Ever wonder that the travel guides say about what not to do when traveling to the United States? “The Atlantic” went through travel guides to the U.S. and picked out some of the recommendations they make that seem completely second nature to us.
Check this out…
Don’t discuss immigration. “Lonely Planet”says, quote, “This is the issue that makes Americans edgy . . . age has a lot to do with Americans’ multicultural tolerance.”
—Expect high-quality food, and giant portions.
—When you’re invited to a meal at someone’s home, ask if you should bring something. “Wikitravel” recommends wine, candy, or flowers . . . NOT bringing a gift of cash, prepared food, or toiletries.
—Don’t sit at a stranger’s table at a restaurant, even if there are empty seats. In fact, always make sure to give Americans personal space. And avoid greeting people with cheek kisses or hugs unless they initiate it.
—If you don’t finish your food, ask for the leftovers, quote, “to go.” But don’t do it at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
—Show up on time. “Lonely Planet” says, quote, “Many folks in the U.S. consider it rude to be kept waiting” . . . so show up within 15 minutes of the designated time.
—Watch out for Texas and “inner cities.” “Rough Guide” describes Texas as, quote, “the country’s capital for oil-drilling, BBQ-eating, and right-wing politicking, with huge expanses of land and equally domineering attitudes.”
–And the book’s attitude toward “inner cities” feels pretty dated too. Quote, “When driving, under no circumstances should you stop in any unlit or seemingly deserted urban area” in the “inner cities.”
—Don’t rely on Amtrak. The train service in this country is described by “Rough Guide”as, quote, “skeletal.”
—Just deal with the tipping. We tip more money and more often than any other country. A Japanese guide says, quote, “The price on the menu is not the real price . . . the real price is 20% higher. Taxis work the same way.”
–But they do explain that it’s because people in service industries get paid very little because their tips make up most of their income. Quote, “[That’s] partially responsible for exceptional quality and consistency of service here.”