YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Editing United States of America

Jump to: navigation, search

Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits.

The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.
Latest revision Your text
Line 1: Line 1:
 +
 +
 
{{pagebanner|USA banner.jpg}}
 
{{pagebanner|USA banner.jpg}}
 
{{quickbar
 
{{quickbar
 
| image=Mount rushmore by dean franklin.jpg
 
| image=Mount rushmore by dean franklin.jpg
 +
Contact +1-888-653-7229 American Airlines for booking or reservations.
 
| caption=Mount Rushmore
 
| caption=Mount Rushmore
 
| flag=Flag of the United States.svg
 
| flag=Flag of the United States.svg
Line 16: Line 19:
 
| tld=.us, .edu, .gov, .mil (most sites use .com, .net, .org)
 
| tld=.us, .edu, .gov, .mil (most sites use .com, .net, .org)
 
| timezone=UTC -4 to UTC -10
 
| timezone=UTC -4 to UTC -10
| emergencies= dial '''911''' or access emergency services through Operator "0"
+
| emergencies= dial '''911''' or access emercency services through Operator "0"
 
}}
 
}}
 
[[File:US insular areas.png|thumb|upright=2|Map of the mainland US, insular areas and Minor Outlying Islands.]]
 
[[File:US insular areas.png|thumb|upright=2|Map of the mainland US, insular areas and Minor Outlying Islands.]]
 +
 +
Contact +1-888-653-7229 American Airlines for booking or reservations.
 
The [http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html '''United States of America'''] is a large country in [[North America]], often referred to as "the USA", "the U.S.", "the United States", "the United States of America", "the States", or simply "America". Home to the world's third-largest population, with over 318 million people, it includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs and vast, uninhabited natural areas.  
 
The [http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html '''United States of America'''] is a large country in [[North America]], often referred to as "the USA", "the U.S.", "the United States", "the United States of America", "the States", or simply "America". Home to the world's third-largest population, with over 318 million people, it includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs and vast, uninhabited natural areas.  
  
Line 231: Line 236:
  
 
===Holidays===
 
===Holidays===
The United States has a number of holidays — official and/or cultural — of which the traveller should be aware. Note that holidays observed on Mondays or Fridays are usually treated as weekend-long events. (A weekend consists of a Saturday and a Sunday.) Federal holidays — i.e., holidays observed by the federal government, state and local government and banks — are indicated in '''''bold italics'''''. If a federal holiday with a fixed calendar date (such as Independence Day) falls on a weekend, federal and most state and local government offices will be closed on the nearest non-weekend day. Since the early 1970s, several federal holidays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, have been observed on a certain Monday rather than on a fixed date for the express purpose of giving federal employees three-day weekends. Foreign embassies & consulates in the U.S. also observe the same federal holidays (in bold italics) in addition to the official holidays of their respective countries.  The private sector (besides banks) are usually open for business on most holidays with people working except New Years, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas when a vast number of non-retail businesses do close or open partial hours in observance.  
+
The United States has a number of holidays — official and/or cultural — of which the traveler should be aware of. Note that holidays observed on Mondays or Fridays are usually treated as weekend-long events. (A weekend consists of a Saturday and a Sunday.) Federal holidays — i.e., holidays observed by the federal government, state and local government and banks — are indicated in '''''bold italics'''''. If a federal holiday with a fixed calendar date (such as Independence Day) falls on a weekend, federal and most state and local government offices will be closed on the nearest non-weekend day. Since the early 1970s, several federal holidays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, have been observed on a certain Monday rather than on a fixed date for the express purpose of giving federal employees three-day weekends. Foreign embassies & consulates in the U.S. also observe the same federal holidays (in bold italics) in addition to the official holidays of their respective countries.  The private sector (besides banks) are usually open for business on most holidays with people working except New Years, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas when a vast number of non-retail businesses do close or open partial hours in observance.  
  
 
Due to the number of major holidays in close proximity to each other, many Americans refer to the period between Thanksgiving in late November and New Year's Day as simply "the holidays." School and work vacations are commonly taken during this periods:
 
Due to the number of major holidays in close proximity to each other, many Americans refer to the period between Thanksgiving in late November and New Year's Day as simply "the holidays." School and work vacations are commonly taken during this periods:
Line 259: Line 264:
 
*'''New Year's Eve''' (31 December) — many restaurants and bars open late; lots of parties, especially in big cities.
 
*'''New Year's Eve''' (31 December) — many restaurants and bars open late; lots of parties, especially in big cities.
  
From a foreign traveller's point of view, there are two major services affected by federal holidays: visas and mail.   
+
From a foreign traveler's point of view, there are two major services affected by federal holidays: visas and mail.   
  
 
First, if you are a foreigner who needs to apply for a US visa, it is important to note the federal holidays marked in ''bold italics''.  All US embassies worldwide close on those days, in addition to the official holidays of the host country and are unable to process applications on those days.
 
