Visiting Texas is a little like visiting another country, maybe because it was, once. If you’ve never visited before then the chances are that you’ve come up with a long list of things you want to do when you’re there.
To help you out a little further, here is a list of things that you shouldn’t do when you’re hanging out in the Lonestar State.
10 Things to Avoid When Visiting Texas
Cast aside your Texan stereotypes, it’s time for you to learn some of the real secrets of this amazing state. If you want to spend your time wisely while you visit Texas, here’s our top 10 list of things to avoid.
1. Forgetting the Scale
Texas is big. It’s the second largest state, after Alaska, and covers almost 270,000 square miles. If you want to get from one place to another in Texas, you need a car. Expect to do a lot of driving, and budget for the fuel to let you do that.
Even if you’ve hired a brand new rental car, make plans for what will happen if you break down. Pack water – Texas is hot in the summer – and have a cellphone and roadside recovery package in place.
2. Avoiding the Truck Stops
We know that in most parts of the country if you’re on a long drive you can only expect to get a bag of Doritos and a can of soda if you use a rest stop. But because distances are so big in Texas, truck stops are bigger too.
If you can, plan to take a stop at a Buc-ee’s; and expect to spend some time there. You won’t want to miss out on the freshly baked goods, or the Beaver Nuggets, we promise.
3. Not Learning the Language
In Texas, we speak the same language as the rest of the country; at least in theory. In practice, Texas is known for its slow drawl. Syllables are often missed out of words, especially at the end, like, fixin’, gonna and sumpin’.
You should also prepare yourself a list of Texas idioms. ‘That dog won’t hunt’ and ‘madder than a wet hen,’ are all phrases you can expect to hear used in everyday speech.
4. Eating Pork BBQ
If you eat in the Carolinas or Memphis then you’ve probably enjoyed the Pork. When you’re in Texas, beef is king. It’s always been known for its cattle, and although the numbers have been in decline in recent years, you’ll still see beef taking pride of place. Try the brisket, you won’t regret it.
5. Driving Drunk
Driving under the influence is never a good choice, but particularly not in Texas. For a first offence, you could get a fine of up to $2,000, spend as long as 180 days in jail, lose your license or end up on DWI probation.
As we mentioned before, with distances as vast as they are in Texas, you really don’t want to end up without transport. But we hope that your own safety and that of others will be your main concern.
6. Avoid a Queue for Bar-B-Que
We know, standing in line for something is rarely fun but when you’re choosing a bar-b-que joint, picking one with no one waiting outside is probably not a good idea. In some of the big cities, at the best venues, you can expect to queue for up to two hours to get a table. Do you know why people wait that long? Because it’s worth it.
If you’re in a smaller town then you might not get such extreme lines for the food, but when you’re in a state where even food vans on the street make delicious meals there’s a reason if a place is quiet.
7. Turning Your Nose Up at a Breakfast Burrito
Texas is a melting pot of different cultures, and with being so close to Mexico there’s a lot of that influence in the food. That extends to breakfast tacos and burritos, soft tacos filled with scrambled egg and whatever else you want to have included. Whether it’s a big chain or a Mom and Pop operation, don’t miss out on this amazing breakfast.
8. Not Eating at Whataburger
Never mind the golden arches, if you’re in Texas, head for the orange W. Their restaurants are easy to spot, they have an A-frame design and are boldly branded with those orange stripes. And they’re open 24 hours, so whenever you need a bite you can get one.
You get the choice of toppings to add to your burger, including avocado and jalapénos. For your fries, there’s a choice of regular or spicy ketchup. Make sure to try it.
9. Don’t Drink Out-of-state Beer
Forget your imported beer, and try some of the Texas brewed brands. They’ve been developed by people who know what the heat is like here, and what’s the best way to cool off after a long day – and we have plenty of German immigrants so we know beer. Try a micro-brewery, if you get the chance.
10. Not Minding Your Manners
Good manners are just one of those Texas things. You’ll get a polite good morning or a hat tip. You’ll get pleases and thank yous, and you’ll be expected to give the same in return. Hold doors open for others, and just generally be courteous and respectful and you won’t go far wrong.
But while people are open and courteous, they do tend to be quite conservative. It’s worth taking the time to brush up on the etiquette of Southern Hospitality before you go.
Have a Wonderful Visit
If you’re visiting Texas in the near future, then take these tips on board. It’s an amazing and unique state with much to offer beyond the stereotypes that it’s known for. Expect to eat well, drive a lot of and enjoy some of the amazing scenery and history that this state has to offer.
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