WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING USA
the united states of the united states is frequently shortened to the united states, the us, or clearly the USA. It's far comprised of fifty states, 48 of which are contiguous, plus Alaska to the west of Canada and Hawaii out within the pacific ocean. We also have Washington dc that's a federal district and 5 territories which include american Samoa, guam, puerto rico, america virgin islands, and northerly mariana islands.
America is three. Eight million rectangular miles with a population of over 327 million people. Four.
01. The USA is Really, Really Big
Eight million square miles to be genuine. It’s so big, in truth, that it would take you approximately forty hours to force the 2,800 miles from la to big apple without preventing. And an excellent bit of that pressure could be unbelievably dull. In case you best have a brief time to go to the united states, flying might be the manner to move. And in case you need to do a cross-u . S . Avenue journey, simply be sure you component in how lots riding you will be doing on a every day basis.
02. But you can get Cheap Flights.
Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, and Jetblue are all budget carriers that operate domestic flights in the US. Be sure to add luggage if you need it since it’s usually not included in the budget fare. And seats on Southwest aren’t assigned so you’ll need to check-in early to get priority and arrive early to pick your seat.
03.. Take the Bus or the Train
Depending on in which state you are inside the us and where you're headed, there are a few true alternatives for public transportation. Amtrak has 30 train routes to 500 destinations so that you’d be amazed how some distance you may get with a ticket!
Bolt bus covers a greater constrained vicinity – they are particularly at the west coast and the northeast – however the buses are notable reliable, speedy, and have without a doubt cozy seats.
04. A Road Trip is a Great Way to See the USA
despite the non-smiling be aware above, i discovered russians to be very courteous in the direction of us and sort at instances when it changed into apparent we have been a couple of clueless canadians. Elders are reputable so seats are continually given up for them on buses and metros. Drivers opened doorways for me and even a candy vintage man carried my (embarrassingly heavy) suitcase off the teach for me. As soon as i was approached with the aid of a young man in st.
Petersburg who started walking beside me and speaking to me in russian. After my very damaged russian respond, he switched to english and endured to mention how stunning i was and how he’d like to get to know me and went on and on earlier than i ought to get a word in. When the stranger observed out i used to be travelling with wes (who were taking walks a few steps away), he instructed wes to face toward me or i’d get swept away. No cat name. No whistle. Just, i’d want to get to understand you better.
05.You May Need an ESTA
Many countries are a part of the USA’s visa waiver program including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Chile, and pretty much all of Europe. You Can check to see if your country is on the list on the website of the Department of Homeland Security. Even if you’re from one of the 39 countries that do not require a visa to travel to the USA, chances are you’ll still need an ESTA. Now you’re probably wondering, “What is an ESTA?” It stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and is basically a pre-approval to enter the USA without a visa. It’s actually very similar to the e-Visa programs that many other countries around the world have implemented. Luckily, it’s quite easy to apply online for an ESTA visa through various travel agencies or directly through the website for the Department of Homeland Security. You’ll just need to upload a photo of your passport and fill out some basic information about your travel plans. And once you have been granted an ESTA it is valid for 2 years. Make sure you apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before you’re scheduled to depart for the USA. The approval process is generally very quick, but if you don’t have your ESTA you likely won’t be allowed to board your flight. 2. Expect to Encounter a Lot of Diversity When we travel, we often have people say “but you don’t LOOK like Americans”. To which we laugh and ask what Americans look like. Technically we all immigrated to the US from somewhere. Native Americans came first, thousands of years ago. The widely accepted theory is that they migrated from Asia across a land bridge that connected the continents at the point that is now the Bering Strait. Europeans descended in 1492 to colonize the Americas which led to an immense population decline in Native Americans due to disease, war, and slavery. Today there are over 500 federally recognized Native American tribes still living in the US.
The rest of us have parents or grandparents that came from other parts of the world. My great grandfather on my mother’s side immigrated from Norway, and my great grandparents on my father’s side immigrated from Sweden. So technically I’m Swedish/Norwegian but I’ve never been to either place, don’t speak the language, and don’t know anything about the customs or traditions. So America is a mixing pot of a variety of ethnicities, religions, cultures, languages, and backgrounds. English is the most widely spoken language, although not everyone who lives here speaks it and many people speak multiple languages. There’s not really one single thing that constitutes someone being “American”.
07. How to Dress in the USA.
You can dress however you please in the US, as long as you’re not naked. In most states it is illegal to expose your genitals and your nipples (but only if you’re a female). So ladies need to keep their tops on, even at the beach, unless nudity is specifically allowed.
08. You must be 25 Years Old to Rent a Car
Sorry, rental company rules, not mine.
09. Uber and Lyft are Everywhere
Taxis are a thing of the past. Download the Uber and Lyft apps and you can get a reasonably priced ride in most of the larger cities in America. Uber drivers tend to have nicer cars and they often provide snacks and/or water. And Lyft tends to be a bit cheaper with more talkative drivers. Just depends on what you’re in the mood for.
10. If you Take a Road Trip, There are Plenty of Rest Stops
The US has incredibly long stretches of highways with very few amenities for many miles. But you’ll frequently see signs for rest stops in these remote areas. Rest stops have free, reasonably clean bathrooms and usually offer free coffee to help you stay awake while you’re driving. They are conveniently located just off of major highways and interstates so you don’t have to go far to find one.