First, if you are a foreigner who needs to apply for a US visa, it is important to note the federal holidays marked in ''bold italics''.  All US embassies worldwide close on those days, in addition to the official holidays of the host country and are unable to process applications on those days.
Line 764: Line 769:
 
America's love affair with the automobile is legendary and most Americans use a car when moving within their city, and when travelling to nearby cities in their state or region. However, many Americans can and do travel between the vast regions of their country by auto - often going through different time zones, landscapes, and climates. In the winter months (Dec though March) millions of American nomads travel south to the warm desert and subtropical climates in everything from cars to motor homes (called "RV's").  
 
America's love affair with the automobile is legendary and most Americans use a car when moving within their city, and when travelling to nearby cities in their state or region. However, many Americans can and do travel between the vast regions of their country by auto - often going through different time zones, landscapes, and climates. In the winter months (Dec though March) millions of American nomads travel south to the warm desert and subtropical climates in everything from cars to motor homes (called "RV's").  
  
Generally speaking, the older American cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Philadelphia are best to see using public transport or even on foot (at least within their downtown cores). However, the newer sunbelt cities (normally in the West and South) are built for the automobile, so renting or bringing your own car is usually a very good idea. This applies even to very large cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami, where public transport is very limited and having a car is the most practical way of getting around. In the smaller American cities, everything is very spread out and public transport thin. Taxis are often available, but if you're not at the airport, you may have to phone for one and wait a half-hour or so to be picked up, making similar arrangements to return. Taxis are typically an expensive option to use. While most Americans are happy to give driving directions, don't be surprised if many aren't familiar with the local public transport options available.  
+
Generally speaking, the older American cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Philadelphia are best to see using public transport or even on foot (at least within their downtown cores). However, the newer sunbelt cities (normally in the West and South) are built for the automobile, so renting or bringing your own car is usually a very good idea. This applies even to very large cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami, where public transport is very limited and having a car is the most practical way of getting around. In the smaller American cities, everything is very spread out and public transport thin. Taxis are often available, but if you're not at the airport, you may have to phone for one and wait a half-hour or so to be picked up, making similar arrangements to return. Taxis are typically a expensive option to use. While most Americans are happy to give driving directions, don't be surprised if many aren't familiar with the local public transport options available.  
  
 
Gas stations usually sell regional and national maps. Online maps with directions are available on several websites including MapQuest and Google Maps. Drivers can obtain directions by calling 1-800-Free411, which will provide them via text message.  GPS navigation systems can be purchased for around $100, and car rental agencies often rent GPS units for a small additional fee. Many smartphones are now bundled with GPS navigation software that offers turn-by-turn directions. Your mobile phone provider may charge you for data use, since mobile phone GPS navigation is best used with an Internet connection. Several GPS navigation apps can now support "offline maps" features where you can download maps in advance, but without Internet access, the navigation app will not have access to real-time traffic data and may direct you to drive right into the middle of a severe traffic jam. Even states that ban the use of hand-held phones by drivers often allow the use of GPS features, as long as the driver enters no data when in motion (check local laws in the places you will be travelling).
 
Gas stations usually sell regional and national maps. Online maps with directions are available on several websites including MapQuest and Google Maps. Drivers can obtain directions by calling 1-800-Free411, which will provide them via text message.  GPS navigation systems can be purchased for around $100, and car rental agencies often rent GPS units for a small additional fee. Many smartphones are now bundled with GPS navigation software that offers turn-by-turn directions. Your mobile phone provider may charge you for data use, since mobile phone GPS navigation is best used with an Internet connection. Several GPS navigation apps can now support "offline maps" features where you can download maps in advance, but without Internet access, the navigation app will not have access to real-time traffic data and may direct you to drive right into the middle of a severe traffic jam. Even states that ban the use of hand-held phones by drivers often allow the use of GPS features, as long as the driver enters no data when in motion (check local laws in the places you will be travelling).
Line 771: Line 776:
  
 
====Great American Road Trip====
 
====Great American Road Trip====
A romantic appeal is attached to the idea of '''long-distance car travel'''; many Americans will tell you that you can't see the "real" America except by car. Given the dearth of public transportation in most American cities, the loss of time travelling ''between'' cities by car rather than flying can be made up by the convenience of driving around ''within'' cities once you arrive. In addition, many of the country's major '''natural attractions''', such as the [[Grand Canyon]], are in rugged landscapes and environments, and are almost impossible to get to without an automobile. If you have the time, a classic American road trip with a rented car (see below) is very easy to achieve and quite an adventure.  Just keep in mind that because of the distances, this kind of travel can mean many hours, days, or even a week  behind the wheel, so pay attention to the comfort of the car you use. Some roads go though hazardous environments (hot deserts, dense forests and jungles, harsh steppes and savannas, marshy/wet areas, geothermal areas, rugged mountains,) and through areas with dangerous wildlife (Bobcats, Pumas, Jaguars, constrictors, Pronghorn, poisonous snakes, alligators, Coyotes, bears...etc) and weather (the U.S. can be struck by any manner of disasters, from tornadoes, dust storms, and hurricanes, to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis,) so be aware of the environment through which you are travelling.
+
A romantic appeal is attached to the idea of '''long-distance car travel'''; many Americans will tell you that you can't see the "real" America except by car. Given the dearth of public transportation in most American cities, the loss of time travelling ''between'' cities by car rather than flying can be made up by the convenience of driving around ''within'' cities once you arrive. In addition, many of the country's major '''natural attractions''', such as the [[Grand Canyon]], are in rugged landscapes and environments, and are almost impossible to get to without an automobile. If you have the time, a classic American road trip with a rented car (see below) is very easy to achieve and quite an adventure.  Just keep in mind that because of the distances, this kind of travel can mean many hours, days, or even a week  behind the wheel, so pay attention to the comfort of the car you use. Some roads go though hazardous environments (hot deserts, dense forests and jungles, harsh steppes and savannas, marshy/wet areas, geothermal areas, rugged mountains,) and through areas with dangerous wildlife (Bobcats, Pumas, Jaguars, constrictors, Pronghorn, poisonous snakes, alligators, Coyotes, bears...etc) and weather (the U.S. can be struck by any manner of disasters, from tornadoes, dust storms, and hurricanes, to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis,) so be aware of the environment you are travelling through.
  
