ADVERTISEMENT

Worldwide tourism numbers rose sharply in 2022 compared to the first two years of the pandemic. Overall, the United States was the third most visited country, with roughly 50.9 million international arrivals, surpassed only by Spain (71.7 million) and France (79.4 million).

And for good reason. Its national parks, vibrant cities, and colorful culture provide a myriad of exciting opportunities to have fun, explore, and learn. So we decided to see what non-Americans think of the place and compiled a list of things they remember from their trips to the States, both good and, well, not so much.

Continue scrolling to read the stories and check out the conversation we had with Norwegian traveler Lisa Stentvedt.

#1

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The best thing about visiting the US, to me, was the sheer variety of landscapes. Within one country, you'll find deserts, mountains, rainforests, tundra, plains, swamps, rocky ocean coasts, white sand beaches, and almost everything in between. There are so many beautiful places

Immediate-Steak3980 , Quintin Gellar/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
snowman78 avatar
Ban-One
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

True. I was fortunate enough to be able to take several Road Trips through the US. The classic Route 66 (with the extra Miles to NYC), East Coast, east-west crossing and from Florida along the mexican border up until Napa (ended with some wine adventures). Amazing landscape all the way. All kinds. Met the most wonderful people along the way. Including a great truck-driver named Joe (I wonder how he is these days...lost contact). A beautiful country with lots of great folks. Had only few incidents along the trips and met only very few troublesome people. It's a beautiful country and whoever has some prejudices against the US, I strongly recommend to give them a try and chance. Don't focus on the picture the media paint...

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#2

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The national parks. Their landscapes and size are astonishing. Yellowstone in particular blew me away so much that it’s one of the first places I said I’d love to return to

Lustjej , Robby McCullough/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
erikkerns avatar
Zaphod
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yellowstone was the first National Park in the world, back in 1872 I love our National Parks system. I have been on two week-long camping trips to Yellowstone. Also, I have visited 19 National Parks total, mainly in the Western US: Grand Canyon NP, Petrified Forest NP, Saguaro NP, Joshua Tree NP, Redwood NP, Sequoia NP, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Mesa Verde NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Everglades NP, Carlsbad Caverns NP, Badlands NP, Great Smoky Mountains NP, Arches NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Canyonlands NP, Zion NP, Grand Teton NP, and Yellowstone NP

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu

To learn more about the outsiders' point of view on this great Northern American country, we contacted Lisa Stentvedt, the woman behind the travel blog Fjords And Beaches. She's an expert on all things Norway but also constantly explores destinations all over the world.

"My expectations for the US all came from movies and TV I had grown up watching," Stentvedt told Bored Panda. "And for the most part, reality had lived up to them."

"However, as I have continued my travels to and in the US (and even lived there for a year), I realized that the impression you get from pop culture is mainly facade-related and does not go into the true American culture."

#3

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I'm Swedish, and I've found Americans to be very helpful, friendly, and approachable. This helps a lot when you're a tourist and feel a bit lost with local customs or directions

Sonoftremsbo , Daniel Xavier/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
justacog avatar
Orchard
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've lived in a lot of American cities and can't count the number of times visitors have approached me for directions on public transportation and eatery recommendations. Sometimes cultural or museum sites. Maybe I just look friendly or approachable? Don't know, but it has always been a nice conversation. I'm of Swedish descent via Canada, so maybe it is in my genes.

View more commentsArrow down menu
ADVERTISEMENT
#4

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I loved the mom-and-pop little restaurants, coffee shops, and specialty shops. I avoided the big chain–type places. Do the same, and you will find new cool things you really enjoy

ElectionProper8172 , Ron Lach/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
erikkerns avatar
Zaphod
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Support local restaurants, people! During my lifetime, I have seen the homogenization of nearly every town I have visited in the USA. You can go anywhere and find the same national chains, whether it be restaurants or retail stores.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu

"For example, I was excited to find that streets were lined with identical homes, driveways, and lawns — just like on TV," Stentvedt explained. "There are drive-throughs for everything, even Starbucks (I had never seen a Starbucks drive-through before visiting Massachusetts). I was also surprised to find that it's not just on TV that people don't take their shoes off when they enter their homes!"

