Planning for a trip to the USA? Here are 10 interesting things no one told you about the USA


The USA definitely is one of the most sought-after travel destinations. From modern to traditional, natural to man-made, the US has something for each one of us. It has so many interesting attractions for tourists of any age or from any part of the world, that no one can ever return home without attaining contentment of heart.


However, it’s important to know a few things before you plan to visit the USA. Do your homework well, so you can make the most out of your trip. The following tips will come in handy for you as you go off to vacationing in the USA.




Not everybody is aware of the US ESTA which stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization which allows nationals of many countries to visit the USA for up to 90 days without a visa. If your country falls under the ESTA then consider yourself lucky as applying for an ESTA is a much more convenient process than applying for a visa.


Get an understanding of the various state laws in the USA as the country comprises 50 states, and they are quite diverse and removed from each other. There are different state laws for each state. Thus, it’s wise to learn a little about the prevailing laws of at least the states you wish to travel to so that you don’t land yourself in any trouble. For example, in some states drinking in public is prohibited, however, in cities like Las Vegas, it’s allowed. Similarly, there are many other laws pertaining to smoking, driving, etc., that differ from state to state. So, wise yourself up to some.


It’s worth exploring the offbeat places and giving a pass to the much-talked-about ones.


Many tourists often plan itineraries with the help of tourist guides or simply follow the beaten track incorporating sights that are most highlighted and talked about, such as New York and San Francisco, which are certainly beautiful places to see but are quite commercialised today, and they may fail to respond to the wanderlust in you. These are places that are chock-a-block with tourists, souvenir shops, and cosmopolitan restaurants. However, the real charm lies in offbeat places, which are not quite advertised. For example, the natural beauty of the northwestern USA is mesmerising and consists of remarkable parks, attractive rivers, enthralling waterfalls, and rock creations that will speak to you. These are places that are still under-explored, in their natural element, and hence, are truly worth a visit. 


There is an age restriction for renting a car


Unlike in Europe, public transport is not the best way to travel in the USA. Therefore, people tend to rent a car. However, as per the law, you need to be at least 25 years old to rent a car in the USA.


You’ll need to show proof of age for various activities, especially for permission to drink


In the USA, there are strict age restrictions to undertake certain activities one of them being the age restriction for drinking. You cannot drink unless you are 21 years old. So, if you are past the threshold age, just fish out and show your ID proof and buy whatever alcohol you like, whether it’s in a department store, pub, or club, wherever alcohol is served.


Get used to the imperial system of measurement


If you belong to a country where metric units of measurement are used such as meters, millilitres, and kilometres, then, get a basic idea of the imperial system of measurement, which is what is used in the USA. Also, in the same vein, remember distance in the USA is measured in miles instead of kilometres, and similarly, liquids are in gallons and groceries in pounds and ounces.


Sale tax is levied over and above the marked price on every purchase. In the USA the marked price is not always the final price you pay for a product. You may have to pay an extra sales tax, which differs from state to state over and above the marked price. Additionally, remember that tipping, though is believed to be voluntary, is generally and widely expected and practised.


There is no law as far as tipping is concerned. Nevertheless, in the USA, tipping is voluntary, and people are quite generous towards service providers, such as waiters at a restaurant, bartenders at a bar, drivers, and even porters. Decent tipping ranges from 15%-20% of the total payable amount.


Smoking is prohibited in many places


You may be surprised to know that the USA is quite strict when it comes to smoking, especially in public places such as bus stops, train stations, public parks, beaches, etc. There is a state-wide policy which is rigorously exercised restricting people to smoke in indoor spaces.


Medical facilities for outsiders can be very expensive


The most important thing to purchase before flying off to the USA is travel insurance. The insurance will cover all your possible medical expenses, including hospitalisation if it ever comes to that. Always keep in mind that medical facilities for visitors are very expensive and can certainly burn a deep hole in your pocket if you have to avail of the medical facility while in the USA.


The above points are meant to help you prepare for your visit to the USA. But other than these there are several more factors to consider. Since the USA is a large country, travel time can be inordinate, and to add to your woes, car rentals can be quite tricky. The country is known to make life convenient, however, there is an order to achieve and sustain the convenience, which you must conform to. And since American citizens believe in self-sufficiency, it will be wise of you to be better prepared and equip yourself to handle any problem on your own. The strictness of laws is meant to maintain discipline and promote better administration, so even if the rules may look like they may take the fun out of your trip, they actually won’t and instead secure you while you are in this foreign land. So, do your research and just enjoy yourself during the trip. The USA is a fun country with very congenial people, and for a multitude of reasons, always is regarded as one of the top tourist destinations as well as a place to call it home.


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