Tips for British Travelers Headed to the U.S.
Most Brits in the U.S. welcome guests from the Motherland from time to time. Expats are already used to the American life, but visitors are usually and understandably not.
If you’re a British traveler planning on a trip to the U.S., below are tips that can help you blend in more seamlessly with the locals:
Have your host’s full street address in handy because you’ll have to supply it on the immigration paperwork. Whether or not you have someone meeting you at the airport, authorities will still ask for the address where you plan to stay for the entire duration of your visit. Remember, it has to be complete.
If you’re visiting during summer, be sure to use some sunscreen when you’re outdoors. It can get extremely hot, especially in some areas. Even in northern cities such as Chicago, the lattitude is 42 N (to give you an idea, Leeds is 53.7 N).
When you’re in America, avoid talking about politics, guns, religion and other sensitive topics. Brits can have a heated argument with someone and a beer later on, but that’s generally not true for Americans, especially with people they hardly know.
Many Brits just don’t see how expensive medical treatment in the U.S. generally is. Note too that you may have to use your own money and then file for reimbursement when you go back to the U.K. In other words, prepare liquid funds when coming to the U.S.
Forget about packing some toiletries – you can buy them in the U.S. too. Besides, they weigh a ton and you’ll only end up wasting baggage allowance. Your host will have readied some toiletries for your use anyway.
When you go shopping, don’t assume that the visible price is all you need to pay. Sales tax, which applies to most states, won’t appear on the tag. And there’s no tourist tax refund as with VAT, though you may not have to pay tax if you’re shipping back to the U.K.
And speaking of shopping, be sure to leave ample room in your suitcase for that new wardrobe you’ll be buying. Many Brits splurge in the U.S. because prices are so much cheaper here compared to the U.K.
Lastly, when you go shopping at the grocery store, don’t bag your own goods. No one will expect you to, generally speaking, and if you try, you may even end up causing some fuss. Just wait for the checkout person to strut his thing. There are a few exceptions, and you can rely on your common sense for this one. If other customers are bagging their own goods, maybe you should too.