Other things that surprised the traveler were the sizes of meals and sodas in restaurants, tipping culture, and not being able to just walk anywhere you please unless it's a city. "I was met with shocked looks when I told security where I lived in Orlando that I was going to the grocery store by foot," she recalled. "They laughed at me when I said it was just a 10-minute walk because that 10-minute walk was along the I-4!"

#5

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Don't get injured while you are in the united states. The medical bills will ruin your life

MisplacedGoat , RF._.studio/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
eggsplosion420 avatar
BrownTabby
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Depends on your travel insurance. I’ve travelled to the US from two different countries and both countries offered better travel insurance than locals’ health insurance. :(

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#6

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The sandwiches. In America, there are so many glorious sandwiches, like the Reuben, piled high with delicious corned beef on nice artisan bread. Philly cheesesteaks, thin-sliced rib-eye dripping with salty, gooey provolone, and even the po'boy, a stunning creation

Serendiplodocus , Sigrid Abalos/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

ADVERTISEMENT
#7

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Hollywood was so disappointing. I thought it would be glamorous, but in reality, it was depressing and dirty

OkTop9308 , Daniel Semenov/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
tammilee_truitt avatar
Tammilee Truitt
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agree but just being there is too cool. It's a working town full of dreamers and schemers.

View more commentsArrow down menu

Stentvedt is the author of the travel guide Moon Norway which shares the best hikes, road trips, and scenic fjords in her home country, so she's no stranger to putting herself out there. Because of that, she's collected a lot of amazing memories in the US.

"I loved my every visit. From New Orleans to Seattle, there are some epic places to explore there," she said. "I have great memories of road trips through several states, visiting the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville (a bucket list experience), and seeing Hamilton in Chicago."

"However, the lasting impression I have, and that I share with fellow Europeans who want to travel to the US, is that, again, whilst what you see on TV and in movies is a true reflection of certain parts of US culture, this only goes as deep as the facade of things."

#8

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The air is so clean in the United States. When you come from a place with massive amounts of pollution, like I do (Beijing), you really appreciate the blue sky and fresh air

Xingqiao , Aleksandar Pasaric/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
laura_ketteridge avatar
arthbach
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Compared to Beijing, practically any place is going to have better air quality. Some parts of the USA have fantastic clean air, other places, the air quality is poor. It's not surprising there is a significant correlation between population density and air pollution.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
ADVERTISEMENT
#9

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Best: I do like the food, even though it is unhealthy. Cracker Barrel is my favorite chain restaurant.

Worst: very little public transportation, everything is far away from everything, you need a car to go anywhere

mariofan366 , Robin Stickel/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
adrian_5 avatar
Adrian
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cracker Barrel is way down on my list. Look for local places, not chains. And yes, you'll need a car or spend a fortune on Uber.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
ADVERTISEMENT
#10

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Best: the sheer variety of landscapes—deserts, mountains, rainforests, tundra, plains, swamps, rocky ocean coasts and white sand beaches and almost everything in between. So many beautiful places.

Worst: binary political division. And/or privatized healthcare and insurance that are almost exclusively tied to being employed and those employers give very little if any right to time off. Those were so bad that actually felt I to leave.

Immediate-Steak3980 , PHILIPPE SERRAND/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
eggsplosion420 avatar
BrownTabby
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The US’s political division is right wing vs. even more right wing.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#11

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It When I visited New York City for the first time, I was fascinated by how much Manhattan looked exactly the way it does the movies. Same with LA. I loved that everything felt so different from home (Austria), but at the same time, it was really familiar.

lila_liechtenstein , Helena Lopes/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
snowman78 avatar
Ban-One
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I was in NYC in the 90s the first time. Saw the Twin Towers still there. Then 2004 again, with the big hole and scar in the middle of NYC what was Ground Zero. And then a few times later again. NYC got a lot greener with less traffic and got a lot safer too. Still some shady areas, but every major city in all the world have these. It's a fascinating city. Too loud and busy for me to live in. But I enjoy visiting it.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu

"Yes, schools have football teams and cheerleaders, and yes, the school buses are yellow and stop along the streets to pick up kids that come running. However, the schools don't seem to teach a lot of important information about the world and other countries in their curriculum, and the school buses actually don't have seat belts (I was shocked to learn this — road safety in the US is a fascinating topic). There are still many things about the US I can’t wrap my head around (such as these), that even many of my American friends don’t understand! It is truly a fascinating country for travelers, and the longer you spend there, the more you see," Lisa Stentvedt shared.

