April 13, 2021

10 Tips You NEED TO KNOW Before Visiting the USA


I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.


Do you want to visit the US? Here's what you need to know.

Have you already visited the US? Would you like to visit the US someday? Going to an English-speaking country is agreat way to get motivated or stay motivated to learn English.

I asked you all in the community tab hereon YouTube where you would like to visit in the US, and a lot of you said LA, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Florida, Texas, Boston, a lot of places.

I hope your dreams come true and you get tocome visit the US.

To help you prepare, today I'd like to giveyou 10 important facts that you need to know before you come to visit the US.

Of course, these are all my opinion and justfrom my experience, but sometimes it's important to know the cultural differences or what toexpect before you go somewhere.

All right, let's start with the first category, which is airports.

Number one, Airports are not the best representationof the US.

Every time that I've landed in the US comingfrom a foreign country, I've always had an unpleasant experience.

Unfortunately, this is kind of a negativeway to start our list today.

But, often I've heard people just say, “Getin this line.

Go over there.

Hurry up.

Let's go, ” or maybe that was just the Atlantaairport.

But no, I experienced that in Chicago, NewYork, DC, a lot of places.

So if you have a kind of negative experiencein an airport when you first land in the US, take a deep breath.

This isn't a good representation of Americanpeople.

I remember arriving back in the US from Korea, and in front of us in line at the customs office, or something like that, was this kindKorean grandpa.

I imagine he hardly spoke any English.

At least when he tried to communicate withother people, it seemed a little bit difficult.

And when the customs officer was talking withhim, he kept just speaking louder and louder and not really trying to understand or helphim.

I felt really bad that this was this man'sfirst exposure to the US, and I hoped that he would have other pleasant experiences withother people on his visit.

I hope that's the same for you.

If you have a negative experience, this isjust an airport thing.

I hope that you meet other people who arefriendly.

Tips number two and three are about restaurants.

Do you use TripAdvisor when you want to lookfor new restaurants? Do you think that Americans use TripAdvisorwhen they want to find a new restaurant or a good restaurant in their city? Nope.

Every American I know uses Yelp.

If you want to find local places that localpeople have recommended, download the Yelp app.

This video is not sponsored by Yelp.

It's just a common thing that we use herein the US.

Download the Yelp app and search for restaurantsin your area or if you need to get a haircut maybe hairdressers in your area.

TripAdvisor might be good for sightseeing, maybe some landmarks or things like that.

But for restaurants or bars, for food, thesetypes of things, we always use Yelp, so make sure that you use what local people are using, which is Yelp.

Tip number three, if you go to a restaurantor bar, you need to tip 20% if your service was adequate or good.

If it was terrible, absolutely awful service, you don't have to tip it all.

You could give them 10%.

That's up to you.

But if the service was at least normal, youneed to give them 20%.

In the US, the tip constitutes an essentialpart of the server's wage.

In fact, the server's only money that they'regetting are tips, so you need to give 20%.

An easy way to calculate this is if your billwas $32, take that first number, three, multiply it by two, which is six.

And there you have 20%.

$6 is 20% of 32.

So you can add that together, and your totalbill is $38.

You need to do this also when you get a drinkat a bar.

Typically, 20% is acceptable.

But if 20% is like 30 cents, the best thingto do is still to give a dollar.

A dollar is the minimum tip that is polite.

I've been a server a lot, especially whenI was in high school, when I was in college as part-time jobs, and if somebody left changeon the table, which are coins, you felt like they were just trying to be rude to you.

Because in American culture, if you leavecoins, just coins .



Of course, if it's a big pile of coins, who cares? It's a lot of money still.

But just a couple coins, it feels a littlebit rude, so make sure that you give them at least a dollar.

When you take a taxi, tip 20%.

For Uber, I don't use Uber that much.

But from what I've heard, it's not requiredto tip with Uber.

Uber drivers are paid a regular hourly salaryor per ride that they get, so you don't need to tip, but you can always tip.

It has always accepted.

Tip number four is about transportation.

I recommend renting a car when you visit theUS, unless you're only going to stay in the middle of the city center, like in New Yorkor San Francisco, really close, because the US is spread out.

Even in LA, which is a huge city, it's hardto get from one side to the other.

Or if you want to visit Yosemite NationalPark, that's going to be a four-hour drive from San Francisco, so you're going to needa car because Uber's not going to take you that far.

So, just think about your trip and realizethat the US is really big, really spread out, so you'll probably want a budget for rentinga car when you come to visit.

Tip number five has four different parts becausealcohol in the US is a little complicated.

If you buy alcohol in the US, don't be surprisedif the person who's selling you the alcohol asks to see your ID.

In the US, it is very strict that you mustbe 21 years old to buy alcohol.

And if someone looks under the age of 40, the person selling you alcohol will say, “Can I see your ID?” Even if you're 50 years old, maybe even 60, they might ask to see your ID.

So, don't be shocked about this.

In fact, sometimes Americans get a littlebit offended if the other person doesn't ask to see their ID.

So for me, I'm 31.

Yes, I'm 31.

I'm 31.

