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HomeCultureLondonism: 10 Things Not to do in London - London Travel Etiquette

Londonism: 10 Things Not to do in London – London Travel Etiquette

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Londoners are a steely lot and sometimes it can be easy for a tourist to get on their nerves. So, we thought it would be fun to put together a list of things a tourist should not do when they come to London.

Do Not Ride the Tube During Rush Hour

The Tube is a tool used by Londoners to get to and from work. It’s sole reason to exist is to move commuters around – not for the entertainment of tourists. That means that during rush hour, the Tube means business. It’s crowded, it’s hot, it’s prone to problems. That said, Londoners are pretty annoyed when groups of tourists hog the commuting space on the Tube when it’s already hard enough to find a seat. As an aside, if you travel with Luggage on the Tube during Rush Hour, you will quite possibly be visually murdered by everyone in the Tube car. Rush hour runs from roughly from 6am-10am and from 4-6pm.

Do Not Stand on the left on the Escalators

This one is simple and there are even signs pointing this out, but people still ignore them. Do not stand on the left on an escalator. The left is the ‘passing lane’ where people in more of a hurry than you pass you by. Don’t get in their way. Stand on the right. Please.

Do Not Stand in the middle of the sidewalk looking at a map

If you’re lost, don’t just stop in the middle of the sidewalk to study your map or your iPhone. Go off to the side to find your way so you don’t get into anyone’s way.

Do Not Take a Mini-cab under any circumstances

Only take licensed Black Cabs – never take a mini-cab, they’re unregulated and the drivers don’t have to learn London’s street like a Black Cab driver has to (they rely on GPS devices).

Do Not Complain about the Rain

It’s London, it could rain at any moment. Really it doesn’t rain that much at all. But there’s no use complaining about it. Carry an umbrella and be prepared. London in the rain is sublime and lovely.

Do Not Talk about Politics

As an American or a tourist from any other country, you have no right to comment on the Politics of Britain. You’re not a local, you’ll never understand it like locals and you’re bound to offend somebody. You may think it’s cool to talk about Politics back home, but again don’t. No one is interested and you probably won’t like what Brits have to say about your politics. Just avoid the subject entirely until you really know someone and are comfortable covering the topic.

Do Not Flash Your Cash

Tourists have a tendency to flash their cash around – whether it’s paying for things on the street, counting their money or taking out a wad of cash and then asking the waiter how to figure out the bill. British money is not hard to figure out. Always keep a running tally in your head so you don’t have to whip out your cash and start counting. This will also protect you from thieves as well as not annoy a local.

Do Not Complain about your Neighborhood or Hotel

Londoners are a geographically loyal lot – I would not recommend complaining about your hotel, neighborhood or anything about London really. You may not like what’s said back to you.

Do Not Compare with Life Back home

This relates to the previous point. Don’t spend time comparing things in London to things back home. Don’t complain their streets aren’t on a grid system or that you come from an area with better weather. It’s just rude to say where you come from is better than London – why did you go there? Things are DIFFERENT in London. The sooner you learn and accept this, the better.

Do Not Talk with Loud Volume

We’ve heard this from many of our London friends – Americans (and to some extant Australians) speak a few notches louder on the volume scale than Londoners do. It’s not intentional – it’s just the way we are. We’re loud. But when travelling in London – turn it down a few notches. Londoners will appreciate it.

Are you a Londoner? What tip would you have for a tourist? What should they NOT do when in London?

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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  1. Remember to go up stairs on the left and down on the left rather than on the right as in the States. Don’t refer to the Revolutionary War, they don’t call it that there! I loved it in London, Wales and throughout Britain. The citizens were great. I was there on the day when Tony Blair announced his resignation and saw all the cameras and networks set up near #10 Downing Street. The rain was very light in London although it did pour in Oxford. I did have to replace my umbrella as there is heavy rain. Sweatshirts are cheap in the Spring and T-Shirts are cheap in the Fall.

  2. I am always baffled when someone gives the advice about not talking about the “Revolutionary War” or whatever you want to call it with Britons. I have been married to my English husband for 16 years and I don’t think we’ve ever really had a “discussion” about it throughout the course of our marriage. We did talk about it a bit when we moved back to the USA and our children were studying it in school. I have no clue why anyone would bring it up ON A HOLIDAY in the UK.

    • somewhat like my wife (the fiancee) who thought we could sit down and have a nice after lunch TV watching session..her choice of film?? The Pariot…about 1/3 into it she suddenly realized what it was…the look on her face was magnificent 🙂

      For the most part, we English realy do not care about it as King Georgie only sent 3rd rate troops to sort it out, the first line ones were over in mainland Europe beating the heck out of Napolean and the French as usual 🙂

      oh yes.. Europe.. Britain is NOT Europe…they are the funny foreigners over the channel..ok?? 🙂

      • I was in England for the first time ever for Christmas 2013 and had NO CLUE Britons did not consider themselves Europeans! I figured I was in “Europe”! It took me a while to ‘get it straight’ in my head. By the time I left three weeks later, I had it down and was working on my Cambridge accent 😉 Britain is Britain and then there’s everyone else. But this brings up a curiosity: What’s Ireland then? I understand N. Ireland is Britain. What’s the Southern part of Ireland? Part of Europe or Ireland is similar to Britain in that it’s just Ireland? Just wonderin’; never thought about it before.

      • Just a clarification: the Napoleonic Wars took place in the early 1800s and the Revolutionary War took place in the 1770s. So, no English troops were not “beating the heck” out of Napoleon at the same time as the Revolutionary War was taking place. How we suffer because history is not longer taught in schools!

    • While not the Napoleonic Wars there was a MUCH wider conflict going on at the same time as the Revolutionary War.

  3. One other thing – don’t complain about the size of your hotel room. Hotel rooms, especially B&Bs in London are not resorts. They are a bed to sleep in and generally a bathroom that has been converted from a closet. They are old Victorian buildings where each room was converted from its original status to a room where you can sleep. You will not get a bathtub. Most bathrooms that are en-suite have a toilet, a small sink, and a pre-fabricated shower. You won’t have a lot of space in your room either.

    Also, DO NOT make phone calls from your hotel room. The charges they tack on are astronomical. I called a friend once on his cellphone, we talked for about a half hour, and it cost me £60!!

