Top 5 Things to Know When Moving to the USA

relocating to america, how to move to usa

Are you planning on moving to the USA from Australia? Thousands of expats, entrepreneurs and investors move to the USA every year. As a result, the US is one of the most diverse nations in the world.

Having a little background information about the United States is imperative in ensuring a smooth arrival and transition into local life for you and your family.

Here the top 5 things you need to keep in mind when moving to the USA:

  1. The USA is huge.
  2. You can pay for everything with your card.
  3. Prepare yourself for the patriotism.
  4. Never forget to tip and include taxes.
  5. You need private health insurance.

1: The USA Is Huge

Australia is a big country, but America is even bigger. It features a vast diversity of climates, it has six time zones, and a huge array of cultures. Tropical Miami with its Latino culture, couldn’t be more different from cold and remote Minnesota, and even the major cities of Los Angeles and New York can seem like they belong in two completely different countries.

In fact, the regional differences across the US are so great that if you ask an American where they’re from, they’ll invariably respond with their home state.

Instead of researching the US in general, expats planning on moving to America are much better off studying the specific area, city or state in which they plan on living. This will ensure they’re much better prepared for things like the local weather and culture. 

2: You Can Pay for Everything with Your Card

 The USA is well on its way to becoming a cashless society. You can literally pay for everything with a card, no matter how much it costs. Shopkeepers throughout the US seem to have an aversion to small change, so don’t keep it in your pocket to pay for things. Put it in a jar and save it for the laundromat or parking.

3: Prepare Yourself for The Patriotism

 You need to be prepared for the immense pride that many of your new neighbours will have in their country. You’ll see the American flag everywhere, from shop fronts to houses, and even on cars. You may also be subject to many passionate conversations about all of the country’s achievements, and in these situations its always best to just listen.

This patriotism can also manifest into a somewhat blinkered view of the world. The news rarely covers anything from outside America, and you will find that people know very little about Australia. So, don’t be offended if people get facts confused and don’t be alarmed if they ask naïve questions. 

4: Never Forget to Tip and Include Taxes

 In the US, tipping extends far beyond restaurants and bars. Tipping is expected for most people who provide you with a service, and this extends to cab drivers, hairdressers, beauty therapists and a range of other professions. You need to add 10% to 25% to every bill, and this can add up.

The other thing you have to remember about moving to the US is that taxes aren’t included in the shown price. A cheeseburger could be advertised for US$3, but you’ll have to do your own calculations to see what tax will be added to that price. As taxes vary from state to state, this can get confusing.

5: You Need Private Health Insurance

The US has a world-leading health system, as long as you can afford it. There have been attempts to introduce public health care into America but none have succeeded so far. As such, you need private health insurance, or you can find yourself in a lot of trouble. There are countless stories of people missing out on life-saving treatment because they didn’t have the right insurance, so be sure to do your research.

If you’re relocating to the US for work, you should always try and have insurance included as part of your contract. Many employers offer this benefit, and it really does pay off.

If you are planning on moving with family read our guide on transportation & housing , working, education & childcare in USA.

If you’d like any further information about USA, or the relocation process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly international removals team.

Blog Author:

Lisa Fink

Blog Author Lisa Fink