 
====Interstate System====
 
====Interstate System====
Line 1,139: Line 1,144:
 
===Gift cards===
 
===Gift cards===
  
Each major commercial establishment (e.g. store, restaurant, online service) with a statewide, regional, nationwide or online presence makes its own gift card available to consumers for use at any of its establishments nationwide or its online store.  In spite of the word "gift" in gift card, you can actually purchase and use these cards for yourself; however, they are most commonly given to others as gifts. This is a more polite way to give someone money as a gift, and is a standard gift for someone whom you don't know very well. A gift card for a certain establishment can be purchased at any of the establishment's branches.  Supermarkets and pharmacies also have a variety of gift cards from different stores, restaurants and other services.  Once these are purchased by you or given to you by friends, you can use a particular store or restaurant's gift card at any of its branches nationwide or online store for any amount.  In case funds in the gift card are insufficient, you can use other payment methods to pay for the balance (like cash, credit card, a 2nd gift card particular to the establishment).  VISA, MasterCard and American Express gift cards work very similarly to their credit/debit card counterparts.  The gift card also has instructions on how to check your remaining balance online.  Take note that the gift cards are unlikely to be accepted in the establishment's branches outside the U.S. though when you return home you can still use any remaining amount in the gift card in the establishment's online store. Also keep in mind that some gift cards expire, which makes the money on them worthless so always double check if there is one and how long you have to use the gift card.
+
Each major commercial establishment (e.g. store, restaurant, online service) with a statewide, regional, nationwide or online presence makes its own gift card available to consumers for use at any of its establishments nationwide or its online store.  In spite of the word "gift" in gift card, you can actually purchase and use these cards for yourself; however, they are most commonly given to others as gifts. This is a more polite way to give someone money as a gift, and is a standard gift for someone whom you don't know very well. A gift card for a certain establishment can be purchased at any of the establishment's branches.  Supermarkets and pharmacies also have a variety of gift cards from different stores, restaurants and other services.  Once these are purchased by you or given to you by friends, you can use a particular store or restaurant's gift card at any of its branches nationwide or online store for any amount.  In case funds in the gift card are insufficient, you can use other payment methods to pay for the balance (like cash, credit card, a 2nd gift card particular to the establishment).  VISA, MasterCard and American Express gift cards work very similarly to their credit/debit card counterparts.  The gift card also has instructions on how to check your remaining balance online.  Take note that the gift cards are unlikely to be accepted in the establishment's branches outside the U.S. though when you return home you can still use any remaining amount in the gift card in the establishment's online store.
  
 
===Sales tax===
 
===Sales tax===
Line 1,454: Line 1,459:
 
Despite the sometimes negative coverage that law enforcement receives in the U.S. media, you will find that the vast majority of American law enforcement personnel are very professional, and take their responsibility to serve and protect the public very seriously. There is no reason to hesitate to engage law enforcement if needed during your travel in the U.S.  
 
Despite the sometimes negative coverage that law enforcement receives in the U.S. media, you will find that the vast majority of American law enforcement personnel are very professional, and take their responsibility to serve and protect the public very seriously. There is no reason to hesitate to engage law enforcement if needed during your travel in the U.S.  
  
