Things Every Traveler Should Know Visiting America | 8 Tips When Traveling to the US

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hi there it's Ernest from trip astute in this video we're doing something a little bit different we're gonna cover the quirky and important aspects of US life that visitors should know when visiting the States a few months ago we did a video on what I noticed when I travel to England it was meant to be a fun and lighthearted video only enough though the video got a lot of attention and as of today has over 400,000 views the video seems to be trending in the UK so we had a lot of folks chime in on their thoughts a lot of people shared their experience in the US and some of the confusing aspects of our life and culture so today I wanted to cover some of the biggest and most significant differences especially those that could really affect your experience while here while many of you in the u.s. might not think that any of these things are unique I still think it's useful to be mindful of them especially when you have family and friends visiting from abroad if for those of you who are watching from outside of the US particularly our new subscribers from the UK I hope this list is not only entertaining but also useful I really tried to focus on differences and tips that might save you time and keep you safe while visiting the States lastly before I run through the list keep in mind that I'm intentionally ignoring politics and guns while these are very stark and unique aspects of US culture I'm really trying to avoid political debates on this channel so before you comment on our President or guns just know I totally get it but this is not where I want to have that discussion so that out of the way let's go through the list number one paying for gas if you're visiting the US you'll notice that most gas stations will require you to pay for fuel in advance before you start pumping most Americans will simply swipe their credit card which then puts a hold on their account until they're done fueling this can be a big problem for international visitors as the pumps are often not able to process a hold or verify their credit card especially since the u.s. is a bit behind their payment technology if you're faced with having to pay for gas or petrol as the rest the world knows it you probably need to pay the attendant cash for most cars you can expect to pay around 25 to 30 dollars for a full tank if you end up filling up less then just asks for change from the attendant once you're done pumping as a bonus tip keep in mind that in the US the black pump is usually designated as regular unleaded fuel green pumps are usually diesel which is not as common in the u.s. as it is in the rest of the world number two stay in your car when being pulled over by the police this one is extremely important to know if you're visiting the US if you're driving and you get pulled over by the police you'll want to remain in your car and keep your hands on the steering wheel you do not want to get out of your vehicle well that may be the normal process outside the US doing so will likely result in the police feeling threatened and potentially drawing their weapons the normal procedure in the u.s. is to pull over to the side of the road and turn off your engine you'll want to roll down your driver side window and keep your hands on your steering wheel the police will usually ask for your driver's license and vehicle registration though I wouldn't start looking for it until the police asks for it I don't need to scare people as this is such a common scenario in the US but it's an easy way to startle the police especially if you exit the car and walk toward the officer number three turning right on the red light this is one that seems to disturb a lot of people when they visit the u.s. even though I think most Americans find it to be very convenient and useful if you're in an intersection and you want to turn a ride you can do so on the red light if there is no pedestrian crossing at the time no cars coming toward your direction and no signs saying that the right turn is prohibited on the red light if you find yourself in the situation you'll want to stop at the intersection first and allow any pedestrians to pass then you can slowly move forward into the crosswalk and turn right when it's clear and safe just be careful of folks to ignore the crosswalk signal and try to cross the street at the lat second on that note number four avoid jaywalking the US has laws against jaywalking which is basically disregarding the law and crossing the street outside of the crosswalk or when the crossing signal is read this is only enforced on busy roads it's meant to keep people from crossing streets where they can get hit by cars and cause disruptions to the flow of traffic I know it's very annoying even for Americans but it's something to be aware of when you want to cross the street also police officers will often just wait around busy streets to catch people jaywalking so be careful when you're walking around high-traffic areas number five tipping the tipping culture in the u.s. is very excessive and is confusing even to us Americans while it's customary to tip servers 15 to 20 percent at restaurants and bars it's often unclear in other scenarios like valet parking hotels and cafes for example Fiona recently told me that she struggled with determining the amount to tip when visiting a hair salon in these cases we usually default to 15 to 20 percent but only if you were happy with the service also keep in mind that servers at restaurants and bars typically make less than minimum wage in the u.s. that means that the tip is a major component of their wages while I personally think they should get paid more just know that we often see tipping in restaurants to be mandatory unless the service was not up to standards number 6 stop signs a lot of visitors have complained that they often don't know how to deal with multiple cars arriving at a stop sign at once the official rule is that the person to the right has the right of way though it can be messy when it's not clear who is to the right my suggestion is to be defensive and move slowly through the stop sign it's not worth fighting over the right-of-way especially when we're talking about a few seconds of time number 7 sales tax one thing that a lot of visitors find confusing is our sales tax when buying an item at a store you're almost always going to pay more than the label price since sales tax is different in every state and county we added to the price at the register it's something that we're used to as Americans but I can understand how it's confusing to others just know that you'll likely have to pay up to ten percent more than the sticker price depending on where you're visiting and finally number eight showing your ID this one drives Americans insane – in most restaurants and bars you'll need to show your ID even if you're obviously over the drinking age of 21 it's mostly a liability issue and that most restaurants and bars don't want to be sued or found accountable for serving alcohol to minors or even perceived as singling out people based on age this can lead to some very annoying and frustrating situations I've even seen elderly people being asked to show their ID which is just ridiculous so if you're planning to have a drink in the US make sure you're carrying some form of ID that shows your birthday even if you're obviously over the age of 21 it's possible that you'll need to prove it in order to have a drink or to even enter a bar there are a ton of smaller things that are on my list and I'll cover them in another video but these are the ones that I think can really affect someone's experience or cause confusion when visiting the US so I wanted to focus on them for those of you in the u.s. you have any other tips for visitors or if you visited the u.s. from abroad are there any other items that you think should be included in the list let us know in the comments section below we hope you enjoyed this video and found it useful if so please consider giving us a thumbs up and sharing our video with others that might also benefit or enjoy our content we're trying to get to 5,000 subscribers by the end of June and we would appreciate your help getting there more importantly we love hearing from folks that our videos are helpful so if you know of anyone that might benefit from our content we would love to see it shared with others until next time travel safe travel smart


