Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. It is the county seat of Kanawha County and has about 50,000 inhabitants, though the total metropolitan area has over 300,000 inhabitants.
Charleston has a four-season climate lying within the northern fringes of a humid subtropical climate. Especially in winter, Charleston's average temperatures are usually warmer than the rest of the state, due to the city being west of the higher elevations. Spring is the most unpredictable season, and spring-like weather usually arrives in late March or early April. Temperatures warm up considerably in late May, with warm summer-like days. Summer is hot, with 23 days of highs at or above 32 °C, sometimes reaching 38 °C, often accompanied by high humidity. Autumn features crisp evenings that warm quickly to mild to warm afternoons. Winters are cool, with a January daily average of 1.3 °C, but with occasional temperatures below -15 °C. Extremes have ranged from -27 °C in December 1917 to 42 °C in July 1931 and August 1918.
Snowfall generally occurs from late November to early April, with the heaviest period being January and February. However, major snowstorms of more than 25 centimetres are rare. The area receives, excepting October, more than 76 mm of precipitation each month, with measurable amounts falling on more than 150 days per year. Thunderstorms are frequent during the late spring and throughout the summer, and occasionally they can be quite severe, producing the rare tornado.
The Cardinal/Hoosier State, operated by Amtrak, travels between New York and Chicago, stopping in Charleston.
Check Greyhound buses for options.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
See also International Telephone Calls
The US Postal Service is very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS and DHL.
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