    And finally, when they say bed and breakfast, don’t expect to have your breakfast the way you want it. Very few places scramble eggs. They only know how to make a fried egg, bacon, beans and tomatoes. Most kitchen and wait staff in B&Bs do not have English as their first language, so asking for something other than what they intend to bring you will result in a “NO”. If you want an omelet, or scrambled eggs, look for a restaurant near your hotel and skip the breakfast at the B&B. If you stay at a B&B in the countryside, you will be more inclined to find one that is more accommodating as far as this is concerned, but not in London.

    • That is a load of cobblers!! As aLonbderner who has stayed at B&B’s a lot in London, you get what you ASK for…don not wait until they bring your food to the table, of the buffet. ASK the proprietor the evening before and I am sure most, if not all, of them will accomodate you….but then you have to ask POLITELY!!! not in the whiny complaining manner that most American routists seem to have!

      B&B’s are NOT Denny’s or IHOP or similar and most people/tourists want to eat a good full ENGLISH breakfast..after all you are staying in the English Capitol!!! Have a REAL slice of bacon, not the fatty excuse for it that is found in America 🙂

      • Went to Blackpool, the owner of the Hotel asked if I wanted any special kind of breakfast, I thanked him and said “I am fine with the breakfast” Loved my little pokey room, the tiny shower and everything about the old building. Best Holiday I ever had.

      • Understand the “No’s” fully, sometimes talk about politics, always some off the color remark about us “Yanks” but nothing to harsh. Was lucky to live there for 3 years, had a great time, miss the rain, the weather and those funky rooms. Full English Breakfast, Fish and Chips, and a room temp “Pint”.

      • Besides, if you fill up with a full English (or Welsh) breakfast, you might save some money on lunch. 🙂
        I’m staying at my first B&B in Wales this month. Cannot WAIT.

      • you are so right,there is nothing as good as English bacon!! I love it and a full cooked English breakfast is the most wonderful way to start a big day of just wandering about London or anywhere in the UK.

      • “…you have to ask POLITELY!!! not in the whiny complaining manner that most American routists seem to have!” I understand why some people feel the need to caution Americans about being polite, as it’s more acceptable for customers to complain in America than it is in Britain. However, I take exception to the charge that “most” Americans adopt a whiny, complaining manner in asking for what they want. As a born-and-bred American (Californian), I can attest that most Americans are polite when they ask for things. The ones who aren’t are just (naturally) going to draw more attention.

      • My daughter and I are from California. We’ve traveled to London half a dozen times. Lots of good advice here. The general tone kind of comes across sounding as if Londoners are a bunch of grouchy people who are easily offended and annoyed. I think that’s just because the article is focusing on avoiding doing things that offend and annoy (for good reason). So, to anyone reading this who has never been to Britain/London, be assured that you’ll find plenty of polite, kind and friendly people. Just do your homework so that you know how not to accidentally be a jerk, and you will love it!

    • I usually stay in the cheaper hotels that are booked through British Airways and they all have a tub. Try the Bedford Inn in Bloomsbury – one of my personal favourites – which is clean, convenient and most accommodating, but not fancy .

  4. As a Brit living in the USA I find this one more than a little condescending. How would you feel if an American blog printed a list of things Brits shouldn’t do in America?
    DON’T complain about the distances you have to travel in the USA to get anywhere
    DON’T complain about how hot and humid it is in Florida in August
    DON’T tell us how we should adopt an NHS style of health care

    and I could go on. Tourists are the same everywhere, they are bloody annoying to the locals, and Brits in the USA do all of the things you have listed above.

    • Andy – we don’t mean it in a condescending way. We’re Americans and these are things that tourists do that annoy even us. A post about things Brits shouldn’t do in America would be a lot of fun! 🙂

      • Pretty much the same common sense ones you mentioned. But I’ve never heard of an American guide of “What not to do” Did I speak too loud?

    • Right on! as a born and bred NYer, almost all of the above apply just as easily to Manhattan ( “the city”)
      We get just as annoyed at tourists, foreign or not. I think its just part of the culture of living in such thriving, crowded, busy metropolises( metropolii?)

  5. You are really advising tourists not to ride the tube during rush hour? Do you know how long rush hour lasts in London? Perhaps better advice would be to not block the entrance to the train when getting on and off, to know where you are going before you get to the tube, but to say not to ride the tube at all during rush hour is impractical.

    • I totally agree! I live in Orlando and this is like telling all the tourists around Disney not to use I-4 during rush hour because I need to get to and from work…Don’t get me wrong I would love that! But I chose to live and commute in Orlando…they chose to live in London…both cities are huge tourist destinations! If you don’t like the tourists move! Transportation is designed for everyone! Tourists are where you get money to build transportation. Telling tourists not to use it half of the day is impractical and absurd!

      Points on how to not be annoying on the tube would have been more helpful. Just like here it would be more practical to tell tourists to map out where you are going before, know when your turn is coming up and get in that lane in advance, and do the speed limit!

      This article has some good points (especially the escalator one! Wish people would do that here in the US!!) but being from Orlando it kinda aggravated me….It made me want to be a “bloody annoying tourist” LOL….I won’t be…. but it’s not just Londoners that have to share transportation with tourists…it’s part of life in any big city!

  6. So far I have been to England twice and I have to agree with these don’ts. I find it amazing that Americans go overseas and expect what they find in America. It isn’t America. The first time I went to London I was in a hotel and got to be friends with the porters there so they knew I was American. I was leaving the restaurant and going into the lobby when I heard this southern American female yell out to the porter who was at the customer service desk, “This ain’t like America! You don’t have (she went into a list of things). I tip toed across the lobby and signalled to the porters I didn’t want this girl to know I was an American. They smiled wickedly back at me because they knew I was embarrased. You don’t go to someone’s home and criticize the way they live why would you do that overseas to a country where you are just visiting?

    When I visit England I am a traveler not a tourist. I leave my nationality at home. I blend in and enjoy what I see around me. Occassionally I will ask for a translation into Queen’s English for a slang term I am not familiar with especially if someone has a thick accent and talks fast, but I never ask someone to speak English because they are. I avoid Americans while I am in London. If I want to be with Americans I an wait till I get home. I hangout with the locals and with other travelers.

    I agree to the not flashing money, but the thing is you never do that wherever you go for the same reason. You are letting the public know you have alot of money on you so if you don’t want to be robbed, don’t open your purse or wallet in public unless you are paying a bill. Simple common sense.

