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Questions tagged [usa]

Large English-speaking country in North America between Canada and Mexico, and Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Used for questions on traveling from, to, or through the USA. For general questions about North America, use the [north-america] tag but be more specific (eg State) where relevant.

287
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8answers
35k views

How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

I have come across a few situations when an American will say something like "We should have lunch some time" or "Let's have lunch some time." Or "you should come down to visit me in D.C. (or Miami or ...
234
votes
8answers
68k views

How to intentionally get denied entry to the US, without getting into trouble?

I have a multiple entry visitors visa for five years. I went to USA last year and lived there for one year with my husband (6 months entry and other 6 months of extension). I left USA legally. Now my ...
187
votes
8answers
35k views

Why prohibit engine braking?

When I learned driving in The Netherlands (in a car with a manual gearbox), I learned that on a down slope¹, I should switch to low gear and use the engine to brake, thus reducing the wear on the ...
145
votes
4answers
19k views

Immigration officer that stopped me at the airport is texting me. What do I do?

Yesterday my cousin arrived to Chicago from Mexico, she is visiting family there to spend the holidays, this is not the first time she visits. She was stopped by immigration, because they thought it ...
115
votes
8answers
28k views

How can I find restaurants in the USA where tipping is not expected?

I am uncomfortable with tipping and would much rather eat at sit-down restaurants in the United States that pay their employees fairly without expecting customers to supplement with tips (as occurs in ...
105
votes
2answers
7k views

How does President Trump's travel ban affect nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen coming to the US for tourism/transit/etc?

President Trump has signed an executive order which bans nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from traveling to the US for at least 90 days. Does this ban only include ...
104
votes
17answers
16k views

Is it rude to ask if the food contains pork or alcohol?

Some years ago, I was invited to a friend's place. The home-cooked food contained alcohol, and I don't eat or drink anything that contains alcohol (religious reasons). I was shy enough to eat it to ...
86
votes
7answers
20k views

How to avoid hotels with bellhops in the USA

Many guides to tipping in the USA include a specification to tip a "bellhop" at a hotel, which is apparently an employee who expects to be paid separately for the "service" of accompanying the guest ...
76
votes
7answers
66k views

Is there a ZIP code I can enter when paying-at-the-pump in the USA with a foreign credit card?

In the USA, many pay-at-the-pump fuel dispensers that accept credit cards require a 5-digit numeric zip code that corresponds to the billing address of the credit card. In Canada, for instance, we ...
75
votes
6answers
24k views

My hotel “blocked” 5,000 dollars when I arrived and now is taking again the money

I'm staying in San Francisco for 2 weeks. When I arrived I gave my European debit card to the hotel, and they (at least, I thought so) withdrew the 5,000 dollars I owed them for the whole stay. ...
73
votes
14answers
19k views

Is crime an issue in the US countryside, especially for a cyclist?

I have a dream of one day cycling from one coast of the USA to the other. I am aware that cycling on the road can be dangerous, but I've done a lot of it. I know how to stay safe, and I'm not ...
72
votes
1answer
16k views

No Facebook account, will I be able to visit the US?

I heard that the US immigration is asking people for their Facebook or any other social media logins, or at least are planning to do so. I value my privacy so I don't even have a Facebook account and ...
68
votes
4answers
17k views

Can I return to the United States as a tourist after being there illegally for most of my life, as a minor?

I was born in Brazil and came to the United States at the age of 7, in 2007. I no longer need to live in the United States because I have found success in investing and no longer depend on having a ...
66
votes
10answers
20k views

How to avoid accidental trespassing while exploring rural US?

I am planning a road trip through some rural locations in Tennessee and North Carolina, US. The intention is to visit some places of particular interest (e.g. filming locations of certain movies). ...
64
votes
6answers
17k views

In US hotels, what happens if you skip checkout and just leave the hotel?

Every time I check out of a hotel, they ask me if my stay went fine, let me review my incidental charges and ask if they should charge the credit card used to check in. But what if I simply walk out ...
63
votes
6answers
24k views

Do I have to hide anything related to the swastika while travelling to the USA?

Swastika is religious symbol in India and many countries don't find it offensive but due to Nazi connections, will a traveler will get in trouble if he carries anything with the swastika symbol in the ...
62
votes
11answers
20k views

Texas, USA speed ticket as a European citizen, already left the country

I had an interesting experience in the US while speeding. I'll put the full scenario in quotes, as I'm not sure if the whole story really adds to the question. We are unsure of what to do with the ...
62
votes
2answers
292k views

Do I need a US visa to transit (or layover) through an American airport?

