When you have made up your mind to relocate, you need to be aware of the tips that would be of help to you.
This blog is the third in the series and will give you some tips needed for coordinating your move to London. READ ON!
Preparing for a move within the United States is difficult, time-consuming and stressful. If you are reading this, you're probably considering, or in the midst of, an international move. As with any move, planning is key for your relocation to be successful.
If you want to have a stress-free relocation to London, keep these 13 tips top of mind during preparation.
1. The best time to arrive London.
Given the island nation’s notorious weather, this may seem counter-intuitive, but January and February are the best arrival months, after the Christmas and New Year crush.
Tourists are much fewer than in summer, public transport is less crowded, and there may be better deals on accommodation in London.
London is always cold most of the year. Even if you arrive to London in mid-summer, bring warm clothing.
The British strip to shorts and T-shirts as soon as the calendar says it’s spring, but don’t be fooled: it can be uncomfortably cold, especially at night regardless of the season. Yes, you can be freezing cold even in July!
2. Arrange a place to stay when you first arrive.
Depending on when your new place will be ready, it may be a better option to stay in a hotel rather than staying with some friends of ours. A long-term stay in a friend's cramped apartment isn't fun for anyone!
Staying in a hotel while flat hunting will burn through your savings really fast so, if you have friends in London, ask them if you can stay on their couch for a couple of days while you look for long-term housing.
It may feel weird and a bit rude, but everyone does it when they first move over and you’ll probably end up assisting someone else in the future
If you do stay at a friend’s place, it's polite and very appreciated to offer to contribute a little money for bills such as rent, electricity, gas, internet etc.
3. Find your own flat ASAP.
There are a number of ways you can find a flat in London but the best is to house-share with people you know or friends. This way, you can be rest assured your belongings are safe even when you go job hunting or are out running errands.
When house-hunting, ensure that your new flat (that's what Londoners call an apartment) is close to a tube station. Make sure the street is well-lit and close to the main road if possible. Break-ins aren’t uncommon, so make sure your flat is secure so you’ll feel comfortable leaving your valuables there all day.
Beware of the shady landlords.
Always, always be eagle-eyed regarding the “small print” of any flat you’re going to rent in London.
Don’t settle anything on a handshake, get a copy of the tenancy agreement and know your rights and obligations. Places where you find your future flat also matter: it’s generally safer to rent from an agency than finding something on Gumtree (the Craigslist of England) from a private landlord.
4. Make yourself at home.
It’s important, mentally to set your room up as your new home. It’ll help you feel comfortable in your new surroundings and give you a sense of familiarity and stability which, we believe, is really important in the early days.
The move is a BIG change and it can take a toll on you mentally and emotionally, so be sure to set your space up as your own.
You can buy very affordable towels, linen, pillows, blankets and other home wares from any of the street stores. We would recommend you setting aside a small budget for essential home wares, to deck your space out when you arrive.
5. Go Job hunting.
Finding a job in London can be real tough! It can take as long as three months of dedicated job hunting to find one. It’s important to start looking before you move, so you know what the market is like and what jobs are available that meet your skills.
Make sure your resume/CV is up to date and you have all the references you need BEFORE you relocate. This will save you so much time once you are overseas.
Recruitment agencies are the norm in London and there are a lot of agencies specializing in different fields. We recommend doing your research before you leave and contacting agencies in advance to arrange interviews shortly after you arrive.
As your savings maybe quickly running out and you might need to pay rent, a few temporary jobs can be taken up just to pay the bills while job-hunting.
It is also wise to have an idea of what your salary would be. It just gives you a base idea of what you may expect to earn, depending on the job you get. This will help you plan your new London life a little better, giving you a clearer idea of how much you can reasonably expect to be able to spend on rent.
6. Understand the cost of living.
Don’t pay full price for anything! There are a number of websites that have great discount vouchers and deals available, and there’s no shame in using them because everyone in London does it!
It’s also a good idea to take advantage of free museums, art exhibitions, and festivals.
7. Know how to get around.
You will undoubtedly get around on the tube, so your first port of call should be to an off-license to buy an Oyster Card, which is used in place of paper tickets for the bus, train or tram. It will cost you £5 for the card (which is refundable) and you can put credit on it or buy a weekly, monthly, yearly pass.
While it may be tempting to catch the tube everywhere, sometimes it’s actually faster to walk!
8. Make new friends.
The great news is there are a lot of people in the same situation as you, so it is easy to make new friends in London. Of course, you will meet people when you start working, but a few other great ways are to join a social sporting team, head to a local pub for drinks and attend local events.
We would also recommend you reaching out to friends who live in London or have lived in London. Establishing a social circle, staying busy and getting out and about will help you ease into your new life.
9. Remember to stay in shape.
You want to feel good when you go on interviews, right? Bicycles are all the rage in London – and they are an excellent way to find your way around this intricate city. You can get something new and presentable (but not too flashy; bikes are a popular item with thieves) for under £250 ($385).
Don’t want to use a bike often enough to justify owning one? Try London’s Santander Cycles system, better known to Londoners as ‘Boris bike’, nicknamed for Boris Johnson, London’s ebullient mayor, who introduced them.
There are more than 10,000 of these self-service public bicycles at over 700 docking stations situated every 300 – 500 yards across London.
You can hire them on a pay-as-you-go basis with a credit card, or register to get your own key.
10. Try “another way to pay”.
If you’re only using public transport occasionally, get a stored-value Oyster contact less card. It’s accepted for both tube and bus travel and can be topped up at stations or on-line. It’s one of the more popular options for those “in love” with London’s public transportation.
11. Know how to get around London well.
If you choose not to have a car when living in London, then familiarizing yourself with London’s public transport system and getting around the city using alternative ways is crucial to save yourself time, stress and money.
12. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Street crime in London is fairly rare, but don’t invite it by carrying your mobile phone, camera, wallet, or handbag in such a way that thieves can easily snatch it.
London is a huge city, and just like any other metropolitan cities, there are neighborhoods that are safe and those that aren’t safe at all. The best way to avoid any problems is to stay cautious enough at all times.
13. Go in with realistic expectations.
If we could give you one piece of advice that would be this… go into the move with realistic expectations. It’s not always going to be perfect, there are times it’s going to be really hard (especially finding a job and a flat!) but you can get through it.
Don’t give up. Remember why you moved and try to see the bigger picture. Make friends, stay busy, travel often, eat and drink well and see the world.
Be sure to contact Victory Van today when you decide to move to London. We will take away as much stress as possible whether you move across the world to London, across the United States or locally here in the Washington, D.C. region.
Call us today at 1-800-572-3131 or click below for your free online moving quote.