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Kansas is a state in the midwest of the USA with around 2.85 million inhabitants. Kansas is often overlooed by many travellers crossing the States on a road trip for example. Still, it has some interesting cities and those endless plains are worth a shot as well!
Kansas covers over 200,000 square kilometres of land and borders Oklahoma to the south, Missouri to the east, Nebraska to the north, and Colorado to the west. The state is located equidistant from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The geographic center of the 48 contiguous states (so except Alaska and Hawaii) is located in Smith County near Lebanon.
The western two-thirds of the state, lying in the great central plain of the United States, has a generally flat or undulating surface, while the eastern third has many hills and forests. The land gradually rises from east to west; its altitude ranges from 208 metres along the Verdigris River at Coffeyville in Montgomery County, to 1,231 metres at Mount Sunflower. It is a popular belief that Kansas is the flattest state in the nation, reinforced by a well-known 2003 study stating that Kansas was indeed "flatter than a pancake". This has since been called into question, with most scientists ranking Kansas somewhere between 20th and 30th flattest state, depending on measurement method. Its average elevation is 2,000 feet, higher than 36 states. The Missouri River forms nearly 121 kilometres of the state's northeastern boundary. The Kansas River joins the Missouri at Kansas City, after a course of 270 kilometres across the northeastern part of the state. The Arkansas River, rising in Colorado, flows with a bending course for nearly 800 kilometres across the western and southern parts of the state.
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Kansas experiences a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. From December to February, temperatures are usually below zero. From June to September Kansas enjoys warm days with frequently temperatures above 30 °C. From February until May, Kansas, located in the so-called Tornado Alley, is prone to tornadoes. Precipitation ranges from about 1200 mm annually in the southeast corner of the state, to about 400 mm in the southwest. Snowfall ranges from around 13 centimmetres in the fringes of the south, to 90 centimetres in the far northwest. Frost-free days range from more than 200 days in the south, to 130 days in the northwest. Kansas is the ninth or tenth sunniest state in the country, depending on the source. Western Kansas is as sunny as California and Arizona.
Although, located in neighbouring Missouri, Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is located about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the central business district of Kansas City and also is important for the western part of the state.
Check Greyhound 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.
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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.
Kansas has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:
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