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

The US can be a fun but confusing place to visit, especially with some of our quirky laws and cultural habits. This video is primarily meant to help travelers visiting America. However, it can also provide insight for Americans with family and friends visiting from abroad.

While there are a ton of unique aspects about the US, we focused on our top 8 items that we felt were important and likely to be experienced by a visitor.

If you’re interested in seeing our “Things an American Notices in the UK” video referenced at the start, visit:

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22 thoughts on “Things Every Traveler Should Know Visiting America | 8 Tips When Traveling to the US

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the support and kind words. Thank you for sharing your experience too. I love your story about $12 pint … they definitely overcharge at those venues! 😊

  3. 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 😁👍

  4. 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)

  5. 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.
    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).

  6. Dear Ernest. Your video is very helpful, thank you. One point comes to mind is at 5:56, which reminds me of a driving rule in England : *If in doubt, yield*. It is not a ‘weakness’ nor being ‘inferior’, just being reasonable and peaceable with love. Normally, at a crossroads junction, it is the case of the “First there, first goes” in proper driving etiquette, but what if you pull up to a junction at the exact same time as the car opposite you? It is best to let them go first (particularly if they are turning going across in front of you), otherwise a misunderstanding occurs as both cars go at the same time, and BANG! Crash! Just let them go first for your sake and get him/her out of your way lol. It is the loving-kind thing to do with mutual benefit. That is a nice, respectful video that you have made.

    1. Thanks Andrew! I appreciate the kind words and support. I agree with you too — it’s always better to take the kinder and more compassionate route. I truly believe that even small acts of kindness or kinship can make a difference, even when they seem inconsequential. It’s good practice to assume the best in everyone, and treat others how you would want to be treated. 😊

  7. I found many Americans are terrified of maths, so can’t add up all the many taxes and tips and therefore think everything is cheaper than it actually is.

    That was the worst thing in America, never knowing what exactly you were going to have to pay.

    Fast food franchises are everywhere because just about nobody tips at those so it is whatever the sign says, PLUS all the taxes (there are so many random taxes it is hard to keep up). A tragedy for the many people who are forced to work in them.

    1. +Trip Astute Not sure we will ever get America to pay attention to anyone else, but should the miracle ever happen America would be a far better place. America thinks it is multi-cultural when in reality it is not and deadly afraid of everyone else. If you look at the reality, America should be afraid, very afraid of itself. Actually Americans are very afraid of each other but because of Hollywood and your politicians, that is turned into an all pervasive hand on heart, flag waving xenophobia.

      I blame the lack of holidays and savings, that mean few Americans can get away, the poor education system, the drumbeat jingoism and insularity that makes most Americans presume all the places they have never been to, (most) are of no interest at all and the parochial dumbed down trivia “News”.

      You could start with a flat universal GST or VAT on everything, included in the price, and paying workers for their work, not making them beg. Then tackle guns, health care, social justice, education, diet…

      Just a few! 😀

    2. I agree that it’s very confusing, especially for visitors to the US. Stores in the US add sales tax to the label since the tax is different depending on the state and county. Since a lot of stores operate in different areas, they try to keep their prices consistent in their inventory, while adjusting the prices accordingly at the register. It gets even more complicated with online businesses since they only charge sales tax if a part of their operations is in your state!
      Tipping is also very excessive. There is a movement within the restaurant industry to remove tipping and pay servers a higher wage. There are a few restaurants in LA that have joined, but it’s a difficult shift for the industry.

  8. FYI – NJ requires filling station attendants to pump gas for you. You many not pump your own gas in that state.

    Also Police pull in BEHIND you, not in front like in other nations. Most police are courteous and understanding, but will give tickets even to foreigners. Have your license and registration handy.

    If you are a pedestrian, cars generally will not stop for you even if you are in a cross walk.

    Most toilets are free, unlike European loos. Condiments are also free.

    In all foreign travel, carry your passport with you at all times. Have a copy of all important documents in your suitcase.

    Cheers! and welcome to the US!

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