In Europe usually you don't need to go through immigration to change planes (unless you are entering/exiting Schengen). Is it the case in the US as well? May I catch a connecting flight on one of the ...
60
votes
5answers
14k views

Can Customs make me go back to return my electronic equipment or is it a scam?

My fiance just returned home from Nigeria and he has been detained 4 days at Reagan International airport because he returned with electronic sonar hardware he used for his job. Customs has detained ...
59
votes
11answers
17k views

How do I insist that American hotels accept my employer's credit card for payment, instead of asking for personal credit card upon check-in?

I work for a state government body in the United States. As a part of my work, I occasionally have multi-day travel. My hotel stays are paid by my employer and are tax-exempt. I frequently run into a ...
59
votes
8answers
8k views

Giving First Aid in the USA

I am a qualified first-aider in the UK and as such would automatically stop to give aid to any accidents and emergencies I saw. I was watching a US show on the TV the other night where someone was ...
59
votes
3answers
24k views

In US museums, why are backpacks only allowed to be carried on one shoulder?

Many US museums permit backpacks only when they are carried on one shoulder. Here are some examples: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Backpacks and large bags must be checked. Smaller bags may be ...
57
votes
8answers
15k views

Traffic light fails to give a green to one's movement even after several cycles — what can a driver do?

In some cases, when a traffic light has an inductive loop sensor, it is possible to approach a traffic light prepared to make a movement (through or turning), only to find yourself sitting at a red ...
57
votes
8answers
107k views

Why do public toilets in the US have large gaps (no privacy)?

Most public toilets in the US are very low in privacy, the bottom gap in the door is so big (around 15-20% of the door), the side gaps are too big as well. This will make the toilet experience so ...
56
votes
9answers
19k views

Is it OK for an openly Muslim person to travel to the United States right now?

My friend and I are planning our first overseas trip together and we're trying to decide on where to go. We're from Malaysia and my friend is a Muslim who wears a hijab. We're considering going to the ...
56
votes
9answers
15k views

Is it dangerous to go to the USA as a Russian now?

I am a Russian student and I have been dreaming about visiting California and living in LA for a while, and I decided to take this trip on my summer break. I have already accumulated enough money for ...
56
votes
8answers
25k views

What is the tipping process in restaurants in the US?

I'm supposed to write down something on the bill I get? Do I hand the waiter my credit card after doing so? Since I need a receipt, do I wait for the waiter to bring things back? What's the process, ...
54
votes
3answers
14k views

Duty Free in the USA. Why do I have to be given my purchase as I board the plane?

I am not one for buying things in airports but recently my wife asked me to get her an alcoholic beverage while flying from the USA to Ireland (JFK-DUB). I made the purchase in JFK and was surprised ...
54
votes
6answers
12k views

Can two persons sharing a name travel one-way each on a return ticket?

I would like to know if my brother can fly by United Airlines from USA to El Salvador, and my father, from El Salvador to USA using the same round trip ticket, both of them have the same name.
54
votes
4answers
10k views

Does declining housekeeping deny housekeepers of their income?

Whenever I stay in US hotels I typically decline housekeeping, as I don't want to cause them to have to do extra unnecessary work. But today I wonder whether by denying them the opportunity to clean ...
54
votes
3answers
11k views

Can I travel with cremated remains (father's ashes) from USA to India?

Recently our beloved father passed away in the USA. We have already performed his cremation, and now we are planning to take the cremated remains to India. We don't know anything regarding the ...
54
votes
2answers
9k views

Navigating the layers of American hotel beds: where are you actually supposed to sleep?

Silly question perhaps but I'm a bit puzzled. The bed has a mattress, mattress pad, sheet 1, sheet 2, a thin white blanket, sheet 3, duvet with a removable cover and some more decorative stuff. In ...
53
votes
12answers
98k views

Is it safe and legal to sleep in my car in California (L.A. area)?

I will be visiting California and some parts of the US West Coast in the coming September. I'd like to rent a car for travelling, and to reduce travel expenses I would like to sleep in it some nights. ...
53
votes
5answers
6k views

How much to tip in the United States?

