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 about to set foot in the U.S., these tips should make blending in with the locals so much easier:
Have your host’s full street address in handy because you’ll have to supply it on 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.
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 Chicago, which is in the north, the lattitude is 42N (to help yo upicture it out, Leeds is 53.7 N).
It’s best to avoid starting a discussion on delicate topics such as religion and politics. 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 short, don’t travel to the U.S. without any 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. Most probably, your host has bought some 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 such thing as a tourist tax refund, like with VAT, though you may not be taxed for 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. 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. Nobody expects you to, generally speaking, and you may even cause a bit of a fuss if you attempt. Just wait for the checkout person to strut his thing. There will be exceptions and you’ll have to trust your common sense for this. If everyone else is bagging their own stuff, start bagging yours.