Lost in translation: five words to use to ensure your trip runs smoothly in the US

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Everyone wants their trip to run as smoothly as possible when holidaying in the US. This, of course, can be achieved by forward planning and applying for an ESTA visa early. However, to some degree, you’ll also have to learn the local lingo if you don’t want to hit a snag when you’re there. After all, there are numerous words and phrases that can be lost in translation despite the fact that both the UK and US largely speak English. With this in mind, here are five words you’ll need to use when visiting America.

1. ‘Fries’

If you ask for ‘chips’ with your meal, you’ll more than likely end up with a side of crisps. Rather than confuse the waitress and risk something unexpected ending up on your plate, be sure to request ‘fries’ instead.

2. ‘Soccer’

Brits often have a hankering for the beautiful game, even when they’re abroad. However, if you go to a sports bar and ask if they’re showing ‘football’, you’ll more than likely end up with the American version. For your best chance of getting the match you want, enquire about ‘soccer’.

3. ‘Soda’

‘Soda’ is the universal name used for pop in the US. If you want complete clarity with your waiter or waitress, resist the urge to ask what variety of fizzy drinks they serve. If you don’t, it’s possible that they’ll start reading off the champagne menu.

4. ‘Gas’

If you find yourself using a busy petrol station – say in a major city like Los Angeles – you’ll risk holding up the queue if you don’t know that it’s called ‘gas’ on that side of the Atlantic.

5. ‘Cheque’

Restaurant servers who are used to dealing with tourists might know that you mean the cheque when you ask for the ‘bill’ at the end of a meal. In more rural areas, you’ll probably be met with a puzzled expression though.

Good luck!

Whether you’re travelling in a couple or on holiday with the kids, these small phrases should help your trip run much more smoothly. In the meantime, don’t forget to apply for your ESTA visa so that you’re granted access to the country.