One time I went to the store and the cashierdidn't ask to see my ID, and I thought, “Do I look like I'm 40 years old? Oh, no.

Maybe I look older than I am.

” But really, the cashier said, “Oh, you comein here a lot.

I know you, ” so it wasn't really a negativesituation.

But, sometimes people feel a little bit offendedin this situation.

Quite interesting.

So, make sure you have your ID ready.

Tip 5.

1 about alcohol is that the person buyingalcohol needs an ID, but sometimes in some stores in some states the cashier will askto see everyone's ID who is present.

So if you're with your husband buying alcohol.



This happened to me.

We were at the grocery store, and we werebuying a bottle of wine.

He was paying for it.

It's our money, but it was him who was makingthe transaction.

The cashier asked to see my ID, too.

This happened to me only two times.

One time I had my ID.

No problem.

The second time I didn't have my ID, and shejust said, “It's okay.

Don't worry about it.

” So, I guess this isn't too strict.

But maybe if I had looked 16 years old or15 years old, maybe they wouldn't have sold it because they don't want someone who isabove 21 to be buying alcohol for someone who's a minor.

We say a minor for someone who is under 21years old because they're not allowed to drink alcohol.

Do you think that people who are under 21drink alcohol in the US? If you've ever seen a movie about colleges, the answer is definitely yes.

But, stores have to kind of follow these typesof rules.

Tip 5.

2 about alcohol is that in some statesyou cannot buy alcohol at the grocery store.

It's kind of a state law that you have togo to a specific alcohol store to buy alcohol.

This is called an ABC store.

So if you're driving and you see an ABC store, and you're visiting somewhere like Pennsylvania, if you go to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, I'msure other states are like this too, you cannot buy alcohol at the grocery store.

Sometimes there's specific grocery storesthat have a little section where you can buy beer and you have to pay for it in that section.

You can't pay for it with all your groceries.

Just check out this.

Check about this in advance to make sure thatif you're going to the store you can actually get what you want to get.

Tip 5.

3 about alcohol is that in some statesyou cannot buy alcohol on Sunday before a certain time.

So in my state, in North Carolina, you cannotbuy alcohol before noon on Sunday.

One time, I went to the store to prepare andget a bunch of stuff for a big dinner that I was having on Sunday night at my house.

I was getting lots of food.

I was getting some wine, some beer.

And when I went to buy everything, the cashiersaid, “Oh, I'm sorry.

It's 11:45.

I can't sell you alcohol until noon, ” so Ijust waited in the grocery store for 15 minutes until noon and then I could buy it.

I think that this rule kind of goes back tothe idea that you should go to church instead of drinking.

I'm not sure exactly.

But I'll let you know something, it doesn'twork.

It doesn't stop people from drinking wheneverthey want.

But you might encounter this, so just makesure you think about it in advance.

Tip 5.

4 about alcohol is that you cannot drinkin public places like the park or on the street.

The beach is a little bit different sometimesdepending on the state.

And of course, some beaches might be moreisolated or a lot of people drink there, so they're a little bit more relaxed about therules, so just look this up before you go.

Because if you're going to a really popularbeach in Miami or a popular beach in California, the rules are probably going to be different.

And if you want to drink a beer on the beach, you want to be able to do that without worrying that someone's going to stop you from doingthat.

So, just look up the rules in advance or askyour friends if they live in those areas.

After hearing about all of those alcohol rules, is it any wonder that America gets called puritanical? I don't really think so.

Let's go on to the next category.

The sixth tip is about people.

Unlike the airport, I've heard from a lotof visitors to the US that American people are generally friendlier and smilier thanthey imagined.

I've heard American's often described as apeach that on the outside we're soft and easy to get to know.

Maybe the first time we meet you we'll inviteyou to our house for dinner.

That's not uncommon.

But maybe after we have dinner, if we havea great time, I might not call you for another month to get together again.

It doesn't mean that I don't like you.

It just means that maybe it's not a priorityto get together right away, so there's some kind of hard center.

Maybe that's just a generality, of course.

But, I think that when you walk down the street, especially in medium-sized cities .



If you smile at everybody in New York, it's goingto be a little bit weird.

But if you're in a smaller or medium-sizedcity like where I live, if I walk past someone on the sidewalk, I'll make eye contact.

I might say hey.



But, it's not unusual.

If you did that in a really big city, peoplemight think it's a little bit weird.

But, don't be surprised if people are prettyfriendly, pretty smiley.

That's kind of the typical stereotype of theUS.

Personally, I think it's kind of true.

Tip number seven is about health.

The US gets a pretty bad reputation for havingexpensive health care, and it's 100% true, unfortunately.

So if you're in the US and you have some kindof minor health problem, like you need an antibiotic or you need a couple stitches, I recommend go into a place like a MedExpress.

This is the brand of this type of clinic, but there's other brand names of that as well.

But, it's a kind of fast emergency room-typeservice, but it's not the hospital emergency room.

If you go to the emergency room at the hospital, that should be for serious issues.

That's going to cost several thousand dollarsminimum.

But if you go to a MedExpress, you can walkin, you can see a doctor usually within an hour, and your visit will probably be lessthan $200.

That's what I do whenever I need somethingquick and I don't want to .



