Friday July 29th, 2011
Your relocation to London is going to take up a large part of your time, energy and money. When you make the decision that you’re moving to London, you need to make sure you have enough of the time, energy and money resources to make sure that you relocation to London runs smoothly.
Relocation to London: Time
Give yourself enough time to get your affairs in order in your country of origin. For Americans moving to London that means making sure you have the right visa in your passport and getting all of your financial ducks in a row! Yes, that means Tax issues and the tax implications of moving to a foreign country.
Plan your relocation with the help of a relocations services company. The last thing you want to do is spend weeks looking for a flat after you arrive. Not all landlords rent to foreign national, and having a list of apartments to view within a day of moving to London will make your settling in process much easier.
Use your time to plan ahead by making a comprehensive list of all of your belongings. You’ll save huge amounts of energy when it comes to packing and the physical move.
Spend some time researching the city and where you may want to live. If you are using a firm of London relocation agents then make sure they are aware of what YOU need in your future suburb. If you are moving to London for work, then take some time to contact people in your new job. Let them know when you’re arriving and how appreciative you are for all of their help. This will give them an idea of what to expect when you arrive and will help you settle in if you have made contact already.
Your relocation here is going to be one of the biggest moves you have made in your life. Leave some time in your schedule after you arrive to explore the city and get an idea of everything that this city has to offer you.
Friday July 29th, 2011
Your relocation to London is going to be expensive. Even if you have been given a transfer to London through your work, you will still be spending a bit of your own money to get settled and make London your home. Unless you spend a bit of time and energy, you may find yourself spending too much money on your relocation to London.
Relocation to London: Money Savers
The best way to keep your relocation to London expenses down to a minimum is to prepare a budget. Make a list of all the expenses you will have in your country of origin when planning your international relocation. Plan for storage costs, banking charges and even a tax consultant to help you out on both sides of the Atlantic. There may be administrative costs involved if you are going to rent out your property while you are here. Consider your storage costs carefully. Do you really need to store every little item? What can you throw away or sell?
Look at spending slightly more money up front, by hiring one of the professional relocation services agents to handle your apartment search. Not only will it save you money once you get there, but time and energy to boot! If you have not visited the UK before, then it is vital that you have some guidance in where to stay and what sort of areas to live in. Relocation agents have a wealth of knowledge and can help you save money when you are moving to London.
Don’t waste your money on goodbyes. Remember that you are not moving to another planet, just overseas. You need to conserve your money as much as possible while still at home, so when you get here you can splash your cash and discover the treats that this city has in store for you.
Stick to your budget at home and make a budget for the first few months that you will be here. Ensure that you have enough money to cover deposits, opening accounts and getting settled in. being careful with your relocation budget means that you will have more time to play when you arrive.
Friday July 29th, 2011
Moving to London is a big decision, but once you have made it, it is time to focus on all the aspects of your international relocation. You need to ensure that you’re not burned out before you start your relocation to London. You need to save some of that energy for touring when you arrive.
Relocation to London: Energy Savers
The easiest way to save your energy for the big move is to delegate some of the details to the professionals. Choose one of the relocation services agencies to help you plan your relocation. Agents are not moving companies, although they will recommend several movers to you. Relocation agents are experts in all of the details and aspects surrounding an international relocation.
Finding a place to stay will probably be right at the top of your list of things to stress about when you are moving to London. If you’re going to go it alone, you may not find the best places easily. You might spend weeks looking for an apartment only to find that they don’t rent to people without a UK bank account.
When you get someone else to do the legwork for you, you’re not only saving your energy, but a lot of time. Time that you can use exploring your new home!
You can also save your energy and lower your stress levels by organizing a professional mover to pack and move your belongings. You won’t have the stress of having to bubble wrap every trinket and you’ll be assured of receiving your precious belongings on time and in perfect condition.
When you are planning for your relocation, you need to decide what aspects you will have to handle in person. Bank accounts, personal taxes, visa applications, storage and managing your belongings, are a few of the items that should you do yourself. Delegate the details of the move and getting settled after arrival to professional relocation agents. They know where you are coming from and where you want to go!
Thursday July 28th, 2011
Just when you think you’ve got the tube sorted! Your relocation to London and tube education involves more than learning the difference between an Oyster Card and a Travelcard. When you are moving to London you need to learn to act like a Londoner and that means getting a bit of Tube savvy and ‘know-how’ so you are comfortable during your daily commute.