ADVERTISEMENT
#12

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I didn't love the overwhelming number of American flags. It seemed to me as if there were flags everywhere: on storefronts, on lawns, all over public property, on people's cars...just so many flags. It was all very 'You're in America, and don't you goddam forget it

JuniusBobbledoonary , Sawyer Sutton/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
arranrichards avatar
Tobias Reaper
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

its weird that they do a pledge of allegiance the only other country that do that is North Korea

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#13

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I don't love the big cities. But the national parks and nature are so much better than any city In the US. San Diego is my favorite city, but just beyond it in California, you have Big Sur. I wish I'd known this about the US sooner

Psychological_Ad6318 , Chris Janda/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
wallicktn avatar
Tracy Wallick
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

San Diego is my hometown! I also like to recommend Julian to out-of-towners, especially if you're a fan of cider.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#14

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The US has some of the greatest dive bars on the planet. And some of the best intimate venues for live music, too

kananaskis_Country , Tim Durand/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
jppennington avatar
JayWantsACat
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Too many of both have closed in my city. This city used to be really interesting and not it's tech bros, coffee shops, and yoga studios.

View more commentsArrow down menu
#15

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Loved the RV culture. The US is the most ideal place to own or drive an RV. The country is huge, the scenery is always changing, and the campsites are very well organized. What's not to love?

sobrerovirus , Kirk Thornton/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

ADVERTISEMENT
See Also on Bored Panda

The US is huge. With an area of 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million square kilometers), it is the third or fourth-largest country in the world (the ranks may vary depending on which territories you include or exclude in the calculations).

"Each of the 50 states is unique, so my advice for first-time tourists would differ depending on the one they choose to go to," Stentvedt said. "But generally, I would suggest to prepare to rely on taxis or a rental car, unless you are staying right in the middle of a big city like New York."

"Public transportation is seriously lacking compared to Europe. Take it from someone who tried to travel from Hollywood to Disneyland using only public transport!"

Lisa would also advise you to make sure that your travel insurance covers unlimited costs if needed, as the cost of medical care in the US can seriously damage your bank account.

#16

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I didn't love that you can't really get around without a car. Within many cities, you can use public transit, but most often it's not that great. Outside of the big cities, you definitely need a car; otherwise you'll be spending a lot of your budget on Ubers

Worth-Ad8369 , Francesco Ungaro/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
adrian_5 avatar
Adrian
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

True. It's a huge country. Don't expect to see New York and Los Angeles the same day!

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#17

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I don’t think I was prepared for the sheer number of people who straight-up approached me asking for money. My sympathy wore out quickly, so just be ready to politely say, 'Sorry, I haven’t got cash,' and quickly walk away. As a solo traveler, I think I was seen as an easy target

Branch-Much , Timur Weber/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
snowman78 avatar
Ban-One
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I was just surprised in my travels, that there were a lot more (visible) homeless people in Miami Beach than in NYC or SF. Might be because of the climate though and they gotta look for more shelter in the latter two cities... Also Honolulu has an incredible number of homeless people.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#18

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I found that Americans seem to talk a lot louder in public than Germans do. It always irritates me that they talk as if they're giving a speech to everyone around. Back home, we feel that public space is not to be polluted, and that includes loud voices

kuco87 , Taha Samet Arslan/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
indiamitchell avatar
I’mSoEmotional
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm an American and one thing I'd never do in another country is criticize the things they do differently. I believe the differences they have is what makes me want to visit, and to get to know the people better. To criticize and make assumptions about them is just rude in my opinion.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#19

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It When you pay for a bill at a restaurant with a card, the servers will usually take your card and run it at the machine. They don't bring a card reader to your table as they do in Germany. This caused a lot of confusion when a friend visited from Germany a few months back!

Historical_Success31 , Pixabay/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
barbarakayton avatar
Another Panda
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s a bit troubling, because it’s more of an opportunity for card number theft.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu

"My absolute favorite thing about visiting the US is the diversity," the Norwegian added. "Every time I arrive at an American airport, and look around myself, I see people of different ethnicities, religions, shapes, and sizes, all in addition to hearing several languages."

"It's impossible not to smile there. I love that it's a cultural melting pot and that will always be why I keep coming back!"

