People Share Things You Should Never Do When You Visit The U.S. (17 Tips)

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Like with any country, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the customs and unspoken rules when you visit America. Depending on where you visit, the cultural norms might be different — as well as the laws. But mostly, you just want to be well-informed no matter where you go.

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On Reddit, people are sharing some good tips about what you should just not do when you take a trip to the States — like stare at people on the subway, decide to go hiking in the desert without any preparation, or assume that it does not take that long to get from one place to the other.

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1. No Eye Contact On The Subway

“If you’re in a New York City subway, try not to make too much eye contact or look too long at people around you. Old guy lighting up a crack pipe near the door between cars? Just ignore the smell. Woman near you screaming at the top of her lungs at her silent child? Keep listening to your music. Someone digging through their bag, muttering to themselves, and throwing rose petals on the floor like they’re preparing for a seance? Just keep staring blankly at your phone. Trust me.” —

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2. No Raccoons

“Raccoons are cute… but from a distance.” —


3. Laws Are Not The Same Everywhere

“Don’t think the laws are the same everywhere. You can walk with an open alcohol container in Vegas but not many other places. Alcohol laws, pot laws, firearms laws, smoking – lots of very different laws depending on the state and city where you are.” —


4. Don’t Swim In Florida

“If you find yourself in Florida, absolutely do not swim in the lakes, ditches, or channels. Any standing body of water can (and does) have alligators in it. Also possibly water moccasins. And maybe even diseases.” —

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5. Taxes

“Don’t assume that the price shown on an item for sale is your price for said item. There are almost always taxes that are added to the price when you go to pay.” —


6. America Is Big

“Underestimate distances. When I was a tour guide, far too many customers asked how many HOURS the train to New York was [in Seattle] and I had to put their jaw back in when I said 5 days.” —


7. Avoid People In Costume

“Don’t take pictures with the people dressed up in costumes in LA/ NYC.” —

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8. Respect National Parks

“To not take anything from national parks.” —


9. Don’t Sign Up For A Card

“If you go to a department store, Kohls, Target, or even Home Depot, they often try to have people sign up for credit cards. Absolutely don’t do this. Tell you non-English speaking friends this. The short time I worked at target, I often seen people who were clearly just visiting the US get signed up for credit cards. It may not alway work since the lack of a social security number, but it is a major time suck for sure.” —


10. Rules For Vegas

“If you’re visiting Las Vegas, do not engage with anyone that asks if you’ll be in town tomorrow night. They’re trying to rope you into a timeshare presentation and even though they’ll offer free show tickets, meal vouchers, and even cash, it’s not worth it! The tour and ‘short’ presentation will be way longer (and obnoxiously higher pressure) than you’d expect and they know damn well after you’ve invested a few hours you’re not going to leave without the promised reward that they only give you at the very end. These people are most often found at the entrances to malls or casinos at what can be easily mistaken for information booths. Either just say ‘no’ no matter how long you’re actually still going to be there or flat-out ignore them. Also don’t accept the cards being handed out by people in brightly colored shirts on the strip unless you want a promo for strippers.” —

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11. Check The Weather

“If you are coming to the Midwest or northeast during winter be prepared and don’t think sunshine means warm weather. It can be deceptively cold.” —


12. Sidewalks

“Don’t let anyone use your phone, stop in the middle of the sidewalk (please move to the side).” —


13. Acclimate To Altitude

“Also, if you visit somewhere like CO and plan to go hiking, give yourself a day or two to acclimate to the altitude before you even try. Lost of people underestimate how little air there is at 10,000ft compared to sea level.” —

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14. It Can Get Very Hot

“Visiting south west USA? Cali. Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico etc. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE HEAT, all too often people try a hike in 113° and end up needing rescue. And thats no good for anyone.” —


15. Don’t Bribe The Police

“Do not attempt bribe a police officer. It’s common in some countries, but it will land you in a world of sh*t here.”


16. Make A Schedule

“Make a tightly scheduled itinerary that involves visiting multiple locations – particularly if those locations are in different states. You probably have no idea how long it takes to go from one place to another.” —

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17. Haggling

“Haggle. There are times it’s appropriate to haggle in the US, but none of them are going to come up on your tourist trip. In the US, haggling is basically reserved for high-ticket items and certain services. You can’t haggle for things in a store or at a restaurant. The people you’re talking to usually don’t have the power to change the price, and if they do, they still won’t want to. The exceptions would be of the thing in the store is damaged (and they might not reduce the price, they might just take the broken one from you and find you a decent one), or if the person you’re dealing with is a criminal (ex; the guys who sell stolen purses, fake sunglasses, and bootleg DVDs in the street in some cities). Goods in stores or at kiosks have a set price based on pretty specific metrics, and everyone pays the same. No one’s going to cry or try and convince you if you walk away.” —