15 things you should know, Before visiting the United States

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Change is the only constant in the United States. The country's pioneer spirit is mirrored in its daring view and ever-evolving character, which stretches from New York's sparkling skyscrapers to star-studded Hollywood – and even farther, to the first human landing on the moon. Here are 15 things you should know before visiting the United States.

1. The United States is massive, covering 3.8 million square miles.

To put it in perspective, travelling from NYC to LA or London takes about the same amount of time — give or take an hour. Also, daily trips of two hours? It's perfectly natural.

2. It's the United States of America, which consists of fifty states.

Is it referred to as a soda, pop, or soft drink? A sub, a hoagie, a hero, or a grinder?
It all depends on where you're from. Accents, food, drink, legislation, and politics all differ by region in the United States. It's no surprise that one of the most popular features in the New York Times was on pronunciation.

3. Everything is open 24/7 during non-pandemic times

The voracious beast of business assures that, especially in the big cities, you can probably get a 2am Slurpee, a 3am Double Quarter Pounder (see Supersize It!, below), and a 5am Venti with quintuple espresso shots and a caramel drizzle to fulfill your cravings. When traveling through smaller towns and rural areas, be prepared for earlier closing times or keep an eye out for the occasional 24-hour diner.

4. The national parks in the country are breathtaking.

The United States' national parks, which span 84 million acres in every state, boast a slew of accolades, including the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (Death Valley, California); the highest point in North America (Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska); the world's longest cave system (Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky); and the world's largest gypsum sand dunes (Gypsum Sand Dunes (White Sands National Monument, New Mexico).

5. Everything has its own festival: roadkill, fungus, garlic...

From the Chainsaw Carving Festival in Pennsylvania to the Testicle Festival in New York, America is a place of strange and fascinating festivals (Montana). Plus, deep in the heartland, state fairs offer their own unique kind of bizarre, where you can try just about anything deep-fried: Twinkies, butter, pig ears, White Castle burgers, bubblegum, Kool Aid, and beer.

6. Americans are unfailingly pleasant.

However, this is more of a communication style than a personality attribute. A cheerful "How are you?" isn't always supposed to be returned. Also, the ubiquitous "have a pleasant day!" is frequently merely another way of saying goodbye.

7. When it comes to tipping, Americans are generous.

Officially, tipping is entirely optional. Unofficially, 15% to 20% at restaurants is standard, given the low minimum wage and the fact that tipping compensates for this.

8. You can always make it bigger!

Not only does fast food continue to dominate major portions of the culinary landscape, but it has also given rise to idioms like "Supersize it!" "Do you want fries with that?" and "Where's the beef?" Say yes when in doubt. Despite this, Americans exercise with comparable zeal - the United States consistently ranks first among countries that exercise the most.

9. The United States is also known for its cutting-edge, gourmet cuisine...

Celebrity chefs rival Hollywood royalty, with big names like Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain, and Rachael Ray spawning multimedia empires with dozens of restaurants, books, TV shows, films, and more, with big names like Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain, and Rachael Ray spawning multimedia empires with dozens of restaurants, books, TV shows, films, and more.

10. There are numerous regional stereotypes.

The easygoing Californian? "Welcome, y'all," says the Southerner. The obstinate New Yorker?
Yes, yes, and yes, according to a research published in Time magazine. The study categorized the United States into three primary regions: "temperamental and unrestrained" New England and the Mid-Atlantic states; "friendly and conventional" South and Midwest; and "relaxed and creative" West Coast, Rocky Mountains, and Sun Belt.

11. There are three times as many cows in Montana as there are people.

Although the east and west coasts receive the most of the attention, the US's undulating interior includes ocean-sized swaths of farmland. It's known as "flyover country" in some circles for the reasons you'd expect.

12. Unlike the rest of the world, the United States does not use the brilliantly logical metric system.

Football fields are measured in yards, and distances are measured in miles. According to the CIA website, "use of the metric system has been sanctioned by law in the United States since 1866," but general adoption has been slow. Myanmar and Liberia, two other countries that do not utilize the metric system, are not alone.

13. America's automobile culture is unparalleled.

Is this a true American experience? The wind in your hair and the road ribboning behind you as you go down the highway. Though the country's automotive culture has diminished since its heyday in the 1950s and Mustang-era 1960s, the automobile remains the dominating mode of transportation – and pervades many aspects of culture, including music: Life is a Highway, Route 66, Born to be Wild, Pink Cadillac, and so on.

14. Baseball is America's favorite sport.

Soccer is popular across the rest of the world. Baseball exists in America. There are few more traditional American pleasures than cheering on your favorite team (go, Yankees!) while enjoying a hot dog and beer during baseball season, which runs from April through September.

15. In terms of size, the United States is a baby.

Native Americans arrived over a thousand years ago, but the United States was founded only a few hundred years ago — on July 4, 2015, the US celebrated 239 years.

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