    I also agree don’t talk politics because you have no clue what the British politics are unless you live there so to have some American come over and tell you what your government should be doing or criticizing British politics is just rude and makes you look stupid and crass. DON’T DO IT! Ask questions yes, criticize NO.

    • Why is it that the British think it is perfectly appropriate for them to discuss American politics AND voice their opinions about to Americans?? I was there one Election Day this past November, one would have thought they were voting for Prime Minister NOT President of The United States!

      • That’s an easy one to answer. What happens in the USA politically impacts the rest of the world, so we and our media take an interest in US Politics. UK politics has less of an impact on America, so your average American is less interested in UK politics and consequently your media is less interested too.

  7. When just the morning rush hour is 4 hours long, not to mention the hours of the evening rush hour, it seems to be a bit much to expect tourists not to take the Tube, especially tourists who are experienced. Think about it — that could be up to 7-8 hours that you’re expecting someone to avoid the Underground?
    I think if you’re clueless and/or new to the Tube, definitely avoid rush hour times, but if you can be quick, have your travel card or oyster card handy, and follow directions (like staying to the left!), you will be fine even during rush hour.

    • Since I was traveling alone, my causing a jam on the Tube during rush hour was never an issue. Also, I had the good sense read up on what NOT to do in London before I went so I wouldn’t stand out as a tourist. More Americans should do this before visiting any foreign country.

  8. When I travel to London, I am a traveler, not a tourist. I take in as much culture as possible and fit in with the crowd. My experience with learning to navigate myself around the city gets easier and easier with each visit. It’s funny what Lou Ann said because I am the same. I avoid Americans whenever possible in London. They must seem to know my friend and I are Americans because they always talk to us, lol. I love British people and I am very respectful whenever I am there. It’s my favorite place to travel and pretty much the only place I travel to.

    One thing about the Tube, which I learned from my first visit back in 2006,is to always remember to walk on the left side. It took a bit of getting used to but now I’m a pro…especially traveling with the crowds during rush hour…always keep up with everyone and you will be fine – never stop in the middle where people are walking. I live close to NYC and ride the subways so I’m familiar with how it is during rush hour.

    • The comment don’t take a minicab must have been written by a black cab driver. Mininicabs are much less expensive & with GPS the geographical know how is almost as good as black cab driver. Personally I use Uber it’s even cheaper & will pick you up where you order them

      • This is simply not true. Minicab drivers are not regulated like Taxi drivers and because they rely solely on GPS, they don’t have any knowledge of the roads in London. I’ve had many Uber drivers take us to completely the wrong place. There’s a reason they’re cheaper. Why did you place this comment twice?

  9. and most of all dont keep asking “where’s the nearest McDonalds” stay home if you want American food

    • If a great-grandfather hadn’t got itchy feet and decided to bring the family (including my future grandfather) to America in 1883, I’d be living in the country I consider home. So I was (and still am!) deeply offended to find a McDonald’s on the grounds of the Tower of London when I finally able to visit England in 2003. American tourists need to get over themselves and remember being in a foreign country means things will be different from what they’re used to in the States. What’s the point of going abroad if one doesn’t experience the local culture and culinary offerings?

      • Yes, Accidental American! WHY has Britain even allowed American fast food franchises? It is just sickening to be going along enjoying the centuries-old architecture and then be visually assaulted by the golden arches!

      • Yes, AccidentalAmerican and Jean, I too have forebears from Britain and was really upset to see those golden arches on the Tower grounds when I finally got to fulfill my dream in 2011. Horrifying!
        I also live in a tourist town and tourists are annoying to locals every place I’ve been as tourist OR local. We just all need to smile more, it makes most people behave better and I know it makes me feel better to smile at the ‘stupid’ tourist.

  10. I just wanted to add, as an ex-Londoner living now in Canada, that one thing the English do have is a big sense of humour and a smile and a “good morning” are appreciated and ususally reciprocated.

    I agree about the mini-cabs whole heartedly. They do not have “The Knowledge” which it takes cabbies a long time to acrue but also they are not licenced and vetted by the London Taxis. Please stick to buses, tubes or black cabs…. black cabs are cool anyway and the cabbies are usually a mine of information and quips.

    A last thing to add in is English police in general, if you are not breaking the law, are friendly and approachable if you are lost or have a problem especially those in tourist areas.

    So take a brolly and enjoy.

    • Was just watching Very British Problems and it said Brits hate talking to people so don’t talk to them.

  11. I agree! I visited Londen last weekend for the 5th time orsoi..
    London is beautiful and we had nothing to complain.
    Everything was perfect: hotel, the sunny wheather, the tube…
    We are Dutch, we found it annoying how a group of French tourists behave in a shop!

  12. How about we just say thanks to the tourists who come to our cities and appreciate the fact that even in the worst of economic times people are taking the time to travel and see the World? Yes some of these points are valid. I was an expat in London for 3 years so I get the frustration. But Americans are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We are known to not be well traveled but when Americans do travel they received advice like ‘Don’t take the tube during rush hour for fear you disrupt a true Londoner’s journey into work’. I just find this whole thing pretty silly.

    • I agree with you Andrea, Americans are not the most wonderful people in the world…but ,then who are these perfect people everyone keeps looking for? I asked a coach driver once, on a trip to the UK, what would happen if the Americans stopped coming to England for their holidays? He said “All of them?” I said “Yes ,all of us” .He told me that at least 50% of the people in London would lose their jobs. I thought he was kidding me at first, but he was serious.
      So, keep traveling America, just listen up and follow the advice of the seasoned travelers that have gone before you.
      For the record, the rudest, loudest ,pushiest people I have ever encountered were in northern Italy. Italian lady tourists…man oh man, watch out! lol

  13. Fantastic advice!

    Personally, whilst travelling around the world, I try to avoid my fellow Americans because of the bad reputation that they’ve sowed. I truly wonder why anyone would go half-way around the world and expect everything to be “just like home” — seeking out McDonald’s, rather than expanding their mind and experience by “going local”. Yes, I can understand why they might not want to try the Haggis, but isn’t travel all about that sort of experience??

    Many of these pointers can also be applied to visiting New York City (my home).

    Sadly, common sense and/or respect for other cultures isn’t typically instilled on Americans in the public school as it was when I was younger… such a pity.

    Thanks for your wonderful article! I shall e-mail it to many of my mates here in the states!

