This is the second and last part of the series ‘Checklist for moving to the United Kingdom’. If you missed the first part of the series click here. I decided to write these posts from my experience with moving to this wonderful country, and I know there are a lot of people doing the same so here we go, round two!
When you arrive into the UK
Something that you might be stressing about is how are you going to get to your accommodation from the airport? Most people who come in from a long haul flight will fly into London’s main airport – Heathrow. I booked a taxi before I left NZ (online) because I was so nervous! When I arrived there was a man with a sign reading my name and I was then taken straight into central London. If that is something you get nervous about then just Google taxi services from London Heathrow, there are plenty!
Alternatively there is a train from Heathrow airport into London Paddington (central London). Just follow the signs saying train station and ask someone to help you when buying a ticket. If you’re a first time or nervous traveller, I suggest a taxi. If you haven’t booked one there are lots of taxi offices that will organize one for you, when you enter into the arrivals hall. It may cost you a little more but at least you don’t have to worry about public transport getting you to wherever you need to be, especially if you have been on a long haul flight and are really tired!
How will you meet people?
There are over 4 million people just in London, so I doubt you will struggle to meet others. If you are a lone traveller you will want to make loads of new friends. I decided to sign up for two tours, one with Topdeck and one with Contiki. You could also join a bunch of clubs and go on a few pub crawls. I met so many people on my tours and made some really good friends. It’s nice to know you’re not the only solo traveller on this planet! The first tour I went on was for new years so it went for a short 4 days. It was the best New Years of my life and I will never forget it! The second tour I did was a bit longer (11 days) so I actually got to know most of the people on the trip very well. If you don’t want to do tours maybe try using the Facebook page travel buddies. The name says it all really, but it is a Facebook page where you post the details of when and where you are going to and other people can comment if they want to tag along too. Another way is through hostels, you will meet oodles of new people. Check out my post on ‘How to make friends in a hostel’.
Yes you need it! I purchased mine which was valid for one month from when I arrived into the UK. This was essential for me as I was going to lots of different countries on my tours and wanted to feel like I was protected. I do 100% recommend getting it. Imagine being in a foreign country and you just had everything stolen, it would be horrific. I recently posted a whole article on travel insurance and what you need to look for when purchasing it. I highly recommend World Nomads. They are the most reasonably priced on the market and are thorough with their policies. You can guarantee you won’t get screwed over with them!
If you’re moving to the heart of London chances are you will be using the tube a lot. When you first get to the UK get an oyster card. It’s a prepaid card which you simply tap on the gates to use the tube, this way you don’t have to buy tickets separately all the time. PLUS you get 1/3 off the fare so definitely worth getting one. All you have to do is put £5 deposit on it. You can purchase them at any train station. They are also valid for any buses around London!
If you are planning on travelling around the UK on the train often then get a National Rail youth card (18-25years old). Travelling is expensive and with this card you get 1/3 off the fare. It cost me £30 and is valid for one year, I have saved hundreds of pounds using mine. When you get out of London an oyster card is no longer valid which is why you need a railcard so you can save on fares all around the UK.
I cannot give you much advice on this as everyone comes from a different country but if you are a Kiwi then this may be helpful. I had a New Zealand restricted license and I handed it in to get a full UK license. All I did was visit a DVLA office, pay £50, handed in my NZ license, passport and paper work and they sent it off to the main office to be assessed. From memory it took about 3 weeks for it to arrive in the mail. My passport also came back to me a few days after I got my license. You won’t get your New Zealand one back so when you go back to NZ you will have to pay to get a new one! Remember do not sort this out before a trip because you will have no passport! To be honest you don’t really need a license in the UK, they have a great transport system which is reasonably priced.
Hopefully this will give you some useful tips and advice on the big move! Check out Skyscanner for discounted flights and read my posts on ‘How to get the cheapest flight’! For accommodation, I can recommend Agoda, Hostelworld and Booking.com. I also have a great post on how you can stay for free anywhere in the world!