If stopped by the police while driving, the driver is expected to stay in the car and wait for the police officer to come to the driver or passenger window.  Turn on your interior car lights if it is dark, and keep your hands on the wheel so they remain visible. Do not attempt to exit the vehicle unless told to do so. It is expected for the driver to roll down the window the officer is at.  When stopped you should stay calm, be polite and cooperative, and avoid making sudden movements. If you need to reach for your purse or wallet to present your identification, state what you are doing and wait for permission to do so. Often police will ask you to keep your hands out of your pockets and in view while speaking to them. This is in no way meant to be offensive but is for their peace of mind and your safety. American police are '''always''' armed on duty and will respond with force if they believe you present an immediate threat to them or to the public.  Do not act aggressively or angrily, as that can and will make a police officer suspicious at worst, or at best will make the officer disinclined towards leniency. Contrary to many sensationalized media reports, very few officers have racial prejudices, at least that they allow to impact their work, but you do '''not''' want to be on the wrong side of one that does, as officers that abuse their power very often see little to no punishment for their actions so long as they can make a case that you were deemed to be a threat, which is '''very easy''' for them to do under the present American justice system.  Patrol stops typically result in a written citation for a driving offense, or sometimes a simple verbal warning if the offense was minor, as long as you remain appropriately cooperative. If they ask to search your vehicle, you may have the right to refuse it. Be aware that the odor of illegal substances is considered probable cause for a search under the laws of most U.S. states. Always be polite and calm, and if you believe you are being treated unfairly, ask the officer if you can speak with a supervisor.  
+
If stopped by the police while driving, the driver is expected to stay in the car and wait for the police officer to come to the driver or passenger window.  Turn on your interior car lights if it is dark, and keep your hands on the wheel so they remain visible. Do not attempt to exit the vehicle unless told to do so. It is expected for the driver to roll down the window the officer is at.  When stopped you should stay calm, be polite and cooperative, and avoid making sudden movements. If you need to reach for your purse or wallet to present your identification, state what you are doing and wait for permission to do so. Often police will ask you to keep your hands out of your pockets and in view while speaking to them. This is in no way meant to be offensive but is for their peace of mind and your safety. American police are '''always''' armed on duty and will respond with force if they believe you present an immediate threat to them or to the public.  Do not act aggressively or angrily, as that can and will make a police officer suspicious at worst, or at best will make the officer disinclined towards leniency. '''All of these tips are especially true if one appears to be of African descent, particularly in high-crime cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, and New Orleans.''' Very few officers have racial prejudices, at least that they allow to impact their work, but you do '''not''' want to be on the wrong side of one that does, as officers that abuse their power very often see little to no punishment for their actions so long as they can make a case that you were deemed to be a threat, which is '''very easy''' for them to do under the present American justice system.  Patrol stops typically result in a written citation for a driving offense, or sometimes a simple verbal warning if the offense was minor, as long as you remain appropriately cooperative. If they demand that they search your vehicle, you have a right to refuse it. Be firm and polite when it comes to that situation.
  
 
If you are being detained, unlike in many other nations, in the U.S. an individual arrested or detained for an alleged crime is '''entitled''' to the services of an attorney, even if you are unable to afford one, in which case one will be appointed for you. All States directly employ licensed attorneys as 'public defenders' precisely for this purpose. Additionally, law enforcement in most cases may not detain a person for more than 24 hours without formally charging (arraigning) that person with a crime. This is true even if you are not a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
 
If you are being detained, unlike in many other nations, in the U.S. an individual arrested or detained for an alleged crime is '''entitled''' to the services of an attorney, even if you are unable to afford one, in which case one will be appointed for you. All States directly employ licensed attorneys as 'public defenders' precisely for this purpose. Additionally, law enforcement in most cases may not detain a person for more than 24 hours without formally charging (arraigning) that person with a crime. This is true even if you are not a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
Line 1,468: Line 1,473:
  
 
===911 Emergency services===
 
===911 Emergency services===
During any emergency, dialing '''911''' (pronounced "nine-one-one") on any telephone will connect you to a dispatcher for the emergency services in the area (police, fire, ambulance, etc). Calls to 911 are free from pay phones and any mobile phone capable of connecting to any local carrier. Give the facts, the dispatchers will send help. With a landline, the 911 operator can almost certainly trace your line instantly and pinpoint the exact structure you are calling from.  When it comes to mobile phones, virtually all mobile phones have incorporated Enhanced 911 (or E-911) that will send a GPS location during the call that the operator can direct units to that location even if the caller is incapacitated. There may be cases where you may be connected to the regional office for the state police or highway patrol, which will then have to transfer you to the appropriate local agency once they talk to you and determine what you need. There are also cases where the complete opposite will occur where you will be transferred from a local office to a regional office if the location is under a different jurisdiction (ex. a state highway). Regardless, it is important to always give your location and a reference when calling 911, as well as answer to the best of your ability all questions that you are asked.
+
During any emergency, dialing '''911''' (pronounced "nine-one-one") on any telephone will connect you to a dispatcher for the emergency services in the area (police, fire, ambulance, etc). Calls to 911 are free from pay phones and any mobile phone capable of connecting to any local carrier. Give the facts, the dispatchers will send help. With a landline, the 911 operator can almost certainly trace your line instantly and pinpoint the exact structure you are calling from.  When it comes to mobile phones, virtually all mobile phones have incorporated Enhanced 911 (or E-911) that will send a GPS location during the call that the operator can direct units to that location even if the caller is incapacitated. There may be cases where you may be connected to the regional office for the state police or highway patrol, which will then have to transfer you to the appropriate local agency once they talk to you and determine what you need. There are also cases where the complete opposite will occur where you will be transferred from a local office to a regional office if the location is under a different jurisdiction (ex. a state highway). Regardless, it is important to always give your location and a reference when calling 911.
  
 
If you are staying in one area, it may be helpful to have the phone numbers for the local emergency services so as to get through directly to the local dispatch. Moreover, in most locations, 911 calls are recorded and are open public records, while the conversation with the local emergency dispatchers cannot be accessed by the public. Remember that if you dial emergency dispatchers directly instead of through 911, the operator may not be able to trace your location.
 
