Planning A Trip To US? 10 Tips for Visiting Brits

Brits will undoubtedly experience more culture shock than they expected without brushing up on some rules and customs of American culture. Here are 10 helpful things UK visitors should keep in mind before crossing the Atlantic.

1. Apply For ESTA

It happens a lot – travellers often forget to acquire the right travel permits until their trip is only weeks or days away. For UK travellers flying out US, you will need to apply for an ESTA application (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). Why? ESTA was brought in for extra security measures to ensure the safety of visitors travelling to the United States of America (US) and is essentially a screening procedure to determine eligibility to travel to the US. An ESTA application is processed immediately after completing the online form and you should be able to receive your ESTA authorisation document within minutes if there are no delays, to up to 24 hours.

2. Research Current Weather Forecasts

Weather in the US varies dramatically between regions. Tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, ice storms and more can be un-welcomed surprises if you are not informed and prepared. The government organisation NOAA provides a great website where visitors can begin research into weather forecasts across the states.

3. Tip Your Servers

UK visitors often make the mistake of assuming American servers are paid in a similar fashion as their British counterparts. UK servers, of course, are paid at least the national minimum wage. However, US servers are typically paid less than the national current minimum wage. Income for US servers is heavily dependent on tips. A tip of around 15 to 20 percent of your bill is the bare minimum commonly expected.

4. Know Your Destination

Where are you going? Don’t fly all the way across the Atlantic for nothing. If you don’t have the address of the place where you intend to stay, officials will not allow you to enter the country.

5. Travel Smart, Get Insured

There are two types of insurance UK visitors to the US should consider taking out insurance for their trip. First, it is always wise to get insurance for things such as theft or loss while travelling anywhere. Many UK visitors make a huge mistake by neglecting to get health insurance for their US trip as well. Health insurance? The cost of US medical care and prescription drugs is extremely high without health insurance. Be smart, travel wise, and protect your money.

6. Price Tags

Going shopping in the US? Of course. Retail prices are a dream come true for UK visitors. Remember, however, price tags do not generally include sales tax.

7. Don’t Get Caught In Holiday Travel

When do American college students go on spring break? What day is Thanksgiving? Visiting the US on one of its busy travel days could mean spending your vacation trapped in an airport with stressed out travellers, or stuck in traffic for hours. Do some research into nightmare travel days in the US, and save yourself a major headache. Americans travel far and wide across the country on holidays to visit long distance relatives or take advantage of time off from work and school. You do not want to be a foreign tourist trying to negotiate the chaos.

8. Choose Your Own Adventure

The American landscape is not a singular sight. Do you know which part of the country you want to experience? There are fifty distinct states with a whole spectrum of choices including deserts, lush mountains, quaint towns, thriving metropolises, river, lakes, and beaches. California itself varies drastically between San Francisco in the north and San Diego along the US/Mexico border.

9. Travel Light

Why? There are two good reasons. First, you will need extra space for all of the new inexpensive clothing snatched up on your trip. Second, carrying toiletries from home is more of a burden than picking some up once you’re in the states.

10. No Swear Words

Places such as New York City are an exception, but generally Americans do not use many swear words openly in public. This can get UK visitors into a bit of trouble if they are unaware.


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