11 Things Every Business Traveler Should Know Before Going to England
By: Lynda McNutt Foster, CEO, Cortex Leadership Consulting
Allen and I took a holiday (that’s what the Brits call vacation) for a week in London, then York, England. This week we’ll be facilitating some leadership training in a town called Andover which is about an hour from London.
Fries are Chips
In England, chips are fries. That’s where the term “fish and chips” comes from. What we call chips, they call crisps. No problem, when you say something incorrectly, they will quickly correct you.
Cents are pence.
It cost to pee. No really. Twice we had to pee and we were out of luck because we had pounds not pence. When we did have pence we did not have the right amount of pence to get in. Ended up eating somewhere for 20 pounds because we didn’t have 40 pence to pee.
Dollars are pounds.
Important to note that there is a significant exchange rate. 1.37 dollars equal a pound. That meal we signed for 20 on our credit card for was actually almost 28 bucks. Not looking forward to getting the full statement next month. Ouch!
Restrooms are toilets.
Yes, the restrooms have toilets, but they call the restrooms toilets so don’t look for signs to point you to a restroom, the signs say TOILETS. And remember, bring your pence if you are in a train station or public area like a park.
You’ll need a converter or two.
You’ll be quite surprised after your overnight flight and train ride to London when you plop down in your hotel room and want to charge up your phone, iPad and Computer. Oh, yeah, there are ample outlets none of which will work unless you have a converter for each one.
Your blow dryer can kill you.
Really. Plug that puppy into a converter and it immediately gets hot as hell. It is like a Camero engine at 150 miles an hour. The end of it gets red as fire. Turns out your blow dryer in the states is designed for 110 watts and they run on 220. Clearly a big difference that other appliances like your phone is okay with. Your blow dryer is not. Leave that at home.
Pants are Trousers.
This one is important because pants mean underwear. You could see how that could lead to some embarrassment or confusion at a closing store or in a casual conversation after work.
Your check is a bill.
Ask for your bill at the end of your meal, not your check and stay as long as you like without tipping.
They call your check a bill and don’t rush you if there are only 4 others in the stamp size restaurant you are in. They think it’s rude to bring you your bill. Same thing in Puerto Rico. Relax, enjoy your meal and your company. They are not in any hurry to turn your table.
Their taxis are cute.
Uber is cheaper but the taxis are just so convenient and cute! The little black rides are adorable which makes it seem like a treat to ride in one of them. The British accents are charming and they zip you through London in no time flat.
Breaks are Tea Times.
They really do break for tea at about 10:30am and 3:00pm. The first time we taught here the nice lady from the hotel came in to our training and announced “tea time”. I said thank you and kept going as we were right in the middle of something. I quickly came to the understanding that tea time is not optional, so plan around it.
Your phone might be useless. Try WhatsApp.
I’ve had US Cellular for about 20 years now. I love them when we’re traveling in the US. They suck overseas. When I called them to find out what I needed to do the very nice man on the other end suggested that I get a track phone once I got to my destination. We chose instead to try a free service that you can download known as WhatsApp. It’s an app. You can use it for free when you are connected to the internet. That’s the trick, right. “Hooked to the internet” are the key words. It’s fantastic if the other person you want to talk to uses WhatsApp, too (like FB, it’s impossible to talk to someone on FB who doesn’t have an account). Free text, you can send all the pictures and videos you want, and you can even make a call on video on WhatsApp. If, you have a WiFi connection. Imagine splitting up to go to different stores for a period of time. Nope, can’t just expect to send a text because the other person may not have signed on to the internet where they are at or the place may not have WiFi at all, like in the small shops, or in the museums, etc.
I will apologize now for anyone who was traveling overseas, got a Monti text and was dying to answer it, except they couldn’t or it would cost them 40-80 cents to do so. I got one and told Monti to go fly a kite while I am away.
We have another week here so I am sure that I will be able to add to this list at some point down the road. It’s been an amazing, wonderful, romantic, magical week that we won’t soon forget. Now… back to work tomorrow to make work fun again for a group of talent leaders.
I love my J.O.B.