Taming the Tube
If you absolutely have to stand on the escalators, please make sure that you stand to the right side at all times. People move fast in London and while they are accepting of tourists ambling around the tube stations, you’ll only understand just how frustrating it is to be stuck behind a group of stragglers when you only have 30 seconds to catch your connecting tube in the morning.
Don’t claim your personal space as if you have a right to be there. There is nothing worse than someone with a newspaper spread out, legs taking up half the carriage and an attitude to match. You can fold your newspaper up in such a way that it does not disturb everyone around you.
Don’t lean on the poles in the center of the tube carriage. They are there for several people to hold onto at the same time, not for you to rest up against like the trunk of a tree. While we’re on the subject of picnics, it is not considered good tube etiquette to much away on your food in front of the entire carriage. If you must snack then make it something like a candy bar, not an egg mayonnaise sandwich.
Try to carry as little as possible on the Tube in terms of luggage. Backpacks tend to get in people’s way if you insist on keeping them on your back. Rush hour on the tube can get very crowded, bring a book, listen to music, (through your earphones!) and try to keep your wits about you. Relocation can be a challenge, especially if you are not used to living in a big city. Once you have the hang of how to use the tube, you’ll never be able to imagine using anything else.
Thursday July 28th, 2011
When you ask your London relocation agents for a list of things you need when you’re moving to London, a bank account and an Oyster Card are going to be right at the top! You can use your Oyster card to pay for tickets on all forms of public transport and you’ll save time and money by making sure that you always have the right amount of money for your ticket. Of course you can purchase a ticket using cash at any of the ticket booths in all stations but an Oyster Card gives you the freedom of the city by allowing you to travel where and when you want to.
The Difference Between Oyster Cards and Travelcards
A Travelcard can be loaded onto your Oyster Card, but an Oyster Card is completely separate from a Travelcard – No one ever said that your relocation to London was going to be simple! An Oyster Card is a plastic smart card that you can use to cover all of your travel requirements in London. You can load your bus tickets, Travelcards and train tickets onto your Oyster Card. To use your Oyster card you simply hold it over any of the yellow Oyster sensors when you are walking through a ticket barrier. You can also load money onto your Oyster card to pay for fares if you do not have a Travelcard loaded. It is a pay-as-you-go system that ensures that you are not caught up in any queues at the station, or have to carry cash to pay for tickets. A Travelcard is a way of paying for your tube tickets by Zone. If you need to travel from Zone 1 to Zone 6 every day, then you can get a Travelcard loaded with a discounted ticket for all travel in those Zones. Your Travelcard can be bought monthly, weekly or daily. You then load your Travelcard details onto your Oyster Card for convenience. Your relocation to London will only be considered a success if you can navigate from one side of the city to the other using and Oyster Card on a train, tube and bus without having a nervous breakdown! It can be done! You’ll soon be able to impress your overseas visitors with how easily you manage the public transport and you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was complicated.
Thursday July 28th, 2011
Your London relocation agents will be on the hunt for a perfect apartment and don’t be surprised if they ask you about how far you want to travel each day. When you are moving to London you will be using the public transport system to travel across the city, whether it is for you daily commute or a night on the town. London relocation agents know that choosing a flat is so much more than just worrying about cupboard space.
If you thought that the tube was hard to understand, the bus network is even more confusing and perplexing. There are hundreds of buses on the road at any given time of the day and you need to have a good idea of where you want to go before you step onto a big, red double-decker London bus! Buses usually travel a specific route making several stops along the way. Many people use buses when they need to supplement their tube journey. People also use buses to travel around their neighborhood.
TFL has a free download on their website with a full list of the bus routes and the times that you can expect to catch a bus.
Buses in London are numbered according to their route. This information is shown on the front of the bus, as well as the final destination and any major stops along the way. Most bus stops have the route information and map for you to see at a glance.
If you are waiting at the bus stop and see a bus approaching all you have to do is hold out your arm to signal to the bus driver that you want to get on board. The best way to pay for bus trips is to use your Oyster card and keep it topped up with money at all times.
Buses are especially useful when you are out on the town after your relocation. The Tube does not run 24 hours a day and many people use the services of a night bus to get home after a night out. Most night buses pass through the terminus at Trafalgar Square if you’re looking for transport late at night.
Wednesday July 27th, 2011
Part of finding the perfect apartment in London will be determined by where you will be working. Your London relocation agents will, as part of their assessment, try to find you an apartment as close as possible to your new job. Professional London relocation services companies realize just how reliant you will be on public transport when you are moving to London. You will be using the network of trains, buses, and the all important Tube EVERY day. Learning how it all fits together and what the colors mean can be like trying to find one strand of spaghetti in an Italian restaurant! Just give it a couple of weeks and you’ll be a tube expert.
