Advice, news, debate
and discussion
all in one place

Relocation, relocation, relocation

After moving to London from Australia last year (and planning to move to Canada in a couple of weeks!) I know a few things about international relocation. After struggling to find work in sales or digital design in Australia, I am so glad I took the plunge! It may seem daunting at first, but moving to London has been one of the most professionally and personally rewarding things I have ever done.

I wanted to share all my tips, tricks and hacks to make relocating to London slightly less annoying and stressful.

Before you arrive:

  • Visa/Right to work permit – This is self-explanatory, however can be very time consuming and expensive. GOV.UK are doing a really good job in cleaning up the whole user experience of the passport/visa process, but I would recommend doing this well in advance! (see here for more info)
  • Register with Spareroom – Heads up, you will be shocked. “Is that all I get for £700 a month?” will go through your mind multiple times. What are your priorities? Do you still want smashed avocado and eggs for Sunday brunch? Go to Balham. Do you want to be near the best bars? Go to Shoreditch. To rub shoulders with the posh crowd? Go to Chelsea (and be prepared to pay for it!). And of course, make sure it is walking distance of a tube station and a good pub.
  • Initial accommodation – Until you find a place, you can obviously get an Airbnb or hotel room, but that can get very expensive very quickly. I would recommend a hostel (some starting at just £12 a night) for something basic, or another option is to house-sit. You can have a whole flat/house usually in exchange for minding pets and/or gardens.
  • Be in contact with 2-3 (good) recruitment agencies – If you find a good recruitment consultant, hold on to them! They will be a huge help in preparing you for roles and the current London market. Go through Linked In and find relevant consultants to your field, and ping them a quick message about yourself, your situation and your expectations. The good ones will make themselves known very quickly!

When you arrive:

  • Banking – Lloyds and HSBC are good options and have a simple process with no need for a proof of address, however inner city branches are always busy so get in early! Another option is getting a Monzo, Tandem, Atom or Starling Bank card. They provide you with a prepaid card or current account that is accessible via their apps, with little or no banking or international fees. I have a Monzo card and love it!
  • Public transport – It’s pretty easy to get around London (when there’s not a strike), with the choice of the tube, buses, overground, & the DLR. It can be expensive, but you really don’t need a car. You used to have to have a pre-paid Oyster card, however now you can also just use a contactless card. Easy!
  • Getting connected – Buying a SIM card is simple, and are available at airports, shops and petrol stations. I would recommend getting something with a good data plan, as Londoners use Whatsapp more than texts.
  • Health – Going to the doctor may take up half of your day, but at least it’s free! To access this and be eligible to work in the UK, you need to apply for a NIN, aka a national insurance number after you arrive.
  • Essential apps – For the geographically challenged such as myself, Citymapper is one of the best apps ever invented, with continuous transport updates paired with great UI. For foodies, UberEats and Dojo are a must. And if you want to treat yo self, get Treatwell for the best salons.
  • Social – London is a big city, but it is so easy to get lonely in the hustle and bustle. I keep active with a Monday social netball league (Go East Enders!) through the hugely popular site GoMammoth. They organise multiple sports teams and events all across the country for all levels of expertise. There are many online groups on social media that you can join such as Aussies in London and GirlCrew, with plenty of events to get involved with. You can also join Meetups about anything from salsa dancing to board game clubs to vegan parties– anything that you can imagine, there is a meetup about it. It’s a great way to find a new hobby and make new friends in London!

These are the basics – for all the other expats, what would you recommend for newcomers? Any tales, tips or tricks?

Leave a reply

3 responses to “Relocation, relocation, relocation”

  1. Rick Dirk says:

    Hi Ellen,

    Your tips and tricks are great! I would like to also mention TasteCard (https://www.tastecard.co.uk/)
    This beauty will easily pay for itself after a couple of meals, and is a must if you like eating out.

    All the best with your move to Canada.

  2. John D says:

    I’d add that sparerooms meetups are a good way to get a feel for an area while looking and if you have the luxury of time you can attend multiple events in different locations. Also, the Facebook page Kiwis in London is a cracking resource not just for Kiwis!

  3. Andy says:

    Nice write-up!

    On your recommendation on housesits.
    I have used ‘trustedhousesitters.com’ which is a paid service—which isinexpensive and weeds out the dodgy and unreliable people. Trusted Housesitters has provided my partner and I accommodation for the first two months where we lived in south and north London and got a feel how different parts of London feel like and can use it as a cheap means of holidaying or backpacking. There are options throughout London, British and all over Europe—we are about to go and see Denmark next month!
    Do your homework and this will be your best way of seeing the world!

Leave a Reply

Latest views

The UXPA careers event which Zebra People went to a few nights ago was very interesting, not only was it great to see junior candidates eager to land their first role in UX, but we also got to mix with some well-known industry clients such as Ticketmaster, Just Eat and Foolproof. Our intention was to […]

VR / AR is an area continuing to grow in the Film & Motion industry. I’m putting together a series of interviews with prominent studios who are leading the way in VR/AR development. The sorts of things I’ll be looking to probe are: how VR and AR work, how the industry is evolving and what […]

VR / AR is an area continuing to grow in the Film & Motion industry. I’m putting together a series of interviews with prominent studios who are leading the way in VR/AR development. The sorts of things I’ll be looking to probe are: how VR and AR work, how the industry is evolving and what […]

‘Hire Different’ – Can Recruitment Change The Diversity Story? I recently went to an event hosted by Facebook Creative Shop, where the topic was how recruitment can change the diversity story within the creative and tech industries. I received the invite with not overly high expectations to be honest, as I’ve been to a fair […]

It’s October. Things are going okay, but could be better. 2019 is fast approaching. New year, new you? That thought will probably run through your mind at some point soon. Maybe you’ll act on it, maybe you won’t. If you do, first thing you might do is post your CV online. At this point you […]

This year Zebra are proud to be sponsors of UX Live 2018! We’re all super excited to be supporting this fantastic opportunity for designers and researchers to come together and gain further insight into the growing world of digital design. UX Live is an annual conference aimed at training and development within UX Design and […]

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a pretty good portfolio; 3 case studies, end to end with ‘what’ and ‘why’ covered perfectly. Amazing 👍 But don’t forget to “UX” your CV either. It might be why your application was rejected. While you get started, here’s some things I’ve noticed recently you should definitely […]

If you want the best UX-ers then provide the best CX (customer experience) within your hiring process, else you risk ending up with who’s left over and damaging your brand experience at the same time… UX as we all know, has boomed and with that boom has come an influx of newly reformed UX candidates […]