    – Chaz

  14. When traveling anywhere outside of the United States it might be safer to say that you are from Canada. I have a friend that travels often and he has placed a Canadian Flag sticker on his luggage.

    • Funniest thing, but when I went to England in 2003 shortly after the U.S. invaded Iraq, I dreaded being identified as an American. I needn’t have worried. Because I had the good sense to remember I was a guest in a foreign country, I went out of my way to NOT draw attention to myself as most Americans are wont to do. For the first week, I mostly smiled and nodded a lot, but when I did speak, much to my surprise the response to my Midwest accent was always “Oh, you’re Canadian!”. Never occurred to me, though, to put Canadian travel stickers on my luggage. What a marvelous idea!

      • Pathetic that you would hide or lie about your nationality. I could understand if you were traveling in a dangerous place, but to pretend to be another nationality in a friendly country is really sad. Further, as a Canadian, I can tell you that we are not in the least bit impressed or flattered when Americans put a Canadian flag on their backpack. We know Canadians are well liked and that we have a great country but truth be told a lot of that is built on stereotypes, however positive, of Canada (e.g. Canada is ‘socialist’ and far more progressive than the US — not necessarily true, our corporate tax rates for example are far below US tax rates). Stick up for your own country.

      • The little trick about the Canadian flag is so old that it doesn’t fool anybody. Canadians DON’T put flags on their luggage. We really are less flamboyant and, some would say, less patriotic — at least as far as flag-waving goes.

        A Canadian flag on your luggage says, “Americans wanting to be identified as Canadians.”

        Real Canadians recognize each other by the ones who wear MEC clothing and carry MEC bags 🙂

        As for dear old MacDonald’s (which in my town we call “that little Scottish restaurant), I’m not too worried about seeing imported chains anywhere I go. I shop at Marks and Spencer’s in Canada, I drink at Starbucks in Vienna, I patronize a lovely Irish pub in Chicago, and when I go to a MacDonald’s in Spain or London it’s not limited to American tourists in line. Locals get their chips and takeaway there, too.

  15. Totally agree! Do not block the door to the tube car. Move back & let others in! Sometimes it is unavoidable riding the tube during rush hour. I just keep my mouth shut stare at the wall like everyone else. lol!

  16. I don’t know what kind of idiot Americans you meet in London, but they are not any Americans I know or have met in London. Most of these instructions would apply to anyone of any nationality visiting any strange city. Living in NYC for almost two decades, I had to deal with tourists from all over the world, including the English, who didn’t understand the rules or native culture, either. When I’ve lived in Britain (three times in England and Scotland) locals and foreigners alike loved to talk about American politics, generally critically (and ignorantly). Londoners, frankly, survive as they do off the massive amounts of tourist dollars that bring naive Americans and other nationalities to town. The fact that tourists DARE to ride the tube in the morning is just something they should get over. And the fact that their willing to flash AND SPEND their dollars there should be far from abhorrent to them – quite on the contrary. Anglotopia, does a love of Britain mean groveling, or worse, (self-)loathing of Americans?

      • Wow Jonathan you really opened up a can of worms here. Most of these things are common sense and common courtesy. Thanks for all of your posts.

    • Is there anything that doesn’t ruffle the feathers of the (based on this article, seemingly thin skinned and frightful) Brit? Why can’t we just be grateful for people coming to visit our communities and be happy they don’t pee on your sidewalks? Oh wait, the only time I saw that happen was in London.

      • Two times very recently while I was in San Francisco, homeless people dropped their britches and did their business.. one on the curb and one into a garbage can (I guess that was thoughtful enough). 🙂 Just thought I would share because I was shocked and sort of grossed out, but mostly just averted my eyes and walked faster. 🙂 I hope my new red rain boots will be alright in Scotland and England. I plan to wear them there in the Spring.

  17. As someone who has lived on both sides of the pond as well as on the continent and in the Middle East as well, I can say I agree with most of these. I loved the time I lived in London and have so many wonderful friends there still. However, before the Brits get too smug about American tourist (whom I am quite often embarrassed to be associated with) you have to admit that Brits are EXACTLY the same in other countries. Put an American and a Brit in Greece or Jordan and it will be a toss up who is the loudest and most obnoxious in their complaining! It is really the hamburger and fries crowd versus the egg and chip brigade!

  18. The only advice my friends from Weston gave me when I was traveling around the Somerset and Wales was DONT PODGE THE QUE! Which means dont jump in front of someone at the bus,train or wherever. Not like in the US where folks rush to be the first in the door. Wait your turn. I found it to be good advice.

    • …also give your place to anyone elderly just behind you & simply move back a bit if you can. I suppose this piece of advice is more relevant to those of you who leave London’s excitements for a while & use Public Transport (note: it isn’t ‘transportation’, but ‘transport’ here) elsewhere in the country, where manners are more to the fore.

  19. The comments about not discussing the Revolutionary War while in London caused me to recall my first visit to England. We were entering the country after a channel crossing and were directed into a very long line for passport control. There was another very short line for citizens of Great Britain. The officer stationed to direct people into the appropriate line told us not to complain about the length of the line. He said (approximate quote–it’s been over 30 years ago), “If it hadn’t been for George Washington, you could have been in that line over there.” He said it with a smile and we all had a good laugh.

    The main thing people of all nationalities need to pay attention to when traveling is to be courteous and sensitive to others’ feelings and traditions. What would be the point of travel if we expect every place to be just like home.

  20. Several years back I was wandering around London. Been to Petticoat, the jewelery district, a genealogy conference near Westminster, etc. Near Liescter (Lester) Square while looking for a antique book shop I was approached by a pair of Americans asking directions. Floored does not even begin to describe my feelings since I had no idea I fit in with Londoners so well. Had to tell them I was a compatriot and had no idea of how to get to where they wanted but did send them to where they could get the information. Whenever or where ever I’ve traveled I have always been polite. In cabs I’ve have asked the driver there thoughts about politics in their country. In travel on 6 out of seven continents I’ve managed to make my way by greeting with a smile, use excuse me in the countries language and thank you. The funniest response was in Italy. Hand movement is grand and many times they start describing something like the wide road back that way to which I can say Autostrda? So much fun to watch. Also in Italy police had to maintain their macho image so can be threatening.

    • Ha, that happened to me too, the last time I was in London. I was reading a book on a nearly empty tube carriage and an American lady asked me about something (I don’t remember what it was). I said I didn’t know, and she said, “Oh you’re American! We thought you were English!”

