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

Transcript 0:00 Hi there, it’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In this video, we’re doing something a 0:03 little bit different. We’re going to cover the quirky and important aspects of US 0:07 life that visitors should know when visiting the States. 0:11 (light chiming music) 0:18 A few months ago, we 0:19 did a video […]

Transcript

0:00
Hi there, it’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In this video, we’re doing something a
0:03
little bit different. We’re going to cover the quirky and important aspects of US
0:07
life that visitors should know when visiting the States.
0:11
(light chiming music)
0:18
A few months ago, we
0:19
did a video on what I noticed when I traveled to England. It was meant to be a
0:23
fun and lighthearted video. Oddly enough though,
0:26
the video got a lot of attention and as of today, has over 400,000 views. The
0:33
video seems to be trending in the UK so we had a lot of folks chime in on their
0:37
thoughts. A lot of people shared their experience in the US and some of the
0:41
confusing aspects of our life and culture. So today, I wanted to cover some
0:46
of the biggest and most significant differences, especially those that could
0:49
really affect your experience while here. While many of you in the US might not
0:54
think that any of these things are unique, I still think it’s useful to be
0:57
mindful of them especially when you have family and friends visiting from abroad.
1:01
And for those of you who are watching from outside of the US, particularly our
1:06
new subscribers from the UK, I hope this list is not only entertaining but also
1:10
useful. I really tried to focus on differences and tips that might save you
1:14
time and keep you safe while visiting the States. Lastly, before I run through
1:19
the list, keep in mind that I’m intentionally ignoring politics and guns.
1:23
While these are very stark and unique aspects of US culture, I’m really trying
1:28
to avoid political debates on this channel. So before you comment on our
1:33
President or guns, just know I totally get it, but this is not where I want to
1:37
have that discussion. So, with that out of the way, let’s go through the list. Number 1:
1:43
Paying for gas. If you’re visiting the US, you’ll notice that most gas stations
1:48
will require you to pay for fuel in advance before you start pumping. Most
1:53
Americans will simply swipe their credit card which then puts a hold on their
1:57
account until they’re done fueling. This can be a big problem for international
2:02
visitors as the pumps are often not able to process a hold or verify their credit
2:07
card, especially since the US is a bit behind on
2:09
their payment technology. If you’re faced with having to pay for gas, or petrol as
2:14
the rest the world knows it, you probably need to pay the attendant cash. For most
2:19
cars, you can expect to pay around $25 to $30 for a full tank.
2:24
If you end up filling up less, then just asks for change from the attendant once
2:29
you’re done pumping. As a bonus tip, keep in mind that in the US the black pump is
2:34
usually designated as regular unleaded fuel. Green pumps are usually diesel,
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which is not as common in the US as it is in the rest of the world. Number 2:
2:43
Stay in your car when being pulled over by the police. This one is extremely
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important to know if you’re visiting the US. If you’re driving and you get pulled
2:53
over by the police, you’ll want to remain in your car and keep your hands on the
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steering wheel. You do not want to get out of your vehicle. While that may be the
3:02
normal process outside the US, doing so will likely result in the police feeling
3:07
threatened and potentially drawing their weapons. The normal procedure
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in the US is to pull over to the side of the road and turn off your engine.
3:14
You’ll want to roll down your driver-side window and keep your hands on your
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steering wheel. The police will usually ask for your driver’s license and
3:23
vehicle registration. Though I wouldn’t start looking for it until the police
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asks for it. I don’t mean to scare people as this is such a common scenario in the
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US, but it’s an easy way to startle the police especially if you exit the car
3:36
and walk toward the officer. Number 3: Turning right on the red light. This is
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one that seems to disturb a lot of people when they visit the US, even
3:46
though I think most Americans find it to be very convenient and useful. If you’re
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in an intersection and you want to turn right, you can do so on the red light if
3:55
there is: no pedestrian crossing at the time, no cars coming toward your
4:00
direction, and no signs saying that the right turn is prohibited on the red
4:06
light. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll want to stop at the
4:10
intersection first and allow any pedestrians to pass, then you can slowly
