#TravelThursday, Tips, Travel

The Low Down about Relocating to London

Ever since I was a kid , I was fascinated with London. Little did I know fast forward 2001 ,I would be living and working in London Town. Every good story starts somewhere and mine started at my first teaching job in Ixopo at an English Styled Boarding school. After 10 months of living and working in this little small town , this city girl became bored and needed an adventure. And London was to be the start of my adventure.
Relocate London
Relocating is not an overnight decision and there is a lot of preparation needed. So today I am sharing my experience along with tips on this process.
Before you leave …
This is so much to do and it is very stressful. Here is a list of some of what you need to do :

  1. Terminate mobile phone contracts and all other accounts including store cards.
  2. Sort out visa application, this can take months and costs a lot.
  3. Travel insurance.
  4. Write a will.
  5. Look for a job on the other side.Register with several agencies online most will do a phone or Skype interview.
  6. Sell what you do not need ,you will need the extra cash for the first few months of setting up in your new home.There are now several apps and sites to make selling much easier as this process can take up alot of your time. I recently came across CarZar a site where you can get an estimate online, book an appointment for an inspection, decide about what type of sale and get immediate payment. Selling your car just got a whole lot easier with CarZar.
  7. Buy suitable clothing especially if you are going into a country that is currently in winter.
  8. Get chest x-rays done some countries this is a requirement.
  9. Get at least 6 months supplies of any medication you take including a note from your Doctor.
  10. Look for accommodation on the other side or you might be lucky and have a friend there to crash on their couch.

After getting all this I was ready to start my new adventure as an adult. Goodbyes are the hardest. I cried like a baby on the plane for an hour. I was fortunate that I had both a place and job to go to when I got to London. But this was just the start of everything else I needed to know.

The grass is not always greener on the other side…

But I do LOVE London…
I had to learn to find my way to work and back on my own and using Public Transport. Never having used public transport I was nervous and got lost a few times. Navigating the London Underground system can be nerve wrecking with all the different lines. Everyone uses the Tubes and Buses and at peak times it can get very crowded.


1.Always carry an Underground map.
2. Ask for help.
3. Pick up a free newspaper at the station or carry a book to read as everyone reads on the journey.
4. If you miss you station do not panic but instead get off at the next station and go back to the right station.
5. Buy a weekly or monthly travel card saves you a lot of money in the long run.

Missing home

The first six months are the hardest. Everything is new and different to what you know. Things do become easier as you get busy with work and making friends. I used to do weekly calls home the first few weeks I was all happy and then reality sunken in just how far away from home I was. I realised I needed to make friends and explore my new home.


  1. Make friends at work. Go to the pub after work and socialize even if you do not drink.
  2. Explore every weekend your new city.
  3. Keep in touch with loved ones back home.Technology these days make it so much easier.
  4. Find out where the places of worship are .These communities have activities happening all the time so get involved.

Sick and need to see a Doctor

In South Africa when one is sick you literally just pitch up at the Doctor’s room and await your turn. The only time you need an appointment is if it is to see a specialist Doctor. But in the UK it is different and one needs to call in advance and sometimes your appointment is only in a week or two’s time. This is rather frustrating and I often said “I might be dead then!”


  1. If you are really sick go to the hospital walk in centre. You might have to wait for a few hours but you will be seen. Get a friend to go with you.
  2. Ask a pharmacist for over the counter medication.
  3. Keep a First Aid kit of basics like lozengers ,pain meds and cough syrup.
  4. For all your “lady needs” there are clinics in every area which open either in the morning or evening. Appointments are fairly easy to get and a Sister will see to you.

Home Food

We often take for granted home cooked meals and products we get at home. But when we move we miss things we never even eat.


  1. Find speciality shops from home. They can be expensive but treat your self now and again.
  2. Look for online shops these can be cheaper.
  3. Get friends and family to send you a care package of your favourite treats.
  4. Ask Mum to compile a recipe book for you with all your favourite dishes that she makes.
  5. Look for eateries which make food from home.


The Truth about Relocating

  1. Adulting sucks there is so much you need to do that I found it very hard at first.
  2. I had to learn to clean and keep house without having any Domestic Help now this is something I never did.
  3. Shopping for groceries and not only treats. And then having to pack my own groceries and travel on a bus home with it. No need for gym here lol.
  4. Budgeting ! making sure that each month I have enough money to pay all my bills and save some for travelling.
  5. When you are sick and there is no mum to look after you!
  6. Special days like Birthdays and Christmas when you miss home even more.


When you live away for any period of time it gives you a totally different perspective on life and it does infact change you forever.

  1. You become independent and can look after yourself.
  2. You enjoy your own company and most importantly you are comfortable been on your own.
  3. You live life on your terms.
  4. Travelling and exploring becomes almost second nature.
  5. You become less fussy about what you eat.
  6. You become a stronger person emotionally and confident about yourself.
  7. You find things to keep you busy like keeping fit ,reading and doing community work.
  8. You value family and friends.
  9. Appreciate the kindness of strangers.
  10. You learn to save for a “Rainy Day”

With all things good there are some bad but overall living away from home is an opportunity every person should try atleast once in their lifetime. London for me was where I became an adult and learnt the true meaning of Adulting. Besides all the amazing lessons learnt from relocation the biggest was the opportunity to travel and explore the world something that I would not have done extensively if I stayed home.
Would you ever consider relocating and to where ? Have you relocated ?
Be Inspired !
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This post is done in collaboration with CarZar

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45 thoughts on “The Low Down about Relocating to London

  1. Aah London, the joys of adulting. That was also my first experience living away from home. I still have fond memories of my experience there.It paved the way for me relocating to Jozi, even though I still miss my home town.It taught me independence on a whole different level.Maybe relocating to another country will be in my future.

