Tips for Travel to UK and Ireland

Our family recently traveled to the UK and Ireland. It was a trip we planned back in 2019 to see family and some soccer (football) destinations, but we had to delay it because of COVID, of course.

It was wonderful to catch up with everyone and visit some amazing places – but it has been 8 years since we were last in Ireland. A lot has changed!

Here are some things I learned on this trip:

  1. Contactless payment is everything. Get used to it and be ready to use it.
  2. In Ireland at least, there are open-air pay-t0-use laundry facilities, so you can pack light if you plan time for washing.
  3. Food trucks are big in London and very tasty.
  4. Manchester has an amazing amount of bubble tea shops.
  5. Liverpool has no bubble tea shops.
  6. Halloumi cheese is the option for vegetarians, and we found some great ways to enjoy it!
  7. If you notify servers of a food allergy, it will take much longer for your food. They will literally clean a preparation space and make your food separately. This is really helpful if the food allergy is especially serious, but you need to be prepared to wait.
  8. We found more helpful info on TripAdvisor than Yelp. Places still listed on Yelp were often shut down.
  9. Bring your own bags to shops and stores.
  10. Napkins are called serviettes, and they aren’t sitting out for you to grab as they are in the US.
  11. You’ll find many of the same chains as in the US, but menus will vary. For instance, no customized coffees at Starbucks.
  12. Food is served very hot.


One thing that hasn’t changed – British and Irish candy is much tastier than American.

My kids felt the accents weren’t hard to understand at all, probably because they watch a lot of British YouTubers. But my kids did face a lot of questions about guns from some young people. It was a tough topic for my kids. My kids felt that the young people didn’t understand the real stress, anxiety, and fear they face here in the U.S.

My kids enjoyed the candy, snacks, scenery and of course the 99s, those are ice cream cones with Flake bars. And they all said they couldn’t wait to go back again.