If you are staying in one area, it may be helpful to have the phone numbers for the local emergency services so as to get through directly to the local dispatch. Moreover, in most locations, 911 calls are recorded and are open public records, while the conversation with the local emergency dispatchers cannot be accessed by the public. Remember that if you dial emergency dispatchers directly instead of through 911, the operator may not be able to trace your location.
 
If you speak a language other than English or Spanish, it is not likely that the dispatcher you reach will be able to understand. Stay on the line and the dispatcher will open up a conference call with a translator who can help. Language barriers are not a reason to forgo calling 911 in the United States. In any case, your location can be determined and some type of help, often a police officer, will be sent to you to determine the problem.
 
  
 
All US carriers automatically redirect 112 calls (the standard emergency number for GSM devices) to 911 and all 911 calls will go through even if it must connect to a different carrier or your service has been suspended.
 
All US carriers automatically redirect 112 calls (the standard emergency number for GSM devices) to 911 and all 911 calls will go through even if it must connect to a different carrier or your service has been suspended.
Line 1,563: Line 1,566:
  
 
===Mass Shootings===
 
===Mass Shootings===
Incidents of mass shootings happen, but account for a small percentage of homicide deaths in the country. The likelihood of you being a victim of such an incident is low. However, the international human rights organization. Amnesty International issued [https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/global-human-rights-movement-issues-travel-warning-for-the-u-s-due-to-rampant-gun-violence a travel warning] to potential travelers to the United States to "exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis" within the country.
+
Incidents of mass shootings happen, but account for a small percentage of homicide deaths in the country. The likelihood of you being a victim of such an incident is low. However, the international human rights organization, Amnesty International issued [https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/global-human-rights-movement-issues-travel-warning-for-the-u-s-due-to-rampant-gun-violence a travel warning] to potential travelers to the United States to "exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis" within the country.
  
 
==Stay healthy==
 
==Stay healthy==
Line 1,659: Line 1,662:
 
Americans are indirect in a way that seems superficial or rude in some parts of the world, especially where direct communication is the norm, and it can be difficult to know what to expect from them and what they're actually saying. Do not be perplexed by this as this is simply a part of culture.
 
Americans are indirect in a way that seems superficial or rude in some parts of the world, especially where direct communication is the norm, and it can be difficult to know what to expect from them and what they're actually saying. Do not be perplexed by this as this is simply a part of culture.
  
* '''It's important to exercise a degree of diplomatic communication'''. Openly conveying your criticisms to someone, unless you know them very well, will be met with offence.  
+
* It's important to exercise a degree of diplomatic communication. Openly conveying your criticisms to someone, unless you know them very well, will be met with offence.  
  
* '''It's normal for an American to constantly compliment you for anything, regardless of sincerity'''. If you feel the compliment was insincere, smile and move along.  
+
* It's normal for an American to constantly compliment you for anything, regardless of sincerity. If you feel the compliment was insincere, smile and move along.  
  
* '''Americans tend to be direct with individuals they openly view negatively'''. This is one of many reasons why there does tend to be a great degree of political bashing in the news, and why the American corporate world is seen as "shoe-stepping". Do not try and take this personally as it is not a reflection of you, but rather the person that has an issue with you.
+
* Americans tend to be direct with individuals they openly view negatively. This is one of many reasons why there does tend to be a great degree of political bashing in the news, and why the American corporate world is seen as "shoe-stepping". Do not try and take this personally as it is not a reflection of you, but rather the person that has an issue with you.
 
 
* '''Be careful about speaking in a foreign language'''. Some Americans are not tolerant of foreigners, even though many Americans are descendants of immigrants.
 
  
 
=== Social Etiquette ===
 
=== Social Etiquette ===
Most Americans place a high value on personal hygiene. Adults are expected to wear deodorant and to brush their teeth.
+
* As mentioned above, most Americans place a high value on personal hygiene. Adults are expected to wear deodorant and to brush their teeth.
  
* '''While Americans have a reputation overseas for being loud''', speaking loudly in some places (especially indoors) is generally viewed as inappropriate. Some more conservative areas are populated by people who may become rude if you speak loudly in a foreign language.
+
* While Americans have a reputation overseas for being loud, speaking loudly in some places (especially indoors) is generally viewed as inappropriate. Some more conservative areas are populated by people who may become rude if you speak loudly in a foreign language.
  
* '''Some Americans will show great courtesy to elders, women, priests, military veterans, teachers, and so on''', but this is purely a matter of personal preference, and behaving as though you expect superior treatment will guarantee the opposite.
+
* Some Americans will show great courtesy to elders, women, priests, military veterans, teachers, and so on, but this is purely a matter of personal preference, and behaving as though you expect superior treatment will guarantee the opposite.
  
* '''When Americans refer specifically to "lower class," "middle class" or "upper class" people, they are referring strictly to economic status, not social status'''. Disrespecting someone because they have less money than you is widely regarded as terrible behavior. This is also partially why sharing one's salary is taboo in the United States.
+
* When Americans refer specifically to "lower class," "middle class" or "upper class" people, they are referring strictly to economic status, not social status. Disrespecting someone because they have less money than you is widely regarded as terrible behavior. This is also partially why sharing one's salary is taboo in the United States.
  
