England Travel Basics
What you need to know before you travel

On the whole, England travel is a fairly safe affair. And most of the conveniences you've come to expect from your home, will be available here.

For us, one of the joys of travel lies in the differences. Different coins, foods, ways of shoppping or getting around. And while dealing with the unexpected can be fun and rewarding, there are some levels of unexpectedness that can quickly ruin your holiday.

While camping in Iceland a few years ago, we came across a Hungarian tour group whose members were dressed for the Med, not the Arctic Circle. And while Iceland is one of the most magical places in the world, they hated every minute of it when a little planning, like checking the climate of the country they planned to see and pack accordingly would have gone a long way to turn the trip into a complete success.

So this page aims to get you started with some basic information about England and England travel.

Passports, Visas and Immigration

Every person entering the United Kingdom requires a passport. Citizens of some countries may also require a visa. Visas are issued by the British Embassy or Consulate in your country. If you need a visa to enter England you should apply early, as a delayed visa could mean that you have to cancel your trip.

There are restrictions on items you can and cannot bring into the country. For more details check out the page on England travel and customs information.




Health and Vaccinations

It's always good to be prepared for any emergencies, especially when travelling, so this England travel health advice page tells you what you need to consider before travelling to England and how to stay safe when you're here.


Currency and Credit Cards

The currency in England is the Pound Sterling (GBP), which is made up from 100 pence. The symbol for the currency is written £.

Coins come in denominations of £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. Notes can be £50, £20, £10, £5. Occasionally, especially when travelling in the north of England, you may see a £1 note. These are Scottish notes, but are legal tender across the UK.

Visa and Mastercard are accepted across the UK. I have repeatedly found that some retailers do not accept American Express. If you carry an American Express card, make sure you have an alternative available.

Cash machines are available in most towns at banks and supermarkets, at many petrol stations and motorway services. Most cash machines (ATMs) accept credit cards and in addition Solo, Maestro and Cirrus. Some cash machines, LINK for example, may charge a fee for drawing out any cash. Look for cash machines marked "Free cash withdrawal" if you want to avoid this feel

Travellers Cheques can be cashed at any Bureau de Change. Many hotels and High Street banks also cash Travellers Cheques.

Additionally, many supermarkets offer "cash back" facilities at their checkout tills, which is useful if you are paying by card and feel uncomfortable about using an ATM. The amount of cash you want to withdraw will be added to your bill and the checkout clerk will hand you the money.


Phones, Computers and Electrical Appliances

Check with your mobile phone provider before you leave that your phone will work in England. If your phone is compatible, make sure your provider enables International Roaming and keep an eye on the charges as you may also be charged when somebody from home calls you.

If you don't want to carry a mobile phone, many public telephones take both credit cards and phone cards. Phone cards can be bought from post offices, newsagents and many supermarkets. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-paid SIM card to use while you're in England. Please check with your mobile phone provider.

The telephone country code for England is 44. To call abroad from England dial 00, followed by the country code of the country you are trying to reach. For example 00 49 would be the code for Germany.

In the UK, phone numbers consist of an area code (02xxx for London and 01xxx for the rest of the country) followed by the phone number of the person you are trying to reach. The phone book lists people in alphabetical order by their surnames. For local businesses, the Yellow Pages are a good start. Local taxi companies often advertise in hotels, pubs and restaurants and staff there will be happy to provide the numbers.

Electricity is supplied at 240V, 50 Hz. The plug has three pins, so ensure you bring an adaptor for your phone charger and any other electrical items, as discussed on this page. Should you forget, then electrical adaptors can be purchased at the airport, or from stores such as Boots, Argos, Dixons or Curries. Many supermarkets also offer adaptors either in the section selling electrical goods or alongside travel items.

If you're bringing a laptop computer on your England travel, it will definitely need a power adaptor. Should you like to keep in touch with your relatives back home without lugging a laptop about, many hotels offer internet access. Internet cafes are also increasingly common and are found in most towns.


Pets

Britain has been free of rabies for many years, and all import and export of animals is strictly controlled. You must not bring animals into Britain, unless they have been vaccinated and been issued with an animal health passport.

Please check that you have the correct documentation and that your pet complies with it before you bring it, as you may have to leave your pet in quarantine.



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England's a developed civilised country. So England travel should - on the whole - be enjoyable and troublefree. Planning your trip, bringing the right gear and being prepared for the unexpected should take care of any snags you might encouter during your England travel. And if you come across any information that might help other travellers, then please let me know, so I can pass it on.


Return to the Travel Tips page for more information