7 Things I Learnt While Travelling Around America

by Jessie Castle

Ah, America. Land of the free and home of the unlimited breadsticks. The US of A is one of the great travel destinations when you’re a 20-something, there’s so much to see. The first time I went to America, I spent some time searching for some holiday lettings in the area I wanted to visit (New York). I found the perfect place, contacted the landlord, booked my flights and I was there within a day. America is a magical place and if you get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. The country has so many amazing places to visit, it’s often difficult to prioritize which places to go to first. Before planning your itinerary, it’s worth trying to apply for a visa first. When traveling around America, a DS-160 is probably the most appropriate visa. It’s essential that you apply for a visa before traveling over to America, so be sure to do some research before making any final arrangements. Once all the legal documents are sorted, you can start planning your trip! When I went, there were a lot of things I hadn’t considered. Due to that, here are some of the things I learned along the way.

  1. Sales tax is the silent killer.

Clothes are crazy cheap in America and chances are you’ll spend your first couple of days taking advantage of it. Be warned though, just when you think you’ve gotten the deal of the century BAM: sales tax.

  1. The dollar bills come in handy (trust me).

If it’s your first time in America chances are those one-dollar notes in your wallet are driving you insane. Between getting your money converted and the number of dollars they give you when getting change, your wallet will soon be looking like you’re hightailing it to the strippers any second now. However, those bills are going to be a godsend when you need to start tipping so don’t be cursing them out too soon.

  1. Don’t take New Yorkers personally.

There’s nothing like walking into a Duane Reade and having the cashier look at you with that unique seething apathy that only true New Yorkers possess. Don’t take it personally; it’s just a culture difference. In fact, chances are you’ll come to love it. New Yorkers may come off intimidating at first, but once you get to know them, they’re unlike any other.

  1. Free pouring will ruin you (yes, even if you’re Australian)

In the U.S bars and clubs, you’ll find the bartenders free pouring the spirits, a novelty I was forewarned about. However, if you’re anything like me you will laugh in the face of anyone who tells you to watch your alcohol intake and then subsequently spend your first night abroad vomiting in some bushes.

  1. Las Vegas really is the devil’s playground.

We’ve all it before, “Vegas is a different world”, etc etc. But the reality of Vegas is so much more. There’s something about 40-degree weather, free drinks for ladies and five floored clubs that will turn even the most evolved partier into an indignant mess.

  1. The land of the free and very sweet bread.

America is basically Disney Land for anyone who loves amazing food. However, there’s still one big food difference that every traveler seems to pick up on and that’s the bread… it’s just crazy sweet. No matter what bread you order or how it comes, it will taste like some sort of cake/brioche hybrid. Although I have to say, I’m in favour of anything that adds more cake where there was previously no cake, so I found it pretty easy to get on the sweet bread bandwagon.

  1. Toilet water levels in America are filled to the brim.

Now, I get that the level of toilet water seems arbitrary at first. But, let me tell you; when you’re riding that porcelain wave after a long night and your own personal vomit splashes you back in the face, you will be cursing whoever decided to fill American toilets up so much.

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