The Tube is the colloquial name for the London Underground and is a rapid transit transport system that keeps London on time, most of the time! TfL(Transport for London) has an easy to use website and maps available free of charge at every tube station. The tube is made up of 11 separate lines which have names as well as a color to differentiate them: Bakerloo Line: Brown Central Line: Red Circle Line: Yellow District Line: Green Hammersmith and City Line: Pink Jubilee Line: Silver Metropolitan Line: Purple Northern Line: Black Piccadilly Line: Navy Blue Victoria Line: Light Blue Waterloo and City Line: Turquoise Native Londoners never refer to the tube lines by their color; always by name. Nothing makes you stand out like a tourist than calling it the “Red Line”! Some lines run across all transport zones and other lines only serve certain zones some of the time. Your biggest challenge will be to choose the right line for your commute to work and back again. It may be that you have to use two lines to get close enough to walk the rest of the way. You may also find that you have to catch a different line at certain times of the day to avoid being stuck in the rush hour commute. Confused yet? We haven’t even started talking about Oyster Cards, Travel Cards and how much tickets cost. The complexity and complete reliance of Londoners on the tube for transport is one reason why your London relocation agents will question you closely about where you will be working and what sort of amenities you require in your neighborhood.
Wednesday July 27th, 2011
Your relocation to London will involve a bit more than packing your passport, validating your visa and searching for a squat. Many Americans moving to London have some rather strange preconceptions about moving to London, living in London and England as a whole. Part of your settling-in process should be to bust a couple of those myths about Great Britain and your relocation to London.
The Weather is Bad
This is a myth that is perpetuated by the British propensity to moan about the weather. The weather is not bad all of the time. It does not rain all of the time. It MAY rain at any time! As long as you have an umbrella and raincoat with you when you are out and about, you’ll be covered.
People in London are unfriendly.
People in London are extremely friendly. It may take some time to get past the natural British reserve, but as a foreigner moving to London, you’ll find that everyone will welcome you and make you feel at home.
London is England
London is not England. London is a city in England. There are many cities in the country of England, which is just one country in Great Britain. The United Kingdom, or Great Britain is made up of England, (where you’ll find the capital city London) Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Food is Bad
Britain has had to manage a bad reputation for the state of their cuisine over the years. The exciting part about your relocation to London is that you are going to have the chance to sample cuisine from around the world. It is a tribute to the spirit of Great Britain that they so readily accept and absorb other cultures into their own.
The English Dislike Americans
This could not be further from the truth. The English don’t hold a grudge against America in any way. They love the fact that so many Americans are embracing their British heritage and tracing their roots back to Great Britain. They’re pretty mad that they lost the Empire, but that’s quite another topic!
Remember that London is a massive cosmopolitan city with people from all over the world working, living and loving London. Your relocation to London will not make you feel like a stranger in a strange land. Just reach out and immerse yourself in your new home and you’ll be a real Londoner in a jiffy!
Wednesday July 27th, 2011
Your London relocation agents will find you a flat in no time at all. Just as soon as you touch down at Heathrow, you’ll be whizzing round the city, signing leases and opening a bank account. It’s just a pity that you can’t use your London relocation services company as a tour guide on the tube during your first few weeks.
Learning how the tube works is all a part of getting settled in London, and the faster you “mind the gap” and catch a tube, the better. When you are moving you will be using public transport every day. It is vital that you familiarize yourself with the different forms of transport available to you. This is a massive city and most people do not have the budget to take a cab everywhere.
The first aspect of transportation that you will have to learn is that London is divided into different transport zones. The center of London is called Zone 1 and includes the City of Westminster, which is a suburb, and a few other small neighborhoods. Zone 2 is a concentric circle drawn around Zone 1, just a little further out. The transport zones continue to spread in circles until you reach Zone 6, which is on the very outskirts of London. You will also find Zone 7 – 9 in concentric circles covering the northwest of London.
Transport is the government body that manages all of the transpor. They are well represented in every tube and train station across the city and you can pick up a free map showing all of the zones and different transport areas.
The reason it is so important to understand the different transport zones is that you will more than likely be covering a number of different zones in your daily commute. Very few people live and work in the same zone.
The zones also denote the different prices that you will have to pay on a daily basis. The ticket prices can be a little confusing, and there is no doubt that transport will play a large part of your budget when you are planning your relocation. It may even affect where you chose to live more than any other aspect. Ask your relocation agents to help you with the basics of transport zones when you are looking for an apartment.
