Hello my travel-loving friends! If you’re considering a U.S.A. campervan hire, I have some helpful hints that might just come in handy while traveling in the United States. I want to offer these tips each week, so there will be various subjects upon which I write.
Motorhome caravans are a popular way to travel in America. The flexibility and freedom that can be experienced in a motorcaravan hire from Cruise America is tough to beat. I can’t think of any other way to explore the great U.S. cities and states that we hear so much about here in Europe. And to see them in person is so much better than just seeing them on the tele. The country is so big, that you will want to be able to travel in comfort, taking your time. As I have written before, don’t be in too much of a rush.
In addition to the comfort and convenience, the cost is very reasonable compared to other means of travel.
I have all kinds of helpful tips for Europeans traveling across America in an RV, but it would be a very long blog post if I wrote them all. I will provide more handy hints next month. This month, however, I have decided to point out a few differences in the U.S. way of dining out than what we Europeans are used to.
One of the advantages to traveling in a motor caravan is that each one of Cruise America’s models have a kitchen within. Because you have a fridge in which to store food, you can always prepare your own meals. However, there will probably be several occasions on which you will choose to dine out. Here are a few tips:
-Taxes: When you read price tags on menu items (or merchandise), bear in mind that the price does not reflect the sales tax. It is added to the purchase when you get to the till and they ring you up.
-Wait to be Seated: When you enter the restaurant, unless there is a sign that instructs you to “seat yourself,” wait for the hostess to seat you and your party. This helps them keep track of how many folks are in the restaurant, and allows them to make assignments to the server. Also, in Europe, we will sit with another family if there are extra chairs at the table, but that is not practiced in the U.S.
-Restaurant Rush: In Europe we tend to eat slowly, making an evening out of dinner. In the U.S., things are a bit faster paced. They will usually approach you as soon as you sit down to give you menus and go over the specials. You rarely have to ask for the bill, as they will usually bring it straightaway when they see that you’ve finished.
-Main Dish: Remember that in American restaurants, the “entrées” are actually the main dish, not the starters or appetizers.
-Big Servings: The portions are much greater in America than in Europe. Take a look around you at some of the other plates, as you may wish to split an entrée. They may also allow you to order off the child’s menu or the seniors’ selections.
-Water: Most restaurants will automatically serve water from the faucet. It’s got lots of ice, and it’s free of charge. You may request bottled water at many establishments for an additional cost, and if you don’t want ice, be sure to let them know.
-Soda: “diet soda” in the U.S. is what we refer to as “light soda” in Europe. And when you order a soda pop in a restaurant, most of the time the refills are free, so drink up!
-Tea: If you are traveling in the south and ask for tea, you will most likely be served iced tea. If you want hot tea, you must request it.
-Alcohol: In the United States, the drinking age is 21. It is not 16 or 18, and anybody drinking that is under 21 is in violation of the law. If you look like you are near the drinking age, you may be asked to show identification or verification of your age.
-Condiments: You are not charged for ketchup or other condiments when you go to a fast food restaurant. Also, they usually don’t have mayonnaise packets—they eat ketchup with their French fries, and they will think it strange if you ask for mayo or vinegar for your fries.
-Leftovers: If you can’t finish your food, you may ask to take it with you. The server will provide you with what they refer to as a “doggie bag.” It is a sack or Styrofoam box into which you place your leftover food.
-Pets: And speaking of doggie bags, pets are generally not allowed in restaurants unless they are service dogs. There are some places that have outdoor patios that will allow pets to sit by their owners.
-Gratuities: Remember that tipping is not typically included with the price of the meal. If your server takes good care of you, the tip is expected to be at least 15% of the total bill. It is considered very rude to skip out on providing the wait staff with a reward for their service. However, if the service was terrible, then you are not obligated to leave anything.
While there are a few differences in the culture’s eating habits, it’s all quite simple once you become accustomed to them. You will find a wide variety of cuisine throughout the various regions of the U.S., and you will find no better way to travel to them than in a Cruise America motorcoach.
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