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Tips for British Travelers Headed to the U.S.

Every now and then, Brits welcome guests visiting from the Motherland. While expats may already be used to the American life, visitors are naturally not.

If you’re a British traveler setting your sights on the U.S., these tips will help you blend in more easily:

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. Take note, it should be complete.

Hot 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 Chicago, which is in the north, the lattitude is 42N (to help yo upicture it out, Leeds is 53.7 N).

Controversial Topics

It’s best to avoid starting a discussion on delicate topics such as religion and politics. Brits can engage in a heated debate one minute and have a beer with their opponent the next, but Americans don’t usually do that, especially with strangers.

Insurance

A lot of Brits don’t realize just how pricey medical treatment in the U.S. 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, 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 can be heavy and you don’t want to waste your baggage allowance on them. Your host may have prepared toiletries for you anyway.

Shopping Expectations

When you shop, don’t think that the price you see is all you’ll have 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, 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.

Finally, when you shop for food and other items at the grocery store, don’t bag your own stuff. No one will expect you to, generally speaking, and if you try, you may even end up causing some fuss. 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 you see the other customers bagging their stuff, that’s your cue.

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