It's no surprise that when you first land in the States, it can be a bit of culture shock. We may all speak English, but there are differences between our tonality, gestures and even some words may not be understood.
While us Aussies love our coffee, and can be serious connoisseurs when it comes to the perfect cappuccino or the right skim latte, the same request is not quite taken how we hope it to in the land of the States! Here's our quick guide to help you get around and avoid confusion when you're travelling:
Non-alcoholic drinks in America are not known as Mocktails. If you're after a mocktail, just ask for the regular drink with "Virgin" before it, i.e. Virgin Pina Colada (it will save you a long conversation with your waitress/bartender, trust us!).
Coffee with milk should be a lot more simple, shouldn't it? In Australia, we have a lot more than the States are accustomed to; from our milk options to the coffee styles. From regular milk, skim, soy and various nut varieties, through to skinny caps or macchiatos, which may be understood in boutique cafes only. In the States, you'll be asked if you want creamer, half and half, or no milk. Keep in mind Americans have a long black as their standard coffee (bit of a wild call for some of us Aussies!), but just ask for regular milk (you need to specify if you want non-fat, which is the equivalent to our skim milk). If you're a long black drinker, then just say you'd like a brewed coffee!
Tips are how most of the hospitality/service industry survive in America. It's a difficult concept to grasp in Australia as the cost of goods and services are high enough, and workers are paid a fair living wage without having to add gratuity on top. As a general rule, tip the "less tax" portion of your bill at 15% for standard service. Tips at 20% and over are generally for outstanding service, so be wise!
4. Hotel cleaners/maids
They need tips too (even if you don't see them everyday)! If you're staying in a hotel where housekeeping makes up your room daily, be kind and leave a tip on your bed (and a thank you note or some chocolates). Around $3-$5 USD is sufficient, and they'll also ensure your amenities are well stocked as well. Remember these people are on minimum wage!
5. Stay to the right
British ruled countries have forever been accustomed with sticking to the left; on footpaths, escalators and of course on the road. American behaviours can be difficult to switch on and off. Remember to move to the right, and stick to the right side of the road - "Right is tight!".
6. Lollies, sweets, candy
Embrace and enjoy our differences
This will give you a good starting point to plan your journey with TravelMustard and to make your way through the States seamlessly. If you find yourself in a jam, just make yourself known to be Australian. Americans love Aussies! Happy travel planning!