Moving to London is hard, especially within the first week, so getting assistance from relatives and friends already living in London matters a lot. Consider where you’ll be staying for the initial weeks after arriving in London, besides knowing if a friend or relative has a spare room.
Suppose you could arrange to live in the meantime with anyone you know pending your finding an apartment. In that case, it will make things easier for you and facilitate your saving some money. In addition, there exist online facilities that let you book a property without going there. Still, it’s risky committing to a room or place without you seeing it or the owner.
If you’re an expat moving to London, there will be people who will make you less lonely at all times when you have joined ExpatBuddy. But, of course, there are many other sets for different nationalities that you can join when finding your home people in London.
Finding other expatriates in London isn’t hard because hundreds of expat groups on Facebook are keen on helping fellow expats. Just remember that the culture in London is incredible with its history, multicultural people, and architecture. So, expect to hear 300+ languages spoken there.
And in cases of emergencies, always remember basic contact numbers. For example, 911 is for a general crisis. So if you’re an expat who needs to call the police, an ambulance, or have to report a fire, just dial 911 or 112. If you need help with non-threatening medical conditions, you may contact NHS Direct by dialing 111.
What To Pack For Moving To London
When moving to London, a packing list must be at hand, especially when moving to London with family. So to help you out, a packing list for all seasons is prepared below that can also be used when visiting other areas in the UK. The excellent news in moving to London is that the climate is almost the same across the country, except usually getting a bit cooler further north up to northern Scotland.
• Luggage – ensure that you will use a lightweight suitcase so you can put more things inside;
• Clothing – packing nicer-looking garments that won’t make you, your spouse, and your children look super dressy when moving to London is essential. Make sure you pack enough shirts, t-shirts, cold weather clothes and items, a warm winter covering, warm weather clothing and accessories, tank tops, and shorts;
• Footwear – a comfortable pair of slippers and shoes is a must when you look forward to doing a fair share of walking in exploring upon moving to London;
• Reusable water flask – highly recommended since you can put water in it from sinks and even water fountains in the UK. This item will help you save money from buying drinks or bottled water. UK’s tap water is drinkable;
• Toiletries and make-up – aside from cosmetics, make sure to pack a tube of toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorants, moisturizers, and any sanitary items you and your family may need;
• Photography stuff – this includes a digital camera, smartphone, and a selfie stick;
• Electronics – since the UK uses the 220v three-pin system, you may need an adapter;
• Documents – obviously, you will need your passport or proof of travel, a visa, besides evidence of money for your stay in London. To play safe, check the government website, https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa, to know what documents you and your family may need.
Important Things To Do Before Moving To London
Before moving to London with family, you would want to undertake some research about the city and arrange your family’s visa. Moving to London will also make it imperative that you study how you can transport your stuff and manage your funds there. You will have to decide if you’ll bring your vehicle with you to London or sell it out and just buy a new one there.
If moving to London with family includes your pet, then you have to study how feasible it is, its costs, and its requirements. Also, you need to sort out your family’s health insurance and decide where to reside, even just for the first two months. Overall, you must make sure to fold up all your businesses in your country before moving to London. And this includes saying goodbye to friends and relatives. Most of all, you must prepare every legal document needed for the relocation.
Things To Do First When Moving To London
Aside from those listed above, there are tasks you must complete before moving to London with family. In so doing, you and your family will have a less stressful encounter and, perhaps, even save some money.
• Do the math on your moving expenses at the get-go to enable you to create a savings pot for this cost as you sort out your finances;
• Calculate potential earnings against monthly living expenses;
• Research possible London areas to reside, besides sorting out temporary accommodation for arrival and booking flat viewings upon arrival;
• Brush up the English skills of your entire family while updating your CV, as well as understanding London’s transport system; and,
• Ship your belongings in line with your relocation timetable.
Things You Won’t Expect To Find In London
Before moving to London, your family must know that some American products are not sold in England. Still, you can buy these everyday household things on Amazon.co.uk if you are ready to spend much more than their prevailing US prices. Otherwise, be prepared to miss these items upon moving to London.
• Adams Reserve BBQ spice,
• BBQ Pop chips,
• Candy corn,
• Cheetos Crunchy,
• Cliff Bars,
• Dale’s Steak seasoning,
• Guacamole seasoning mix,
• Hersey Kisses,
• Jaffa cake,
• Lawry’s Seasoned salt,
• Pink Lady apples,
• Red Leicester cheddar cheese,
• Snyder’s Pretzel Bites,
• Suzie Q’s,
• Taco Bell sauce,
• Tunnock’s caramel wafers and tea cakes,
• And many more!
Cost Of Living In London
Without any doubt, London is among the top expensive countries in the world. Most people moving to London find the rental prices higher than in any other city in the UK. So, if London is your dream place to reside, it is best to compare its average costs against other major UK cities to know if you can afford to live there.
When moving to London, expect alcohol prices to be costly, besides paying at least $20 more for food at the least pricey restaurant there. For this reason, buying at discount stores or the markets is a better option for most expat families. Besides, it assures you of getting fresh domestic items that taste better.
London is known for its awe-inspiring attractions, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, The Shard, and social havens like the British Museum, West End’s theatres, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Tate Modern.
Quite simply, it’s impossible for anyone moving to London to have nowhere to go to in the city. There are even casual pop-up performances, shops, and food stores. So, London’s only drawback is its overwhelming abundance of options. Although the city isn’t famous for its food, its culinary offerings range from sloppy pizza to elegant sushi, if not the most unknown Asian dish. Thus, for as long as the food price is within your budget, you won’t starve in London.
South Kensington, Chelsea, and Knightsbridge are among the most exclusive and expensive London areas and worldwide. These districts are particularly all the rage with French expatriates due to their nearness to the French Institute and Consulate and two French schools for foreign students.
Generally, Americans moving to London prefer the west side of London, perhaps because of Hugh Grant’s film. Meanwhile, young expat professionals mostly like places with buzzing nightspots. As a result, they get spellbound by London’s east side. In contrast, renters in search of a quieter neighborhood move to the west side.
For those seeking a good blend of the west and the east sides of London, North London is their top choice. On the other hand, South London is home to large numbers of local services. It is becoming also more popular with young professionals for its convenience. If you are an expats in London, expatbuddy could be helpful in finding you community there.
Preparing your visa is the very primary thing on your checklist when moving to London. As determined by your citizenship, obtaining a visa can range from unnecessary to almost impossible. Of course, Brexit negotiations in progress means these policies can change anytime, so it’s best to check the visa requirements of the UK government for your country at https://www.gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk.
Note that every residential visa application must come from outside of the UK. Hence, it’s impossible to apply for this visa while you are taking a vacation in London. Also, when you’re thinking of bringing your pet to London, it’s best to check this link first: https://www.gov.uk/bring-pet-to-great-britain.
Suppose you have successfully moved to London and encounter some problems or need some clarification. You can call the US Embassy at 020 7499 9000 if you’re a US citizen. If you’re an Australian, you may contact your Embassy through its emergency number, which is 020 7379 4334.