5 Things to Know About Americans and America before Visiting

Did you know that the revenues of the US hotel industry reached close to $208 billion in 2017? And, why not? America is one nation that receives among the largest number of visitors each year. There were about 75.9 million international visitors to the US in 2016 alone, according to the figures on Statista.

If you too are planning a visit to this globally popular destination, I would recommend that you learn a little about its culture and traditions before your visit. This is good advice for any country that you visit. Here are some things that you should know about the American culture.


The United States is often known as a melting pot of cultures because its population consists of people from all over the world, bringing different cultural influences to the mix. What you will find here is a wide variety of faiths, values and traditions, says an article on InterExchange.

There is no one American culture that runs through the entire country. Traditions vary from family to family and from region to region. A cold drink might be called a soda in one region and pop in another! If you are invited to an outdoor cooking meal, it might mean cooking in the streets of New York or a barbecue in a park in Texas. The laws, food, dialects vary from region to region. So, be prepared to experience this amazing diversity when you visit the US.

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Learn To Tip

It is an unsaid rule in the US to tip at least 15%-20% of the bill in restaurants. Since the minimum wage is quite low in the country, these tips become an important part of the income of many workers. In other hospitality and service industries, tips are very common.

It is an important etiquette to tip bartenders, valets, doormen, housekeepers and taxi drivers. Make sure you double-check the bill in restaurants, since there could be times when the establishment automatically adds the tip to the overall charges. It is advisable to keep some cash handy for the tips.

Small Talk

Most Americans like to start up conversations with those around them. They will often engage in small talk with acquaintances or even strangers, while waiting in a queue or commuting. The conversation could range from topics such as sports, politics and the weather to movies and more.

Don’t get startled if a stranger asks you if you have seen the latest episode of a web series. Small talk is harmless, unless it makes you uncomfortable. However, Americans are generally very direct and outspoken in their workplaces. They don’t hesitate to speak up and raise their voice against something that makes them uneasy.

Don’t be Surprised by the Over-Sized Servings

The moment you receive your order, you will understand why most Americans suffer from obesity! You will always get the supersized version of everything that you have ever imagined. The large food portions mean that the remaining portion either goes into the garbage or is eaten forcibly by the person. This is why the US is consistently ranked 1st in the list of countries that exercise the most!

Health Care

It is an undeniable fact that medical services in the US are extremely expensive. And, almost every doctor you visit will first ask for your health insurance. So, make sure you choose a good travel insurance plan with medical coverage before leaving your home country.

An international health insurance policy provides you protection against medical and travel emergencies while you are in a foreign land..

Visiting the US is an interesting and exciting experience, especially because it offers a wide variety of cultural and geographical diversity. However, make sure that you have some basic knowledge of the country and its culture before visiting.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.