Tipping customs in the United States can be surprising for people who travel there for the first time. It happened to me when I used a shuttle van service out of LAX a few years ago. To sum up the ...
51
votes
6answers
26k views

Does a US immigration officer really have the power to deny entry to the country at personal will?

Quite some comments exist that in the end it is the individual immigration officer that has the final call to let you enter the US or not and that there is no way of objecting that decision. Given ...
50
votes
10answers
32k views

Is tap water drinkable in Massachusetts (and elsewhere in USA)?

I have been offered a position with a US-based company. This role is initially located in Massachusetts, but the company says I can live anywhere in US, as long as I am not too far from an airport. ...
50
votes
3answers
7k views

Warned by CBP about traveling to the US using the wrong visa, but need to go again soon

I travel mostly on behalf of my organization. And have been traveling to SE Asia, Europe & recently to the US. I travelled to the US(NY) for the first time on a B1/B2 visa in the 1st week of May ...
50
votes
6answers
13k views

Is it normal to walk around an (American) hotel in pajamas?

I recently spent a weekend in a hotel with a bunch of friends and colleagues. To help cut down on costs, some of us shared rooms. I like reading before I go to sleep, but my room-mate was tired and ...
49
votes
8answers
38k views

Is it a good idea to mention to the USA immigration officer that I'm visiting my girlfriend?

I spent 5 months in the USA, and everything went without a problem. Now I'm spending my second month back in my country (the Czech Republic). In a week or two I want to go back to the USA for another ...
49
votes
6answers
11k views

Are dual nationals (non-US citizens) also affected by President Trump's ban on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen?

I am travelling to Australia from Canada in May and I have to take connecting flights to get back to Canada. I stop in Auckland and San Fransisco. I am a Canadian citizen born in Canada however ...
48
votes
6answers
9k views

Tipping for takeout food in the USA

When I go to a restaurant in the USA and order food for takeout, am I supposed to tip?
48
votes
3answers
6k views

Where and why are there metric road signs in Arizona?

A road sign from Arizona: Came across this from the web, found it curious. Traditionally the US, Burma and Liberia, I believe, don't use metric. But there are metric road signs in Arizona?
48
votes
6answers
9k views

In US rental car terms and conditions, what exactly is a “regularly maintained road?”

Many rental car companies have terms and conditions such as Hertz: Generally, Hertz vehicles, including 4-wheel drives, are to be operated only on regularly maintained roads. Off-road use is a ...
47
votes
5answers
13k views

Canadian overstayed in the US for 14 years. Can I leave to Canada and return back to the US? [closed]

I have overstayed my visa for 14 years. I am from Canada and stayed in the USA for the last 14 years illegally. My mom is terribly sick and I must return to Canada. I have been living with John for 13 ...
46
votes
2answers
6k views

What additional costs can I expect when visiting a restaurant in the US where service is included?

I am going to a Michelin three-star restaurant in New York City this fall. On their website, it says that for the fixed-price tasting menu, both the course menu and the beverage pairing are ”inclusive ...
46
votes
2answers
17k views

If I visit Iran, is there a risk of not being allowed to enter the USA anymore?

I would like to visit Iran as a tourist but I'd also like to visit the USA some time after. I know the relations between the two countries are bad. Is it likely that I'm not allowed to enter the USA ...
46
votes
1answer
8k views

I am a citizen of one of the countries listed in the US travel ban. Can I travel outside the US?

I am a citizen of one of the countries on the US travel ban list. I applied and got my passport from my embassy last week and I'm planning on traveling to another country (not my country of origin). ...
45
votes
11answers
20k views

How should I tip if the food is good but the service from the waiter/waitress is terrible in the USA?

I tip all the time in the USA, usually from 15% up to 20%. The food is usually good but sometimes the service I received from the waiter/waitress is terrible. He/She was basically ignore me all the ...
45
votes
9answers
8k views

What to do in Las Vegas without having to sin?

For religious reasons, I don't gamble drink alcohol engage in fornication visit prostitution or strip clubs Are there still interesting things for people like me in Vegas? It is a week-long ...
45
votes
3answers
14k views

What happens if you declare more than $10,000 at the US border?

Let's say I need to bring over $10,000 into the US and decide to use cash to save on transfer fees. What would happen at the border when I declare all that cash? Would CBP briefly question me on the ...