20+ Things Americans Warn Foreigners Never To Do In The US

By Nick Hadji 10 months ago

1. If you get pulled over, don't ever do this!

Image Source: Reddit
In some other countries, if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, it's perfectly fine to get out of your car as the cop is approaching. DO NOT do this in the United States. Stay in your vehicle, with your hands visible on the steering wheel until otherwise instructed by the officer. It is for your safety and for theirs, so just stay put and stay calm!Original content sourced from Femanin.com

2. Don't think that it's okay to skip the line

Image Source: University of Miami News
There are some countries where a queue is more of a suggestion. If someone is in a hurry, people might allow them to skip the line. This is NOT the case in America. Whether you're at the bank or the post office, or in the line at an amusement park, skipping the line can turn into something aggressive very quickly. It's better to just follow the order!

3. Please don't trespass onto unknown property

Image Source: Reddit
Of course, no matter where you are, entering someone's property without permission is a no-no. But in other countries, it's not unheard of to go wandering through the countryside, exploring. This is not recommended in the US, as you may unknowingly cross onto someone's private property and find yourself being arrested or met at gunpoint by the property owner!

4. Never take videos of a child without permission

Image Source: Reddit
To many, this probably seems like a given, but in some countries, because children are raised more communally, this is a common situation to take a video of a child playing, etc. If you try to do this in America, you're more than likely to get yelled at, chased, or even have the cops called on you!

5. Don't try to bribe a police officer

Image Source: Bored Panda
There are other countries where you can sometimes tip or bribe the police to get out of a traffic violation. Of course, people here in the United States have been known to turn on the waterworks or flirt a little to get out of a ticket. I can tell you first hand, it doesn't usually work. But definitely never try to offer any sort of monetary bribe to change the situation!

6. If you're up against someone with road rage, hold your tongue

Image Source: Pasadena Star-News
It's common anywhere you go to get frustrated with other drivers on the road. If you're the cause of the frustration, you may find someone with road rage flipping you the bird or becoming aggressive. In America, it's strongly recommended to not engage and to continue to drive as safely as you can. Once again... guns, violence, being run off the road. Not a good time!

7. Don't forget to tip at a restaurant

Image Source: Reddit
If you're at a sit down restaurant, taking a city cab, or getting a massage, be sure to tip for these types of services. While most other countries don't tip the way we do in America, most restaurant workers don't earn a livable wage without the help of your tips! The common amount is 15% - 20%, but definitely never go lower than 10%.

8. Never leave your child alone in the car

Image Source: Newsweek
It's common in some countries to leave your sleeping child unattended in the car while you run quickly into the shops or something comparable. However, in the United States, this act is actually illegal! From both an accident perspective (getting locked in a hot car) and a stranger danger perspective, it's just a bad idea!

9. Don't go to Florida

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Look, Florida doesn't have a great reputation. There's a reason that "Florida Man" is a thing. Weird stuff happens there all the time. It can seem enticing with its beaches and the delicious Cuban food down south, but it's probably best to just avoid. There are alligators and other dangerous wildlife, and the vibes are not giving.

10. Never, EVER speak ill of this American icon

Image Source: Reddit
Dolly Parton is America's queen! She's admired not only in Tennessee, but all across the country. Having been a music icon for so long, the feelings run deep for Miss Parton. Beyond her music, she's known for her philanthropic spirit, raising funds for local schools and health institutions. She's a wholesome person whom everyone respects!

11. Don't make sudden movements when stopped by the cops

Image Source: Reddit
If you move too quickly or appear to try to get away, things will not go in your favor with the police officers who've stopped you. Due to the current state of America, both cops and citizens are jumpy and on edge at virtually every stop. Do your best to remain calm and inform the officer of your actions.

12. Stay out of the left lane unless you're passing

Image Source: Reddit
If you're on a multiple lane freeway, then you should stick to the right hand side unless you're overtaking a vehicle. Do people stick to this? Not really, but it is the unspoken rule that the left lane of traffic is moving quicker than the right lane of traffic. So if you can't keep up, then be sure to scoot on over!

