Ask the traveller: Work in the US
Wednesday 29 June 2011
I have been offered a job in the US and I want to explore the country. I'm allowed to live anywhere, so I need a location that will be best for both living and travelling. Ideally it'll be warm – and the less I spend on rent, the more I spend on travel. Marcin Gorecki
Your last point excludes a couple of the more obvious targets – New York City and San Francisco are fabulous locations, with great connections, but rent costs and other living expenses are punishingly high.
The most "liveable" places in America tend to be on the fringes – Seattle, Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Providence and Key West on the East – and none of these has particularly good air links to help you explore.
The leading candidates in terms of sheer numbers of air links are Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. Of these, easily the most interesting city is Chicago, which is also America's rail hub, but prices are relatively high and the winters are bitterly cold.
A couple of locations in the foothills of the Rockies are tempting: Albuquerque in New Mexico, for clear skies and Native American culture; Boulder, Colorado, a small, lively city on the doorstep of the Great Outdoors. The latter has better air links, thanks to its proximity to Denver's vast airport.
Given all the variables, our advice: follow Elvis to Memphis, Tennessee – where summers aren't too hot and winters aren't too cold. The birthplace of the blues is a vibrant city astride the Mississippi, with relatively low living costs and easy access to some great locations.
Chicago is an overnight rail journey away. Heading south, the City of New Orleans train will take you to the "Big Easy" in a manageable eight hours. Memphis is also a hub for America's biggest airline, Delta. And Interstate 40, the "Music Highway", will take you to Nashville in four hours.
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