Travelling To The U.S., What You Need To Consider
Travelling to the US is an exciting prospect, with so many cultures, climates and geographic locations in one country; it really is one of the best places to explore. To travel to the US you must visit an ESTA registration online. If you’re a resident of a certain list of countries, including most of the EU, Chile, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, then your need for a visa is waivered and instead you must get an ESTA in order to be admitted. Other countries that are not on this list however, must apply for a visa in order to visit the States. However, due to the vastness of the US, there are a few things you need to consider when travelling there.
Climate in the US differs drastically simply due to its vastness and the differences in latitude. There is a huge range of geographic features from mountains and forests to deserts, so if you’re travelling to different parts of the US, it is important to bring different types of clothing with you, from big jumpers and thermals to swimwear. Although people travelling to the US usually only visit one particular area, it is always important to consider the different climates that you may encounter if you’re looking to go further afield.
Although Americans generally speak English, they have many different phrases and slang words even in the business world. Alternatively, the different accents and forms of slang that tourist may use or may have picked up along the way can cause a lot of confusion in the US and is very dependent on which state you are travelling to. Being patient when you are communicating with different people in the States and talking clearly is really important to maintain communication, particularly if you are venturing into less touristy areas.
Many Americans are very passionate about their politics, and alongside accents and state-famous dishes, each state tends to have their own political stance. For example, Texas is known to be a very Republican state, so being very open about your dislike for guns and your support for abortion could lead to offence or even a fiery debate. It is important to be aware about the politics in the state(s) you are visiting, and it is advisable not to start a discussion about politics as it is generally considered impolite.
Tipping in the restaurants and cafes is completely optional in the US. However, many waiters and waitresses can be paid a minute minimum wage, which is much lower in the US than most other countries. This causes them to generally live off of the tips that they receive, so it is advisable to tip 15-20% of the bill. This is a lot higher than in most other countries. India’s tipping percentage however is usually around 7% depending on the size of the bill. However in the US, tips tend to make up the majority of pay for waiters and waitresses, so tipping is advised unless you have received bad service (which is highly unlikely due to American’s known over-friendly nature).
American sports such as American football and baseball are extremely popular in the US. If you are travelling to the US and you want to immerse yourself fully in the culture of the States, then diving headfirst into a sports event is the best way to do so. Sports are a big part of life from a young age in the US, and many students look to win college scholarships in baseball and American football. Although people may not be offended if you don’t like sports, it is always a good idea to remember just how much of a uniting and dividing concept sports are in the US.
It is vital to remember that guns are legal in the US, and they are more than likely to be found both inside and outside of the big cities. There are also a very large proportion of people who like to debate about guns and gun law, but it would be impolite to bring this up due to it being a political topic.