Moving abroad to live in London is fraught with what if’s and how do I moments. I remember searching online until late in the night many a time working out how I go about getting setup in London. I wanted to know everything before getting here as a way to make sure the transition was as easy as possible for myself. Be it the big things like finding accommodation and getting a job right down to learning how the Tube works, finding wifi and what sim card is best for my iPhone.
As a result of wanting to know that and following in the footsteps of other successful posts (How Much It Cost To Backback Europe and How To Get A Youth Mobility Visa) that were written to answer the questions I once had, I bring you a new series aimed at Getting Setup In London. This time it’s all about making life easier for other travellers looking to take the leap into life here. I’ll answer all the little questions I wanted to know about getting setup in London but couldn’t find out anywhere else until I got here and lived it.
Starting at the beginning, the first thing most people will experience in London is riding the Tube. Grabbing an Oyster card right away will make life easier, save you a few pounds and help you avoid the queues at ticket machines. An Oyster card is the cheapest and easiest way to get around on trains, tubes, bus’s and trams right around London.
Getting a card is as simple as visiting one of the attended train station information windows and handing over a 5 pound deposit (refundable on return of the card). It’s worth adding a few pounds credit to the card to begin with until you become accustomed to the transport system and can work out the best deal for you.
For an idea on just what getting around on London transport costs with your Oyster Card I’ve included some pricing below:
- Zone 1 & 2 Day Travel Pass – £8.40
- Zone 1 & 2 Weekly Travel Pass – £29.20
- Single Bus Journey – £1.35
For a list of all fare costs check out the TFL site which has a really comprehensive breakdown.
One thing worth knowing about the Tube system in London, it’s always breaking down. The Tube is notorious for delays and having several lines over the weekend closed for maintenance and upgrades. To help combat this problem always check the TFL website for status updates over the weekend and know your local bus routes like the back of your hand.
There is also the little case of the Tube network closing for the night around the 12 – 12:30 mark. Many a time I’ve been out enjoying myself and been stuck trying to find my way home via bus because the Tube was closed. While the Tube is great be sure to take note of the many bus lines running all night. You never know when you might need one after a night out drinking pints with your mates.
And for those travelling with iPhones like me, I’ve found a couple of really cool apps that can help with planning and when you get umm… lost. The first is a free app called TubeMap which gives you details about the Tube including a Map, Route Planning and Service Updates to know when a line is not running. This app was much easier to use than the littler paper maps and it helps you look a little less like a tourist on day one.
The second app, Travel Deluxe is an all singing all dancing travel planner. It covers all forms of transport in London and includes a helpful locate me option which you can then use to navigate the best way home no matter what time it is or where you are. This one does cost but really whats a couple of pounds compared to a taxi ride home from who knows where?
And lastly for a humours insight into travelling on the Tube check out this Michael McIntyre video clip. What makes it even funnier is that I’ve seen the things he talks about happen myself.
Photo Credit: tompagenet
If you are planning to stay in Sydney soon then check out Hotel Club Sydney for all your accommodation needs.
This will be very helpful for people to get settled in London. I think more initiatives of this sort can make the lives much more easier for new people in London.
Thanks a lot.
– Kevin Frank
Just moved to London from Sydney two weeks ago! Some good advice here! Like you, I tried to find out everything about it before I arrived. Apps are definitely the best way to make your way around London without looking like a total tourist, hah. I totally get the Tube now… still working on understanding the buses though!
Welcome to London Rebecca. I’ll agree the bus is harder to work out than the Tube but you only need one night out after midnight to realise how useful the bus network can be 🙂
Stupidest mistake I made in London on public transport was not realising my paper monthly travel ticket included bus travel, not just tube and rail – the amount of extra cash fares I paid, and extra walking I did to ‘save’ bus fares… I still kick myself mentally! So you’re doing a great service 🙂
Yes as long as your ticket (paper or oyster) is valid for the zone your in then the bus, tube and train etc all work on that same ticket. Hope it wasn’t too long before you worked that out kiwigirl.
I made the foolish mistake of paying for every ride I took on the tube…wish I read this one before hand!
Not to worry I used to always have my oyster card on the pay as you go system until I realised a weekly/monthly ticket worked out so much cheaper.
I agree about using the apps it really helpful, we should take this technology as an initiative for us knowing the places around us, and where to go and what transportation we should take. Hey, its like london map, in your pocket.
Plus, it doesnt make you looks like a fool, trying to figure out where to go and asking people for some direction.
This is really helpful for people trying to stay at London. Thanks!
Oh memoties of the tube
I lived just off Liecester Square,now Expat in Helsinki.We have a Metro though only one line
The thing I miss most are the buskers.Some real stars can be found and enjoyed.
This is great advice about saving money on the tube. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen other travellers paying too much for local transportation.
While living London I came across the website, daysoutguide.co.uk, where you can travel by National Rail train and get 2 for 1 entry into London’s top attractions. My partner and I used it quite a few times, not a bad deal!
great advice!! planning to relocate there pretty soon!
Ah my boyfriend and I are moving in just over two weeks! I know we have had moments of feeling so lost! Your blog has seriously saved us! Downloaded the apps here! Now have to adjust to public transport! THANKYOU!!! 🙂
I’ve just decided to make the leap to leaving my life in Aus behind and moving to the UK knowing not a single soul … I am looking at leaving around July 2013
I am looking forward to the rest of your series … I’d be interested to know the order of doing things (ie needing an address before you’re able to get a bank account), the process of applying for the national insurance number, etc
Ashleigh I have posts coming up on those very topics soon so be sure to come back
I am the same as Ashleigh. Would love to know the process to get a bank account etc. You are doing a great job Aussie Nomad!
With a bit of luck Vanessa I’ll have a post up on that tonight or tomorrow.
This is valuable information about getting around London. I will remember the Oyster card next time am in there and also the tube having delays that’s good to know..
Well travelling in London is a serious problem as we have to go through a lot in the processing section.
Loved the video! And yes, must get Oyster card in London.
Fantastic post! I love the Oyster card. I’m not a fan of the tube though, and tend to walk as much as possible and then catch buses when I need to.
I was there for the recording of this Michael McIntyre sketch. He’s so good at noticing the things we all do. A little London tip – if you’re here long enough, sign up with SRO Audiences and you can go and watch them film things like this for free!
Hi,Im thinking of making the move in Jan 2013 and i am trying to research.
Basically – will i need more than 6,500 pounds to take with me to survive and how long does it take/how easy is it to get a job?
I am a Jnr Brand manager at the moment in the alcohol industry earning aroun$60k AUS in Sydney..
Any advice will be helpful!
Looking to make to move in 2015. After reading this and checking the updated costs of traveling in London, I have no idea why everyone is complaining about the costs. Try living in Brisbane, now that’s expensive.
Hi Genna, I never knew how expensive Australia was until I travelled abroad. On the whole though I found UK travel and accommodation expensive for what you get but the rest quite cheap. Its really no where near as bad as some people think.
Just a quick update – buses re £1.50 and the best app is – I would say – city mapper. I arrived last Wednesday and am navigating my way around the place now. Thanks for all your help!