13. Probably not good to argue with an American over politics

Image Source: Reddit
The majority of Americans have VERY strong political views. While you'll find many who are willing to engage in thoughtful conversations, you can also find yourself in a bad spot quickly. Politics are very divisive in America, as we all know, and someone who's coming in to discuss American politics when they can't vote here just leads to non-productive conversations.

14. Always mind your space

Image Source: Reddit
Americans are big on personal space. Stand too close or bump into someone while you're walking past, and it likely won't be well-received. The same goes for smoking unless it's in a designated smoking area, so make sure you know the local laws. Also, spitting in public is weirdly frowned upon.

15. Don't try to use the restroom at an establishment without asking

Image Source: The New York Times
If you're not a paying customer, most places in the United States won't allow you to come in off the street to use the bathroom. Some places don't have a restroom available to the public at all (even for customers). So it's better to check and put on your best "I'm SO sorry" face and ask in your kindest voice.

16. If you don't have insurance....

Image Source: Reddit
Honestly, if you don't have health insurance, just never get injured or sick, okay? Joking, but yet not. If you don't have health insurance, and you have to go to the hospital or even the general doctor in America... It will cost you A LOT out-of-pocket. Hospital bills rack up super fast!

17. It's a bad idea to pee in an alleyway

Image Source: Reddit
If you've ever had a bit too much to drink, so you decide to stop to pee in an alleyway, I wouldn't recommend it in America. Some other countries don't really frown on this, but in America, it can actually land you in the drunk tank, which is basically like overnight jail for when you've done something dumb while drinking.

18. Don't go to New York without trying the pizza

Image Source: Reddit
They say it has something to do with the water in New York that helps make the pizza dough SO delicious. Whatever it is, it is working. If you get the chance to visit New York, be sure to grab a slice. Almost anywhere you can find is decent and if you ask a local, they'll tell you the best spots!

19. If you live in a red state, don't get unintentionally pregnant

Image Source: Reddit
Whether by faulty protection or a traumatic assault, if you get pregnant in a red state, you're going to find yourself in a bad spot. As we all know, abortion is no longer protected at the federal level, so most red states have outlawed abortion for ANY reason at any stage. That being said, there are a lot of resources to help you out if you find yourself in this situation.

20. Don't freak out if you see a gun

Image Source: Reddit
We all know there's a major gun problem in the US. That being said, many states in the US still allow conceal and carry, so you might see more guns out in the open than you would in any other country. While it's not something you should ever get used to, it's better to remain calm unless the situation seems threatening!

21. Do NOT go to Times Square for New Year's Eve

Image Source: Reddit
It's honestly pretty overrated. If you're visiting New York for the first time, this is not where you want to spend the New Year. It's freezing. It's crowded. It's easy to get separated from your friends. You can't leave to go to the bathroom (unless you want to get separated from your friends). There's a reason why locals avoid it at all costs!

22. Don't jaywalk

Image Source: Reddit
Yes, this is an actual thing in the United States, and yes, you can get a ticket. Of course, most countries have a safe section for pedestrians to cross the street when the light corresponds to a safe crossing. But did you know it's actually illegal in America to not cross at a designated crosswalk?

23. Don't interrupt a film set

Image Source: Reddit
If you're traveling to the US and likely visiting a major city like New York or LA, then it's quite possible you'll stumble across a film set while you're out and about. If that happens, please refrain from yelling at your favorite celebrity. They're truly just trying to do their job, and every second on set costs a lot of money. If you're lucky, patient, and polite, you might be able to catch a glimpse or snag a photo when they're walking back to their trailer.

24. Never underestimate the size of the country and the distance you're traveling

Image Source: Reddit
If you've spent a lot of time in Europe, you might be accustomed to the ease at which you can travel from country to country. Some travelers coming to the US make the mistake of thinking it will be the same traveling state to state. Just wait until you're driving through Missouri and Kansas, and you'll realize that you really have to plan your trips and travel times here.

