Moving to London was more daunting than any other move I’d ever undertaking in my life. Before I’d move to study or relocate to the city because it’s just what you do. But moving 2 hours drive from home or even another state in Australia is nothing compared to moving to London, one the biggest international cities around on the other side of the world.
In the interest of helping out a fellow expat I’ve combined the best of my tips to get setup in London into this here article. These are the questions I’d sought to answer before leaving home so hopefully they will serve to educate others on the ins and outs of settling in London or elsewhere in the United Kingdom
When I planned to move to London I wanted to answer the following:
- How do I go about Finding Accommodation In London
- Learning how the Public Transport System in London Works
- How do I Get A Bank Account and whats a National Insurance Number
- What do I do about Seeing A Doctor In The UK
- How do I go about getting a Mobile Phone and Internet
- Can I Drive In The UK
- And a lot more
In short I had far to many questions and could find very little in the way of answers online. Much like the problems I faced when I applied for my Youth Mobility Visa. So below is my tips and advice on moving to London where I’ve tried to answer all the questions you may have but can’t answer. If I’m missing something leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to research and add it up here for you.
The Moving To London Guide
The most difficult task for me on moving to London was accommodation. Some friends of mine had no problems sorting out a place to live while others gave up on London after struggling with it. My post on Finding Accommodation in London details my struggles and tips to get a place. I found the best way to get a place to stay was either via friends, work colleagues or applying like many others on Gum Tree but be ready for a potentially difficult hunt.
My Transport in London post is all about the Tube, Bus and Train networks. Getting an Oyster Card is the cheapest way to commute in London and it saves you lining up at the ticket machines during peak hour. Additionally there are some great smart phone app tips which can help you plan your route and save you when you’ve missed the last tube home at night.
When I started work I was told I needed a National Insurance Number which for my Australian readers its just like your Tax File number. The process to get it is fairly straight forward and its something I’d recommend you to get as soon as you can. I’ve heard of some people not getting paid till their employer had this.
For Bank accounts it’s a difficult one. You need proof of an address before you can apply but most likely can’t afford a place until your working. My tip if you don’t have a permanent address yet is to try to use your hostel address if allowed. For all the details read my post on Getting A Bank Account and National Insurance Number and if you still have questions leave a comment below on that post.
Something my mum was more concerned about than I was but still important. If you are living in the UK on a visa like I did then you are entitled to FREE NHS healthcare. I’d been advised to register with a doctor (all details in my post Seeing A Doctor In The UK) but the comments on that post also suggest you can head straight to emergency at a hospital and be treated as well.
I’m an addict when it comes to being connected to the internet. Be it work for the blog, connecting with friends at home and abroad or just wasting time on Facebook I like to be connected. For those like me I’ve a post on getting Internet and Mobile Phones. It has info on the best phone provider so you don’t end up paying a fortune as well as tips for wifi and other mobile internet devices for your computer.
If you happen to find yourself driving around the UK for work or pleasure then you’ll be happy to know there is little you have to do. If you hold a valid drivers licence at home then for the first 12 months you are legally allowed to drive without doing anything more than having that on you.
If you want to drive after than then you need to see if you qualify to just transfer to a UK licence or if you need to go through applying and sitting tests like everybody else. Tips and links to all the required licensing requirements can be found on my post Driving In The UK.
And there you have it, everything I’ve learn from moving to London. Of course this is by no means a complete list and I fully intended to add more advice here in the future. Some might even disagree with my suggestions so please take the above as a guide on how one man survived moving to London and go forth and do it yourself. London is an amazing city and I can only be jealous as you set off to experience it for the first time.
Questions, Tips or just want to say thanks then leave a comment below and help make a guy feel loved.