Travel In America Explained To The British
by Jessica Bisesto
As the world's third largest, and third most populated nation, we understand that traveling through the United States can be overwhelming and downright intimidating! We call the same thing by different names depending on geographic location (i.e. soda verses pop), we embrace funky fashion trends, and can't get enough memes. Below, we've pointed out a few major differences that British travelers might experience while exploring The States.
Cash is not necessarily king...
Many countries around the world prefer, or only accept, cash. In the United States, credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere. Whether you're buying a hot dog from a street vendor, or picking up goodies from a Saturday market, chances are the vendor will have a way to process your electronic payment.
...But ketchup is
We love ketchup, a lot. Ask any American what their favorite condiment is, and if it's not ranch, it's the red tomato paste that Heinz has famously been making for nearly 100 years. Ketchup is great for french fries, burgers, hot dogs, eggs, fried chicken and more. Add a dash of hot sauce for a kick. Spill ketchup on your shirt or that upholstered chair in your hotel room? Don't worry, here are some stain removal tips.
Portions are bigger
It's no secret that Americans love to eat. Think twice before ordering that appetizer at dinner because the size of your entree will surely surpass any you would get back home. And if you're staying at a hotel that offers a buffet breakfast, we recommend waking up a few minutes early so you'll beat the crowd.
Speaking loudly in public is totally acceptable
That couple walking down the street are probably not having an argument. That group of high school kids are likely just excited about the new release of a video game. That person having a loud yet private conversation on their cell phone walking down the street? Don't be alarmed if people around you are talking as though they have no volume control, it's perfectly normal. We really can't help it.
Small talk is a big deal
Whether it's the person behind you at the grocery store, or the man waiting for the same bus, someone will likely start a friendly conversation with you. It may be uncomfortable, or downright awkward since this is not a common practice everywhere, just try to be polite. They probably just heard an accent and want to know your thoughts on the latest presidential election.
Taxes are not included
Get ready to do some quick calculations before hitting the cash register as taxes (think of the VAT) are not included in prices. Some states don't have sales tax, some cities and counties have different taxes for sales of certain items, and some items aren't taxable. Sounds confusing, but luckily a portion of these taxes support public education so we can keep our math skills sharp.
Americans love America
For better or worse, regardless the state of the economy, most Americans are wildly optimistic and proud of their nationality. You'll see Old Glory flying everywhere, people wearing t-shirts and hats with American slogans (even when it's nowhere near the Fourth of July), and whether we admit it or not, we all know the words to our national anthem and firmly believe it is the best national anthem there is.
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