I thought this week I’d talk about things I’ve noticed that are a little bit different in the USA than in Europe. You can read more about cell phone use, eating out and shopping.
Use of cell phone
My cell phone works over here, it’s a triple band , but because the calls go back to my provider, even if you call within the US, I decided to buy a prepaid phone over here as that would be cheaper. At least for the month I’ll be here.
So I did. There are multiple brands that provide prepaid phones without annual contracts. To name a few: Tracfone, AT&T and Virgin Mobile USA. I choose Virgin Mobile USA, for no particular reason, just that they provided cheapest phone in the store at that moment! 🙂 The one I bought was only 14.99 US$. You buy a phone and then you buy minute packs (Pay as you go) so you can activate the cell phone and can make and receive calls. You can easily add more minutes, either buying a phone card in a store or online. I bought mine in a store. I had a choice of ‘Anytime minute packs’ of 200 minutes ~ 20 dollar / 400 minutes ~ 30 dollar / 1000 minutes ~ 50 dollar. You can use them up to 90 days, then you have to upload again. You can check your remaining balance of minutes either on your cell phone or online. More at Virgin Mobile Usa.
Keep in mind though the difference between buying something like this in Europe or here in the USA is the following (my friend told me this): You use your minutes or airtime either if you’re the one that’s making the call or you get called! Because one night, she called me and I thought I had time enough because she was calling me…nope. You’re using up your minutes too! Where I live, if I use my cell phone to call someone I’m the one that’s paying for the phone call, not the one receiving the call (well as long as it is National of course). And if I receive a call, I don’t have to pay for it! Don’t be surprised like I was and you have to buy more minutes very soon 😉 (Also if you listen to your voicemail, you’re using your airtime.)
Going out to dinner
Their eating-out-experience is totally different from ours. When we go out to dinner, it‘s a whole experience. It’s more than just having food. It’s a time to relax, enjoy the food you’re getting served, talking,… A good example I experienced the other night. I went to dinner in a restaurant. Enjoying a nice meal and the waitress already gave me the bill before I even finished my food. In Europe we like to take our time…even stay a bit longer at the table, have a cup of coffee and chat for a little while. Not so much over here.
I love shopping in the USA, not only because I always find loads of awesome stuff here 🙂 But also because they have sales all year round! We have sales in the winter time (January) and the summer time (July). And the malls are open every day as well as the bigger stores like Target, Wal-Mart,… As a shopaholic this is really nice 😉
More practical tips for traveling to the USA.