Most rest stops will also allow you to park overnight for free so if you really need to get some sleep but don’t want to pay for a hotel room try to find a rest stop. 15. Food Portions are HUGE Let’s be honest, America has a problem with obesity. It could be because we dine on “animal-style cheeseburgers”, giant cinnamon rolls slathered with frosting, and extra large pepperoni pizzas that have a crust that is also stuffed with cheese and pepperoni. Or it could be because the portion size in the US is absolutely massive. Everything is super-sized. And your big cut of sirloin steak probably comes with a side of macaroni and cheese and an entire baked potato. Look at the plate sizes around you before ordering and plan on splitting or taking a to-go box home with you.
11.Sales Tax Isn’t Included in Prices
Each state has their own individual sales tax rate (although some, like Oregon, have no sales tax). If you buy a burger for $10 in San Francisco, when you go to pay you’ll have an 8.5% sales tax added to that. Then add a 20% tip and that burger becomes $12.85. It may not seem like that big of a deal but it will if you go out for a fancy dinner. Or if you make any big retail purchases.
12. There is a lot of Public Land.
As we mentioned, the United States is really really big. And that means that there is a lot of public land to go around. This land is meant to be used by the American people and is maintained by federal and state governments. We have national parks (although these generally have an entrance fee), national monuments, state parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, state forests, and wilderness areas to name a few.
Most of this state and federally managed land is available for recreational use. Generally, the national parks and monuments are very controlled while the forest and wilderness areas are a bit of a free-for-all. And most of this public land is in the western half of the US. The national forests are managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and it accounts for about 8% of the total land area in the United States. They have trails and roads of varying conditions and you can usually camp anywhere in these areas for free.
13. Keep in Mind our Metrics Differ
We use miles instead of kilometers to measure distance, feet to measure height, and Fahrenheit for temperature. Why can’t we align ourselves with the rest of the world you ask? I wish I knew.
14. If you Need a Bathroom or Wifi, Head to Starbucks.
Starbucks has always been a great place to go for free internet and mediocre coffee. But after a recent publicity fiasco where an African American man was accused of trespassing while he was waiting for friends at a Starbucks and hadn’t yet purchased anything, they have adopted a new, even more lenient ordering policy.
It states that “any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes, and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase.” So if you need to use the toilet, need access to Wifi, or just want a place to hang out for a bit, Starbucks is a great place to go. You don’t even have to be sneaky about not ordering anything!
15. You Have to be 21 to Consume Alcohol
You only have to be 18 to enlist in the military, smoke cigarettes, and vote, but you can’t consume alcohol until you’re 21 years old in the US. Sounds silly, we know.
16. You’ll Need to Show Proof of Age
There is also really strict alcohol enforcement in the states. You’ll need to show identification that proves your age in order to purchase alcohol at a store or drink it in a restaurant or bar. And most bars won’t access non-US-resident driver’s licenses or ID cards. So plan on bringing your passport if you want to have a night out on the town.
17.The Best Places to Visit Aren’t the Ones You Think.
When people from across the world dream about visiting the United States, there are a few specific places that they usually have in mind – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Las Vegas. They think of impressive skylines, bright lights, and big cities.
But as we mentioned above, much of the public land in the US is in the Western half of the US. States that you normally wouldn’t give a second thought. Utah, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington (state, not DC) have spectacularly beautiful parks filled with waterfalls, lakes, rivers, wildlife, and lush greenery. Or interesting rock formations that will make you think you’re walking on Mars. You can rent a car or a campervan and set off on the open road to explore the beauty that the western United States has to offer!
18.For Cheap Prices, Stock up at Walmart.
A lot of people in the USA don’t approve of the Walmart Corporation because they moved into rural areas, offered everything you could ever want at super cheap prices, and put a lot of small businesses out of business. If you choose to look past all of that, Walmart really is the place to go for anything and everything you need, at rock bottom prices. From groceries to camping gear to clothing to electronics, and everything in between. Plus they have a great return policy. AND you can camp in the Walmart parking lot! It’s not the most pleasant experience, but most Walmarts allow overnight parking in their lot just in case you find yourself on a road trip with no campground options around. If you’re not into supporting Walmart, check out Target instead. They are like a more upscale Walmart and they have a better reputation.
19.Utilize Amazon Lockers.
If Walmart doesn’t have it, or you just prefer Amazon, why not have it shipped to an Amazon Locker? There are lockers located all over the USA. They accept both deliveries and returns, are super easy to use, totally free, and they are open early and late for your convenience.
24. Craigslist Also has Everything And if you’d prefer to go the second-hand route, or if you need to find a rideshare to a new destination, or if you love the US so much that you want to find a job, or get tickets to a show, Craigslist.org has it all. It’s managed to stay simple and ad-free over the years so it’s easy to search and find exactly what you’re looking for. But beware of scams! And take precautions if you actually need to meet a stranger in order to purchase something.
20. Americans LOVE Football.
Not to be confused with futbol (aka soccer). Football is a sport where beefy men in spandex throw a pointy ball around while others jump into big cuddle piles and try to touch each others butts. Now that you understand the game perfectly, head to a local sports bar on any given day during football season. You’re bound to see a bunch of grown men guzzling beer and high fiving each other as though they did anything remotely noteworthy other than consuming an entire plate of nachos. Have fun!