25. Don't get your haircut at Supercuts

Image Source: Reddit
Trust me on this one, just don't do it. It seems like a good deal. It seems fast and cheap, and they definitely have open appointments. I promise you will live to regret it. The same goes for getting your nails done at a salon without thoroughly checking out the Yelp reviews and photos. But if they do a good job, don't forget to tip!

26. This one is probably a given, but...

Image Source: Reddit
Don't ever park in a disabled spot if you're not disabled, and please don't ever pass a school bus when the stop sign is out. Of course, these types of signs exist everywhere, but the US has a Americans with Disabilities Act which gives more accessibility to those with disabilities. Whether it be an elevator, sidewalk with tactile mats for the blind, etc. This is not required in some other countries, so just something to be aware of here!

27. Don't try to cheat the IRS

Image Source: Reddit
American taxes suck. The government knows exactly how much you owe, but you have to figure it out on your own. We know this. So you might think that it's easy to just flub your forms a little bit and cheat on your taxes. If you are caught, the IRS will come after you and make your life a living hell. So just don't do it!

28. Don't get out of your car if you're in a traffic jam

Image Source: The Telegraph
When you're sitting on the 405 for what feels like hours on end, it can be tempting to just get out of your car to stretch or move around a little bit. It's actually a BIG no-no to get out of your car in America when this happens. Maybe not so much if you're in a smaller city, but in the big cities, it's suggested to stay in your car because it's safer for when the flow of traffic picks back up.

29. Don't speak poorly of Christianity in the Bible Belt

Image Source: Reddit
If you're an atheist, and you're heading to the Bible Belt, it might be wise to keep that fact to yourself. The rest of the world may not be aware of America's intermingling of politics and religion, but many people in the US take Christianity VERY VERY seriously. Especially in this region.

30. Avoid taking out a Payday Loan

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I guess most tourists aren't likely to do this. But if you've just relocated to the US, and you're short on cash, payday loans could sound quite tempting. In actuality, they're pretty much always a terrible deal, and you will leave feeling ripped off. It's better to plan accordingly for your move than to get yourself locked into one of these!

31. Here are some things you won't believe are banned in the US, too: bear wrestling!

image source: reddit.com
Just in case this is exactly what you wanted to do on your next trip to the US, you'll be disappointed to learn that bear wrestling is banned in the state of Alabama. You can't actually take part in the wrestling, or promote the wrestling of bears. The training of bears to wrestle is also frowned upon... obviously.

32. Camel hunting

image source: reddit.com
In the state of Arizona, you're not allowed to hunt camel, either. The reason for this actually dates back to pre-Civil War times, because the US experimented on camels from the Arizona desert! The camels that survived were set free, which is why the ones roaming are still protected.

33. Honking your horn in front of a sandwich shop!

image source: reddit.com
Remember: in front of a sandwich shop specifically! In Arkansas, it's illegal to do this - but it does have a time specification that makes a little more sense, because the rule only comes into place after 9pm. And it also applies to any place serving cold drinks as well as sandwiches!

34. You can't wear a disguise

image source: reddit.com
In Walnut City, California, you're not allowed to wear a disguise or a mask! This obviously makes Halloween a very difficult time. You can actually petition the sheriff to give you permission to wear a 'disguise' on Halloween - or you're going to have to go elsewhere in the US for the spooky season!

35. You can't kiss on Sundays

image source: reddit.com
This is pretty unfortunate for those couples who might only get the weekend together. And we don't exactly know how this rule is policed for people in their own homes on Sundays, but in Connecticut, it's illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sundays! It's not really known where this rule came from, either...

36. You can't trick-or-treat on a Sunday, either

image source: reddit.com
These people really have a problem with Sundays, don't they! So for Halloween, you're fine if it falls on any other day of the week, but if the 31st October is on a Sunday, you're not allowed to trick-or-treat in the state of Delaware. But the good news is - Halloween shifts to the day before instead when this happens, so you just have to do it a day early!