  2. I did not know there could be so many low downs of relocating there. Your post is an excellent guide to tackle the issue. Some of them may be applicable to other cities as well.

  3. I can totally relate with this. I have been moving all my life as my father was in the Indian navy. There are ups and downs but great to have some tips. 🙂

  4. We relocated when I wasn’t old enough to realize just how complex the process can be. Now as an adult, I can just imagine how complicated it is if I had to do it myself. You give great insight here to anybody who is thinking of the move.

  5. I’ve not relocated but I now live alone and the pressures are there, but I imagine it will be a lot harder if I choose to relocate in the future for myself or partners work. Great tips for those relocating, especially from oversees.

  6. I agree with your tips here. I am in London a lot and there is so much that a person relocating there would need to learn. You have some really great advice. I love London as a city to visit but would not want to live there permanently. I love being able to go there then returning to Vienna.

  7. I have moved to England 3 years ago but I have been living on my own many years before that, so independence wasn’t a shock for me. I was already taking care of myself in my home country. I think that the most important thing to know when you are moving countries is that you can’t just go and see what’s going to happen, especially when we talk about the UK. You need to secure a job before you come and have enough money to be able to survive for a few months before you get paid, and that would probably mean at least £1000 a month. England is a very expensive country.

  8. I agree with your staement “the grass is not always greener on the other side”. I always tell friends that would love to relocate to Scaninavia. I lived there for some time, but hearing about it and living there is not the same thing.

  9. Wowo, very pracical advice, nice job. Can I comment on one wonderful thing? My favorite in your article is about asking Mum to compile a recipe book so that you can create your favorite things–I think that’s just such a sweet piece of advice. Food from home, even if not from the source, is comforting.

  10. Relocating is like an adventure, some good with some bad! Glad you are adjusting well. I love the tips that you have given along with your article. It definitely makes it easier for someone who is going through the same right now.

  11. Relocating to a country which differs in culture and lifestyle in something not as easy as said. But we believe most of the countries in Europe including London are very easy to adjust and blend with the lifestyle 🙂

  12. So interesting, I was just drafting a list of cons of living as an expat and we came up with such similar challenges. Your tips are really helpful for anyone who wants to move overseas (or is struggling with living abroad already!)

  13. I lived in London on two occassions but as a tourist. As I was living in a hostel the regular rules of living in an apartment applied to me as well. I found that it sometimes get very difficult to survive in London. I completely agree with you about the medical needs. Even here in Manchester you fall sick on one day and the doctor appointment is a week later. By that time, I am either Dead or perfectly well so that I dont need a doctor at all.

  14. I give you props for navigating the process of relocating to London, as I don’t know if I could do it (and I went through the whole process when I moved to Seoul). London seems like such a daunting city…but you got through it!! Great post!

  15. I also relocated a few years ago, but to Ireland instead of the UK. The move can be hard at first, especially leaving your family and friends behind, but it’s always an enriching experience! I’ve been in Dublin since then and couldn’t be any happier! 🙂
    Very good tips for someone who is considering making a move

  16. I know all about relocating to a new place (USA to Australia) right after graduating. Expat life is a roller coaster but worth the experience!

  17. This is very helpful for readers! I moved to The UK with my hubby and can completely relate to the tips you have provided. It is so important to cancel contracts and the maps for the tube are key!

  18. Glad that you are enjoying your like in London. And thanks for sharing your awesome relocating tips – very applicable anywhere!

  19. I always have this feeling that if I ever needed to relocate I should have done that when I was 16. Year after year I feel more bonded to my home city. And I feel that even more after my father passed away. I keep asking myself how on Earth I would leave my granny, my mom? That is why I travel often but I am too afraid to move.

  20. How interested as a UK citizen I didn’t realise so much was involved in relocating to London especially getting a chest xray wonder why they need this. I hope you felt welcomed in London and have managed to visit more of the UK as there so much to see and do outside of the capital.

  21. Living and working in another country changes you in so many ways. You appreciate your country more and you learn a lot about yourself. I became more comfortable being myself. I was fortunate enough to go to New York as an aupair and what an experience it was…hands down one of the best things I ever did.

  22. This post is so useful and necessary. Relocating to a new place can seem super adventurous and exciting from the outside (and it is!) but its so much work, as you so nicely pointed out in your article. thanks for sharing 🙂

  23. Yeah, I agree with “The Grass is not always greener on the other side” so much. I have experienced some of the drawbacks of moving to a foreign country when I had moved to Singapore in 2010. Totally relate to this post.

  24. My husband and I recently relocated to Ecuador to work as house parents in a children’s home. I related with your post in so many ways. The transition was so hard especially because I did not speak Spanish at the time, and almost all of my social interactions were in Spanish. I hope to write a post about my experience soon. I will say that moving to another country was the best decision I have ever made. So much time for change and growth 🙂

  25. I am currently relocating too, and it’s so stressing, there’s so much to pack, moving companies to contact, budgeting and so so much more. It’s so incredibly messy. It’s nice to see once it’s over things go back to normal! I hope it’s over soon 🙂

  26. Some really good tips! I still forget how lucky I am to move around Europe as a European citizen and not having to worry about half of those things but it makes me appreciate it more! Good to see that those challenges do not stop you from traveling and moving abroad.

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