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Old 03-21-2014, 06:45 PM
Location: too far from the sea
17,996 posts, read 17,150,498 times
Reputation: 30138


Anywhere: be careful of hand gestures because they mean different things in different places. V sign, middle finger.

Coming to the US, acquaint yourself with the climate. Florida is warm in winter, horrible in summer. The north is warm in summer, horrible in winter. You will not go to the beach at Cape Cod in December. The entire country has extremes of climate.
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:06 PM
Location: Chicago
2,357 posts, read 2,011,582 times
Reputation: 2181
Some general tips for visiting the US:

1. Remember that you're expected to tip your waiter, bartender, and cab driver. It's around 20% for good service.

2. If you're going to multiple cities/areas I'd recommend looking up just how close together those areas are. People seem to forget just how large the country is.

3. Have a basic understanding of English and or travel with someone who does. The vast majority of Americans can only speak English, and Spanish, the second most widely used language, is only going to help you in specific parts of the country. Those doesn't necessarily apply to the very cosmopolitan cities depending on the language you speak, but be prepared for the signs to only be in English and or Spanish none the less.

4. If you come from a city or country that has good public transit, I'd recommend looking up the situation in the city that you're visiting. It will vary wildly from city to city, and you'll need to rent a car even in some of America's largest cities.

5. Americans generally have a thing about personal space. Try not to be within mere inches when casually talking to the locals.

6. As others have stated, the weather will vary wildly. A city like Miami or Los Angeles is going to be warm year round, but a city like Chicago or New York is going to be hot in the summer and snowy and cold in the winter.
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:50 PM
Location: East Coast of the United States
15,669 posts, read 18,217,507 times
Reputation: 11174
One more tip about visiting the United States:

- Avoid the ghetto areas of the cities you want to see, unless you want to see the ghetto areas.
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:07 PM
Location: Vancouver
11,384 posts, read 7,835,713 times
Reputation: 6452
For Canada

1. Do some research before you arrive. Don't expect someone in Saskatoon to speak French for example.
2. Realize that Canada is huge, the second largest country in the World and you won't see it all in one trip or ten.
3. Don't assume your visit to Toronto represents all of Canada. It is as diverse as it is big.
4. For Americans, use Canadian money. It's only polite and smarter. You will get better exchange rates rather than a shop owner charging whatever they want. Don't expect all shops to accept USD, a lot don't. Don't make jokes about CDN being monopoly money. It only shows you haven't travelled since most countries currency comes in different colours.
5. Don't go into shops and find a product from your homeland and go on about how much cheaper it is at home. That piece of brie and to travel from France to Canada and was subject to custom and taxes before it hit the shelf. The response you may get is " and how much is B.C. pacific wild salmon in France? "
6. Restaurants. Again RESEARCH! Every city has bad restaurants. Don't go to some mediocre chain and then complain it was mediocre and therefore all food in that city is mediocre.
7.Get off the beaten path. This applies of course to all countries. Try to avoid tourist traps.
8.Don't assume that the U.S. and Canada are exactly the same. I have had real life experience with Europeans who seem quite confused on this.
9. Canada is not a frozen wasteland and has very nice hot summers. We have wine growing regions and the areas where most Canadians live have climates similar to Europe.
10. Australians, don't go on and on about how tipping is unknown in Australia since you pay a living wage etc. That server in Canada making only a couple of dollars less per hour than an Australian server gets hundreds of dollars in tips and in the end actually makes more.

Last edited by Natnasci; 03-22-2014 at 03:07 PM..
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:47 PM
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,416 posts, read 25,206,536 times
Reputation: 16464
Be nice/courteous, don't discuss domestic politics that you don't understand.. even if you think you do.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:29 PM
Location: New Mexico
5,104 posts, read 2,918,142 times
Reputation: 9418
I'm surprised to see how many Europeans - especially Brits - have a thing for following old Route 66. Get a good map and guidebook because the signage can be confusing. There is more than one "Historic Route 66" route because it changed from time to time. The internet will help, too. It is a very long drive. Much of it runs parallel to an interstate highway but some of it is off by itself. Study up a little...I had one person express surprise that there were still actual living American Indians. Some places along the way really cater to Route 66 tourism while others don't seem to know anything about it.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:35 PM
Location: Finland
24,268 posts, read 17,518,659 times
Reputation: 11103
General for Finland:

1. Be polite, but genuinely. Finns hate show-offs, arrogant and rude people, and pretenders.

2. Don't lie. Finns hate dishonesty and a caught liar have to do much to regain other peoples' trust.
2b. Don't say "nice to meet you", if you don't mean it. Finns will notice it and you're caught with a lie.

