#1 When you make eye contact with people… they smile!
This is maybe the first thing that struck me when I first arrived to the U.S. During my first day in Boston everyone was smiling whenever we made eye contact and surprisingly I really liked it 😀
So dear travelers, please smile when people smile at you!! 😀
#2 Food portion sizes… no actually everthing is bigger!!!
Too much, or overkill these are the words that came out of my mouth everytime I ordered anything in the U.S. It’s just crazy how much you’ll get ordering for one person. And, it doesn’t stop there, beverages, cars or even houses are massive!!!
So people who are visiting, get used to it, order small sizes and ask to wrap the rest so you can take it home ^^
#3 Flags… American flags are everywhere!!!
That’s another thing I’ve only seen in United states. Wherever you go, metro stations, restaurants, hotels or even private houses flags are always displayed. It’s interesting how Americans are attached to the national flag, whilst in Europe for example flags are rarely displayed other than on public institutions.
#4 Imperial system: yes my friend you’ll be -very- confused
Yes, you definitely heard of it before, but it’s interesting when you’re giving a quantity in Gallons, Pounds, Ounces and want to figure out what does it mean exactly 😀
Here’s a little guide that might help:
- 1 Gallon =~ 3,79 L
- 1 Pound =~ 0,46 Kg
- 100 onces =~ 2.84 Kg
- 1 Foot =~ 0,30 m
#5 IDs are checked almost automatically
As you might know, in order to consume or purchase alcohol in the United states you must be 21 or older. So, any establishment that sells alcohol will ask you for your ID… like almost all the time!!!
So, carrying your passport might save you a walk/drive back home!! (Since some restaurants don’t accept foreign IDs).
#6 Sale taxes
Yes, unlike a lot of countries in the world, prices in the U.S don’t include taxes.
Know this, so you won’t (like I) hand the cashier a $10 dollar bill for something that will cost $10 something and feel confused about it 😀 (oups!)
This is an interesting one, going to any restaurant, bar etc you’re expected to tip at least 15% of the total bill. Although, I advise you to tip at least 20% even that it’s weird to understand (for a European at least) that you’re paying the waiter/waitress salary (part of at least) + your meal and drinks.
But, that’s how it works in the U.S so let’s think of those hard workers too!!
You’re used to walk? really? well forget about it in the U.S because other then major cities everything is only accessible by car. Even bikes can be pretty dangerous, and buses might not be very convenient all the time.
So I recommend you to rent a car, prices can be pretty low if it’s booked in advance and beleive me it’s a life changer in the U.S.
#9 24-Hour stores
Yep, you read that right! In the U.S it’s totally normal to walk into supermarket at 2 a.m (if for some reason you’re awake) and buy whatever you want… it’s ‘murica!!!
#10 Hi, how are you doing? is a greeting not an actual question!!
Guys, “Hi, how are you doing?” is not a question, so don’t be like me who answered (not a short answer) the immigration agent and ask him back, and worse, expected his answer… I still remember the look on his face 😀