22 Comments

jonathan camp · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

it's true americans love to small talk especially if you are british on many occasions they have called friends over saying hey this guys from England it must be the accent especially if you have a strong one say from the north east (geordie )or west country

chauncy primm · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

It’s so easy to live and work and be successful in the United States. Over 1 million people become citizens a year , so they acclimate just fine

WakeUpWaffles · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

The biggest advice is to tip when eating at sit-down restaurants and delivery. a good rule of thumb is $2 tip for each $10 spent. As a person in the food industry, just don't be a terrible person and tip in America when at restaurants or bars. For pick-ups for foods no tip is necessary.

Regan DeHaven · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Why am I watching this… I'm American.

Thunder'sDad · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Not all U.S. states have sales tax. If you visit Montana, Alaska, Oregon, Delaware, or New Hampshire, you will not have to pay sales tax on your purchases. The exception is if you are in a national park in any of these states, as national parks are considered part of the federal government, and businesses within them can be subject to sales tax.

Chan Roobi · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Americans tend to be very friendly wherever we went. Please don't stare, argue or ever bring up politics- those things are a must. America is a huge country that you will not be able to tour on a two or three week tour or even a three month tour.. Research what you want to see before you travel and take into account the actual massive size of America. Also be very respectful to the police and you will be fine.

hiro111 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Note that most servers vastly prefer the low wage plus tips system to higher wages and no tips. Laws proposing raising wages and eliminating tips were recently shot down in both New York and DC and had no support from local server unions.

Alex D · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

I’m a American an want to comment on the stop sign one. If you don’t know who is on the right you let the person who was there first

EnterTheMatr1x1337 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

There are TONS of different cultures and people in the US. Know that people can be very different depending on the regions here. I live in Georgia and I'm definitely a southern redneck. Just the other day my buddies and i shot a washing machine to shreds with a dozen different guns. Sometimes we explode lawnmowers 200 feet in the air. Sometimes we we just chill out by the bonfire.

I would say the biggest factor in determining a person here is how country or city they are. People always visit cities when traveling, but the country is definitely the best place to be.

One thing many of us rednecks do is float down the rivers and creeks and get drunk. Last summer my dad and I went to Terrapin Creek, Alabama (which is known as the symbol redneck state) to float and found a group of travelers from a few different countries. We banded with them and a few other locals to show them southern redneck culture. We got some of them to climb the 50 foot cliffs and jump off into the water with us. Their reactions were amazing, we filmed their jumps for them and they loved it. One guy was from Spain, one was from Vietnam, one Asian girl even jumped, but I can't remember their other countries. Anyways I was glad to give them a good show for rednecks. There's a stereotype that all rednecks are dumb and racist even inside the US, but that's a bunch of baloney.

Please come visit the US, and please also go outside of the cities when you do.

Rita Pope · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

And I'm proud to be an American!!!!!!!!! lol I love my home sweet home North America

N D · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

One thing i see europeans dont understand is the size of the USA. Its about the same size as western europe as a WHOLE.

Alex Jackson · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

When the cops pull you over make sure you turn on the in cabin lights as well! (That also may get you out of a ticket)

GOGO Travel Reviews · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Your travels is great, I want to do like you but if I am successful with my videos, I will go travel like you too.

CK AK · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

I have some tips for visiting America.

