When in Britain you may discover very quickly you need deep pockets, Sticker Shock is a fact of life for the American tourist, from gasoline prices to candy bars! From hotel tariffs to your morning cup of Joe! Don’t expect that Free refill of coffee, you will inevitably be charged for that second and third cup!
What ever you are used to spending in the U.S.A for every day needs, expect to double it, and in some cases triple your spending in Britain ( A Statistical Fact! Britain has one of the top 3 most expensive capitols in the world)
There is no doubt that a bargain is only relative to Brits themselves! what they consider a bargain or sale price, we look at as being overpriced!
There are very few establishments that offer Happy Hours, Ladies Nights, or even Guys Nights, along with complimentary snacks, that we in the U.S, have come to expect in many American Bars, Restaurants and Clubs! For example: Each morning in the States stores like Sams Club and Costco offer Free coffee, danish, and fresh fruit, and again at Lunch offer tasty samples of a variety of fresh cooked items for it’s business members, which I believe are all sound marketing strategies! This successful approach to acknowledging ones clientele, and to promoting ones business is quintessentially an American attribute, and virtually non existent in Britain!
Want to use the bathrooms, some gas stations supermarkets and restaurants have them, and some do not, Public Bathrooms if you can find them, have opening and closing times, (I wish I could say the same for my bodily functions!!) along with a charge to relieve ones self, expect to place 50 cents in a slot (correct change needed) and go through a turnstile to enter, (in London double that cost) if you have no change, and in danger of having an accident, Then the closest shrubbery may be your only option !!
Parking everywhere is at a premium,Want to visit Grandma at the local Hospital! Then expect to pay “Heavily” for parking, If of course you can find a spot!! good luck with that one!! Even the Traditional English Garden is undergoing a transition, slowly sucoming to an ugly cement slab in ones front yard to accommodate parking for the family’s many vehicles! So you see parking is a major issue everywhere in the populated area’s, all attributed to the incessant love affair the Brits have with their automobiles, This cause and effect, is the primary driver of limited parking and high parking costs in many parts of the U.K.!
However I’m just scratching the surface of what can be an overwhelming sticker shock experience, and at times inconvenience, so plan on bringing lots of $$$, and taking things as they come! It’s all about coughing up the cash, while understanding they do things a Little differently in Britain!!! My advice, Don’t make U.S. comparisons to the Brits themselves they will probably think you are bragging and wind up hating you for it! besides no one likes to be told their country has flaws and faults! Keep reminding yourself when purchasing something, or settling your dinner tab that this is Britain and not the U.S.A, Calmly dig out the Plastic, and quietly mutter to yourself “I’m on vacation” and it may all seem less painful!
An extra couple of unrelated side notes to be aware of!! Firstly there is always that charmingly dependable English weather to look forward to! Rain and more Rain! Keep your fingers crossed the Rain Gods are asleep when you are there! It’s this very same climate inconsistency and wishing good value for money, that force many Brits to warmer climes for their own vacations! My second tip is, to avoid driving in or through large towns and cities,they can be the cornerstone of grid lock and bottle necks! And here’s a great little insider tip! Always expect the unexpected when driving around Britain, Its quite common to see a Greyhound Bus, Mack Truck, or Combine Harvester, barreling towards you on back roads that were clearly designed for a Horse and Buggy! These back roads are without a doubt quaint, charming and beautiful, while offering splendid sights to see of the real Britain! but be aware they can be daunting and tricky to drive!
This Blog is not intended to upset or offend any British Patriots (although I’m sure it might, as the truth often offends those in denial!!) It is however just this Bloggers truthful facts, observations, and current hands on experience of what to expect and not to expect for their vacationing Cousins from the U.S of A.
Ta Ta for now, Happy Travels!
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