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Tips for Americans Traveling to the United Kingdom

Jaclyn Hughes

Americans have become habitual in not leaving their own country, and rightfully so in some cases. Affording to travel the globe isn’t very economical for all, and the United States has amenities you can fly all over the world in search of (desert, snow, mountains, beaches, etc.). If you can swing a plane ticket to the UK, you certainly should since much of what Americans enjoy every day is equally adored in England. Sure, there will be cultural differences even though you both speak the same language, but visiting the gorgeous architecture and historical presence that only the UK can provide is entirely worth the trip!

  • Currency – Many don’t add up the currency exchange rate prior to going abroad. The current rate for a pound in the UK is $1 USD = $1.51 GBP so, for every American dollar you will need one and half dollars roughly to convert it into pounds. Euros are used in Europe primarily, but the pound is utilized all over the UK. Watch out for some venues that only accept chipped credit cards or cash throughout the UK, which is just a credit card that requires a PIN to make purchases in an attempt to decrease credit fraud.
  • Food – If you reside in a southern state in the US, odds are you’re accustomed to massive portion sizes when dining out, and such is just not the case in the UK. Many Americans actually travel to the UK and lose weight due to eating in smaller portions (and most likely walking around being tourists too).They serve on smaller plates to start with, and many places don’t use ice if you request a glass of water. {Just remember to ask for it, just a few tiny things to be aware of}
  • Weather – It isn’t uncommon for it to rain at some point every day for several days in a row in the UK, especially in England. Don’t be stuck getting soaked by an unexpected rainstorm, instead be prepared and take along a quality umbrella. Don’t forget the weather temperature will also be disclosed in Celsius versus the Fahrenheit that you currently associate hot and cold with.
  • Time – The 24 hour clock is utilized throughout the world, including the UK. For some reason, it just ever caught on in the United States, but if you don’t know how to tell “military time”, it’s best to brush up before you take flight if you’ll be there for a sizeable amount of time.
  • Traffic laws – For the most part, traffic laws are generally obeyed in the UK. In the states there’s a lot of speeding, people driving too slow in the passing lane, even police cars speeding and not obeying street signs. Don’t be surprised if you get a moving violation citation in the UK while visiting if you don’t play by the rules.
  • Driving – Don’t forget whilst in the United Kingdom you will be driving on the opposite side of the road. While the American driving side preference is actually more common throughout the world, you probably won’t take that long to figure it out. Be cautious of one way streets all over Great Britain, and try to avoid learning to drive with the locals during rush hour traffic times if possible until you get the hang of it.
  • Food Differences – You won’t come across any Chick-Fil-A’s or Taco Bell’s in the UK, but you will find some chain fast food spots that you’ll recognize to hit up. More importantly, if you traveled all the way to another part of the world, you should really embrace the country you’re visiting and dive into the local food. Some popular choices in the UK are fish and chips, Irish stew, Welsh Rarebit, Lamb dishes, beef meals, curry anything, and black pudding.

Some helpful links to make your UK experience go as smooth as possible:

Dining Options in London- (There is a lot to get caught up in while in London this should help)

Rental Cars for Hire-

Lodging in the UK-