3. Do not cheek-kiss or hug on first meet. Shake hands.

4. Finns have a quite plain look on the street and usually don't smile much, but that doesn't mean we are unfriendly and rude. If you're a tourist and need help, people are often glad to help you, especially if you start with "excuse me, could you help me..."

5. Virtually all people under 60 speak English.

6. Don't interrupt people, even in heated debates. It's considered rude and is a sign that you're not interested in what the other person says. Wait until the other one is about to finish and then go ahead.

7. A short moment of silence between speaking is not awkward for Finns. A moment's silence is a sign that you're giving a thought about what the other person said (even if you really aren't).

8. Do not call Finns Russians or Swedes or compare Finland with these countries. Caught between these two countries it's a small miracle the Finnish culture exists at all today. Finland have a very traumatic history with Russia with numerous wars and oppression, and call Finland the "little brother" of Sweden is something you don't want to do. The Finns are proud of their country and to be Finns. Swedes and Russians don't experience any racism or rudeness, though.

9. The Finns are the most active newspaper-readers in the world and they probably know more about your country than you know about Finland. Try to learn some key figures and events of Finnish history and culture. People will be delighted.

10. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T ask/claim if Finland took part in the holocaust, went nazi or turned communist after WWII. Because we didn't. Neither should you say that Finland is in Eastern Europe.

11. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T discuss the Finnish Civil War of 1918, if you aren't certain that the other one is receptive. Over 22,000 people died from execution and in prison camps, more than double than in the actual fighting, and the events are still traumatic for some people.

12. Finns are rather straightforward and blunt, and probably less PC than in your country. Finns are generally happy to discuss almost anything but those above + money. If you're starting a heated political debate, you might get a "in your face" answer, so suck it up and reply with a handful of arguments. Don't get insulted for minor things.

13. Freedom of speech and press is very old in Finland. the Finns usually speak very freely and people often have a lot of opinions. We don't like to play with words but usually say things as they are. It's not considered rude to speak your mind.

14. Business is business, leisure is leisure. If you're doing business, expect to go straight down to the matter and get it over with. Then you can go for dinner. Do not suggest a long lunch and a couple of beers in the middle of business.

15. A deal is a deal, and a promise should be kept. A handshake is as valid as a written contract. Also, be punctual. 19:00 means 19:00, not 19:30 or 20:00.

16. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T drink and drive. The consequences and punishments are severe and will cause you real trouble.

17. Prepare to drink a lot of coffee. Finns drink the most coffee in the world, and you'll be served coffee everywhere. You can politely decline, and ask for something else.

18. The Finnish culture is very relaxed and relatively classless. There's not a strict dress-code or many taboos, faux-pas's or strict social norms. Don't be scared to do something stupid, because most likely you won't. If you do, it's not a big deal and people will smile. Finland follows the Western European table manners and other, so behave accordingly.

19. Take your shoes off when visiting a home

20. Be prepared to go to a sauna. Naked.

For Helsinki:

1. The core historical center is a tourist trap and the prices sky-high. Venture a bit away and restaurant/bar prices will drop surprisingly fast.
http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared/...nki-Center.png (the orange area)

2. Taxis in Helsinki are extremely expensive, but the public transport is excellent, so learn the tram system which is the easiest way of travel. A single ticket is only 2.2€ and you can travel for an hour unlimitedly with it. You'll save a lot of money. Consider a day, weekend or serial card. If only traveling in Helsinki, don't even consider in renting a car.

3. The night buses and the metro on weekends can appear quite rugged. But they're completely safe. Be prepared to encounter a bus filled with drunk people shouting, singing, eating and puking.

4. Two predator grocery store chains have virtually a cartel in whole of Finland and controls 85% of the market. If on a tight budget, don't go hunting for cheap groceries, you'll only waste your time. The prices are exactly the same everywhere.

5. In chain stores, grocery stores and gas stations the list price is not negotiable. In independent stores, market squares or market halls you can try your luck. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes not. Exception: if buying expensive electronics, furniture, sports equipment or souvenirs, you can bargain. Sometimes it works, sometimes don't.

6. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T try to bribe anyone, especially a government official. It's a criminal offense.

