Heading to the UK in the coming weeks or months? A trip to Britain is one you’ll remember for years to come, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t preparation steps you’ll first need to adhere to. Today, let’s run through five tips you’ll need to remember ahead of your next adventure.
1. It isn’t the fairy-tale you imagined
It sounds like we’re kicking things off on a downer – and I suppose in a way we are – but the UK isn’t the picturesque postcard image you might have come to expect from years of stereotypical television portrayals. That’s not a bad thing though, with the real UK offering far more grit and character.
As the Huffington Post debunk, most commonly held stereotypes about British people simply aren’t true. While they do drink a lot of tea, you aren’t likely to stumble across many gentlemen tipping their hats to you on the streets of Slough or Birmingham.
2. UK airport customs
Just like with any of the world’s more influential countries, the UK has sadly become something of a target in recent years. As such, there’s a relatively strict procedure in place for what you can and can’t bring through customs.
1cover highlight what is and isn’t allowed through, with a maximum of the following being the absolute most you’ll be able to bring into the country:
- 16 litres of beer (or 1 litre of alcohol)
- 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars/250 grams of tobacco)
- A “reasonable” amount of perfume
3.Avoid larger notes
When you convert your currency into UK pounds, make sure you avoid getting any £50 notes. If you’re unfamiliar with British sterling, this amounts to an excessive level of money (enough for 3 people to eat a starter and main in a pub), and is unsurprisingly not accepted in most stores as a result.
Even a £20 note is often frowned upon by most cashiers, but it will at least be accepted. The main reason for this is the amount of change which’d have to be handed back to a customer would make managing the till for the rest of the day basically impossible.
If you’re looking for a traditional taste of British pub grub at an affordable price, you’d be wise to hit up the best value-for-money UK food and drink chain available. Wetherspoons can be found in literally any major town or city and offer decent enough food for the price you’re paying.
Don’t expect gourmet cuisine – but do prepare yourself for a hearty, tasty and realistic sample of what most people in the UK are used to eating on a relatively consistent basis. Pint prices are also cheap as dirt, so you’re in for a good night.
5. Use your card on the tube
While Commuterclub highlight the debate which rages over whether locals should stick with Oyster Cards or use contactless payment, it’s without question better value for holidaymakers to avoid the older method.
An Oyster Card in itself will set you back £10-15 – which is already more than the difference you’ll be paying for just a few days’ worth of travel using contactless. Unless you’re planning a month-long stay, avoiding the Oyster is definitely worth your while. Word to the wise – you won’t be able to use cash on buses, so make sure you swipe your card when you get on one.
Have these tips helped to give you something to think about ahead of your upcoming trip? Remember to bear them in mind before you travel. It could make all the difference.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.