ONE of the best parts of travelling is experiencing those little quirks of each country's people - the way they order coffee, slang you'll never quite pick up or cultural dishes you just can't quite bring yourself to stomach.
But what better way is there to delve into the culture of a foreign land than living through their most patriotic day?
Australia Day, held on January 26 each year, could only loosely be described as the equivalent of Fourth of July.

Though a young country, the history of their celebration is even younger - the name 'Australia Day' was only coined in the 1930s and it wasn't until 1994 it was considered a consistent public holiday.

Traditionally the day is the anniversary of the arrival of a fleet of 11 convict ships from England to their land. While Indigenous Australians lived on the land for thousands of years before that, it's a milestone to mark contemporary Australia and the beginning of colonisation of the Commonwealth country.

But that's about where the traditional element ends, as most Aussies see it as a day to crack a coldie and have a laugh.
The three places you really want to be during the celebration really boils down to Sydney's Bondi Beach, where the biggest celebration is held, basically any beach up North, or an Outback pub.

Given January is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, it's as hot as Hades, humid to boot and any dress code is accepted as long as you're wearing flip flops (thongs), shorts and a singlet.
As an American, it's generally hit or miss as to how an Aussie is going to react to your accent, it's either going to be love at first sight or you'll be coined a 'yank' or a 'seppo'. That's not technically a bad thing and can generally be taken endearingly, but as Australia Day also has a history of racial problems and riots, I wouldn't get too out there with the I Heart America lectures.

Oh, and I'd brush up on their unofficial national anthem too. While Advance Australia Fair is technically it, most would rather listen to bush classic Waltzing Matilda, and there have even been petitions to change it officially.

When it comes down to it though, their Prime Minister Tony Abbott is just about as laid-back as anyone else there, famous for wearing 'budgie smugglers' or Speedo swim bottoms and often made fun of in political cartoons for the fact.
If you're planning on celebrating in Australia, not only will it be a good time to spin a yarn with the laid-back folk down under, but it will be a balmy change for those of us bracing the bitter cold of Winter 2014 in the States.
And for those Aussie expats wandering around the land of the free, here are a few good Aus Day celebrations where you might just find yourself a meat pie or a lamington:

New York

Los Angeles

South Carolina