7. Don't argue with night club bouncers. Just don't. Serves no good and the police won't help you.

8. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T venture into the park behind the Central Railway Station during nighttime. If not necessary, avoid the Central Railway Station during weekend nights completely.

9. Don't get into trouble or hefty arguments in districts like Kallio, Vallila, Sörnäinen and Hakaniemi. Serves no good and you can get a bloody nose. Otherwise the streets are relatively safe. You'll also find the most cheap booze in Helsinki here, so it's worth a visit. Even the most shady joints are safe, just look after you belongings.

10. Helsinki has no "no-go zones", but avoid the far Eastern suburbs during nighttime. There's nothing to see there anyway.

11. Avoid illegal taxis, unless you're a group of muscular men. If traveling alone, avoid completely.

12. Scammers are something I encounter maybe once a year, and are very rare. Pickpockets operate only in the most core crowded areas, so no need to be paranoid. Overall, Helsinki is probably safer than your city of 600,000 people.

13. The archipelago and coasts are infested with tick. Don't wander into bushy areas with shots and t-shirts if not necessary. No need to get the Lyme disease as a souvenir.

14. The bike lane is for bikes only. Don't walk on them, thank you.

15. Drinking alcohol in public is a tricky matter. It's legal if you sit in a park or have a picnic or something, but not if standing on a street corner harassing bystanders. Not allowed in public transport either.

16. Smoking pot in public is illegal and will give you a fine. There's no open-air drug markets in Helsinki.

17. The Police is uncorrupted and respected. You can always ask one for help if needed (except asking them for a ride ). Security guards on the other hand are not Gendarmerie type government officials, but hired by private companies. Don't expect to get much help from them, but depends on the person and his/her mood.

18. When boarding an elevator, train, tram or similar, wait in line and wait for the people to hop off before you enter, thank you.

19. Ask around. Some really cool events can be quite underground and poorly advertised. The rumor mill and social media is effective and as I said earlier, people are always happy to help out a tourist.

20. The inverted V-sign means nothing in Finland, so don't get offended if someone shows you that sign. It means two.

Well, that's more than enough, I think!

Oh, one more thing. Helsinki is a very clean city and proud of it. Don't litter, but look out for the nearest garbage bin, thank you.

Last edited by Ariete; 03-22-2014 at 05:54 PM..
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:11 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,754,589 times
Reputation: 6644
1. Don't raise your middle finger.

2. Don't openly discuss your sex life, especially with strangers.

3. Don't assume scantily-clad women are whores.

4. Don't take a glass of wine or a bottle of beer or whiskey to the park or to public places.

5. Don't be visibly intoxicated in public.

6. Don't cut in line.

7. Don't access pornographic websites or read pornographic magazines in public transit.

8. Don't discuss politics or religion until you get to know the person.

9. Don't be amazed or surprised if a stranger comes up to you and starts a random conversation.

10. Don't kiss or hug people as greetings, until you get to know them and their boundaries of personal space.

11. Don't mistake "politeness" for "superficiality". Americans, at least, can be nice, polite, and hospitable without having any underlying motives.

12. Don't take smiles from the opposite sex directed towards you as invitations to flirt.

13. Don't complain about or express distaste for American culture to a local, unless you know him or her well.

14. Don't express positive thoughts about our president, unless you know the listeners will accept them. Nor negative.

15. Don't offer bribes to police, border guards, or firewomen, unless you want to be taken to jail.

16. Don't smoke in public indoor places, such as cafes, bars, restaurants, libraries, Wal-Mart, Target, bookstores, etc.

17. Don't inject drugs there, either.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:08 AM
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 4,818,735 times
Reputation: 3895
Originally Posted by Ariete View Post
8. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T venture into the park behind the Central Railway Station during nighttime. If not necessary, avoid the Central Railway Station during weekend nights completely.
I didn't know how many weirdos Finland/Helsinki had until the point where we bought some booze at the supermarket in that underpass. Late afternoon/evening... Holy cow...
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:35 AM
Location: Finland
1,073 posts, read 843,979 times
Reputation: 1485
Originally Posted by viribusunitis View Post
I didn't know how many weirdos Finland/Helsinki had until the point where we bought some booze at the supermarket in that underpass. Late afternoon/evening... Holy cow...
Hmm,how I shall say it nice....You dont have to be worried 99,9999 % if you just see natural born finns around you or peoples who looks like them
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