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Tips for America-bound British Travelers

Most Brits in the U.S. welcome guests from the Motherland from time to time. Expats may already be accustomed to life in America, but understandably, visitors are 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:

Your 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. Take note, it should be complete.

Scorching Summers

If you’re coming in the summer, make it a point to use sunscreen when you’re outside. It can get very hot in the U.S., especially in certainly places. Even in northern cities such as Chicago, the lattitude is 42 N (to give you an idea, Leeds is 53.7 N).

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 argue with anyone and later have a beer with their debate opponent, but not Americans, especially if they hardly know the person.

Medical Insurance

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.

Toiletries

Forget about packing some toiletries – you can buy them in the U.S. too. Besides, they’re heavy and they’ll make you waste your baggage allowance. Your host will have readied some toiletries for your use anyway.

Shopping Expectations

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 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. Most Brits go wild shopping in the U.S. because everything is much cheaper compared tothe U.K.

Finally, when you shop for food and other items at the grocery store, don’t bag your own stuff. 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 will be exceptions and you’ll have to trust your common sense for this. If other customers are bagging their own goods, maybe you should too.

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