I have visited 43 states in the US. My suggestion is to consider other places other than California and New York. Lots of other cities/states have excellent tourism spots. If you love the beach and want a cheaper vacation/holiday than California I suggest Florida. Florida has many nice vacation locations to chose from with many things to do. I suggest Daytona, Miami, Panama City Beach, Orlando , and Key West. If the beach life isn't your thing and you enjoy the mountains and outdoors I would suggest Colorado ( my favorite state in America ) it has so much outdoor activities including skiing/snowboarding to hiking along with lots of nature. My favorite city is Colorado Springs and driving up Pikes Peak mountain is a must also visiting royal gorge.

Tipping- Its a main in the butt. If your confused what I do personally tip 5 dollars if I'm alone. And for each person with me I go up 3 dollars. And for other non food services I just tip $5.

If you have safety concerns in a new city in America the rule of thumb I follow is if you start seeing spray paint writing on walls and objects along with run down buildings chances are your in a high crime area.

Food portions in restaurants in America are HUGE. You get lots of food for your money. 99%+ restaurants will give you a to go plate if you ask so you can take your left over food home and eat later. Also restaurants give you free refills on soda,tea, and water while you eat. And you can often get a to go cup to take your left over drink with you as well.

America is pretty lacking in public transportation. Large cities you can find it but mid size to smaller cities have no public transportation. Prepare to uber or rent a vehicle.

Americans will sometimes greet you in example "Hello how are you? Or Hello how are you doing?" I've seen many foreigners not sure how to answer that. What people mean by asking you that is basically just a hello in simple terms. A simple answer would be "Hello I'm doing fine thanks" Or Thank you I'm doing good" or something similar. Its just a basic greeting not Americans actually trying to be nosy or get into your personal business. People usually don't give negative answers with strangers unless usually unless its someone you personally know. I have seen comments about people thinking Americans are fake by greeting someone asking how they're doing and how Americans giving a smile to strangers. Its just being polite to put it simply.

Americans overall are very friendly people. If your lost or in need of help. Americans usually are willing to stop and explain something or give directions to somewhere. Don't be afraid to approach someone if needed.

Will Bishop · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

People jaywalk all the time in the US

Seawolf USA · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Just to put into perspective the size of the US, if you slap an extra 80km to traveling from Seattle to Miami you have a road trip from Jerusalem to Madrid. And if your wondering, no not going through Africa.

Cayla Greenawalt · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

I really enjoy how people call America "The States"

iceman652 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Great video, Ernest. Watched your video on visiting England/Britain/UK and liked this as well. As a Brit who has been to the US three times and to 9 states, really like your videos.

Tipping is no problem as always tip good service here from hairdressers, taxi drivers and in restaurants. Some restaurants here also have a compulsory service charge, so that covers any tip, though they must show it on the menu. Usually tip 10% here if good service. Remember once left something in a pick up car in Vegas. Called them and they brought it to my hotel within 30 minutes so gave them a big tip as they had other jobs to do.

Sales tax is annoying, but once you remember it, it’s ok to deal with. And yeah about ID. Someone I know (30s) was at a baseball game in Arizona and his UK driving licence wasn’t acceptable ID. The only time I’ve been asked for ID was at Madison Square Garden though 12 bucks for a pint and wish my driving licence had been turned down.

Back to accents I was being told I sounded like I was from ‘Downton Abbey’ and one of the upstairs types. Don’t watch it and I don’t sound like that, though maybe one of the downstairs types. Made me smile. Love the US.

TimTamTom 2006 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

I've only ever been to Greece (kefalonia) since I'm twelve. Even that was 5 years ago lol. I like your content and it's useful to show to people. You deserve more views 😁👍

TimTamTom 2006 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Once we panicked when we didn't tip the delivery guy… in the UK haha

TimTamTom 2006 · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

Wouldn't mind actually visiting the us when I'm an adult. Maybe like the north west then go see New York. I saw some nice bits in Colorado and Washington (not dc)

Katie Raust · May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

1. Do not be afraid to ask directions and/or random conversations with Americans. We love to socialized or just get rid of the awkward atmosphere.
Example would be at the cashregister, sometimes they will greet you and you'll greet them back. While they are scanning your stuff they might ask a simple question or just small talk.
2. I am slightly surprised this is not common in some countries, but my friend who is from a different country was shocked that you should hold the door for someone when you are first. It's polite to do so and a common gesture in America. Reminder if somone holds the door for you, thank them.
Edit1:
3. USA is a huge country, so if you're planning to go to different states… I would dedicate a couple days in those states. Also public transportation sometimes doesn't exist in certain areas, so I would rent a car or stick to places that nearby transportations. (But don't let me stop you, explore and enjoy).

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