You have arrived in London and you’re FREAKING OUT, don’t lie I know you are! The big city, everyone walking with a crazy amount of purpose and don’t get me started about the public transport.
Ok big breath, we have all managed it and as the kids say we are now living our best lives. Here are all the things you should be organizing when you first get to London in order to settle in as smoothly as possible.
Whatever you do DO NOT lock yourself into a property without seeing it. I know it is tempting to organize a place to live before you get here but take it from me the pictures are never quite what they seem. I made the mistake of getting a place in London before coming over, it was only a 3 month lease but I managed to get it down to 1 month once I got there and realized the pictures had been taken a small lifetime ago when it was flash and new.
Book an Air BnB, stay with a mate, stay in a hostel or try to find a sublet just do not lock yourself in. Once you get here travel around a bit and find an area that you like, if you can get a place close to a tube station then do that. As a rule just assume it will take you an hour to get anywhere, welcome to London!
There is a whole lot of websites out there to find your new home, what has worked best for me is the weekly Kiwis in London flat post and Spareroom, get amongst it friends!
Public transport in London can be daunting at first, hopefully you read the first part of this blog series and downloaded city mapper; if not do this now! You can use your tap card to get on and off public transport or you can get an Oyster card (same as a HOP card or an Opal/Myki etc), personally I like the oyster card because it helps me keep track of my spending.
The bus looks relatively similar, wheels doors and seats but just pop another bus on top of this. Ok you knew this already but here is some things you perhaps didn’t know. Getting on the bus you tap your card but don’t tap off, you will look like an idiot. The bus is a flat rate no matter where you go, you can stay on that thing all day and it won’t cost you any extra. You can also get on a second bus for no extra charge so long as you tap onto the second bus within the same hour you tapped onto the first bus. Always exit out the backdoor if they have one, exit out the front door and expect some dirty looks. The bus takes a little longer to get places but it is the cheapest form of transport.
The train is a train, not much to say about that one to be honest just make sure you are on the correct platform. Tap in and tap out.
The tube may appear very scary but not to worry it is soon to become your friend. Know your tube line, love your tube line, be at one with your tube line. City mapper will help you greatly with this one especially if you need to change lines. The whole experience is a little daunting, I must admit I’m not a huge fun of being stuck in a metal tube with a bunch of strangers yet it is a regular occurrence. You tap on and off all the same but if you hear the doors beeping to close you either run for your life or you stop, those doors will slam shut on you, holding it open isn’t a thing and there is no sensor. You will be crushed at some point, this is a lesson we must all learn. Take a book or listen to some music, when I first got here I smiled at people and they looked at me as if I was insane. The tube is not really a place to make friends, it’s a place to be squished like a sardine.
Leaving your family and friends is never easy but there is a saying that your friends are the family you choose, so now go out and find your family!
Luckily most people are in the same boat as you when it comes to London, there are people here from all over the world. There are many ways to make friends, you can use the sites below, you can find a hobby (I joined an Ice Skating club and started Swing Dancing), join a sports team; now is not the time to be shy!
Have a look at a few of the below facebook pages to find the right group for you.
Kiwis in London – – Monthly Meetups
Kiwis in London chat – Weekend gatherings and people asking for sports teams
Aussies in London – Monthly Meetups
The Non-Boring London Collective – Monthly meetups, weekend gatherings and general chitchat
There is also a website called meetup where you can pretty much find a group for everything and everyone
Or if people aren’t your thing you can always make a dog friend at Borrow My Doggy
Now you have a roof over your head, a way to get around and some friends to go site seeing with. These are the foundations of your life in London, now go out and enjoy it!
Blog written by Bec and Alice