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Are you planning a trip to America? You might think you know a lot about the US, but the reality isn’t exactly the same as you see in the movies! There’s far more to America than New York City and Hollywood. And there’s plenty to know in order to make sure that you enter and stay legally in the country as well. The following are some tips to make sure that your trip to the US goes smoothly!

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Tipping

In America, unlike some other countries, the percentage for tipping is around 15-20%. This is quite different from other places that normally just leave the extra loose change as a tip. Tipping is quite mandatory here and it is quite an insult to leave less than 15% for service at a restaurant. If this seems weird to you, keep in mind that servers earn a minimum wage so tipping is actually a part of their regular salary.

Don’t try to do it all

The continental US is simply far too big to see and do it all in one trip. You can plan different trips to see different regions of the country, such as one trip for the East Coast, one for the South and one for the West Coast. If you decide to do a road trip across the country, highlight some key destinations that you especially want to check out along the way.

Dealing with visas and legalities

You’ll need to make sure that you prepare the proper visa according to your country before you arrive in America, if need be. The customs officials are very strict on the rules and you can easily be denied entry if you’re not adequately prepared, so do your research! If you have a criminal record, you can still have the chance to enter the US. You can be granted a national pardon and your offense will be forgiven when it comes to border entry.

Don’t smoke (or at least be careful)

In America, the laws for smoking are about a hundred times more strict than other places in the world! That might be an exaggeration, but the habit is far more frowned upon here than it is in Europe or Asia. As a general rule, there is no smoking indoors and most places have a policy that you must stand at least 50 feet away from the building if you’re smoking.

Smile!

Americans are friendly people, and it is customary to smile and say hello when you’re passing by people. If you are open to it, you will have a great experience meeting local Americans who are quite interested in foreigners as well.

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