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move forward into the crosswalk and turn right when it’s clear and safe. Just be
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careful of folks who ignore the crosswalk signal and try to cross the street at
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the last second. On that note, number 4: Avoid
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jaywalking. The US has laws against jaywalking, which
4:30
is basically disregarding the law and crossing the street outside of the
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crosswalk or when the crossing signal is red. This is only enforced on busy roads.
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It’s meant to keep people from crossing streets where they can get hit by cars
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and cause disruptions to the flow of traffic. I know it’s very annoying, even
4:49
for Americans, but it’s something to be aware of when you want to cross the
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street. Also, police officers will often just wait around busy streets to catch
4:57
people jaywalking, so be careful when you’re walking around high-traffic areas.
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Number 5: Tipping. The tipping culture in the US is very excessive and is
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confusing even to us Americans. While it’s customary to tip servers 15% to 20%
5:12
at restaurants and bars, it’s often unclear in other scenarios like
5:17
valet parking, hotels, and cafes. For example, Fiona recently told me that she
5:23
struggled with determining the amount to tip when visiting a hair salon. In these
5:28
cases, we usually default to 15% to 20%, but only if you were happy with
5:32
the service. Also, keep in mind that servers at restaurants and bars
5:37
typically make less than minimum wage in the US. That means that the tip is a
5:42
major component of their wages. While I personally think they should get paid
5:46
more, just know that we often see tipping in restaurants to be mandatory unless
5:51
the service was not up to standards. Number 6: Stop signs. A lot of visitors
5:56
have complained that they often don’t know how to deal with multiple cars
6:00
arriving at a stop sign at once. The official rule is that the person to the
6:05
right has the right of way, though it can be messy when it’s not clear who is to
6:10
the right. My suggestion is to be defensive and move slowly through the
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stop sign. It’s not worth fighting over the right-of-way, especially when we’re
6:19
talking about a few seconds of time. Number 7: Sales tax.
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One thing that a lot of visitors find confusing is our sales tax. When buying
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an item at a store, you’re almost always going to pay more than the label price.
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Since sales tax is different in every state and county, we add it to the price
6:37
at the register. It’s something that we’re used to as Americans, but I can
6:42
understand how it’s confusing to others. Just know that you’ll likely have to pay
6:45
up to ten percent more than the sticker price depending on where you’re visiting.
6:49
And finally, number 8: Showing your ID. This one drives Americans insane too. In
6:56
most restaurants and bars, you’ll need to show your ID even if you’re obviously
7:00
over the drinking age of 21. It’s mostly a liability issue in that most
7:06
restaurants and bars don’t want to be sued or found accountable for serving
7:10
alcohol to minors, or even perceived as singling out people based on age. This
7:15
can lead to some very annoying and frustrating situations. I’ve even seen
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elderly people being asked to show their ID, which is just ridiculous. So, if you’re
7:26
planning to have a drink in the US, make sure you’re carrying some form of ID
7:30
that shows your birthday. Even if you’re obviously over the age of 21, it’s
7:35
possible that you’ll need to prove it in order to have a drink or to even enter a
7:39
bar. There are a ton of smaller things that are on my list and I’ll cover them
7:44
in another video. But these are the ones that I think can really affect someone’s
7:48
experience or cause confusion when visiting the US, so I wanted to focus on
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them. For those of you in the US, do you have any other tips for visitors? Or if
7:58
you visited the US from abroad, are there any other items that you think
8:02
should be included in the list? Let us know in the comments section below. We
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hope you enjoyed this video and found it useful. If so, please consider giving us a
8:12
thumbs up and sharing our video with others that might also benefit or enjoy
8:16
our content. We’re trying to get to 5,000 subscribers by the end of June, and we
8:22
would appreciate your help getting there. More importantly, we love hearing from
8:26
folks that our videos are helpful, so if you know of anyone that might benefit
8:30
from our content, we would love to see it shared with others.
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Until next time, travel safe and travel smart.

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