Tips for America-bound British Travelers
Most Brits in the U.S. welcome guests from the Motherland from time to time. While expats may already be used to the American life, visitors are naturally not.
If you’re a British traveler about to set foot in the U.S., these tips should make blending in with the locals so much easier:
Be prepared with your host’s full street address as you will need it for the immigration paperwork. Even if someone’s meeting you at the airport, you still need to give authorities an address for the entire duration of your stay in the U.S. Remember, it has to be complete.
If you’re coming in the summer, make it a point to use sunscreen when you’re outside. 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 argue with anyone and later have a beer with their debate opponent, but not Americans, especially if they hardly know the person.
There are so many Brits out there who just don’t see how expensive medical treatment in America can be. Also remember that you may have to pay from your own pocket and then apply for reimbursement on your trip back home. In other words, don’t come to the U.S. without liquid funds.
Don’t bother packing toiletries – you’ll find them in the U.S. too. Besides, they weigh a ton and you’ll only end up wasting baggage allowance. Your host may have prepared toiletries for you anyway.
When you shop, don’t think that the price you see is all you’ll have to pay. Most states have sales tax and you won’t find it 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, make sure you leave enough space in your suitcase for an entire new wardrobe you’ll be getting. Most Brits go wild shopping in the U.S. because everything is much cheaper compared tothe U.K.
Lastly, when you go shopping at the grocery store, don’t bag your own goods. Nobody expects you to, generally speaking, and you may even cause a bit of a fuss if you attempt. Just stand and wait for the checkout person to do their thing. There are going to be exceptions, and your common sense will tell you when you’re in one. If everyone else is bagging their own stuff, start bagging yours.