tips for traveling to America

Are you planning a trip to the United States and searching for advice from Americans before taking the trip? Then, we got you covered. After someone asked Reddit for tips before making their journey, these are the top-voted responses.

1. Be Aware Tipping Culture is Prevalent in the U.S.

tips for traveling to America

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One American shared, “Tipping culture is very prevalent in America. Most people expect that you leave a tip, and people may consider you rude or selfish if you don’t. Americans live off their tips and are paid a much lower wage.”

2. Make Sure Your Healthcare Extends to the U.S.

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“As a European whose wife had a student job at an insurance company, I have a bonus advice for everyone traveling to the USA: make sure your insurance covers over there,” shared one. 

“Worldwide coverage sounds great, but sometimes some countries are exempt from it, like the USA. And you don’t want to get health problems or have an accident in America only to find out you have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the treatment.”

3. America is Massive

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Many suggested being aware that America is massive. One added, “Large areas like the desert southwest and federal lands have no gasoline, water, or cell service. So if you are going to these places, plan for contingencies.

Don’t plan on seeing the country as you would in Europe, especially if driving. I can’t tell you how often I had students show up in San Antonio from overseas and tell me they were ‘popping on over’ to Miami or elsewhere for the weekend.

Not realizing Miami takes 20 hours to drive one way. It takes 41 hours of driving time to cross the country. Plan and keep in mind the U.S. is massive.”

4. Check Weather Forecasts!

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“The weather can be very extreme. So you should take it seriously if the news puts out a weather advisory, usually for storms or severe temperatures,” warned one.

“I’ve been exploring hiking trails on days that began as completely sunny but ended in the pouring rain. Make sure you always check the weather forecasts.”

5. Everything is More Expensive Than it Looks

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“Haggling is not prevalent in the U.S. If a price is listed or you ask someone for it 99% of the time, that price isn’t negotiable,” answered another. “The only exceptions are permanent items like cars, houses, and furniture.

Also, assume everything is 5-10% more expensive than the listed price because of tax. They don’t add the taxes until at the register.”

6. Americans are Very Diverse

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“Americans are not all the same,” one stated. “We have many ethnicities, cultures, and religions here, and each region is very different. So food here consists of many cuisines. 

For example, the people living on the California coast differ from those living in the rural midwest. People in Hawaii are very different from people living in Florida.”

7. Regional Food Tastes Better Where it Originates From

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“America has regional foods. You may be aware of nationally available American foods like hamburgers. Still, we also have regional specialties that are best when you are in that region. 

If you want a real bagel or slice of pizza, you must go to New York City. New Orleans has the best food in the world (I say as someone not from Louisiana), and you won’t find comparable cuisine anywhere else. It takes a little research to figure out what you should be trying, but it’s typically worth it.”

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8. Beware of Road Rage

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“Stay in the middle or right lane if renting a car,” replied another. “The left is only for passing in some states, and in other states, people will get angry if you’re not going at least ten miles per hour faster than the limit. You don’t want any road rage coming your way. 

In addition, if you get angry at someone when driving, let it go, don’t flip them off or cut them off in revenge. There are some crazy people on the road out there.”

9. Most Americans Are Helpful. Smiling is Normal Here

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“Don’t be scared to ask someone if you’re lost or want a recommendation on a place to eat,” one said. “We’re generally friendly, which reminds me that we smile a lot. 

I’ve been to Europe, and people don’t usually smile or greet strangers, which is okay. They’re different cultures. But if someone is smiling at you or welcoming you, they might find you a bit cold or off-putting if you can’t crack even a slight smile for a moment.”

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10. Go to the National Parks, Explore Nature

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“Go to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, or any other National Park. We have such beautiful parks here,” one suggested.

“There are so many hidden nature trails and hiking areas, even in cities, but sometimes you must dig to find them. Of course, it helps to have a friend who’s local to the area. The U.S. has some of the most impressive mountains to climb, especially in the National Parks.”

We hope you enjoyed this Reddit tips list for people traveling to America. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Impulse Traveler.


Elizabeth Ervin
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