      That made me feel pretty good. 🙂

  21. I’m an American married to an Englishman and have been living in London very happily for three years, and I have to agree with Chuffed. Most of the advice given is good (but applicable to any foreign country), but good luck NOT talking about US politics. At least I’m no longer asked how Bush got into office by half the people I run into (I just told them yes, I was personally responsible for that). Obama’s election and inauguration were covered extensively in the UK, including eight-page souvenir pullouts of the inauguration in the newspapers. You’ll find that Londoners are generally a lot better informed about US politics than most Americans, especially on American foreign policy. They also think they understand America (they don’t, but be polite).

    Many Brits I’ve met have been to the US, but in most cases only NYC and/or Orlando, and they don’t realize how vast and varied the US is. A lot of Brits get five weeks’ vacation, and Europe is only a couple of hours away by plane, so they don’t understand why Americans in general don’t have passports or travel overseas much. They are genuinely shocked to hear that most Americans get only two weeks’ vacation, and that it’s much more feasible to spend that time in the US than to pay for passports and expensive travel for your family (and lose two days of your vacation travelling).

    On the minicab question, I agree, never get into a minicab on the street. However, if you are going any appreciable distance (including to an airport), a minicab will be quite a bit cheaper than a black cab. Ask your hotel for a minicab number, or find one on the internet, and phone ahead to order a car. No, they don’t have The Knowledge, but they do have SatNav. Ask for the price of your journey when you call, and verify it with the driver, so there are no surprises when you arrive. (I advise this as a confirmed black cab lover–but they are expensive.)

    On queueing, and walking on the left, I wish this were true. Definitely stand on the right on escalators, in single file, but otherwise, unlike the US, where we tend to default to the right, you’ll find there is no set side to walk on. People may still queue for busses elsewhere in the UK, but I haven’t seen a bus queue for ages in London.

    A note on backpacks: Please be aware you’re wearing one. For one thing, it’s very easy for someone to pickpocket it (though to be fair I’ve seen this much more in Italy). For another, don’t whack people with it when you are in a crowd or on the tube. The same goes for huge handbags.

    Finally, yes, PLEASE don’t talk in loud voices, especially on the tube. Generally nobody talks on the tube, which you will notice if you’re not yakking away yourself.

    All that said, American tourists would be hard-pressed to be as obnoxious of the large groups of Italian and French teenagers who seem to visit London constantly, so have a good time, be polite, and enjoy everything London has to offer!

    • The British Isles are a part of Europe, therefore people who live in the British Isles don’t travel to Europe because they already are there. If, as I suspect, you mean the rest of Europe is only two hours away, then it is in fact closer than that. The Channel Tunnel journey from Folkstone to Calais takes on average thirty-five minutes from terminal to terminal, of which twenty-six minutes is spent travelling through the tunnel at peak times..

  22. I was in London in 2005 and hope to make another trip in 2013. I behaved as I always do. I see no reason to be rude unless I am treated rudely. I did note that some people reacted in surprise to my politeness. Was that because all Americans are rude (certainly not, because I was not) or just the perception that all Americans are rude?
    Having said that, I would never be embarrassed to be an American as I would hope the British (or Canadian, or Korean or Mexican etc.)would never be embarrassed to be who they are.

  23. We recently returned from a wonderful trip to London. I had so much fun and saw so many things! I found the Londoners to be just great. We never met anyone unfriendly, and had some nice chats with local residents that were very interesting. It was some of the other tourists that I had issues with. Loud, rude, pushy on the sidewalks, they bothered the Royal Guards endlessly, and some were just plain annoying. Sorry, but I feel that if you are a guest in another city, you act accordingly. Thank you London for being the great city that you are! I will be back! 🙂

  24. Having lived in England for nearly five years as a young person (I pretty much thinks of Britain as ‘home’ since most of my really concrete experiences begin there) I agree with most of what is posted here!! However, there have been some comments on here against seasoned travelers hiding the fact that they are American. When you have the chance to live in a foreign country then you will know why. We constantly heard the terms “Dirty Americans”, “Loud Obnoxious Americans”,etc, etc….and we agreed. Americans make terrible tourists. We, for the most part, are clueless to other cultures, believe that the rest of the world should be just like home, expect special treatment, are inconsiderate of others, and basically do everything physically possible to offend the local population. We hate the food, the weather, the language barrier and the currency. Not having an advanced culture that allows for mandatory vacation time in excess of three weeks we are not a well traveled society and therefore fairly ignorant of proper behavior in a foreign country. Accept it and move on….. preferably becoming a well educated traveler who respects the culture he/she is visiting.

    Now for does and don’ts. Trousers are pants and pants are underwear, knickers are also underwear. Do NOT confused the two. My mom once asked a young man where he got his pants (she was looking for a pair like them for my brother) she got a really strange look right before he ran away 🙂 Get a transportation pass. It is cheaper and faster, but a cab is a good experience and will help you get your bearings (ie: judgement free zone). Smile, be polite and courteous and you will receive the same. Asking someone to repeat themselves shouldn’t offend if you begin with: “Sorry, I didn’t understand that last bit, could you repeat it?” Should you choose to rent a car remember the following: parking the car halfway on the curb is not only normal, but sometime required on narrow streets. A parking lot is a car park. Your trunk is the “boot”. Some pedestrian crossings are called “Pelican crossings” I forget why. When approaching a round-a-bout yield to others already in the circle and ask at your rental for advice before leaving, I’m sure there are rules I’m not aware of, it’s been a while!! Food: chips are french fried and chips are crisps. You will not be able to find an english muffin except at McDonalds, don’t try, they don’t exist over there. Tea is not just a drink, but a light meal consumed around four or five pm since supper is consumed later in the evening. Eating with your fork upside down is normal. The British may be more reserved than Americans, but will quickly warm up to you if you prove to be ‘civilized’. Do not use the words bloody, bugger or balls…..basically any form of slang you may have heard from Brits in movies unless the person you are speaking to is using them. This is one my husband has trouble with, since the Brits he knows use them……he doesn’t realise that they are not words to use around small children. We are working on that!! Equivalent of dropping the f-bomb over here. When ordering two of anything with your hands make certain that the fingers are touching. Raising two separated fingers can result in a black eye. This is a centuries old gesture similar to the middle finger here. You will not get your order, in fact you will more than likely be kicked out. DO NOT WEAR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: bermuda shorts w/ hawaiian shirt, socks and sandals, a fanny pack, a sun visor, a poncho…….basically you will not only look ridiculous, but these things scream tourist and that equals “target”. You know the tourist you’ve seen getting off the tour bus looking like they got dressed in the dark? Don’t do it. For the sake of your own dignity and that of our country. Invest in the following: a respectable rain coat (a waterproofed trench is great), a comfortable (but inconspicuous bag), a really good umbrella (this can double as a walking stick on cobblestone streets), comfortable walking shoes, and layers. If you have room or purchase(and then ship home) a good pair of wellies (rain boots) they are GREAT to have it the weather is particularly damp. The weather can and will change, from one hour to the next, it’s not so bad in London, but farther north you can experience all four seasons in one day. Also, if going up north, especially in the winter or early spring, get a good windproof/rainproof jacket with a hood. An umbrella may become useless if the winds are high, and they can get sustained hurricane force winds and yes it is normal. The cliche of the winds wailing over the moors? It’s not a cliche, it’s fact.

