UK vs US: What You Need to Know When Moving from the UK to the US

Are you moving to the US from the UK? If that’s the case, you will have to brace for a few changes. Besides navigating between American and British English terms, you will also have to deal with more differences to adapt to your daily life. But even if you think you already know these prominent differences, moving to the US will still likely shock you. 

So, what do you need to know when moving from the UK to the US? Here are some notable differences you should take note of below.

Differences in Cost of Living

It is worth noting that the cost of living in the UK is a lot more costly compared to the US. Still, that doesn’t mean that everything in the US is way more affordable in the UK. After all, some expenses in the UK could still be cheaper compared to the UK.

For instance, restaurant bills, clothes, and some entertainment-related expenses are way more affordable in the US. You’d also pay less for transportation when living in the US. Childcare is a lot more wallet-friendly in the US as well.

On the other hand, necessities such as housing and groceries will cost more in the US than in the UK. But then again, prices for these expenses are the country’s average. So, you could still expect significant differences when living in a particular state in the US, just like how it’s cheaper to live in a specific area in the UK.

Don’t Be Surprised to See Electrical Outlets in Your US Home Bathroom 

Upon moving to your new home in the US, you will likely be surprised by the presence of electrical outlets in your bathroom. After all, you’d know that having those in your UK bathroom isn’t allowed due to safety measures. However, it’s perfectly normal to have these in your bathroom in the US. With that said, you can surely try using your blow-dryer or hair curler there!

Differences in Voltage

Speaking of electrical outlets, you may have to leave behind other electrical appliances and gadgets when you’re moving to the US. After all, the US uses a standard voltage range of 110 to 120 V. This is way lesser than the UK’s 220 to 240 standard voltage range. Considering that, you will need to bring a handy converter with you to charge your essential gadgets, particularly your smartphone and laptop.

Fortunately, if your electrical appliance happens to be a dual voltage appliance, you can spare yourself a voltage converter. Nevertheless, if you want to be sure, you can always bring one with you just in case. In addition, the US also uses type A and B plugs, unlike the UK’s G plugs. So, other than packing a voltage converter with you, you may also likely need a travel adaptor.

You’ll Be Moving Around by Car Often

If you’re used to getting to your destination in the UK in a little over twenty minutes of walking, you will be in for a surprise when you move to the US. After all, most of the US is designed to travel around by car. Due to that, your twenty-minute walks won’t take you where you need to be.

For instance, the closest supermarket in your area should be a ten or fifteen-minute drive away. So, with most establishments far apart from each other, you will have to commute here by car or public transportation.

You will Have to Drive on the “Wrong Side of the Road”

Since we’re talking about commuting by car, you must also know this difference by now as a British national. Yes, you will have to drive on the so-called “wrong side of the road” in the US. You’ll also be surprised to know that drivers here can turn right if the traffic light is red.  

And since you’ll be driving on the left-hand side of your vehicle, you will indeed have some practising to do. If you’re not comfortable driving on US roads yet, you can always practise first in your neighbourhood. You can also simply stay in the right-most or slow-moving car lanes until you get used to left-hand side driving first.

Weather is Easier to Predict in the US Compared to the UK

If you’re sick of the UK’s unpredictable and mostly grey weather, moving to the US will provide you with a significant change of scenery. Unlike the UK, the US has four much more consistent seasons. Sure, other states in the US will still have slight weather unpredictability. But of course, you’ll definitely experience better weather here than in the UK. 


If your plans of becoming a US citizen are final, these are just some of the changes you’ll need to embrace in your new home country. It will take some getting used to, but don’t worry! Eventually, you’ll adopt these changes and have a swell time living in the US. Good luck in settling into your new home country!

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