We’re going to talk about the typical American tourist in Great Britain. We’ve all seen them; we’ve all felt the embarrassment transferring onto us, while looking at their behavior, while not being in their natural habitat. And in Britain, of all places!
They’re pretty easy to spot if you’re looking for them; they’re usually in large groups, near a large tour bus that’s parked near a McDonalds.
They usually have no idea what they’re doing, where they’re going or how they’re supposed to act.
Even though they spend huge sums of hard earned money on their travels, they don’t give a second thought to actually learning about the place where they’re going.
Not to mention the customs or general thoughts upon certain matters. At least they already speak English. It’s fair to mention that, even though this article mainly addresses the typical American tourist, it is a general guide for all people, nationalities aside, on how to deal with Britain a bit easier.
First of all, leave you fanny packs and Nike’s at home. Having a fanny pack basically transcends to “laugh at me and then mug me.” They’re not that useful and you scream “tourist”. Also, Nike’s (or any other) gym shoe may be really comfortable (that’s why we wear them while exercising) but try to find an at least slightly elegant shoe, that can be comfortable too. Ever heard of loafers of moccasins?
Who likes short shorts? The British don’t. Yes, Britain may get pretty warm in the summer but you won’t see much of native legs walking around, half exposed in shorts. This is not the Caribbean, you know.
Be careful in traffic! This may sound funny, because it’s a general rule in life, but you know that they drive on the other side of the road in Britain. That means that the traffic comes from the right when you’re crossing a street, so look right always!
Also, always keep to the right when walking up a flight of stairs or an escalator, so you can allow people who are in a hurry to pass you by. That way you’ll get out of their way and they won’t run into you.
Don’t insult the cabbies in the Black London Taxis! Their trade requires years of training and memorizing every street in London, so they know how to get you where you want to go faster and better than you, trust us. Also, never take the mini-cab. They will rip you off.
Don’t talk about politics, the War (any of them!), don’t complain about anything (especially the rain, bring a umbrella for God’s sake) and don’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk looking at a map. Step off to the side and discretely look if you’re lost.
And finally, don’t tip anyone, not the waiter, cabbie nor bellhop. There is not tipping culture in the UK and the Brits are paid a decent wage for their job and there is a service charge already tacked onto your bill, so they don’t expect to be tipped. They even might get offended.
Speaking of waiters, the meal portions are quite smaller in Britain. Deal with it.