Especially if I'm in a different city where I don't havea personal doctor there, I'll just go to a MedExpress and it's a kind of quick fix.

If you're really concerned that somethingserious might happen while you're traveling in the US and you don't want to have to goto the ER and pay full price for something, you can always get travel insurance.

I don't have any personal experience withbuying travel insurance for the US because I'm a US citizen and I've bought it for travelingto other countries, but you can always type into Google travel insurance for visitingthe US or something like that, and you could probably find some companies that will giveyou short-term insurance for one week or two weeks when you're visiting.

That way you can kind of feel at ease thatif something happens you won't have to pay a lot of money.

Tip number eight is about sleeping.

Of course you could stay in a hotel when youvisit the US, but it's really a great experience to stay at an AirBnB so that you can experiencea real American home and feel a little more comfortable and at ease during your experience.

If you've never used AirBnB, this is a servicewhere homeowners can rent out one room in their house, their full house.

Or maybe they have a basement apartment soyou're kind of in a private area and the people who run this, they live upstairs, somethinglike this.

You have access to bedrooms, you have accessto the kitchen, and usually you have access to your own living space so you can feel alittle more comfortable.

And if you would like, you can always talkwith the host.

You don't have to.

You can just send them a message and they'lltell you how to get in.

But if you would like to get tips or advicefrom the host, it's a great opportunity.

Usually they have a little notebook of ideassitting in your AirBnB room so that you can see their personal recommendations.

But, you can always talk with them.

You kind of have this personal one-on-oneadvice travel tour guide who you're connected with no matter where you're staying when youstay at this type of place.

It's especially good if you have kids, because, for me, I have a toddler, and he goes to bed pretty early, like 7:00, 7:30.

And usually at 7:30 I don't want to go tobed.

But if you have a hotel room, there's nowhereelse you can go.

He's sleeping in the same room.

So when you have an AirBnB, he can sleep inthe bedroom and you can still spend time in the kitchen, spend time in the living space, and you're a little bit separated in that way.

Personally, I really love staying in thesetypes of places.

Just make sure that you read a lot of reviewsand you write a nice message to the host so that they feel comfortable hosting you andletting you into their home.

Tip number nine is about safety.

Despite what you see in the media about shootingsand all of this, the US is generally pretty safe.

Of course, there's going to be specific areas, specific streets that you don't want to walk on, but it's generally a good idea to walkaround the city center.

I recommend being alert and aware as you'rewalking.

Don't listen to music and look at the ground.

Look around you.

Look alert so that if there is a bad personin the area you're not an easy target.

You're alert and aware.

For me, I generally don't walk around afterit gets dark in my city.

I live in a pretty small city, but I don'tfeel comfortable walking around by myself at night.

So when I go somewhere after dark, I drivemy car to the destination.

I get out of my car, and I walk inside tothat place.

I don't just wander around at night.

If you come from somewhere that is extremelysafe, theft, murder, robbery, all of these things are uncommon, I'm looking at you Koreaand Japan, just be extra cautious because maybe you're not used to keeping your pursewith you.

When you go to a coffee shop, maybe you leaveyour purse when you go to the bathroom.

In the US, we don't do that.

So make sure that you're just a little bitextra aware, but you don't have to be scared or worried.

Just be alert, aware, and try to stay withsomeone else if you can.

Tip number 10 is about English.

Let's end this video on a good note.

So if you visit the US, you definitely needto use English.

I imagine if you're watching this you area non-native English speaker because this channel is for learning English.

So if you visit the US, make sure that youhave a little bit prepared, mainly just some basics so that you can order at restaurantsor ask some questions about safety, these kind of standard things.

But overall, if you really want to use Englishand you want to interact with other people, this is a good chance to do it.

Unfortunately, most Americans whose familieshave immigrated from other countries several generations ago, they don't speak that nativelanguage anymore.

They only speak English.

This happened with my family.

My great grandparents came from Italy.

My grandma can understand some Italian.

My dad remembers Italian food, but he doesn'tspeak any Italian, and me neither.

So in this situation, we have lost the abilityto speak Italian, even though I have some Italian heritage.

So if you are from Vietnam and you're visitingPortland, if you're from Brazil and you're visiting Texas, you're probably not goingto find people who speak your native language, so it's really important to use English.

Two years ago, I made a travel survival serieshere on YouTube along with a free PDF of all of the expressions that I talked about inthat travel survival series.

You can click up here to watch that survivalseries or you can click the link in the description to download that PDF so that when you visitthe US you can study all of those expressions and hopefully it will help to encourage youto use English and use what you're learning.

So are you ready to visit the US? I hope that all of these tips made you feelexcited, feel pumped about visiting the US.

Let me know in the comments.

If you have already visited the US, wheredid you go? And if you would like to visit the US someday, where would you like to go? I hope that your dream comes true and youget to visit.

Thanks so much for learning English with me, and I'll see you again next Friday for a new lesson here on my YouTube channel.


The next step is to download my free ebook, Five Steps to Becoming a Confident English Speaker.

You'll learn what you need to do to speakconfidently and fluently.

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channelfor more free lessons.

Thanks so much.



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