Understanding UK Pricing And Currency

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The UK uses pounds rather than the Euro or the dollar, and changing money upon entry into the country is now a simple process. Despite these well-known facts, the economic differences between London and other countries don’t end with currency.

Sales Tax is Included

Unlike in America, tax is included in every listed price. There is no ambiguity; what you see is what you pay. This system is extremely convenient for travelers, although for those coming from countries like the US it can be a surprise.
In London, they tax everything, from food in grocery stores and restaurants, to clothing on the High Street and souvenirs purchased for loved ones back home. Every item purchased will contain sales tax.

The Currency Difference

The UK uses the Pound Sterling, informally known as the quid. Even though the majority of Europe decided to switch over to the Euro, the UK still maintains itself with its traditional currency system. The exact exchange rate varies between countries and over time, but it is never difficult for travelers to find a currency change in the airport and throughout the city. Changing your American dollars for pounds will never be an issue for international travelers because ATM’s are conveniently located all over the city.
Paper money, called notes, is available starting at five pounds. Notes differ in color and size, depending on the value. Coins, called pence, or p, are available as 1 penny, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound and 2 pounds.

Is Tipping Common in London?

No, tipping is not as common in London as it is in some other areas of the world, particularly the United States, where tips are a rule of thumb. While it is true that some people will tip in London, generally most will not. It is not commonly required in the UK, and certainly not in London.
In the US, many people tip because they know some jobs underpay specifically because they earn wages in tips. In London, most of these jobs are paid normally.

Should I Tip?

Tipping is not required, but if you feel inclined to tip, you should do so, although it is not necessary to tip as high as you would in America. While those who travel to London are always welcome to tip, you would not be penalized or thought of as rude if you do not. In addition, tipping a taxi driver is not expected. If you are tipping, approximately a pound per bag is a generally acceptable rate.

Always Tip at Restaurants

The only exception to the tipping rule is restaurants. The average tip is between 10 and 15%. Some machines may have a specific setting, like 10%, 12.5%, and 15% to make it easier for those who travel to London.

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