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Travel Tips for US Visitors

Travel Tips for US Visitors Featured Image

Travel tips for US visitors.

Having a travel guide is good advice for anyone traveling to another country. If you’ve ever seen a travel guide, you’re probably aware of the kinds of details inside of them. They include details such as, how to travel to your destination, then how to travel around your destination, money tips, where to stay, what to eat, etc.

When traveling to the US, a guide book is also a great idea. Being prepared while traveling is essential. Below is a list of things you may experience here which most likely aren’t printed on the pages of any book.

Some of the generalizations you may have always thought to be true about America may or may not be true. Whatever the case, make sure you’re aware that the US and our citizens have a unique spirit.

While we know the list below is not isolated to Americans, we feel these are oddities that somewhat define our country. Some may be embarrassing, but others keep us inspired and encouraged.

  • Don’t be shocked if an American randomly starts a friendly conversation with you. It may be, “How are you doing?” as you pass on the sidewalk. It may be someone standing in line behind you at the deli. Americans are typically very intrigued about people who don’t call the USA their home. If you feel comfortable joining the conversation, do so! Who knows, you may get some great local travel tips or even make a new friend.
  • While we do enjoy striking up conversation, we LOVE our personal space. Typically the unwritten rule for this is staying about an arms length away from someone.  If too close, the locals won’t get mad or yell at you, but will probably back away as if you smell funny. This rule DOES depend on the situation and is sometimes thrown out (like being at an overly crowded bar, concert, etc).
  • Our food portion sizes are large (generally speaking). Being an American, I am still shocked every time I am presented my meal when eating out. Good thing most places let you take the food home with you. Make sure to ask for a “to-go box”.
  • Tipping at restaurants. Yes, it’s annoying and can get pricey, but at least you can practice your mental math skills every time you go out to eat! A good rule of thumb is tipping anywhere between 15%-20% of the total bill. If you feel like tipping more, you may do so. If you feel like tipping less, you will probably get some mean stares from the wait staff. Make sure that the tip isn’t already included when the bill is presented. Sometimes places add that on for you (especially with larger parties).
  • Americans have a bunch of different dialects and accents throughout the entire country. Watch this fun video, and you can see for yourself!
  • We have sales tax and yes, we hate it too. Tax rates even differ from state to state. To visit states with little to no tax rates, travel to Alaska, Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire or Delaware.
  • You may run across a few homeless citizens, especially when in the bigger cities. You can give them spare change if you’d like, but you don’t have to.
  • Our country is heavily advancing towards a smoke-free public environment. A lot of restaurants, bars, etc may not allow smoking at all while in the establishment. These laws vary from state to state. There are typically signs posted to let you know the local smoking laws.
  • Want to experience gluttony? Check out a 7-Eleven. Just step into one of these convenience stores and feast your eyes on a big gulp, or a double gulp. Yes, people buy those. Sometimes daily. Also,if you’ve never tried a slurpee, give that a try.
  • We really enjoy our holidays. Americans enjoy gathering together to observe them. Lots of food, parties, celebrations, etc. You will notice commercialization of holidays rampant throughout local retail stores. An example being that Walmart put their Halloween (and even some Christmas) decorations on their shelves a couple of weeks ago.
  • Most grocery stores have whole isles or sections dedicated to one particular item, such as cereal, condiments, canned foods, candy, etc. Shopping is often a sensory overload, even to Americans.
  • We are very timely people. We live and die by the clock. It is actually considered rude to be late to something. The saying goes, “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late”.
  • Random facts:
    • We really do love our troops.
    • Wondering what “Adopt a Highway” means? These are strips of interstates where companies/people “adopt” the responsibility to keep it clean and looked after (trash, roadkill, etc).
    • Turning right on red (unless otherwise posted) is legal in most places.
    • We card hard for alcohol consumption. The legal drinking age throughout the US is 21 years old. A lot of businesses check ID’s unless the person looks 40 or above.
    • Apparently we have odd toilets.
    • Walmarts. Make sure that you visit one. You can buy a car tire and gallon of milk all in one place.
    • There is a 2 dollar bill. Not considered common currency (but you can technically purchase goods with them).
    • Ranch as a dipping sauce (fries, chicken, veggies) is very common.
    • We love air conditioning.

Let us know what you’ve experienced in America which may have not made our list!