Friday July 22nd, 2011
Your relocation to London will only be complete once you have found a flat or apartment to rent for the duration of your stay. If you’re going to be moving to London for a few years then you should be planning your move with the help of a professional London relocation services company. It’s the only way to get it done efficiently, quickly and with the least amount of stress.
Finding an apartment can be stressful in London and if you don’t know the city, and are a foreigner, you may find that your international relocation adventure will quickly turn into a nightmare.
The rental industry in London is highly competitive, so if you are going it alone then you’re going to have to be prepared to move fast on any rentals that become available. Many properties in London are owned by individuals and advertised privately or through an estate agent. It is important that you find an estate agent who is prepared to deal with an international relocation before you start.
Having an estate agent on your side who is experienced in the process of relocation to London from your home country could be the difference between a smooth transition and a bumpy road ahead. It might seem a bit more expensive to use London relocation agents but when you are still looking for a suitable flat three months after your arrival, you’d wish that you’d a professional from the start.
When you are renting you’ll have to e prepared to pay a deposit and the first month’s rent when you sign the lease, make sure you have the funds at the ready because there will be a crowd behind you waiting to snap up your perfect pad if you delay.
If you’re looking at prices of flats before you arrive, be aware that most flats are advertised with a weekly rate and not monthly. If you want to work out how much you’ll be paying per month you can multiply the weekly rent by 52 and divide it by 12 to get a final figure.
Dealing with estate agents in a foreign country can be a challenge, even if you do speak the same language. It’s always wise to take advice from people who know what YOU want and where you are coming from when you are planning your relocation to London.
Friday July 22nd, 2011
Moving to London in the summer is a great idea because it will give you a chance to experience the unpredictability and fickle nature of the weather in the city. Your London relocations agents will have you settled into an apartment in a couple of days, your bank account will be opened quickly, and you’ll be starting your grand London adventure in no time at all.
There is only one thing that you need to remember when you are moving to London, and rest assured that it may become the single most important item in your wardrobe and home.
A Necessary Accessory
Always carry an umbrella when you are out and about in London. It’s not a quirky, quaint British tradition; it is an indispensible part of your international relocation and living in London.
The weather in London is unpredictable and changes without warning. What looks like a sunny day in summer at 7am can rapidly turn to clouds and rain by lunchtime, back to summer heat in the mid afternoon with a special shower thrown in as you are running to catch a bus after work. Having a ‘brolly’ with you is going to become as important as having your oyster card and you house keys when you leave for work in the morning.
When you’re shopping for an umbrella you need to invest a fair amount of time in the process. Your brolly should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind of the city streets as well as provide you with enough coverage so you do not get wet, which is the point after all! You also want to choose an umbrella that fits comfortably into your handbag or tote bag so you’re not burdened with an extra item while you’re out shopping or on the tube.
You can find umbrellas at most high street stores, and you can even get a couple in different colors to match your wardrobe. A good umbrella that will last you through a couple of years will cost you about £15. Of course, if you want to go all out, you can get a bespoke umbrella from one of the posh stores like Harrods, but you don’t want to leave it somewhere and waste your money.
An international relocation involves many small details and learning as much as you can before you leave. Now go and practice opening and closing your brolly on the bus!
Friday July 22nd, 2011
Part of your relocation to London will be developing a sense of the culture of the city. It may take time to understand the quirkiness and eccentricities of the British people and the way of life, but it is just as important as finding a London apartment or registering for a doctor when you are moving to London.
London is a curious mix of traditional English culture and a melting pot of foreign cultures, languages and people. It will certainly make your relocation to London an interesting experience. The point of moving to London, apart from work or family, is to fully engage in the thrill of being at home in a foreign country.
Learning about a culture is no substitute for experiencing it. Even if you make a couple of mistakes, you’ll have a much better idea of what it is to be an integral part of one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
To Tip or Not?
Americans moving here sometimes struggle with this one. The US has a culture of tipping for service wherever they go, especially in restaurants, and bars. Not so in London. The main reason for the difference is that restaurant workers do not have to work for tips. All people in the service industry work for at least the minimum wage, so they are not reliant on tips to form their income.
It is just not the culture to tip in Britain which may be a part of the reason that customer service is considered so bad. If there is no incentive to give excellent service then why should you work for it! That said, I would make a point of complaining if you receive especially bad service, just don’t confuse rudeness with the normal way of talking to people. It can be tricky.
Remember that as soon as you have completed your relocation you’re a part of the city, so don’t be quilted into paying a tip just because you’re an American. You’re not a tourist anymore. This is your home now, and if someone tries it on with you; you can tell them exactly where to get off!
