With so many countries, so many languages spoken, so many diverse cultures, and an endless amount of different ethnic foods, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which countries to visit on your first trip to Europe. Let me offer you a suggestion: United Kingdom, aka England. Now, why would I choose this as the first place to visit in Europe? There are a few reasons, the first one is obvious:
(1) The Language” They speak English as you already know. Yes, the accent is different and some words are different, but if you’re from an English speaking country, you should not have any difficulty communicating with the natives. Now for lots of people, this is huge when traveling overseas for the first time. Let’s say you are visiting Europe for the first time and you’re from the USA. You will be jumping from 5 to 12 time zones depending from where you are coming and depending on where you’re going. If you haven’t done that before, it’s a major shock to the system. You may feel dizzy from the long flight, you may be disoriented, you will most certainly be tired, or you may feel a little nauseous. Having any combination of these symptoms is called “jet-lag.” It can be temporarily debilitating, and mix that with being around people who don’t speak English? Been there, done that, and quite frankly, it sucks! At least if you can knock out the language barrier, you will feel much better.
(2) The Food: Don’t get me wrong, I love trying different countries’ dishes and recipes, even if they may seem unusual, but I wasn’t always like this. It took me traveling out of the USA a couple of times before I became excited about trying out new dishes. In England, the food is not very unusual, in fact their dishes are not too different from what they have in USA. Fish and Chips (french fries) is a fairly common dish, but that’s easily found here in the USA too. An English big breakfast is similar to an American big breakfast with eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns etc etc. although they do have some additional side dishes that we do not have here, such as blood cake. Just as in the USA, the Brits like to eat ethnic foods outside their own country, so you will see lots of Asian restaurants, Italian restaurants, middle eastern restaurants and more.
(3) Modern Lifestyle: One challenge with traveling overseas to some countries is the lack of a modern lifestyle, that’s not at all a problem in England. Everyone there has cell phones, even your own cell phone may work there if you are on the GSM network (T-mobile or AT&T), but I recommend an international plan if you’ll be using your phone a lot, otherwise you’ll pay about $2 per minute. Wifi exists at most hotels and restaurants, people dress in a similar fashion as they do in the USA. You never have to worry about standing out as an American when traveling to England, unless you speak very loudly a lot, which I highly discourage. You’re own cell phone may work there if you are on the GSM network (T-mobile or AT&T), but I recommend an international plan if you’ll be using your phone a lot, otherwise you’ll pay about $2 per minute.
(4) No Insane Health Risks: Before visiting some countries around the world, you have to get additional vaccines, because there is a high chance of catching a disease. You do not need to worry that in England, or anywhere in Europe for that matter. You may want to bring normal painkillers such as ibuprofen, you may also want to bring tums to ward off heartburn, and some pepto bismuth just in case you get traveler’s diarrhea or an upset stomach. Other than that, you will likely be just as healthy during your stay in England as you would be at home in the USA.
On top of all these reasons? Just like most European countries, England is stocked full of rich history, culture, and a large number of historical sights to visit and sight see. Also, the country is beautiful, and very green due to the amount of moisture they receive.
There are many more reasons to make England your first stop in Europe, but these are the most key reasons. Where ever you decide to visit first, I hope you have a great trip to Europe and that you create many good memories for yourself.