Just across the sea is one of our beloved neighbors, the United Kingdom. Though the collective country may be small, its packed full of quirks, strange road rules, and a drinking culture that puts America to shame. Check out this quick guide to visiting the UK to make sure you’re prepared.
A Quick Guide to Visiting the UK
Making Sure You’re Passport & Visa Ready
Did you know that if you’re from an English speaking country that you don’t need a visa in the UK? You can even stay up to 6 months before having to acquire one. As long as your passport doesn’t expire until after you return(even safer if it doesn’t expire for 6+months after) and you have one blank page for the entry stamp, you are good to go.
Get Your Money in Order
As most people know, if you plan to carry cash then you need to exchange your money for the correct currency. The UK never conformed to using the euro so you will need to have your money exchanged for British pounds. Though cash is nice for exploring little shops and areas, a debit/credit card is the fastest and easy way to handle money.
Due to adding chips in our cards here in the USA finally, all you need to do is inform your bank of your travel plans and you’re set. However, forgetting to do this can flag your card and cause a ton of pain to reactivate its use.
Grab a Burner Phone
Unless you enjoy racking up hundreds of dollars in international roaming fees, then you better grab a burner phone. A burner phone is a cheap, no frills cell phone you can grab when you arrive. If you can’t find one when you arrive just ask your hotel or a tour guide to lead you in the right direction.
Book Your Accommodations
Yes, you can cross your fingers and hope that you find a place to sleep via couch surfing but the safest route is to book your accommodations in advance. Though it’s not common, there have been many horror stories out there of traveler’s couch surfing and not living to see the light of day again. Play it safe and save some money by booking your accommodations with a discount instead of becoming a headliner in the morning.
Learn the Rules of the Road
Though in the UK they drive on the left side of the road, their signs are in miles per hour and miles for distance like the USA. If you aren’t use to everything being backwards in your car or if you’re having trouble figuring it out then opt for other means of transportation.
If having everything on the left side is no problem for you then start planning your UK road trip with these thoughts in mind.
- There is no such thing as right on red of left on red.
- Roundabouts are very common so make sure you are in the correct lane before entering.
- It is illegal to stop in box junctions unless your exit is clear of your turning right.
- Between the hours of 11:30 pm and 7:00 am, you must not use your horn unless absolutely necessary.
- Diesel fueled cars a heavily used so make sure you are filling up with the right fuel or face heavy fines!
- Using a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden.
In the UK the legal drinking age is 18 so don’t be alarmed when you see a younger crowded enjoying themselves to a brew. Drinking a huge past time and pubs can become so crowded that they spill over into the streets which is totally legal here. The UK has a vibrant nightlife so feel free to get out there an enjoy! Oh and yes, the tap water is safe to drink!
Be Camera Ready
While your hopping on ferries and enjoying the open road don’t forget to have your camera ready. The UK is full of beautiful spots you’ll want to pull over and capture. The photo ops are endless so make sure to take advantage of the gorgeous scenery while you can.