    This is all stuff that I am gently drumming into my husband’s head in preparation for what I hope will be many visits…..in fact if he can find a job that gets us sent there to live….even better!! I love him dearly and thankfully he did experience living in a foreign country as an exchange student, and visited London too. However he does tend to forget that the culture is a little bit different. While on our honeymoon he managed to (unintentionally) offend a British family staying at the resort by trotting out all the “bad” phrases his British friends had taught him…..in front of their kids. He was truly trying to make them feel welcome and at home, but I will never forget the look of horror on that poor mother’s face!! I laugh about it now, but couldn’t shut him up quick enough at the time.

  25. As a born and bred West Londoner – it has been interesting to read the above DONT’s

    This post is about the DO’s!

    Before you leave home, search YouTube and watch:

    The inbetweeners
    9 out of 10 cats
    Never mind the buzzcocks
    Russell Howard’s good news
    Oh… search YouTube for London Underground Song (no under 18s!)

    That should give you an understanding of our humour!

    You have landed at Heathrow; you make your way through passport control and are finally released into the general population, so… what to do first? Well your initial reaction is speed to the hotel as fast as possible.


    Jump on a 120 bus from Heathrow Central bus station (next to the tube station) and head to one of West London’s most diverse areas… Southall (Biggest Indian community in London) once on the Broadway, sample sweets and treats from the East! Have a curry at Giftos (gifto.com) then head on over to Ealing Broadway for some beers in many of the areas fine drink establishments.

    Now you are relaxed and have met a few locals – head to your hotel and get ready for your holiday!

    – DO visit to the Comedy Club in Piccadilly
    – DO visit Brick Lane in the East End
    – DO visit Camden Market
    – DO go for a boogie at Strawberry Moons (off Regent Street)
    – DO stand outside Westminster and ask fellow tourists for the time (then when they tell you the time, point up at Big Ben and laugh!)
    – DO say LESTER square (Leicester)
    – DO a can-can dance on the tube during rush hour and entertain us London folk!
    – Do walk into McDonalds and ask for Zinger tower meal with a Oreo Krushin and then say – opppss I should have gone to spec-savers
    – DO have a full English breakfast
    – DO have fun and remember that you’re on your holidays!

    • All of the above! Some absolutely crackin’ DO’s there, flower.

      Truly, the only things any ‘Johnny-Foreigner’ (& that includes our lot visiting your lot too) needs to remember is to blend in, hush up long enough to hear the vibe all around them, try anything new & enthuse as much as the experience allows, smile………………& if it all goes belly up, find a friendly face, say ‘I’m an idiot foreigner, & I’m lost….broke……confused…whatever’….it takes a hard heart not to warm to someone in need that isn’t up themselves.

      • COMPLETELY agree. To me, the English are the nicest, friendlies people because every single one I spoke with -and it was a LOT because I was constantly lost- was more than helpful and accommodating. I made sure I of course was on my best behaviour but also very much was aware that I was the foreigner and was grateful for differences, and new experiences, etc. I think the rule is universal: be nice, mind your manners, remain humble, remain grateful and love it all!

    • LOVED Camden Market. Did Camden Lock Market, too, if that’s different than Camden Market (just down the street, right?) The hubs and I felt like the world is within Camden Market. Why travel the world when London brings the world to you?! love, Love, LOVE!

      • Camden Lock is in Saint Pancras but watch-out you don’t end-up in Camden Passage. That’s in Islington, and the market there deals in the main with antiques and bric-a-brac.

    • Ha ha ha ha! 😀 (I am NOT dancing the can-can on the tube, sorry!)

      Love The Inbetweeners, An Idiot Abroad, and especially Little Britain. Funny stuff.

  26. SY, those are some absolutely fantastic ‘DO’ suggestions!

    Completely agree that those travelling here should watch 8 Out of 10 Cats, it’s such an underrated show and full of great humour.

  27. Regarding the don’t regarding politics, it’s a good point but it goes both ways. I have travelled to the UK, Ireland, France, Italy and Eastern Europe. I am always amazed at how opinionated non-Americans are regarding US politics. I admit my ignorance regarding the political situation in their countries. I wish that non-Americans would realize that they are equally ignorant of the US political landscape.

  28. I wish the English wouldn’t ask, when they learn one is an American, why all Americans are fat?…especially when no one in our party, which included a 6 foot 1 inch, 155 pound teen-age boy, could even be called pudgy.
    So here was the “no” for us: when asked that question, do no respond with “why do all Brits have bad teeth”.

    • I would say “Why are all Brits rude?”. I wouldn’t go there now. I’d only go if I could time travel back to the 20s.

  29. Have to disagree on the politics. On a trip to England and Scotland in 2012, I was lectured several times by shopkeepers and hotel staff about who I should vote for in the next presidential election in the U.S. They have NO trouble telling us what they think about our politics so I don’t think we need to hold back on what we think of theirs.

    • At a loss as to why any British person should have expressed their opinion regarding American politics. The majority, as far as I’m aware, wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn.

  30. I just want to say how much I enjoy these posts. I’ve never visited London, but I want to a lot and will someday. Thank you. 🙂

  31. I’ll take the cheapest cab, thank you very much. I use GPS too, and don’t give a rat’s ass if my driver does.

    Maybe black cab should change its policies.

