Even though I am now location independent, I learned a few things about the U.K. as a native to England.
Here, I’ll outline five things to keep in mind the next time you visit the United Kingdom or even if it’s your first time visiting this diverse country.
1) You Generally Don’t Need a Visa if You’re from an English-Speaking Country
In most cases, you don’t need a visa to visit the U.K. if you’re from an English-speaking country. You can check online at www.gov.uk if you aren’t sure.
Even if you don’t need a visa, everyone needs a valid passport to travel to the U.K. Plan your trip accordingly by giving this document enough time to process, as it can take up to 2 months to do so.
2) The U.K. Uses Pounds, Not Euros
Even when the U.K. was part of the E.U., the U.K. used British pounds (GBP) rather than the standard euros. Now that the U.K. is no longer a part of the E.U. as of January 31, 2020, it doesn’t look like the U.K. will be switching over to euros anytime soon. Some shops in the U.K. will accept euros, but you will receive any change in pounds. Plus, any money withdrawn from ATMs is shown in pounds.
Be aware of the exchange rate and how it will affect your spending. For example, if you’re from the U.S., your exchange rate will be 1 USD to about 0.77 GBP.
3) Don’t Automatically Opt for Public Transportation
The U.K. is known for its public transportation, and you’ll often hear warnings against renting a car. Public transportation enthusiasts will recommend the subway, trains, or buses as reliable and inexpensive ways to get around.
While you can explore the U.K. via transportation or even on foot in some parts, you shouldn’t overlook the convenience of renting a car. With the right research, you can find an affordable deal that aligns with your travel plans. For example, if you’re planning on visiting as a specific city or town, look for local car rental places. For example, you can search something like car hire Bradford where you can compare more than 500 suppliers of rental cars. With a rental car secured, you have more mobility to explore fascinating places like the stunning Pennines or cultural Todmorden markets.
Ultimately, the form of travel you choose is up to you. Do you want to be in control, or would you prefer someone else who knows where they’re going to take you around the U.K.? Consider how long you’re staying and where you want to go to make the most economical choice regarding transportation.
4) Ensure the Place You’re Staying Has Accommodation If You Need It
The U.K. is a fascinating place filled with a rich history, but some of its buildings may not have updated accommodations for those with limited mobility. If you or any of your travel companions have disabilities, make sure that you book a hotel that has wheelchair accessibility, lifts, and wide doorways.
5) Take Advantage of Free Things to Do
With all the money that you’ll be spending to travel to the U.K., you should take advantage of anything free that there is to do. Whether that be exploring the countryside or visiting no-admission museums, you can see a lot for no cost. Some of the best free museums in the U.K. that you should try to visit:
- British Museum
- National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh
- Tate Modern and Tate Britain
- Natural History Museum in London
- World Museum Liverpool
- Coventry Transport Museum
Make the Most of Your International Travel
Traveling internationally can be expensive and stressful without proper planning. As long as you give yourself adequate time to map out your vacation using these guidelines, you will be rewarded with an incredibly memorable trip! Try to stick to a general plan, but feel free to throw in some spontaneity as you see fit.