What to Pack when moving to London

Photograph by Pietro Chelli for London Relocation

Small Things Make a Big Difference

I had the chance to sit down with Devon Lampard, one of LR’s Global Mobility Specialists and, having personally experienced the ups and downs of moving to London herself, had this to say about what to pack first:

  • You don’t need to bring as many clothes as you think you do. Your entire wardrobe is too much to bring with you when you’re moving to London. People in London are not that concerned with what you’re wearing!
  • Try and pack your personal items, like photographs and ornaments instead. London is going to be your home for a couple of years at least, and having a few of your favorite things around you in your new apartment will go a long way to making you feel at home.
  • If you’re moving to London from the US, bring a few USA to UK plug adapters with you for any electronic items that you want to use. Computers and other electronic equipment are a lot more expensive in the UK than in the States so you may want to consider shipping your PC over.
  • Appliances on the other hand, are quite cheap in London. Don’t bother shipping a gargantuan American style double-door fridge when you are relocating to London. You’ll never fit it into your new kitchen!
  • Pack some linen in your suitcase. One of the first things you’ll want to do at the end of Moving-In Day will will be to make your bed. Having a set of comfy bed linens will make your first night in your new home a lot more settling.

Homesick After Moving to London

Devon went on to talk about the emotional aspects of an international move raised by families that she works with during the LR Settling-In Service. One of the biggest issues that expats experience after moving to London is – homesickness. It’s not enough to just will yourself to adapt or to focus on your work so that the aching feeling of being away from home will go away. Sometimes you’re just going to miss home and all that comes with it, like pancakes, BBQ, the 4th of July or having your family and friends over for the Super Bowl.

It doesn’t matter either that you can make your own pancakes or buy them, that you could try getting a grill and some marinade and giving the BBQ a shot (weather withstanding), that London also has a 4th of July on its calendar (albeit, not with quite the same fanfare) or that the Super Bowl can be broadcast over in England as well (internet streaming helps in a big way in this case).

An adage that I really have taken to heart is that it’s not just where you go, what you do, but what matters above all is who you’re with. You’re not alone while you’re living in London. Turns out that there are over forty four thousand Americans staying in London. Not only that, but they get together pretty regularly and also have websites dedicated to that effect. It won’t be quite the same as walking in your mom’s front door for Thanksgiving Dinner, but spending an evening with people from back home can really help to ease the transition that comes with moving from one country to the next.

You can meet with groups as diverse as students studying in London, families that have pulled up roots to move here, an American TV Nights group (no, seriously) and many others. So even if you are struggling with the big move, it helps to understand that there are others that have been there before and may even be experiencing what you’re experiencing at the same time. You can tear your hair out about the problems of moving to a new country, or you can laugh about it with someone who shares your pain.