37. Sex toys

image source: reddit.com
In Georgia, it's actually illegal to buy sex toys. It's defined as 'obscene' material and therefore banned. If someone really wants to buy anything, they have to have a very good 'official' reason for it, like prescribed by the doctor or something... can you imagine? The law is being challenged, though!

38. No texting and walking!

image source: reddit.com
This one actually makes sense for people's safety, at least - and an attempt for people to stop looking at their phones once in a while! The law on pedestrians walking or crossing the street with a phone came into place in Hawaii, and you can get fined if you're caught doing it.

39. Your pants can't sag

image source: reddit.com
Saggy pants have been - and very much still are - a fashion trend for a lot of people. In the state of Illinois, saggy pants were first banned back in 2011, and the rule is still going strong. Pants must be "secured at the waist" and it's even down to 3 inches specifically for the rule!

40. Kids can't play with toy guns

image source: reddit.com
Most of us played with toy guns when were kids in some form or another, especially water guns for a good ol' summer water fight! In Kansas City, kids are banned from having or playing with toy guns. This rule becomes a little murky though when you consider they're actually allowed to buy real guns...

41. You can't sell Easter bunnies

image source: reddit.com
We don't mean the chocolate kind for this one, so this law makes a lot of sense, actually, looking out for the animals and all. In Kentucky, it's illegal to sell baby bunnies who have had their fur dyed. On top of that, it's illegal to dye them in the first place! For Easter or any other reason.

42. No vampires!

image source: reddit.com
In the state of Louisiana, vampires are banned - so Edward Cullen won't be looking to relocate here any time soon. Specifically, it's the ingestion of blood - human or animal - which is banned, and if you break this law, you could face prison time as well as a hefty fine!

43. No Christmas trees bigger than your car

image source: reddit.com
To be fair, this one makes a lot of sense as it's road safety after all. We all know how desperately we want to take that perfect tree home, and just wing it when it comes to tying it down to our car - it's only round the corner, right? But you can't take a tree that's bigger than your car!

44. No hats in the theater!

image source: reddit.com
If you go to a movie theater in Minnesota, then you definitely can't be wearing a hat - for the good of whoever's behind you! The ban counts for hats of any kind - including woolly hats - but it also extends to any kind of headgear, so if for some reason you wanted to wear headphones while paying for a movie... don't.

45. You can't give rats as a gift

image source: reddit.com
The interesting thing about this law is that it's actually legal to sell and buy rats as long as they're going to be a tasty snack for an animal like a snake or bird of prey! But if you're buying and selling the animal to be gifted as a cute little pet, this is the one that isn't allowed!

46. No lying down on the sidewalk!

image source: reddit.com
In Nevada, it's banned to lie down on the sidewalk - period. Doesn't matter if it's only for a split second, it's not allowed. The only way the rule would be wavered was if it was an emergency. We don't know if it counts if you faint and fall, or trip on something, though...

47. You can't take the seaweed home with you

image source: reddit.com
So if you happen to be in New Hampshire, and you'd like to take a nice stroll on the beach, make sure you're not taking a little seaweed souvenir home with you. It's illegal to take seaweed away from the beach - so be sure to leave it where you found it! It needs to stay at the seashore.

48. You can't vote for "idiots"

image source: reddit.com
This one's a tough one, because we don't really know what counts as an 'idiot'. An idiot in one person's eyes could be a genius in another's, after all! But regardless of what the definition is, you're not allowed to vote for an 'idiot', or people 'insane' or convicted of a crime.

49. No drinking before brunch

image source: reddit.com
This one is more a rule on the drink servers themselves! It's illegal for restaurants to serve any alcohol before the brunch hour of 10am in New York. So if you're looking to get started very, very early or maybe you're really jet lagged and your body clock is telling you it's drinks-o-clock, unfortunately not!

50. You can't pee in a bottle

image source: reddit.com
We've all been there: we've been on a long road trip and we need to go, and we need to go right now. Bottles are our saviors in that moment - though a little easier for guys - yet in Oregon in the US, it's actually illegal to dispose of a bottle of human waste (urine or otherwise) from the highway.