Thursday July 21st, 2011
Your relocation to London is not just about enjoying the sights of the city. Remember that you’re not a tourist anymore, and your sightseeing is probably going to be restricted to weekends once you’ve your sorted your relocation jobs in London. Many Americans moving to London will be transferred by a company from the states to a London office. This means you’ll still be working within the American corporate culture with subtle differences.
If your relocation jobs mean that you’re going to be working for a British company in London then you’d best be prepared for some major differences. Luckily, they are all on the plus scale!
- Working 9-5 actually means 9-5! In the states it usually means 9 – 6 including a lunch hour, if you’re lucky. In the UK, your lunch hour is sacred and knocking off at 5 pm on the dot is the norm.
- Going for a pint. You may be asked on a weekly basis to go for a pint in your lunch hour. It may even be your boss asking you! Having a beer with your lunch or going out with colleagues for a bit of a brain storm is quite common in London, even if you return a bit tipsy on a Friday. It’s close enough to the weekend to be acceptable!
- 25 days of vacation. This is part of an EU directive that states that all EU companies must give their employees a minimum of 25 days of paid vacation per year! That’s a full month, and does not include the public and national holidays. Remember that Paris is a couple of hours away by train so make weekend mini-breaks a part of your life.
You’re also allowed unlimited sick leave in the UK although you will have to produce a doctor’s letter if you’re off for more than five days. It might take some getting used to the way that business works in the UK, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re relocation is going to be a vacation every day. Locals work very hard and play hard, so you’re going to be busy all round after your big international relocation.
Thursday July 21st, 2011
There are so many details that you’ll need to plan for your relocation to London, and then you’ll have to start learning the subtle differences in culture, traditions and way of life in your new city. If you’re an American moving to London you’ll be used to measuring your temperature in Fahrenheit. In England it is measured in Celsius, so you’ll have to keep on converting if you want to know what the temperature is before you leave your cozy rental in the morning.
The official conversion rate to convert degrees Celsius into Fahrenheit is: ºC x (9.5) + 32.2 = ºF, but unless you’re a walking calculator, you can get an approximate conversion by multiplying the Celsius figure by 2 and adding 32. It can get confusing when the weather reporter is telling you that it’s a heat wave with temperatures of 30 degrees!
Planning for the weather in London is an Oxymoron
There is no way you can accurately predict what will be happening in the weather when you are moving here. You can check the news every morning and convert all the degrees that you like. The ONLY way to be sure that you are prepared for the changing weather conditions when you are moving here is to take an umbrella and light coat with you every time you leave the your apartment.
Everyone has a ‘brolly’ and a ‘Mac’ when they go out. It’s just a part of living here. The weather changes all the time, but you must not let it stop you from going out and enjoying the summer sun while you can. A short shower will do nothing to disturb a picnic in the park if you’re a real Londoner and being prepared does not mean changing your plans.
Just one more thing about your relocation and the weather: As a foreigner, even though London is a city composed of foreigners, you’re not allowed to moan about the weather. It appears to be the right of Englishmen only to gripe about weather conditions, and gripe they will!
Thursday July 21st, 2011
Your relocation to London will involve a lot more than just trying to figure out which is you’re your tube stop. Working in London is going to be quite different and you’ll have to get used to office traditions and business lunches at the pub, as well as longer vacations!
Most Americans moving to London will be working as soon as they arrive and adapting to your environment and new job as fast as possible will help you make friends, and get ahead in your new job.
Odd Office Traditions
If you tell everyone when your birthday is, don’t expect gifts and an office lunch to celebrate. The onus is on the birthday person to provide cakes or snack for the entire office! This does not just happen in a few offices; it’s considered the norm in all companies in England and much of the commonwealth too. You don’t have to put on an entire spread, and there won’t be a celebration lunch hour where you all gather round and eat the food.
You’ll just place the food items into the kitchen and send a discreet email to your colleagues telling them there are some nibbles in the kitchen because it’s your birthday. Seem odd? It’s just another tradition that you’ll be making a part of your life after your relocation to London. Join in or guard the date of your birthday with your life!
Working here is going to be a part of the entire international relocation experience, and it will probably form the basis for many of the friends you make. Getting to know people outside of work is the best way to increase the amount of people that you know and a great way to get acquainted with British culture. Jobs in London may be harder to get as well.
Don’t be afraid to go out with your colleagues for a pint after work, or even during lunch hour. Despite the great British reserve, that you may experience when you are moving to London, you’ll find that most people working here are friendly and will make an effort to include you in the office outings.