This guide is basically all the stuff I wish someone told me!
So hopefully it will make your life easier.
Getting an Oyster Card/Contactless Card or App: You have a choice of using a Contactless card or Oyster Card to pay for use on public London transport. An oyster card can be obtained at at the airport and London train stations. You pay a small deposit for the oyster card which you can get back when returning.
Download the TFL/Oyster Card App and register your card which enables you to track your journeys on London's transport as well as payments made using an Oyster or Contactless card.
Bus Times gives you a real time countdown for when your bus arrives and also has an excellent Satander Bikes locator, City Mapper works out your journey options for you and is super useful, TFL: Oyster and Contactless tracks your journeys and helps manage your Oyster/Contactless Cards. Uber and Kapten are both value for money taxi services. Tube Map is a useful tool for journey planning.
Bus Times City Mapper TFL: Oyster
Uber Kapten Tub
Scroll below to the phone section for the more great Apps for London
Getting a National Insurance Number you will need to arrange an appointment which is just making a simple call to 0800 141 2075. You can find more information here on our website. Please do not pay anyone for this service as its free and do it as soon as you arrive as it will take time.
Getting a Bank Account Look to get a Bank Account once you have a UK phone number as we recommend opening an account with a online current account provider such as Monese, Monzo and Starling. This is far simpler than applying with the High Street Banks.(They usually want proof of address documents which make it difficult to acquire when you have just arrived in the country.) If you want to use a High Street Bank wait a few months once you have the required proof of address requirements before applying and use a online current account in the interim.
How much tax you should pay? Listen to Taxman is a good tool and works out money you will receive after tax.
How much money should you be earning? Payscale is an excellent site to understand your value but also speak to recruitment agencies relevant in your industry.
International Money When travelling abroad we recommend getting a Revolut prepaid Mastercard/Visa that uses interbank exchange rates, doesn't charge fees for spending unless exceeding £5000 a month and allows you to withdraw up to £200 a month for free at international ATM's.
*** Looking to Hire a Car in Europe: Organise Car Hire Excess Insurance prior to reaching the car hire desk. You will save significantly on what the car hire company offers and protect yourself against in damage claims and high excess costs! Try ICarinsurance or TravelSupermarket.
To find the best Phone deal we recommend Hoppy which is a comparison site.
London Stranger's recommendation is using either GiffGaff (on the O2 Network) or Voxi (on the Vodafone Network) pay as you go as you are not locked in to a contract and they represent great value for money!
Bus Times gives you a real time countdown for when your bus arrives and also has an excellent Satander Bikes locator, City Mapper works out your journey options for you and is super useful, TFL: Oyster and Contactless tracks your journeys and helps manage your Oyster card. Uber and Kapten are both value for money taxi services. Tube Map is a useful tool for journey planning.
Bus Times City Mapper TFL: Oyster
Uber Kapten Tube
The BBC News is good for up to date information, while BBC Sport is great for sports results and coverage. Tune in radio gives you all the radio stations around the world (including your favorites back home, while Google Translate is great for travelling as well as for those with basic English.
BBC News BBC Sport Tune In Radio
Dusk is good for bars and nightlife, Opentable great for dining out, Vivino rates the wine you are looking to buy while Nectar Card (Sainsburys), Waitrose and Tesco are supermarkets which offer rewards for loyalty.
Dusk Opentable Vivino
Nectar Waitrose Tesco Club Card
Quidco is a service that will give you cashback for purchases and Voucher cloud is great for offers with shopping and entertainment.
Recruitment Agencies and Job Boards are important tools in finding work in London but also don't be afraid to approach companies direct. Everybody's job hunting experience will be different depending on industry, experience level and location so remain positive and work hard in finding the work you seek and luck will eventually fall your way.
Approaching Companies Direct
Easy Room Option: Lyvly is a new room option in furnished homes to a home spec. Designed for singles (they build social living/community into their service) and offering a solution ideal for those who may need/want to move around different suburbs in London all in the one tenancy! They also cater for expats relocating to the UK with no need for the renter to have a UK bill or bank account.
For Gas and Electricity Services use a comparison site such as Energy Helpline to help you source the best deal.
For Home Telecommunications Services (e.g Broadband) use Broadband Genie to help you source the best deal.
Discount Dining Cards (Get up to 50% off your food bill)
Discount dining cards represent excellent value where you can get up to 50% off your food bill! There are three cards Taste Card, Gourmet Society and Dine Club. They all offer great incentives to join and represent excellent value. You only need 1 card between 2 people and as the cards are similar really only one of these cards although the excellent promotional incentives means you might want to trial all of them.
Cashback Sites (Average active members receive £300 back per year)
Cashback sites give you back cash on your purchases. Example they have an offer for £8.70 cashback on your first online grocery purchase above £45 at Tesco. So effectively you would be paying £37.30 for £45 of groceries when you get the cashback. This all adds up and makes it worth checking Quidco (click link below) with every online purchase you make! Signing up is Free click on the banner below!
Grocery Savings (Know the tricks)
Movie Tickets (40% off, 2 for 1 tickets and Unlimited Movie tickets)
Car Hire for London, UK and Europe.
London has so many fun things to see and do it can be worth planning both for your time to make sure you can fit in what you want to see as well as save money.
Value for Money Stores
The UK is one of the worlds great shopping hubs and that comes with some really excellent value for money stores. This link will direct you to many of the great value for money shops in London and in doing so will leave you with a smug feeling when making some wonderful purchases.
Comparison sites make it easy to find the best deal. We have put this list together to make it easy for you.
|What you are looking for?||Where to get the best deal?||What you are looking for?||Where to get the best deal?|
|Booking Flights||Booking Insurance (General)|
|Booking Accommodation||Financial Services|
|Booking Car Hire||Looking for the best Gas/Energy Deal|
|Booking Travel Insurance||Looking for a Broadband/TV Supplier|
|Sending Parcels Home/Man with a van||Supermarket Shopping|
Useful tools to help you make the most of your time in London
Our 2020 Calendar for interesting events happening in London, the UK and Europe.
Major Music festivals Guide for 2020.....for London, UK and Europe.
Major Sporting Events in London for 2020
London Theatre happening in 2020
Arts and Culture London Highlights for 2020
And for more events check out the London Stranger Events Directory where you can search by category.
Follow us on Facebook and check out LondonStranger.com for more wonderful tips and useful information about Life in London
Updated: 12:47pm on 10th March 2020
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Written by: Jeremy Cogdon
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