Each country is unique and has its own cultural idiosyncrasies. The U.S. is no exception. With millions visiting the country every year, there are bound to be some surprises, big and small, for visitors from other countries.
Shocked by how lenient stores are with their returns, many U.S. visitors were surprised that customers did not need a reason to return a product. Apparently, “buyer’s remorse” is an American ideal.
Non-Americans are still trying to understand why the American flag is everywhere. Schools, homes, and businesses display the red, white and blue. Other countries don’t display their flags with such prevalence.
Law enforcement can ticket someone for littering. Shocking to many visitors. Big American cities are relatively clean, and keeping them looking nice is a priority.
An unexpected trip involving a trip to the emergency room can be quite a shock to a non-American. Accustomed to national healthcare systems, travelers can be unpleasantly surprised by the cost of medical care. Healthcare is not cheap in the U.S.
Too Much Information
Americans are friendly, but sometimes they overshare. American conversations leave some tourists wide-eyed with TMI, especially if alcohol is involved.
Portion sizes and the amount of fast food available make some travelers scratch their heads. American plates are larger than those in other countries, with more French fries on them too.
The U.S. thinks everything is “awesome.” A word used frequently in the American lexicon puzzles visitors with its widespread use and intention.
From water to soda to whiskey, Americans love their ice. Other nations aren’t as plentiful with the frozen substance, often serving beverages at room temperature. Tepid water, anyone?
Eating at a restaurant can involve tax and a tip, as can shopping or getting a haircut. Rarely do U.S. prices reflect the actual price paid, which is confusing for many tourists.
Americans laugh and talk at higher volumes than other countries. Visitors often wish they could adjust the volume of U.S. citizens, especially when on American soil.
Smiles can be friendly and reassuring, but they can be off-putting if not used to them. Emotional expressions, like smiling, have been linked to diversity. The U.S. is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Smiling is very American.
Public transit, even walking, is used more prevalently for commuters than cabs. In other nations, cabs are a cheap option and used regularly to get to and from the office.
When was the last time you needed to pay in cash? The U.S. accepts credit cards for almost any purchase, big or small. This is surprising to many travelers who come prepared with American dollars.
The role of religion in America is still a factor in society. Many, especially Western nations, have moved away from any religion-shaping culture, but the U.S. still has many believers.
Trying to see New York City and San Francisco in one week via car would be challenging. Realizing the size of the U.S. is a surprise to most non-Americans. From sea to shining sea, you will log serious miles on the rental car.
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