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  1. Default Are the people in small rural towns inviting?

    My friends and I are planning a road trip which takes us to a small town in Kansas, while passing through similarly small towns in the states we will encounter. NJ -> KS.

    From reading previous forum pages (dated approximately 2003-2007) I have come to a general consensus that people are not welcoming of outsiders in these small towns. I am a little bit apprehensive now thinking that going to these small towns (population < 1500) isn't a great idea.

    Coming from a suburban town in New Jersey, I am highly facinated with meeting new people with different life styles than mine.

    Additionally, when doing research I was brought up with the point saying that you have to look like them to be accepted. (I am not trying to move there, but just pass through their towns iwthout confrontation. I am Indian (but look white) and my friend is Filipino.
    Last edited by ChoudAnks; 01-10-2016 at 05:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I don't think that will be a concern for you

    HOWDY and welcome to the Trip Advice Forums.

    In my experience, tourists are universally welcomed ANYWHERE in the USA. It is true that certain areas of the country resist welcoming new residents who have moved in -- but visitors, tourists and through-travelers are always welcome. I don't think you need to worry about that.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Meeting the locals.

    There is nothing like an outstretched hand and a 'Hi, my name is.........' to get to know the locals. Have a sensible question to ask, and chances are while they are giving you the information, and one of their friends walks past, they are likely to say 'Hey....... come meet...... he's from NJ' (or whatever).

    Often locals approach me, not only because I travel alone, but also because I have our national flag in the rear window of my vehicle. I also have a couple of non offensive Ts which attract attention and start conversations.

    One warning.... switch off your electronics if you want to meet people. No one is going to engage you in conversation while you are glued to a phone.

    The locals will only be as friendly as you are.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Should I not be concerned about them being violent or rude due that they are different. I am thinking about what technology I should be bringing, just really thinking iPhone and GPS for the most part.

    Not that we are in particular going to a crime ridden neighborhood, but I don't basically want to become a moving target. The NJ licence plate is to be a sure give away that we do not exactly belong.

  5. Default

    Yes, of course! Electronics are a must to be put away, something I am really looking forward to in this road trip.

    Brining the USA flag is actually an idea I had previously, to create a sense of equality between the locals and us, outsiders.

    I greatly appreciate your post, as you and Mark both eased the apprehensive tensions I was feeling towards visitng these smaller areas.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Change your outlook, and go enjoy the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChoudAnks View Post
    Should I not be concerned about them being violent or rude due that they are different. I am thinking about what technology I should be bringing, just really thinking iPhone and GPS for the most part.
    I feel you are starting this roadtrip with the wrong attitude, which is likely going to be fulfilled. Start now by planning to meet only friendly and nice folk, and tell yourself that the only chance of violence iand rredeness is, if you yourself start it.

    Go, hit the road with a smile on your face, and don't allow it to change to a frown. What you are going to meet along the way will reflect the way you look/feel.

    By all meaans bring your phone and gps, though to have a great roadtrip you do not need either. What you do need, and should have got a long time ago is good maps. Go to your local AAA and pick up maps of each State and major urban area you plan on visiting. They will show you much more than your electronics ever will.

    Now go enjoy your road trip, there are only nice people out there. In more than 20 months on the road, and almost 200000 miles I can't say I have found a violent or rude person....... anywhere! The fact that I am not one of 'them', but a foreigner has never bothered anyone I have met.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I have many, many travel miles under my belt. It's been my experience that if you're friendly, wear a smile and a good attitude, you'll get one back in return. This would include the people there to serve you, such as attendants at the fuel places, waitresses, fast food clerks, grocery cashiers, and motel clerks. While their job may require them to be nice, they are people too and enjoy their job more when their customer is nice back.

    I also have no problem striking up a conversation with someone in a long line (which helps to pass the time).

    I will agree with Lifey -- your phone will come in handy for finding cheap(er) gas on the road (get the GasBuddy app), your GPS will be nice for finding places in the cities (but not so much for planning a long road trip), but the maps are essential.

    My husband and I actually prefer to stay overnight in small towns, whenever possible. When I think about the past few trips we've taken, the vast majority of the motels are in small towns rather than larger cities. I can name the bigger cities on one hand - the rest are just tiny dots on a map. The atmosphere is generally more relaxed, prices often cheaper (except for those located right near a major tourist venue), and people are friendlier.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Thank You All!

    Thank you all for easing my tensions and apprehensions regarding my future road trip plans. Originally intimidated by leaving my home I am now exctied to meet the locals of small towns. We are avoiding cities altogether due to traffic, high costs, and disinterst in them.

    It is true to say that times have changed, so the trust of strangers is still in the wind, but I believe that is something that will only come with time, experience and knowledge.

    I hear these great adventure stories of those who travel to these places and get invited to hang out with the locals (double sided interests in the lives of each other, maybe??). As a general rule would it be dangerous or okay to hang out with them, accept offers to enter their residences and eat dinner.

    Additionally should you be upfront that you are carrying no weapons, or what not.

    I am basically trying to get a comprehensive list of DOs and DON'Ts for this road trip because I am very eager and excited to learn about the lives of the locals for places not visted too often. - Ankur

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default Follow your instincts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChoudAnks View Post
    As a general rule would it be dangerous or okay to hang out with them, accept offers to enter their residences and eat dinner.

    Additionally should you be upfront that you are carrying no weapons, or what not.
    Just be your normal self. Your instinct will tell you whether any particular person or persons are safe to hang out with. Just be friendly and let the conversation flow. Some people will be friendly back, others are more reserved and prefer mpt tp talk tp stramgers. Take it as it comes, but be sure you are a good conversationalist, and chat about their environment. Don't focus on yourself, unless asked. If you want to go somewhere and you are not sure, I have always found law enforcement officers to be of great assitance, and willing to give good advice. In fact I make a point of approaching them and speaking with them when and where I meet them.

    In all my time on the road I have only been asked about firearms by border control when crossing into and out of Canada. Once I was asked by a lady if I had a weapon to protect myself. She told me I was mad if I did not. But I feel you are much better with a smile on your face and an awareness of where you are. Stay away from areas where you feel they would/could have weapons.

    Me thinks you worry too much. Hope your experience will ease your worries. Go and enjoy your trip.

    Lifey

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