What Travel Guides Say About the USA

It's always a good idea to brush up on local customs when you go abroad. Have you ever wondered what advice professional travel writers give to people about coming to the United States? A peek into these travel guides gives us an idea of how the US differs from the rest of the world. International visitors are warned that Americans like their personal space, consider it important to be on time, and are a little touchy about politics.
Politics get heavy treatment in the books, as do the subtleties of discussing them, maybe more so than in any other guidebook I've read (what can I say, it's an addiction). Lonely Planet urges caution when discussing immigration. "This is the issue that makes Americans edgy, especially when it gets politicized," they write, subtly suggesting that some Americans might approach the issue differently than others. "Age has a lot to do with Americans' multicultural tolerance."

Rough Guide doesn't shy away from the fact that many non-Americans are less-than-crazy about U.S. politics and foreign policy, and encouragingly notes that many Americans are just as "infuriated" about it as visitors might be. Still, it warns that the political culture saturates everything, and that "The combination of shoot-from-the-hip mentality with laissez-faire capitalism and religious fervor can make the U.S. maddening at times, even to its own residents."

What could possibly be a touchier subject for Americans than politics? Tipping, of course. And the guidebooks let visitors know about that, too. Link -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Flickr user Jason Rogers)

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