6 Things to Know About the USA

Hello Beautiful People,

“The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” -G.K Chesterton 

Travelling through the USA was an interesting experience, despite witnessing a lot of things that my American friends haven’t seen. However from what I have learnt, here are some tips you should become aware of!

#1. Transportation
Depending on your location transport can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you are on the East Coast you are in luck with accessible public transport but if you are on the West Coast, good luck because it’s going to drain your wallet.

For the East Coast especially in NYC, the subway is going to be your best friend. It basically connects you everywhere in the city making it extremely accessible. However, the downside of the subway is navigating your way around or figuring out which direction you are going. Unlike other cities, NYC subway is a bit unclear but with a bit of good luck and guessing you will eventually navigate your way around.  For NYC it is best to get a week pass on the metro for $37USD. However, the metro in Boston is quite easy to navigate!

San Francisco has better transport than LA but prepared to spend some dollars! Alternatively, Uber and Lyft pull makes travelling slightly cheaper. In my experience I found Lyft to be slightly cheaper and better service. Using the “pull” system is also a great way to ask locals what to do and see!

#2. Bus
If you plan on travelling to another state, it is worth checking out the long bus services such as Peterpan or the Greyhound. It’s a great way to save some $$$. I only ended up taking the Peterpan bus from NYC to Boston and BoltBus from Boston to NYC. Obviously, it’s best to book in advance to get the cheapest fare but you can always purchase tickets on the day. Alternatively, you can take the train which would be quicker but it can be expensive.

#3. Budget Planes
My friends neglected to tell me about Southwest Airlines that you don’t get assigned seating… it was an awkward moment when I was telling the lady she was in my seat LOL! Instead, the seats are assign by a first in first serve bases from your time of check-in. So if you are picky about flying it is best to check in early if you are taking a budget airline. However, on my Delta flight from LA to NYC I got lucky enough to sit next to a dog!

#4. Taxes
If you didn’t know already Sales Tax in America is set by the state. Hence, each state as set their own Sales Tax and it varies from state to state. It can range roughly from 4.5% in Hawaii to 9% in California. If you plan on doing some shopping it is best to research which states have the cheapest tax. For me, I ended up doing most of my shopping in Los Vegas as it was cheaper compared to New York or California.

Note: Sales Tax is added on top of your purchases (not included in the price).

#5. Tipping
In regards to tipping, I struggled to figure out where exactly I was meant to tip or how much I’m supposed to tip. As an Australian, we don’t tip thus it is such a strange concept for me. Funnily enough my first couple of days in America I ended up tipping my Uber/Lyft which later my friends told me I didn’t have to. If you are having a meal sitting down that’s when you are supposed to tip!

#6. Food
There are no surprises that serving size portions in America is massive. Just rethink how hungry you are before ordering something that is label as large. Also if you are trying to find breakfast don’t be surprised to find burgers and chips on the menu…

But I did manage to find some healthy options such as this poke bowl in Pennsy Food Hall (33rd Street and 7th Ave by Penn Station and Madison Square Garden).

Hopefully, you found these tips useful. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions!

-Until next time, -M

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