Part of what makes travel so appealing is encountering different cultures and ways of life around the world. However, when going to a country like America, which can feel so familiar, it's easy to forget that not everything is going to be the same as you're used to.
Sometimes, culture shocks arise from the little differences in day to day life that throw you off kilter, and remind you that you're exploring a whole new country. See if you notice the following, while getting your kicks on Route 66.
The money all looks the same
Bold, colourful, and plastic, Australian notes can't be missed or confused. The number on the note is a mere courtesy as the vibrant shades distinguish the different denominations quickly and easily when rifling through your wallet for the right change. They're even different sizes, the dimensions growing slightly as the value increases.
American money couldn't be much more different. From $1 to $100, the paper notes are all the same size, and similar in colour and design. When paying for something with cash, make sure you're checking what you're handing over. In a new country, dealing with unfamiliar money, mixing up the denominations is all too easy to do. Oh, and if the notes aren't confusing or fascinating enough for you, just wait until you're wallet is weighed down with change consisting of one cent coins!
If you look at the people decorating each note though, you may find a few portraits that look familiar. From Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton to Benjamin Franklin, these are the faces of history.
Prices exclude taxes
With taxes varying throughout America, Americans have solved the discrepancy problem of varying prices for items across the country by only displaying the cost before tax.
This makes sense when you're aware of the system behind it, and if you grew up with it. However, for Australians who are used to the price stated being solely what is paid, it's a shock finding out you're actually expected to pay more. And then there's tipping to think about as well.
Don't make the mistake of carefully counting out the correct change, down to the last cent, before confirming the total amount.
Driving on the wrong side of the road
Driving on the other side of the road can feel very strange, and disorientating. While getting used to it take your time at intersections, and make sure you have your bearings correct when starting out again after a break. Don't forget – turning right on a red light is allowed in America.
Who knows? By the time you return to Australia, it might feel odd to be back on the right – we mean left – side of the road!
The imperial system
Throughout America expect to be given measurements in imperial units. Miles, inches, feet, and pounds, these are all terms that replace metric terminology. However, as your Harley Davidson eats away the miles along Route 66, you'll find yourself becoming adapt at transferring them into more familiar measurements.
While enjoying every moment of your American road trip, try spotting other culture differences between the two countries. Compare notes with your tour guide – our Route 66 tours are run by Aussies, meaning you're never far from a handy Australian insight on American customs!
If you're interested in finding out which culture shocks you find the most odd and experiencing the best America has to offer along Route 66, reach out to us today.