Before You Go

Electricity


You will need an electrical adaptor/ converter in Britain because the electricity is 220/240 AC, 50 Hz. Outlets take plugs with three, square pins. If you plan to take appliances from home, be sure to buy a converter before you leave.

Time

Britain is on Greenwich Mean Time, which is one hour behind of the rest of Europe. In the winter it is 5 hrs ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Between the months of Mid-March and October, clocks are set ahead one hour to British Summer Time, which is equivalent to Central European Time. To check the time, you can call 123, the Speaking Clock Service.

Money


Britain’s currency is the pound sterling. £ Please note that Scotland has its own currency and that it is not always accepted in England and Wales. While most of Europe is converting exclusively to the Euro € in January of 2002, Britain is not.


Travelers Checks VS debit and credit cards.


The old standby Travelers checks work just as well now as ever, and if you like to use them, continue to do so. We think they are a hassle and have not used them in years. Practically every town in Britain has an ATM machine; usually they are connected to a bank. When we need cash, we go to an ATM. There are some right at the airport, so when we land, we head for the ATM for cash for our taxi or shuttle trip into London. 

We generally charge everything else. Our hotels, restaurants, gifts are all on our credit card. This is quite economical, as well. When we get our bill after returning home, we are amazed at how good the exchange rate is that we have received. 

It is only for extreme emergencies that we go to a Currency Exchange office, or exchange money at our hotel. The exchange rate is terrible. Your best bet, if you don’t want to use an ATM, is one of the main Banks such as Barclays, Lloyds, Midland, Royal Bank of Scotland or the National Westminster. 

Be sure to keep your credit card information (card number and number to call) in a safe place (not with you) when you are walking about. (We keep ours in the room or hotel safe along with our passports and airline tickets) That way, if your card is stolen you can report it easily. If you are a couple traveling together, by each of you carrying a different card, you will have at least one valid card if the other gets stolen.

Packing Hints


Think about what you would absolutely need to have the next day if your luggage were lost (medicine, clean underwear, reservation numbers, etc.) and pack them in your carry-on. Our luggage has been lost more than once and we did not get it back until the afternoon of the next day. It could happen to you.


We recommend that you take along:


A photocopy of your passport and account and phone numbers of your credit card companies; carry these in a separate place than your passport and credit cards. 

An extra pair of eyeglasses or a copy of your prescription.

Immodium (or another brand) for diarrhea. It is unlikely that you will have a problem in France; the water and food is very safe, but why take a chance. 

Electrical adapters and/or converters for 220/240-volt system.


Passports and Visas


Passports are necessary to enter and exit Britain. There are no special inoculations or vaccinations necessary. Visas are not required for citizens of: The European Union, United States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia.
For more information contact:British Embassy3100 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington DC, 20008


http://www.britainusa.com/consular/embassy/embassy.asp


For more information about traveling to Britain see:http://www.britainusa.com/

The British Counsel in the UShttp://www.britishcouncil-usa.org/index.shtml

Travelers Insurance


Travelers should consider carrying travelers insurance. There are many companies that sell travelers insurance. You can usually buy it through your travel agent or tour operator as well as by clicking onto the following link.