Every year, millions of European travellers head to the USA for a holiday with a difference, and for the majority of them the cultural differences make the trip a genuinely impressive experience. Whether they are riding the rollercoasters in Florida, checking out the idyllic villages of Vermont or driving along the highways of California, they can enjoy a true slice of Americana that will stay in the memory for a lifetime.
For many of us, one of the most pleasant holiday activities revolves around shopping, and in the USA this is always a pleasure. There is something wonderfully pleasing about visiting stores that are well-stocked with the latest designs and innovations, and which are staffed by people who are genuinely interested in ensuring your experience is a good one. Even the more hard-bitten and cynical returning visitors make sure they head to the shops at some point during their vacation.
A significant proportion of European travellers hire a vehicle in order to get around in America, and because of the need to keep their spending under control they tend to look online for any car rental deals that may be available. And the good news for bargain hunters is that there are plenty of low prices to be found in the stores as well. Some people even end up buying a holdall while they’re on holiday because they don’t have enough luggage space to bring home all of their purchases.
Shop like a celebrity
If you mention shopping in the USA to many Europeans, they will immediately think of the high end stores of Fifth Avenue in New York and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, but this is only ever a small part of a large picture. While most of us would like to shop like Carrie Bradshaw, the reality isn’t quite so glamorous. It should be pointed out, though, that retail therapy American-style is still a wonderful pleasure.
In the tourist-rich destination of Florida, the stores are generally large, attractive and pleasantly air-conditioned. And unlike in many parts of Europe, shop assistants won’t follow you around while you browse. Many people associate the USA with the hard sell, but the pursuit of the dollar hasn’t spoilt the process of shopping. Store owners know only too well that if they make customers uncomfortable they are unlikely to see them again in the near future.
Every first-time visitor to the USA will have his or her own agenda when planning a holiday itinerary, but at some point almost all of them will set aside a little time to shop. And when that happens, they will find a vast number of consumer products, electrical items and stunning fashions to choose from. In many ways, shopping is as much a part of the tourist experience in America as rollercoasters, diners, landmarks and attractions.
Jamie Anderson is from England and is a regular visitor to the USA.