* '''Some Americans find foreign culture and language fascinating''' and you will likely be bombarded with questions about your home. Questions such as these are nearly always meant in a friendly and inquisitive manner.
+
* Some Americans find foreign culture and language fascinating and you will likely be bombarded with questions about your home. Questions such as these are nearly always meant in a friendly and inquisitive manner.
  
* '''Americans often identify with the countries of their ancestry''', even if they themselves and several generations of their immediate ancestors were born in the US. For example, an American of Irish descent may tell you they are Irish if asked their ancestry. This self-labeling is understood and considered correct in the American context, and it would be considered rude to challenge this.  
+
* Americans often identify with the countries of their ancestry, even if they themselves and several generations of their immediate ancestors were born in the US. For example, an American of Irish descent may tell you they are Irish if asked their ancestry. This self-labeling is understood and considered correct in the American context, and it would be considered rude to challenge this.  
  
* '''Asking "what are you?" or "where is your family from?" is generally interpreted as asking where your ancestors came from before arrival in the US'''. You should not interpret such a comment as lack of attachment to the US. Indeed, it can be interpreted as just the opposite: all Americans are assumed to be of immigrant roots and the United States is seen as fundamentally different from other countries, so Americanness is seen as different different and not mutually exclusive with other heritage.  
+
* Asking "what are you?" or "where is your family from?" is generally interpreted as asking where your ancestors came from before arrival in the US. You should not interpret such a comment as lack of attachment to the US. Indeed, it can be interpreted as just the opposite: all Americans are assumed to be of immigrant roots and the United States is seen as fundamentally different from other countries, so Americanness is seen as different different and not mutually exclusive with other heritage.  
  
* '''Americans value and respect personal space'''.  With the exception of handshakes, Americans in general do not like to be touched by members outside of their family or circle of friends, and will respond negatively if poked, pushed, or grabbed by a stranger. Unlike many cultures, Americans do not perform cheek kissing as a way of greeting strangers, and if they do cheek kissing at all, it is only with family members or perhaps close friends.  
+
* Americans value and respect "personal space." With the exception of handshakes, Americans in general do not like to be touched by members outside of their family or circle of friends, and will respond negatively if poked, pushed, or grabbed by a stranger. Unlike many cultures, Americans do not perform cheek kissing as a way of greeting strangers, and if they do cheek kissing at all, it is only with family members or perhaps close friends.  
  
* '''Smoking indoors is heavily frowned upon and is illegal in most public buildings'''.  If you're in a private home and want to smoke, politely excuse yourself and go outside.
+
* Smoking indoors is heavily frowned upon and is illegal in most public buildings.  If you're in a private home and want to smoke, politely excuse yourself and go outside.
  
* '''When visiting an American's home, it is generally not expected that you bring a gift'''. Gift-giving is typically limited to birthdays and certain religious holidays. However, if invited over for dinner or an evening party, bringing a bottle of wine is often appreciated. In all gift-giving occasions, it is considered crass and unthoughtful to give cash. Gifts of flowers outside of a vase are exclusively considered to be displays of romantic affection - gifts of flowers in a vase are an appropriate platonic "thank you". If you are staying in an American home for more than a few minutes, especially if you are walking onto a carpeted area, it is appropriate to remove your shoes.  
+
* When visiting an American's home, it is generally not expected that you bring a gift. Gift-giving is typically limited to birthdays and certain religious holidays. However, if invited over for dinner or an evening party, bringing a bottle of wine is often appreciated. In all gift-giving occasions, it is considered crass and unthoughtful to give cash. Gifts of flowers outside of a vase are exclusively considered to be displays of romantic affection - gifts of flowers in a vase are an appropriate platonic "thank you". If you are staying in an American home for more than a few minutes, especially if you are walking onto a carpeted area, it is appropriate to remove your shoes.  
 
   
 
   
* '''Adults should avoid speaking directly to children they don't know'''. American children are taught to be wary of strangers and also many American adults are wary of pedophiles who are highly despised in the United States; molestation of children is a serious crime that is severely punished. If you have something you'd like to say to a child, address the adult he or she is with. If the child looks lost, call the police and monitor from a distance, and only intervene if the child is in immediate danger.
+
*Adults should avoid speaking directly to children they don't know. American children are taught to be wary of strangers and also many American adults are wary of pedophiles who are highly despised in the United States; molestation of children is a serious crime that is severely punished. If you have something you'd like to say to a child, address the adult he or she is with. If the child looks lost, call the police and monitor from a distance, and only intervene if the child is in immediate danger.
 
