I lived in London for 2 years and witnessed a lot of stories from friends and people I’ve met about living in this great city.
Loads of Europeans as well as Kiwis, Aussies, Saffas in their 20s move there – and for good reasons! London is the place to experience life, work, meet people from all over the world and have a brilliant base for travel around Europe. But with all its advantages, it can also be a tough city to get used to living in.
So here’s a few tips for a head start!
1. Live near work
You might think that London’s public transport, especially the tube, will make it all easy no matter where you work and live, but at the end of the day I’m sure we’d all rather spend the time exploring the city or in a pub with mates than wasting hours a day on the tube! I’ve heard stories of people losing their enthusiasm about the city and leaving soon after they realised they had to commute 2-3 hours a day! So, ideally, try to live and work in the same part of the city, or even same suburb, and trust me – it will save you a lot of hassle!
2. Get an oyster card
No philosophy here – get an oyster card on your first day and you’ll save loads on transport!
3. Buy a bicycle, scooter or motorbike
While you’ll save money on public transport with an oyster card, if you want to be really smart, then cycle or bike around. You can buy one of these on ebay, gumtree or from someone you know – parking in the city is free or costs a pound a day, and with cheap petrol for scooters & bikes (about 10 quid a week), it will pay off in 6 months or less! You’ll be able to go where you want, when you want and best of all – no more pushing round on the tube! :)
4. Get lost in the city
This might sound strange, but the best way to discover this brilliant city is to get lost in its street labyrinths, you’ll find loads of shops, cafes and spots of London which you might not otherwise come across. Get out on a random tube and explore – that’s what I am most glad I did about my time there!
5. Swap week and weekend nights out
This might depend on your job, but it’s a good idea to go out on week nights, when loads of specials on food & drinks are on, rather than weekends when there are crowds everywhere and it’s difficult to get a spot in a bar. And even on Mondays and Tuesdays in London, there is always something, and even loads, to do!
6. Find groups to join
London can be a lonely place if you don’t know many people. If you’re used to travelling with mates or in a group, and are now alone in London, then go out of your way to find social, sport or special interest groups – and there’s plenty of these. You can start by checking out events and groups through www.meetup.com
7. Make the most of Free museums and markets
Must visit some of these! Just to mention a few which I remember the most: Greenwich Market, Borough Market near London bridge, Broadway Market in East London, Camden Lock markets, Maritime museum in Greenwich, London Museum in the city, British Museum, Natural History museum, British Music Experience and so on and on... Here is a travel tip of how to navigate your way through London's Road Markets.
8. Take a trip on the ferry
Many visitors forget about this option, you’ll see the place from a completely different perspective!
9. Get a smart phone
If you don’t yet have a smart phone, London is the place for this. If you get really lost or public transport is a havoc for the day, this will be your best friend!
Enjoy your time in London!
Travel tip shared by I_travelCoratia