7 things you need to know before visiting the USA

Travelling to the USA? Lucky you! It’s a wonderful place, full of adventures and surprises. You could easily spend years exploring – but most of us have to cram our visits into a much shorter space of time. To help with your travel preparation, we’ve gathered seven things you need to know before you set off:

1. It’s huge

With 50 diverse states, the USA is huge. In fact, it measures up to 3.8 million square miles. Whilst this means you’ll rarely get bored, it’s impossible to see everything. You’ve got to narrow in on a region you want visit. Even within smaller places, you’ll have to prioritise activities.

2. There are 58 National Parks

Some of the USA’s National Parks are iconic – Yosemite, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, for instance. But there are some hidden gems too. Taking Congaree as an example, it’s around 27,000 acres of floodplain just waiting to be explored. You can take free ranger-guided canoe tours through the trees at the weekends. Research the National Parks and find one you’ll love. Start with the most underrated parks here.

3. Portion sizes are huge

America is known worldwide for its portion sizes. As this blog says, every plate of nachos, every burger, every meal of Mexican food, every salad, every bowl of fries, every slice of pizza is easily bigger in America – so be wary what size you order in order to not feel queasy.

Even the drinks are excessive. Starbucks, for example, has an additional size in the USA. The ‘Trenta’ can contain 916ml of coffee, which is actually larger than the average human stomach capacity.

4. You need to tip

Once you’ve finished your meal, you’ve got to remember to tip well. It’s standard in the USA to tip around 15-20% in bars and restaurants. Low-wage workers rely on these tips to increase their income.

5. Know about potential natural disasters

It’s probably the last thing you want to think about but bush fires, earthquakes, storms and hurricanes are all possibilities in the USA. Knowing the high-risk areas and recent disasters means you’ll be prepared for the worst and know what to do in an emergency. Arm yourself with the right information with this guide to natural disasters.

6. Price tags don’t include sales tax/VAT

Before you head to the shops and think you’ve got yourself a real bargain, remember it will cost you a bit more at the till. Unlike countries like the UK and Australia, where the tax on goods is included in the price, the USA adds it at the end. The amount varies from state to state, but around 4-6% will be added to the price you see.

7. The theme parks are amazing

From the 17 roller coasters at Cedar Point, the 65-acre site for Schlitterbahn Water Park, Universal’s Islands of Adventure with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the old-fashioned amusement park, Knoebels, there is a theme park for everyone. You can spend your whole trip touring them. Head to Florida for a quick fix, as plenty of great theme parks are concentrated within this state.

Have you visited the USA? Share your experiences with us.

This is a contributed article from 1Cover.

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