15 Biggest Things Non-Americans Said Surprised Them Most When Visiting America

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Recently, in an online forum, a traveler asked non-Americans what surprised them most when visiting America. Here are things we do differently in the U.S. from other countries worldwide.

1. Prices Without Tax

According to people from Europe, one of the biggest shocks when visiting the U.S. was buying anything from a chocolate bar to eggs where the total price (meaning the addition of tax) isn’t shown.

2. The Tipping System

The obligation to pay a certain amount of the bill from the restaurant is new to many tourists. Paying 10-20 percent for the tip on top of the bill is rare in other countries.

A system where servers depend on their tips is ridiculous, and their pay could be much more significant.

3. Amount of Homeless People

Some people who visited New York, Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, and similar big cities stated that the number of homeless people was astounding. Seeing a giant tent city in those Metropolis areas was unbelievable.

4. Eating While Walking

One shared their thoughts about the strange practice where many people were eating while walking around. And the comment wasn’t meant for snacks or sweets. They found it odd that people eat full meals while walking around, which isn’t a practice elsewhere.

5. Way Too Relaxed and Open People

Several users suggested they had situations where random people would start a conversation with them—even going too fast with the private questions. Being open is not a problem, but in Europe, asking someone, a personal question comes after some time.

6. Portion Sizes in Restaurants

A lot of people expressed their shocked feelings about food portions. The amount of food and drinks you get in the U.S. is two or three times more than the usual European dish you order. Many individuals take half the meal to go home and eat it later.

7. Number of Gun Shops

Another shock to some individuals was the unbelievable amount of gun shops, varying from state to state. Still, some users were in disbelief that you could buy groceries and an automatic rifle in the same place.

We call that the Second Amendment in America.

8. Car Dependent States

Others suggested that not having a car in the U.S. can get you in a situation where you can’t fulfill everyday tasks or habits (like grocery shopping) because cities are so large and places are spread so far apart. In addition, public transportation is non-existent in many areas.

9. Price of Renting and Housing

Rent is high in the U.S. Compared to other countries, the U.S. gives its citizens decent wages. But those wages can’t help poorer citizens working for minimum wage. It’s not a thing in every part of the U.S., but popular areas have become completely unaffordable for buying or renting property for people who make minimum wage.

10. Atrocious Health Care System Costs

Many people discussed what they do and don’t admire about the American healthcare system. The good things are the quality of medical procedures and the technology.

But that doesn’t justify the unreasonable prices for healthcare. The biggest fear of a tourist in the U.S. is not to get hurt because they’ll return home with an atrocious hospital bill.

11. Point-of-Sale (POS) System Placement

Another person indicated he wasn’t thrilled when the servers took the credit card instead of taking the POS machine to the table. The POS systems are by the register or at the host stand.

12. Public Transport

The quality of public transportation was a common topic. Some users commented on the sparse and not-so-good public transit, especially in the big cities.

13. Junk Food

The difference between European and American food was mentioned, too. The amount of junk and low-quality food available in groceries is significant.

14. The Absence of the Metric System

The metric system in the U.S. isn’t used that much, which almost always “gives goosebumps” to foreign tourists, especially ones from Europe.

15. Getting Free Refills

A final user expressed his delight about free refills. In most cases, when you buy a drink, the price is for a single beverage, but in the U.S., everybody loves a free refill.

If you’re an American, did international tourists get this right? If you’re not from the U.S., what else would you add.

It is fun to learn about different cultures around the world.

A thread inspired this article.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.

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Vuk Jovanovic

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