55 American Customs That Won't Fly Overseas

Every culture has customs that they do on a regular basis. For example, in Japanese culture, it’s essential to treat elders with the utmost respect. Sure, we’re supposed to treat our elders with respect in the United States, but Japan takes it so seriously that there’s a national paid holiday called “Respect for the Aged Day.” Plus, younger people are taught that they should stop whatever they’re doing to help an older person in need. We try that here, but it’s pretty hit or miss considering we’re all so busy in America.

Speaking of America, we have our own culture, and that’s part of it! We’re often so busy that a lot of the stuff other cultures do fall to the wayside. For example, someone will look at you oddly in Italy if you were to get your coffee to-go. It’s possible, but Italians think it’s best to sit and enjoy the morning. We can understand that – you never know what’ll happen tomorrow!

American culture has a lot of customs that seem strange and are even offensive to people who live overseas! This can make traveling pretty tough, but the first part is learning what can offend someone else in the country you're visiting.

When you’re in another person’s country, you want to respect their culture. To try your best, avoid these 55 things. If not, you may end up sending the signal that you are incredibly rude, arrogant, and disrespectful. That’s not something anyone wants to be!

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Did you know...

  • Jet lag is worse when you're traveling from west to east. That's because the changes in time zones become not only more physically apparent on your body, but they are also more culturally apparent. If restaurants close at 10pm on the East Coast, you'll just be getting hungry since it will feel like 7pm on your West Coast-adjusted body.
  • The largest pool in the world can be found at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile. It has 66 million gallons (enough water to fill 100 Olympic-sized pools). It's 3,323 feet in length, over twice the length of the next biggest pool. At a cost of $3,000,000, that sounds like a pretty good deal.
  • There are over 61,000 people on a plane in the air over the U.S. at any given moment. That makes sense because the U.S. has one third of all the airports in the world. Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world with over 100 million total passengers every year since 2015.
  • Minnesota might say that it's the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but Canada has it beat. The country as a whole has over three million lakes. That means Canada has 60% of the world's total number of lakes within its borders. It must seem like paradise for people who like to fish or boat!
  • Even though it is spread across five time zones, the entire country of China is set to Beijing time. Having a single time zone in the United States would certainly make things easier. Currently, the USA is spread across six, but a single time zone would make things a little wonky in Alaska and Hawai'i.