London is a dream home for everyone. It’s where the money is, where the fun is, where the buzz is, and definitely where the opportunities are.
If you’re planning to move to London, it’s understandable. Everybody wants a taste of the London pie. But hear this: living in London is not for the faint-hearted. As one of the busiest cities in the world, life in London is fast and eventful. Everywhere you turn, there’s something going on. Londoners live a very fast-paced life, and this is transmitted to immigrants.
In this post, we’re going to familiarise you with life in London – what to expect, how to survive, and above all, how to make the most of your stay.
1. Find accommodation before arriving in London
Google the phrase ‘is it easy to find accommodation in London,’ and you’ll be surprised by the answers you see.
Indeed, London is one of the toughest cities in the world to find accommodation. That’s not to say there aren’t houses and apartments for rent, far from it. There are plenty of those. But as a big city with different kinds of people, it’s always very challenging to find the perfect accommodation for you. Sometimes, you’ll find a good location only to discover it does not fit your proposed lifestyle.
This is why you have to do a lot of research to find the perfect accommodation before coming. If you’re coming with kids, look for where to stay in London with family months before your arrival. Same for those coming for studies, business, recreation, and so on.
2. Make preparations to stay connected
From the minute you touchdown in London, you’re going to want to stay in touch with your friends, family, or business associates. The good news is most airports in London offer free wireless internet access. This means that you can do all you want using the free wi-fi.
Once you exit the airport, you’re going to want to stay connected to the internet. But not to worry, you can use TimeOut to find a list of restaurants, hotels, and bars near you where you can find free wi-fi.
If you don’t like the idea of that, you can buy a local ‘pay as you go’ Sim card. That will serve you for the first few days you’re in town. Afterward, you can upgrade to a better data plan.
3. Get App-dated
As a modern city, London is digitised on all fronts. You’ll find an app for almost anything you dare to do. From your room to your destinations, use the Citymapper app to find routes and directions all around London. Need to take a ride? Uber works seamlessly all across London.
By and large, make sure you figure out the names of all the apps that can handle your basic tasks before you arrive in London. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Go about with paper copies of your documents
Even though London is big on digitisation, it’s still advisable to have paper copies of all your documents ready and close by. Talk about your personal ID, bank statements, proof of address, employment status, student ID, and so on. All these should be in paper format, just in case you can’t seem to find the digital copies quickly.
Besides, for some purposes, it may be mandatory to present the paper copy of ID or other documents.
5. Get your Oyster Card as soon as possible
Of course, you’ll need transportation around town. Luckily, London runs on underground tubes, overhead trains, and public bus lines.
To enjoy access to all these, you’ll need to get your hands on the popular Oyster Card. You can buy this card online or at any nearby tube station.
Uber and other ride-sharing services are great, no doubt. But if you’d like to move around London on a budget, the public transport services are your best bet.
6. Get your GP sorted as soon as you arrive
Many people don’t take their NHS registration seriously. But you need not be like them. Registering with your GP (General Practitioner), although strenuous, is for your own good.
Once you get an apartment and settle down, find a nearby facility using the NHS Index and register with a GP. A GP is like your family doctor who attends to all your health needs.