Not all tourists are American citizens visiting other countries. Many folks from all over the world want to visit America, and the first thing they will notice is that this is a huge country and transportation is very different than what they are used to back home. Most if not all American families own at least one car they use to go places and this is especially true outside of the major cities.
Using public transportation to commute is usually much cheaper no matter the city or country you live in. This goes for both tourists and locals, but of course the system is easier to understand for locals as they use it daily. This is a short guide on "no car, no problem: dos and don'ts of public transportation in the US" that can be useful for anyone trying it out for the first time.
Use your smartphone
Your smartphone is very useful when trying to navigate the public transportation system in several major US cities. With the right app you can see the route of the bus, when it's supposed to arrive and in some cases, even where it is on the route. This last option is useful for those who hate waiting or need to be on time to their destination.
Get informed before you travel
In some US cities some bus lines have a flat fare no matter where you want to go. Additionally, some buses double as subway trains, or might actually function as such. The fare might differ if you get on one of these buses, and only a good research might be helpful at this point. Some cities offer free public transportation, therefore it can't get cheaper than that.
Carry cash on you
Depending on the city, you might want to pay the fare for one trip in cash as it can be more cheap. However, if you do choose to pay in cash, it is best to have the exact amount. Another option, is to purchase an unlimited pass or a reloadable card, depending on how many days you stay in that city.
Don't eat or drink
This rule should be a no brainer, however there are still many people who think it is OK to eat or drink while riding the bus or any of the other forms of public transportation. This led to some operators to purposely mention these actions are not permitted while riding their vehicles. In some cities, operators allow light snacks and bottles that can be properly re-sealed.
Pay attention when riding with pets
Some of us travel with our pet, however not everyone is willing to offer a ride when seeing the furry creature. Before attempting to ride the bus with your cat or dog, make sure they are allowed inside. You should also be mindful of the other passengers that might be scared of animals, or even allergic. Usually only small pets in appropriate carriers are allowed.
Learn how to ride a bike
Many cities across US have a bike sharing system and special bike lanes. Riding the bike around the city might be even more convenient than any bus or subway train.