    
 
    
* '''Videotaping in any indoor public-use place is highly frowned upon in the United States of America and can rather easily result in expulsion from the premises, even without warning'''.  Places that prohibit or restrict videotaping by visitors include shopping malls, stores, restaurants, museums, arcades, movie theaters, nightclubs, bars, taverns, and stadiums. This is sometimes for security reasons as criminals in the U.S. often videotape and/or look around public places to gain familiarity before they commit a criminal act in the area, but is also mostly for privacy reasons as in America, indoor places that are used by the public are considered private property. Additionally, cameras (both still and motion picture) are prohibited at strip clubs and clothing-optional facilities, and taking pictures and/or videos inside strip clubs and clothing-optional facilities is illegal under Federal law and grounds for arrest.  Videotaping is usually permitted at most outdoor locations and amusement parks, but is highly restricted and oftentimes prohibited on rides, especially at chain parks like Six Flags and Cedar Fair. Different stadiums, and even different events at the same stadium can have different photo policies. It is always best to ask about the photo and video policy to determine acceptability.  
+
* Videotaping in any indoor public-use place is highly frowned upon in the United States of America and can rather easily result in expulsion from the premises, even without warning.  Places that prohibit or restrict videotaping by visitors include shopping malls, stores, restaurants, museums, arcades, movie theaters, nightclubs, bars, taverns, and stadiums. This is sometimes for security reasons as criminals in the U.S. often videotape and/or look around public places to gain familiarity before they commit a criminal act in the area, but is also mostly for privacy reasons as in America, indoor places that are used by the public are considered private property. Additionally, cameras (both still and motion picture) are generally prohibited at strip clubs and clothing-optional facilities.  Videotaping is usually permitted at most outdoor locations and amusement parks, but is highly restricted and oftentimes prohibited on rides, especially at chain parks like Six Flags and Cedar Fair. Different stadiums, and even different events at the same stadium can have different photo policies. It is always best to ask about the photo and video policy to determine acceptability.  
  
* '''Public display of affection, including hugging, gets various types of reactions depending on the region it occurs in'''.  Generally, in the northern tier states (especially within northern states such as Alaska, Montana, Illinois, New York, and such), public displays of affection, including hugging, are seen as tacky and inconsiderate.  Also, many schools and work places prohibit public display of affection.  Public display of affection is generally more permitted and open in the [[South]], especially in deep southern states (Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and such) where even waitresses in fact occasionally hug their customers.
+
* Public display of affection, including hugging, gets various types of reactions depending on the region it occurs in.  Generally, in the northern tier states (especially within northern states such as Alaska, Montana, Illinois, New York, and such), public displays of affection, including hugging, are seen as tacky and inconsiderate.  Also, many schools and work places prohibit public display of affection.  Public display of affection is generally more permitted and open in the southern states area.  It even occurs, especially in deep southern states (Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and such) that waitresses do occasionally hug their customers.
  
*'''In the U.S., LGBT topics are a heated topic with some strongly approving and some strongly disapproving.''' It is a topic best not discussed especially in some states where it can be dangerous to give a positive view of it.
+
* Men should not approach, nor should they try to engage in any kind of conversation with, any dating, engaged, or married couples, especially women who are with another man. Give at least 75 feet or more of personal space to all dating/engaged/married couples that are getting affectionate, like you may see at amusement parks while in line for a ride. If you are at an amusement park and are in line for a ride and you see a couple getting affectionate (e.g. embracing from behind, hugging, kissing, etc), do not glance in their direction, and if they are right next to you, get out of line and go on something else.  If it occurs elsewhere (nightclub, bar, concert, shopping mall, college campus, etc), move away from them immediately until they are completely out of sight.  Failure to do so will easily lead to hostility and potentially cause a damaging altercation.
  
*'''In regard to pets, many Americans value their pet as a family member.''' It would not be a good idea to make a rude comment about somebody's dog or cat. Such remarks will often be greeted with hostility and could lead to an altercation.
+
*In the U.S., LGBT topics are a heated topic with some strongly approving and some strongly disapproving. It is a topic best not discussed especially in some states where it can be dangerous to give a positive view of it.
  
* '''The United States has been through several waves of feminism since the 19th century and has been influenced by feminism more than any other country in the world.''' Respect should be given equally to both genders. The issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault is a very serious matter in the United States for both man and women, as sexual assault and harassment are a problem for both genders.
+
*In regard to pets, many Americans value their pet as a family member. It would not be a good idea to make a rude comment about somebody's dog or cat. Such remarks will often be greeted with hostility and could lead to an altercation.
  
* '''Address an American woman by her given name.''' The titles 'Miss'(or 'Missus', if the woman is obviously married) and 'Ma'am' are also perfectly acceptable.  
+
* The United States has been through several waves of feminism since the 19th century and has been influenced by feminism more than any other country in the world. Respect should be given equally to both genders. The issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault is a very serious matter in the United States for both man and women, as sexual assault and harassment are a problem for both genders.
 +
 
 +
* Address an American woman by her given name. The titles 'Miss'(or 'Missus', if the woman is obviously married)and 'Ma'am' are also perfectly acceptable. Catcalls and whistles, which may be traditionally considered harmless in your native country, may be considered by some to be a form of sexual harassment.  
  
 
* There are '''Native American reservations''' scattered throughout the country, particularly in the Upper Midwest and the Southwest. Many of these reservations are home to sites that are sacred to the tribe, and certain places may be off-limits to outsiders. If you enter a reservation's territory, please be sure to respect the land. They also have unique legal status allowing them to regulate themselves. Laws and customs may be different in these regions.
 
