Planning a trip to the United States? Whether you're visiting sunny Southern California, bustling New York City, or the majestic Grand Canyon, there's plenty to see – just be sure to avoid this list of common tourist mistakes during your trip!

1. The U.S. is Massive – Don't Underestimate its Size

Many tourists in the U.S. think they can hit Disney World, Manhattan, and the Grand Canyon all in one trip, but this couldn'tThings To Avoid When Visiting the United States - The Wise Traveller - Disneyland be further from the truth! The United States alone is larger than Europe – and just like you wouldn't plan a road trip from London to Budapest, you shouldn't plan a road trip to multiple regions within America.

Just because two cities are on the same side of the country doesn't mean they are close together. For example, New York and Orlando are both on the East Coast but over 1700 kilometers apart!

If you've only got a few weeks for your trip, stick to one area or state. For example, if you plan to visit Disney World in Orlando, you could also explore more of Florida, like the beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast. If you plan to visit a massive metropolis like New York or Los Angeles, you could probably even spend your entire trip within that one city.

2. Do Not Rely on Public Transportation

Many parts of the world have excellent public transportation, but the United States is not one of them. While some major cities have reliable metros, like New York, Chicago, and Boston, this isn't the standard. If you plan on traveling to lesser-known cities or more rural areas, renting a car or using an Uber is a must.

3. Don't Infringe on Personal Space

Americans love their personal space, which isn't the norm in many countries. If you get too close to the locals, they'll feel uncomfortable. Just pretend each person has an invisible bubble around them, and don't crowd anyone!

4. Don't Get Sick

The United States is notorious for its lousy healthcare policies, and going to the doctor is incredibly expensive. Just because you are traveling from abroad doesn't mean they won't expect you to pay your bill! That's why you should have a good traveler's insurance policy that will cover your medical expenses in an emergency. Even if you break an arm, this could cost you thousands of dollars in the U.S.

5. Don't Forget to Tip

While tipping isn't the norm in many countries, it is definitely expected in America! When you eat at a sit-down restaurant, you should tip at least 15-20% of your bill, and 20% is the more common figure.

Because wait staff is paid less than the minimum wage, it is considered rude not to tip. However, you do not need to tip at fast-food restaurants or counter-service establishments. If you order a drink from a bar, it's usually customary to just tip a dollar or two per drink.

Things To Avoid When Visiting the United States - The Wise Traveller - Tip

6. Don't Interact With Children You Don't Know

Although it is common in Asian countries to show affection to children even if you don't know them, this is a big no-no in America. Playing with a child without their parent's consent is considered creepy behavior. And if a child you don't know approaches you, ask them where their parents are.


From the national parks and beaches to bustling urban centers, there is so much to see and do in the United States. Save this list of rules to bring along during your next American holiday!