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Traveling with your ESTA: practical driving tips

Are cultural differences between Europe and the United States a source of conflict? This could happen, that’s why we would like to share some general rules of conduct.

Certainly, we can have good relations with the Americans, but they are very respectful of the rules. They have a good sense of humor, but they tend to be direct in conversations.


It should be self-confident in conversation, it is not recommended to use metaphors. The Americans are direct, they do not turn around the bush. This is reflected, for example, in their way of writing, most of the time very direct. Generally, a frightened or shy attitude could lead to doubts: would you hide something.

Remember this when presenting your ESTA upon arrival at the airport . The immigration officer will be very courteous, but he will be very attentive to your attitude when you answer the questions he will ask you. Do not be fooled by questions about the details of your trip (where you will go, where you are going to reside).

Neutral conversation themes to break the ice: as we said above, European and American cultures have differences. Although some rules seem odd, you must respect them.

If there is some confidence in your interlocutors, questions about the family are welcome. How are your children? Your family? Generally, it is a good starting point for a pleasant conversation.

The work has a central role in American society, why not discuss this topic? The economy in Europe and in the United States has great differences; Exchanging your experiences could be very informative.

Another possible topic for conversation is sport . Unlike Europe, the most popular sport is not here, football or soccer, as the Americans call it. Basketball, baseball and especially American football are the most popular. In fact, the Super Ball (the final of the American football championship) is one of the most watched sports events in the world. Take note and learn the basics of these sports avaN’t be afraid of cultural exchanges. Differences in your country will cause many questions. The conversations that follow will enrich your trip to the United States.nt come.


Conversation topics to be avoided: Some societal themes which in your country are often discussed around a table with friends are not as neutral in other countries. Avoid political, racial or religious themes.

If you are curious about laws that allow you to possess firearms, let your questions be neutral; Listen to the reasons of others. We do not recommend that you address the themes of sexual freedom, abortion or the death penalty in the US justice system.

Generally speaking, you may find yourself in a very uncomfortable position if you decide to impose your own views on the topics we have just mentioned. America is known for its respect for differences of opinion , but you should not talk about these topics unless you are among friends.


Body language well understood: Remember that eye contact should not be prolonged, you may be embarrassing and even offending those you observe.

If someone is introduced to you, a smile is the best way to react.


Body language to avoid: Contrary to European habits, Americans have no propensity to physical contact. In fact they do not greet their friends by embracing them. During a conversation, avoid physical contact and always maintain a “safe” distance. This differs from the Latin cultures (Portugal, Spain and Italy) and resembles German or Swedish culture.


Body language with partner: As we have said, American culture is quite formal, and more conservative than European. So, if you are traveling as a couple, watch out for public affection shows , they are not well received.

Do not be afraid of cultural exchanges. Differences in your country will cause many questions. The ensuing conversations will enrich your trip to the United States.