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If you’ve never been across the pond, you might not realize that the United Kingdom varies pretty drastically from some European countries. From cultural customs to language and electronics, you’ll need to do things a bit differently in England than you would in Belgium. Before you hop on a plane and start your U.K. trip, here are five important concepts you need to keep in mind. Knowing them will save you money, time, and a whole lot of embarrassment.

1. The U.K. Is Comprised of Four Different Countries

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Chances are, if you’ve never been on a U.K. trip before, you’re a bit confused about how the country is divided. Is England a part of the U.K.? What about Scotland? What’s the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland? Are all of these places a part of Europe?

To break these questions down simply, let’s talk about what the United Kingdom is: a country comprised of other countries. Confusing, but also normal once you acclimate to the idea. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England are countries that come together to make up the overarching country of The United Kingdom.

Ireland and Northern Ireland are two separate entities. Although they differ historically and would argue that their cultures are different, the big thing to remember is that Ireland is not a part of The United Kingdom but Northern Ireland is. You can cross the border from Scotland to Northern Ireland without changing countries, but heading to Ireland is a whole different process.

When it comes to understanding The United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe, things get a bit more complicated. The country is technically a part of the continent of Europe, but as of 2016, England and Wales may be leaving the European Union. To learn more about Brexit and all of its confusing details, click here.

 2. They Use a Different Currency Than Other European Places

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If you were thinking of taking out Euros before going to the United Kingdom, think again. The national currency of the U.K. is the pound, also referred to as “quid” or occasionally “sterling.” Currently, one pound is worth about $1.30 USD, which means you’ll get less bang for your American buck while in England, Scotland, and other parts of the U.K.

What is fortunate is that the pound will work everywhere throughout your U.K. trip, not just England, so you can just deal with one currency the entire time you’re there. To make conversions between the pound and the US dollar, I’d highly recommend downloading the app Elk. This travel currency converter will conveniently let you switch between currencies and figure out how much you’re really spending. This is perhaps the most important aspect of your U.K trip planner.

 3. The Word “British” Doesn’t Always Cover Everyone Who Lives There

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People from outside the U.K. love to label everyone who lives there (and specifically their accents) as British. However, some residents would contest this idea, claiming that British accents can vary dramatically depending on where you’re from. For instance, an English person has a different accent and culture than someone from Scotland, so lumping all of their traditions and their way of speaking into one label isn’t necessarily a good idea.

 4. Your Electronics Won’t Charge in the UK as They Do at Home

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Upon arriving in the United Kingdom, one look at your hotel’s wall sockets will reveal that their plugs look very different from those of other countries. Plugging your American hairdryer into that is a big no-no. The U.K. wall plug has three prongs, and although they’re actually safer, they won’t work with some of your electronics. That’s why you need to purchase an adapter before heading across the sea. You can grab an American to U.K. adapter from Amazon for under $10, so be sure to pack one or two in your bag so you’re not left without your handy electronic devices.

5. The Names “Great Britain” and “The United Kingdom” Are Not Synonymous

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Although you might have heard both terms thrown about in description of the same places, “Great Britain” and “The United Kingdom” are not meant to be used interchangeably. Originally, Great Britain referred specifically to the island known as Britain. Now, it is a term for the part of the U.K. that includes Scotland, Wales, and England.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is more of a political term. It encompasses the area of Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland, which was not always associated with England and the other countries of Britain.

These might seem like unimportant points, but to the people of these countries, seemingly-small historical distinctions carry great weight. Be courteous and differ to the correct terms, not whatever names Americans throw around willy-nilly.

The Bottom Line

With so much rich history and culture, a U.K trip should certainly take a position on your bucket list.

When planning to visit a new place, you probably want to spend most of your time looking up cool restaurants and booking stays at fun hotels. However, it’s also important to do your research on the culture and political differences of the places you’re traveling. By learning just a little bit about how The United Kingdom functions, you’ll be much more equipped to get along with locals and understand their world.