  32. Just use your common sense and good manners anywhere…and a smile always helps…

  33. Some of these tips are useful to anyone in any country. However, I generally find these lists to be insulting as they stereotype Americans as ignorant oafs, and host country locals as mean-spirited and cold. Last evening, I returned from two wonderful weeks in Edinburgh, Dundee, and Dublin…my first trip abroad. The best advice I can offer to visitors to any country: be polite, be curious and engaging, observe and ape the locals (do as they do/try to fit in), be respectful, ask lots of questions, don’t stereotype, and don’t be a stereotype. Travel can be a beautiful and moving experience for those willing to be open and let the local culture wash over them. I would agree to several other points: stay right on escalators, don’t be flashy, and don’t be too loud.

  34. If I wrote a similar article about Detroit it would be this – Please visit, we’d love to have you. If you aren’t used to our customs and “rules”, we’ll help you fit in easier and not give you a hard time in the process. We’d loving having you and appreciate you spending your hard-earned money here and we want to make sure the impression you get is the real Detroit, not the Robocop version.

  35. Born and bred in London, I moved with my young family to Canada in 1970. Although I have been back several times in the interval, I have not really done the “touristy” things on my visits. However we are planning a visit in the Fall his year and are travelling with friends who have never visited before. We will therefore be seeing London through “new eyes” as it were and will be doing all the stuff that are on the required visit list . Loved the “Do’s and don’ts” and comments, but was appalled to hear that MacDonald’s has been allowed to encroach into the Tower of London. Please someone say it ain’t so. Last time I was passing it wasn’t visible from the outside, so maybe it was just a mirage.

    Regarding the obnoxious behaviour syndrome, I have witnessed atrocious visitors in many countries by all nationalities, American, Canadian, Brits, Germans, French, Italians, Japanese etc.etc. Some people just should not be allowed to travel outside their own back yard. They are probably just as obnoxious in their own country. I have found that, if you don’t speak the language, learning how to say “Please” and “Thank you” will get you help just about every where !

  36. It is a Tube carriage for a passenger. It’s only a car if you happen to work for London Transport on the underground.


    • So it’s true! This interesting fact was referenced in an episode of “Sherlock”, in which a transport worker finds suspicious activity on the underground and refers to “the cars”. Sherlock and Molly exchange dubious looks and say, “Cars?!”, at which point the worker exasperatedly explains that they are “cars, not carriages, a legacy of the early American involvement with the Underground”! They find it amusing.

  37. I have travel many times to London on business and on holiday. Unfortunately I would have to travel during Rush hour to get to where I needed to be. I found it very helpful to stand back a few minutes have some coffee and watch what the people do. Makes the trip go much smoother. From time to time I must have looked a bit bewildered or confused, because someone would stop and ask If I was lost or where I needed to get to. I guess that it was a bit obvious, a “yank” juggling a briefcase, Umbrella and a map staring at the tube map. Now, I can navigate London very well. All I have to do is ask my customers what’s the closest tube stop and off I go.

  38. Im a South African, visited London 2012 and I have to admit it was the most awesome experience of my life! To visit a huge city like London can be intimidating but it wasn’t! I went to visit friends and experience what London has to offer historically but it ended up offering so much more. I loved the easy access to transport ( and how easy the Underground was to figure out!) and being able to walk around and feel safe…and see so many sites in one day (if you read your map and plan accordingly)Loved the food, loved the civility of people (no shouting at each other when the person is right next to you, like here), visible policing also added to our feeling of safety. Had some very delicious meals and people were helpful if you just gave them a smile and spoke in a friendly manner. Also the streets were CLEAN and no unnecessary hooting in traffic. I just loved how everything moved…fast and efficiently ….yet as a tourist I was able to stroll around and enjoy the beauty of a beautiful city, filled with beautiful parks, historical buildings, the river Themes etc etc. I hope everyone who lives in lovely London, realizes how lucky they are! If it were in any way possible, I’d move there in a heartbeat!

  39. Lovely little list, but I do disagree on the ‘don’t ride the Tube during rush hours’… I understand where you’re coming from and what you’re saying, but it is really, really impractical NOT to take the Tube.

  40. I know this is an old post, but I think the blanket statement that visitors shouldn’t use minicabs needs some clarity.

    The issue isn’t that minicabs are unsafe to use, but visitors should always pre-book minicabs through a licensed minicab company where the call goes through a dispatcher. What’s dangerous is to get into a minicab you hailed on the street, or to get into a cab where you’ve been approached directly by the driver but haven’t ordered.

    Transport for London has a safety campaign called Cabwise, which anyone visiting London and planning to use minicabs should check out. There’s also a Cabwise app visitors can download to their smartphone that will help them book the nearest minicab or black cab.

  41. “Watch and absorb what locals do, try and fit in, and make it clear, when you ask for help, that you are glad to be where you are, even when you’re not”.

    Well I’ve done a LOT of travelling and that works everywhere, folks. London, France, the Cote d’Ivoire and Ponca City, Ok. Even Hong Kong. Even New York.

    Take the Tube whenever you like, just don’t cause an obstruction in rush hour (same in New York, Moscow and Tokyo). The London Tube map is a work of genius, copied everywhere. If you want to look like a native, all you need to know, before you get to the station you are leaving from, is the name of the station you want to arrive at. If you’re in the Tube, you’re not in a car and that’s a reason for Londoners to be cheerful. And grateful. And they are.

    If you have GPS in your iPhone, try walking places as London is a great pedestrian city. This is even better advice in Paris (though not so good in Ponca City).

    What I really don’t understand is what’s wrong with political discussion. Broadening the mind is the whole point of travel. As long as you don’t lecture or condescend, most Brits will be up for it.

    Of course it’s true that most Brits aren’t up to date with US politics and many couldn’t care less. But lots of us are. And do. And I’ll bet that’s a higher % than the % of Americans who are up to date with UK politics.

    And it must surely be obvious that we have different views of the history involving the two countries. Lots of UK historians regard the War of Independence as the First American Civil War which resulted in a third of the population upping sticks and moving to Canada and, of course, Britain won the war of 1812 which secured Canada’s boundaries and independence and saw the first White House go up in flames while the US gained none of its primary objectives.

    If you want to talk politics in pubs you’ll find lots of opportunities to do just that and rather than avoiding it, better advice would be to make sure you yourself know what you’re talking about, because if you’re lucky, you’ll meet other people who also know what they’re talking about but who have completely different ideas about the same things.