#20

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It Forget everything you think you know about the US from movies/TV shows/TikTok. We're not aliens and we're probably more alike than you may think. It also helps to set expectations in that if you're expecting wacky zany adventures...well, that may not happen.

Jaywalking is more of a regional thing than a hard cultural norm. What I will say is the locals know their own area, but you don't. You probably should follow the rules, even if you see others not doing so.

Receipts/bills will total the tax for you, you don't have to worry about it. You already know about tipping, so just add 20% to the total for services like sit down restaurants and taxi/rideshare. Its okay to use your phone to calculate if you need to. I do it all the time

A month in the US isn't long enough to see the whole country. You can kind of touch upon a lot of it in a month, or really get to see one area for a month. But there's a lot to do and see. Check out local subs and their FAQs/Wiki, usually a good resource

Not sure ages but alcohol and tobacco is 21+ here and yes, that's an actual law and no, they won't make an exception for you.

You can use your credit card most places, but having some cash is handy especailly if you want to hit up food trucks or other low dollar amount businesses. Like donut shops and bagel places or cheap pizza slices? They may be cash only, or offer a cash discount.

I know people love to hit up our fast food joints but please don't just eat fast food and 7/11 and think that's all there is to the US. We have some of the greatest food cities in the world and even outside those huge cities, there's a lot of good food form coast to coast. Just hop on Google Maps and explore. If you see a place with a lot of reviews from locals, or if you're walking around and see a line, then get in that line. I had the best taco of my life by following that rule.

notthegoatseguy , Pixabay/Pexels Report

Add photo comments
POST
adrian_5 avatar
Adrian
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All good! It astonishes me that visitors think the food here is bad. We have some of the best restaurants in the world. Just don't eat at McDonalds and Burger King FFS...

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#21

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I was alarmed by the alleged danger in US cities. I checked into a hotel in New Orleans, and the receptionist drew on a map and then handed it to us. She said, 'If you stay within this area, you'll be safe.' What!?

punkmuppet , John-Mark Smith/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
deray_1979 avatar
DE Ray
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

New Orleans is a bit of a special case. Especially this time of year, there are a lot of people altered heavily on every type of substance. Mostly, crime and violence is not as bad as it is made out in the US.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#22

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I've spotted an American yesterday in a grocery store. The stereotype that Americans can be loud seems to be true.

He wasn't shouting or anything, he was asking someone for help, just a normal conversation, but his voice was unnecessarily loud ;)

artifex78 , Pixabay/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
benyamamare avatar
BenyA.
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wouldn't say americans are loud, just have a strong AUDIBLE voice. If my countrymen are loud the effort is obvious. But somehow an american speaking doesn't seem that way, it's effortless and at ease

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#23

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It The best: The cuisine variety, even when the similar dish can be prepared differently depending in the country, so you have Mexico that maybe makes it more spicy or Surinam that adds fruits. To not talk about each country delicacies.

The worst: How some countries can be very dicey to visit I guess, for example Venezuelan right now is very chaotic, Canada can be hard due to its cold, USA well Statunitians are infamous for how they treat foreigners

ACoatAlmost , Karthik reddy/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
acey-ace16 avatar
Ace
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I like that this one is talking abut America, the continent, not just the USA.

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
#24

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I’d be prepared for a ton of people to either ask you about your accent or, assuming you’re Australian, make a corny joke about Foster’s or shrimp on the barbee.

wps1991 , Liza Summer/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

Add photo comments
POST
elchinero avatar
Elchinero
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can tell if someone is from Boston, Maine, Louisville, Fargo, .... etc

View more commentsArrow down menu
#25

26 Non-Americans Who Traveled To The US Share The Things They Did And Didn't Like About It I have European friends and it’s not horrible but it is a cultural difference: they say we smile too much and sometimes it makes them uncomfortable.

ISniffButts50 , Vinicius Wiesehofer/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

See Also on Bored Panda
Poll icon

Poll Question

Thanks! Check out the results:

You May Also Like

Woman Refuses To Chip In For Babysitting Because She Doesn’t Even Have Kids, Asks If She’s A Jerk

Do you think childless individuals should be expected to chip in for group babysitting costs during friend gatherings?

Read & Poll

17 Y.O. Is Done Sharing Her Birthday With Her Late Twin, Parents Are Not Having It

Do you think the girl should be allowed to celebrate her birthday without the remembrance of her deceased twin?

Read & Poll