Travel tips for the United KingdomPosted by Martin Parker on
The United Kingdom has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, from the Scottish Highlands, through the Lake District, Snowdonia in Wales and the stunning beaches of Cornwall and Devon, you won’t be disappointed.
You will most likely need a travel adapter to connect and charge your devices, and a USB travel adapter is perfect. This allows you to charge several small devices while also connecting a laptop for example. But do check the voltage requirements of your items.
Traveling around the United Kingdom
Getting around to see all the sights is quite easy with a very good, if busy, motorway network and cheap internal flights. Train and bus travel will get you almost anywhere, but the cost of train tickets can be high.
There are a range of railcard options, that can save you up to a 1/3 of the ticket price if rail is your preferred option. Take a look at the Railcard website for more info.
Hiring a car is convenient, but bear in mind that some large cities now have charges for taking your car into the center. London has a daily congestion charge of £11.50 at the time of writing, and to be honest, you are just better off not having a car in London and using public transport instead. Parking can be difficult and expensive.
As London is probably the most popular destination for tourists, there are a few things to know about the London Underground. First, buy an Oyster Card and add some credit. It allows you to simply tap the card when you enter and tap the card when you leave and automatically charges the correct amount. Plus, the daily charge is capped. Another way is to use your contactless debit or credit card, which works the same as the Oyster card, with the added advantage that there is a weekly cap on what you will be charged. Remember to keep to the right when on the escalator, so people can get past you on the left.
Take clothes for all weathers, even in the summer
The old joke that “We’ve had summer in the UK this year, it was on the 15th June“, is quite fitting. It’s quite possible to have all four seasons in one day, and more than once! The further north, the more likely this is, particularly in Scotland where I’ve been caught in a blizzard in the middle of summer. Brits love to talk about the weather. It’s the natural go-to for making conversation with just about anyone.
English, but not as we know it!
Yes, we speak English in the UK, but you might not recognize it! My wife is American and we’ve been together for over five years, but we still sometimes don’t understand each other. I have a fairly generic accent, but travel to Scotland or the northeast of England and even I can struggle sometimes. Just be as polite as possible and ask them to slow down a little.
All national museums in the United Kingdom are free to enter and have been since 2001, so make the most of them. There are 21 national museums in London alone. Special areas or particular exhibitions may have a separate charge.
Many countries have agreements in place with the UK so that you don’t need to apply for a visa, particularly other European countries, but it’s always best to check this. The UK government website can help you check and plan your visa application.
The UK has reciprocal agreements with many countries, and Europeans from EU countries can use the EHIC for emergency medical care. Non-emergency and cost of repatriation won’t be covered, so you will still need health insurance for that.
The UK sometimes gets a bad rep for its food, but it’s not really fair. The cuisine has developed based around the weather, so warming, hearty food is typical. Definitely try fish and chips, covered in plenty of salt and vinegar, a Sunday roast, full English or Scottish breakfast (they are different!) or steak and ale pie. Of course, all the regions have their particular dishes as well, such as Cornwall’s pasty, Haggis in Scotland, cream tea’s in the southwest or Yorkshire pudding in the, well, Yorkshire! There is much to discover and some of the best are in the traditional British country pub.
With so much to see and do, remember to pack your USB travel adapter in your hand luggage. Missing out on the perfect photo opportunity just because your battery is flat, wouldn’t be funny.
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