Tips for America-bound British Travelers

01 Dec

Most Brits living in the U.S. will have some guests coming over from the Mother Country. While expats may already be used to the American life, visitors are naturally not.

If you're a British traveler at planning on a trip to the U.S., below are tips that can help you blend in more seamlessly with the locals:

Complete Address

Be ready with your host's complete street address. - you need to write it down for the immigration paperwork. Even if you have a friend or family member waiting for you at the airport, you still have to give authorities your address for the whole period of your visit. Remember, it has to be complete.

Hot Summers

If you're visiting in the summer, slap on some sunscreen when going outside. It can get very hot in the U.S., especially in certainly places. Northern cities like Chicago has a lattitude of 42 N (just to give you an idea, Leeds is 53.7 N. Get British Travel Advice here!

Controversial Topics

When you're in the U.S., it may be best to avoid talking about sensitive issues like guns or religion or politics. 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.

Medical Insurance

Many Brits just don't see how expensive medical treatment in the U.S. generally is.  Also remember that you may have to pay from your own pocket and then apply for reimbursement on your trip back home. In short, don't travel to the U.S. without any liquid funds.


Don't pack all those toiletries - they sell 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.

Shopping Practices

When shopping, don't assume that the price you see is exactly what you'll 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, leave enough space in your suitcase for all the new clothes you'll be buying. A lot of Brits indulge while they're in the U.S. where prices can be drastically cheaper compared to back home. 

Lastly, when you go shopping at the grocery store, don't bag your own goods. You're not expected to in most cases, and you ay even cause a little fuss if you try. Simply stand and wait for the checkout person to do the task. There are a few exceptions, and you can rely on your common sense for this one. If you see the other customers bagging their stuff, that's your cue.

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