Passports. Visas. Flats. These are just a few of the things you have to worry about before you move to London. As your to-do list grows more unwieldy, you’ll need all the shortcuts you can get. Combine these four clever tips with our Settling In service, and you’ll tackle that relocation checklist without experiencing all the undue stress associated to a trans-Atlantic relocation.
Open a Bank Account Using Your Passport
Most banks require proof of address to open a UK bank account. If you don’t have a flat yet, this is a problem. How can you set up the account you need without an established address? Simple: several banks offer accounts that you can open just with your passport. For example, HSBC has a “Passport Account” that also gives you a debit card. Open up the account before you move for a smooth transition.
Finance Your Annual Travelcard
Public transportation is the cheapest and most efficient way to get around London. You’ll save yourself the most money by investing in an Oyster Annual Travelcard. This allows you unlimited travel via bus, Tube, National Rail Services, London Overground, tram, and DLR.
The only issue is the cost — an annual Travelcard, depending on your travel zones, will cost you anywhere from ₤1,284 to ₤2,344. That’s a lot of money, but we have a hack to make it affordable. Commuter Club allows you to pay for an annual TravelCard in monthly installments to make it more affordable. All the privileges, none of the massive up-front cost.
Insure Your Move to Avoid Unexpected Costs
When you ship your belongings 4,000 miles away, something is bound to go wrong. You don’t want to open up moving boxes filled with broken things that you have to pay out of pocket to replace. Instead of begging the moving company to reimburse you, head this issue off at the pass by buying a moving insurance policy. Then, if things go wrong, your insurer cuts you a check to buy what you need ASAP.
Buy a Prepaid Cell or SIM Card to Tide You Over
Using your U.S. smartphone overseas can be costly and, depending on the carrier and technology of your phone, it might not even work.
If you have a carrier that uses GSM technology (AT&T and T-Mobile) and an unlocked phone, then you can just get a prepaid SIM card and slip it into your existing device. Most companies will unlock your phone once your contract is up, so if you have an old iPhone 5 or Android device lying around, now is a good time to dust it off.
If your carrier uses CDMA technology (Sprint and Verizon), then you’re out of luck. These phones will be incompatible with UK networks, so you’ll have to settle for a prepaid phone.
Companies like Carphone Warehouse and Tesco sell prepaid phones and SIM cards and pay-as-you-go plans. You get an affordable means of communication in the interim between American and UK phone services.
Moving to a different country is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. These tips will make your London move less of a headache and more of a pleasure. And once you’ve settled in, you can learn more about the London Lifestyle here on our site.