In fact, a spokesperson for Flight Centre told Traveller in 2017 that, “The USA consistently ranks as one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers. We put this down to the combination of affordable airfares and the dollar remaining at a relatively stable rate," says Tom Walley, head of leisure travel for Flight Centre Travel Group.
1. Incorrectly tipping
In America, tipping is expected. From the hotel concierge that carries your bags to your room and housekeeping that replace your towels, to your bartender, waitress or valet, everyone needs to be tipped. Ensure that you keep a wad of $1 bills in your wallet throughout you trip to the US, tip 15 to 20 per cent of your total bill value in cafes and restaurants. If the service, food and waiting times were truly horrific, you don’t have to tip. Speak to the manager first, though. However, you don’t have to tip for food purchased over the counter, like McDonald’s, or supermarket cashiers.
Taxi drivers expect a 10 to 20 per cent tip, tour guides expect a tip of US$5-$10, and hotel porters expect US$1 per bag they deliver to your room. Bar tenders expect a US$1 tip per drink, if you’re buying drinks in bulk you can hand over US$2-3 for three or four drinks. However, if the bar has table service, expect to pay 10 per cent of your bill total to the waitress.
2. Misunderstanding temperatures and measurements
The standard measurement of temperatures in America is Fahrenheit, and isn’t at all similar to Celsius, 90 degrees in Fahrenheit is equivalent to around 32 degrees Celsius.
The standard units of measurement in America are also miles versus kilometres, and inches versus centimetres. Download an app that can help yuo with conversions to get an accurate idea of distances and temperatures.
3. Assuming the food will be the same
In America, an entrée is actually larger than a main size serving of food, an American biscuit is actually a scone, and bacon is served cooked to a crunchy crisp, and usually has a higher percentage of fat that Australian cuts. Fast food portion sizes tend to be on the large side, and Americans use their knives to cut up their food, then put it down and swap their fork to their right hand to continue to meal.
4. Asking for Australian tea and coffee orders
Coffee in America is usually the machine brewed type and not at all similar to Australia. You’ll find that a flat white doesn’t exist, a latte is sometimes a huge serving of milky coffee, and while tea is sometimes available it isn’t the typical black breakfast tea of Australia, and it’s served with cream, not milk. Try ordering a triple short no-foam latte if you’re after a flat white. Also, electric kettles are not commonly found in American hotels, as stove-top pots are the norm here.
5. Driving on the wrong side of the road.
Americans drive on the right-hand side of the road. Your steering wheel will be positioned on the left, and overtake other vehicles to their left, always use your indicators. Right hand turns are permitted at red lights unless signs indicate otherwise.
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