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
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