    • I do not agree with the comment not to take a minicab only black cabs. My experience is that cost is usually less than half of a black cab and they know their way especially from central London to Heathrow.I have found them polite and on time. They also help you with your luggage, black cabs seldom do.

      It seems to me that Uber is also one to seriously consider, they are also responsive and polite as well as being very competitive price wise

  42. Some tips from a Londoner. On the tube no Londoner speaks above a hushed whisper (unless they are a group of schoolchildren). Think of it as a library. No-one makes eye contact – except in the case of a severe delay in which case it is permissible to tut (quietly) and make quick eye contact with a fellow traveller, accompanied by a roll of the eyes or a raise of the eyebrows. In dire emergencies a quiet sigh is permissible. But no conversation. Hold on tightly when it moves, we don’t like being unexpectedly sat on by anyone. If you are urgently in need of help or advice try fixing an individual with a helpless smile and say Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but do you know…..looking generally helpless won’t work – Londoners travel in a zombie like state and generally don’t notice(or choose not to notice) anything going on around – unless it presents an immediate threat. If you are going to be here for a while, get `Watching the English’ by Kate Fox to really understand the culture. American friends say it should be handed out with your visa. It is also a brilliantly funny book. Do stand on the right on escalators and when you get off -keep moving, if you stop dead looking where you need to go travellers will crash into you and knock you flying.

    On food – it comes as it comes. A great list of changes you want made will not go down well. If you have a potentially fatal peanut allergy its just about permissible to say – Im terribly sorry to be a nuisance, but I may die if I eat a peanut, could you possibly make it without peanuts? and then be grovelling grateful if they do. Otherwise they will spit or worse in your food. Its just not done to be too demanding (whatever your nationality) – British people will be just as hideously embarrassed if their countrymen request changes. Food is generally not sent back unless completely inedible ( and often not even then). Starting most sentences which are asking for anything with I’m sorry to bother/trouble you but ….should be your default position.

    shops – it would be seen as very odd to say `hi how are you’ to a shop assistant and they won’t ask you how you are. They don’t care how you are. A half smile if they make eye contact is fine and a muttered hi if they say hi first. If anyone ( realising you are from the US) asks how you are, remember that they don’t care – the only permissible answer is fine thanks. A discussion of your current health status will be greeted with barely disguised horror.

    Hope this helps.

    • People don’t talk in the Tube because A. It’s a chance to relax or read a book after or before a hard day’s work. B. It’s too noisy – hey do not want to shout in the ears of relaxing fellow commuters, or have intimate conversations at the tops of their voices.

  43. If you really want to know what they think of us as Americans & especially the Irish, go read comments on the Daily Mail. They have no problem spewing some pretty nasty venom. I went to England in 2009 & I was so excited & when I came home I couldn’t wait to go back. That was until I started reading those comments. I have been doing my genealogy & I am French/English/Welsh/Irish/Scottish & so I was so excited to read everything & anything to help me find out who my ancestors were. I can tell you that the thrill is gone. I am so sad to say that I am a typical American & I love my country & our way of life. I don’t appreciate being told what a loud mouthed uneducated lout they assume I am. I am still going to go eventually. But I am disappointed to see how crappily we are thought of.

    • First rule of the internet: Don’t read the Daily Mail (the Daily mail is a terrible newspaper and published sensational lie after lie). Second rule of the internet: Don’t read the comments! Daily Mail commenters ar the worst. People are jerks all around the world and I’m not going to let it get in the way of MY enjoyment of all things London (and British).

      • Surely, the same rule applies regarding a certain newspaper as applies to your advice regarding British politics.

  44. This is a very helpful article overall and as many have already pointed out, could apply to big cities anywhere, especially one like NYC. The only difference is that you can get trampled on 5th Avenue at lunch hour if you stop at all, and if you miss your bus in the Port Authority and start asking questions whilst the driver is busy loading passengers, you’ll get shouted at rather than a few nasty stares. I found that if you shout back (possibly swearing if called for) and wait your turn, they respect you and will help out above and beyond! The main thing when traveling is to be prepared and realise…you’re “not in Kansas anymore!”

  45. Don’t expect to get American style food in London ENJOY THE DIFFERENCE I do when I visit USA!!

  46. By law, minicab operators within Greater London are required to be licensed by Transport for London and must abide by a strict criteria, which includes vehicles being fit for purpose, drivers fully qualified and medically fit, along with other conditions attached to the licence. Unlike black cabs (which also are licensed but may ply for hire at ranks or be hailed), minicabs may only be pre-booked (it is an offence for the mincab company to operate in any other manner). Transport for London co-operates with both the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police to ensure these standards are maintained, and that no-one operates without a licence. Same rules apply throughout England, with minicabs licensed by the appropriate local authority.

    • The commentary only use black cabs must have written by a black cab driver. I find manicabs very convenient and much less expensive. With GPS they are almost as good as a knowledgeable black cab driver. I petsonally tend to use Uber who are even less expensive and will pick you up wherever you order them

      • This is simply not true. Minicab drivers are not regulated like Taxi drivers and because they rely solely on GPS, they don’t have any knowledge of the roads in London. I’ve had many Uber drivers take us to completely the wrong place. There’s a reason they’re cheaper. Why did you place this comment twice?

  47. I am a Londoner and these tips are not helpful. p.s. minicabs are regulated and Londoner’s love to complain about the rain – get involved.

  48. If you travelling on the Tube, and only going one or two stops get on last and stand by the doors, that makes exiting train EASY

  49. Very interesting comments, and as you sift through prejudgements,… you can get real advise. Thanks both Pros and Cons,…. Walmart has the IN door on the left side here in Canada, maybe they have gone Brit…… So many tour books seem to be written by people who travel 1st class and stay at the Savoy, and affiliated restaurants you could get squeamish about travel. This will be our third trip to London, this will be our Museum trip, vs a week in DomRep.. or such.
    Loud Americans???? …. in a diner here, very nice place, reasonable prices, good quality food… and this Brit family came in demanding a table for about 18 people???? the staff had divided everyone up to accommodate the group, but the loud father stomps out. Loud ignorant people are everywhere, maybe some seem to be more obvious.
    You can tell most people origins by their clothes and styles….. for the most part brand names do make a difference.
    Thanks for the pros and cons, you don’t have to put a Maple Leaf on your luggage, look at the zippers.

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