer a tip to police officers or government employees; such an offer might be considered a bribe.
- Waiters and waitresses normally receive 20% of the amount of the food bill for good service.
- Porters receive $1 or $2 per bag.
- Taxi drivers receive 15-20% of the amount of the fare.
- Barbers and hair dressers, as well as spa personnel, normally receive 15-20% of the bill.
- Room service personnel often receive an automatic gratuity that is listed on the food bill after the subtotal. Otherwise, $2 per meal is acceptable.
- Hotel maids normally receive $1 to $2 per night for cleaning the room.
- Any other visits from hotel personnel (for more towels or pillows, for instance) can be appropriately tipped with $1 to $2.
- Tour guides for organized tours utilizing transportation can receive tips for excellent service. The size of such a tip depends on the number of persons touring, the length of the tour, etc. For a half-day bus tour with a good guide, an average tip might be $5 per attendee.