* There are '''Native American reservations''' scattered throughout the country, particularly in the Upper Midwest and the Southwest. Many of these reservations are home to sites that are sacred to the tribe, and certain places may be off-limits to outsiders. If you enter a reservation's territory, please be sure to respect the land. They also have unique legal status allowing them to regulate themselves. Laws and customs may be different in these regions.
Line 1,707: Line 1,710:
  
 
==== Politics: ====
 
==== Politics: ====
* '''Many Americans are openly critical of their government and its policies (political debate being a national pastime)''', but the US is a very large country with all types of people, and some may be offended to hear any criticism from foreign visitors. Most Americans will change the subject or excuse themselves from the conversation if they think you are being inappropriate. If this happens, do not pursue the offending topic further. As a general rule, don't discuss political issues with people unless you're well acquainted with them or if they've asked for your opinion.
+
* Many Americans are openly critical of their government and its policies (political debate being a national pastime), but the US is a very large country with all types of people, and some may be offended to hear any criticism from foreign visitors. Most Americans will change the subject or excuse themselves from the conversation if they think you are being inappropriate. If this happens, do not pursue the offending topic further. As a general rule, don't criticize the country or discuss political issues with people unless you're well acquainted with them or if they've asked for your opinion.
 
 
* '''Do not insult or speak badly of the country'''. Although it is legal to criticise the country, many Americans would not appreciate your feedback unless you're well acquainted with them. Some Americans aren't tolerant of criticism of their country and depending on what you say, it could either result in violence or some harsh words.
 
  
 
==== Symbols: ====
 
==== Symbols: ====
* '''The Bald Eagle is the national animal''', and is beloved by many Americans and is a sacred animal in many Indian reservations. Respect national wildlife.
+
* The Bald Eagle is the national animal, and is beloved by many Americans and is a sacred animal in many Indian reservations. Respect national wildlife.
 
 
* '''Do not desecrate the national flag or inappropriately use it'''. Americans in general are proud of their national symbols and would be incredibly offended.
 
 
 
* '''Do not mock or insult the national anthem'''. Americans in general are proud of their national symbols and would be incredibly offended.
 
  
 
==== Military: ====
 
==== Military: ====
Line 1,724: Line 1,721:
 
* Given the variety of religions practiced throughout the States, you should expect to be surrounded by many who disagree with your beliefs, though most are tolerant of such differences. Bear in mind that the freedom of religion is regarded as an inalienable right in the U.S., and tends to be guarded jealously. Nearly every religious faith practiced in the world is represented in the U.S., with very little religious violence to show for it. While you're unlikely to offend an American by politely asking about their religion or offering to explain your own, aggressive disparaging remarks of other faiths will not earn you any respect, and at worst you will cause grave offense to that person which may lead to a confrontation. You may also be invited to a church or other religious place of worship by someone you meet as a gesture of good will and to invite you to explore their faith. If you are interested, follow along and be respectful regardless if you agree with their beliefs. If you disagree, politely decline but do not be rude or talk badly about their faith, or again you may cause great offense and cause a confrontation.
 
* Given the variety of religions practiced throughout the States, you should expect to be surrounded by many who disagree with your beliefs, though most are tolerant of such differences. Bear in mind that the freedom of religion is regarded as an inalienable right in the U.S., and tends to be guarded jealously. Nearly every religious faith practiced in the world is represented in the U.S., with very little religious violence to show for it. While you're unlikely to offend an American by politely asking about their religion or offering to explain your own, aggressive disparaging remarks of other faiths will not earn you any respect, and at worst you will cause grave offense to that person which may lead to a confrontation. You may also be invited to a church or other religious place of worship by someone you meet as a gesture of good will and to invite you to explore their faith. If you are interested, follow along and be respectful regardless if you agree with their beliefs. If you disagree, politely decline but do not be rude or talk badly about their faith, or again you may cause great offense and cause a confrontation.
  
* Nazism and other Fascist ideologies are viewed negatively by pretty much everyone.  ''Holocaust denial'' is not tolerated in the United States (particularly because many of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany during World War 2 were discovered and documented first-hand by American soldiers as well as the fact that many survivors settled in the USA after the war; the latter passed on their stories with them.)
+
* Nazism and other Fascist ideologies are viewed negatively but pretty much eveyone.  ''Holocaust denial'' is not tolerated in the United States (particularly because many of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany during World War 2 were discovered and documented first-hand by American soldiers as well as the fact that many survivors settled in the USA after the war; the latter passed on their stories with them.)  
  
 
==== Race: ====
 
==== Race: ====

You may have to refresh your browser window in order to view the most recent changes to an article.

All contributions to Wikitravel must be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. By clicking "Save" below, you acknowledge that you agree to the site license as well as the following:

  • If you do not want your work to be re-used on other web sites and modified by other users please do not submit!
  • All contributions must be your own original work or work that is explicitly licensed under a CC-BY-SA compatible license.
  • Text and/or images published on another web site or in a book are likely copyrighted and should not be submitted here!
  • Wikitravel has strong guidelines on links to external web sites. Links to booking engines, hotel and restaurant aggregator sites, or other third-party sites will be deleted.
  • Contributions that appear to be marketing or advertising will be deleted.

To protect the wiki against automated edit spam, we kindly ask you to solve the following CAPTCHA:

Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)