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Tips for Brits Traveling to the U.S.

Every now and then, Brits welcome guests visiting from the Motherland. 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:

Your Address

Be prepared with your host’s full street address as you will need it for the immigration paperwork. Whether or not you have someone meeting you at the airport, authorities will still ask for the address where you plan to stay for the entire duration of your visit. Keep in mind that it must be complete.

Hot Summers

If you’re visiting in the summer, slap on some sunscreen when going outside. It can get extremely hot, especially in some areas. Northern cities like Chicago has a lattitude of 42 N (just to give you an idea, Leeds is 53.7 N.

Controversial Topics

When you’re in America, avoid talking about politics, guns, religion and other sensitive topics. 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.

Medical 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 short, don’t travel to the U.S. without any liquid funds.

Toiletries

Don’t pack all those toiletries – they sell them in the U.S. too. Besides, they’re heavy and they’ll make you waste your baggage allowance. Your host may have prepared toiletries for you anyway.

Shopping Practices

When shopping, don’t assume that the price you see is exactly what you’ll 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, be sure to leave ample room in your suitcase for that new wardrobe 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.

Finally, when you go grocery shopping, avoid bagging 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 a few exceptions, and you can rely on your common sense for this one. If everyone else is bagging their own stuff, start bagging yours.

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