What to do if you moved to London, but you have no relatives or friends here, you do not know anyone who could show you the city or share useful advice in everyday life. It may take a long time to get used to living in a giant city and come up with a few useful tricks on your own. It becomes much easier if you know a few simple things from the very beginning about how to save a little time, money and effort.
8 useful tips for a newcomer in London
1. How to learn the language. Try to speak English as often as possible. The British accent may seem difficult to understand, and you may have difficulties in everyday communication, but you will eventually get used to it. If English is not your native language, you can try learning it in pairs. Learning a language in a pair is the exchange of knowledge between partners. So you can teach someone your native language while learning English. This is a great way to make new friends and get knowledge in spoken language. If you prefer more traditional classroom studying, you can find many free language courses in London. And if you are a supporter of learning on your own comfortable sofa, you can use the Lingualia or Memrise programs, or download the Duolingo application and learn the language on the run.
2. How to save on paying bills. If you do not watch TV, you do not have to pay for the license. At the very moment when you settle in a new place, you immediately start receiving notifications about the need to pay for a television license, but there is a perfectly legal way not to do this. As for telephone communication, try not to call the numbers that begin on 0870, otherwise you will not even notice how all the funds from your phone bill will disappear. There is a site (saynoto0870), which will help you find an alternative number, calls to which will be much cheaper or completely free.
3. How to save on public transport. Daily trips can be very expensive, so it's better to figure out how to optimize costs. The first thing to do is buy an Oyster card and never leave the house without it, since one-time tickets are very expensive. However, it would be good if you order a contactless card in the bank, which can be used in the same way as Oyster, but it will save time and effort, as it does not require constant replenishment. Moreover, try as much as possible to use buses and other land transport - the journey by the subway is much more expensive. Download the City Mapper route planner, which will provide a lot of options for traveling around the city, routes and ticket prices between the selected points. In case you prefer to travel around the city in taxi, do not forget that taxi in London is very expensive. Never stop a taxi on the street if you are not ready to pay extra money. It's better to download a taxi service application, for example Uber. And if you travel the country by train, there is a wonderful way to save on railway tickets using the Raileasy service. It will help break your trip into several short segments, which will be much cheaper than a direct ticket.
4. How to transfer money from abroad. After you open an account with a British bank, you will probably need to transfer certain funds to it. Transferwise and HiFX are quite good for this purpose. Both are quality platforms that provide high-quality exchange and money transfer services, helping to avoid paying for hidden bank charges. You just need to choose the one that suits you best.
5. How to go shopping best. If you want to save a little on daily purchases, you need to study prices in several nearby supermarkets. Decide what you need in each of them. For example, daily goods, soap, detergents, shampoos are best to be purchased at 99p Store and Poundland stores. In these stores, prices for certain goods are very low in comparison with the networks of Tesco and Sainsbury's. Do not be afraid to buy in the "sale" section. Products there are not expired, just the time of their storage will soon expire, so the price will be much lower than usual (sometimes by 70-80%).
6. How to arrange your social life. Try to be open to all cultures, do not only communicate with compatriots. Not that people from your country should be avoided, but it is recommended to open up to everyone and everything as much as possible. London is an incredibly multicultural city, there are many opportunities to meet interesting people from different parts of the world and learn more. Become a part of society and culture, get acquainted with the British and try to understand their culture. Visit the local pub and do the same as the local people. Talk to a stranger or bartender, but first make sure that he is friendly enough. Moreover, you can find a group of like-minded people who share your hobbies and interests. Every week in London there are hundreds of meetings of similar groups, collected on the basis of language exchange, work, ethnic identification, entrepreneurship, hiking, childcare, hobbies connected with technology, photography and so on.
7. How to shop in the market. Visit Camden Town in London or any other food market and bargain. You may like it, it will become a habit and help save considerable sums! For example, if you find a counter in Camden Town with things you like - you can freely ask for three things at the price of two. The main advice: if a seller does not intend to give in, just thank him and go on. Perhaps he will ask you to come back and discuss the price again.
8. How to have fun. Literally there is everything in London! And you do not have to spend much money to have fun in this city. You can always find dozens of options for free entertainment - from museums and galleries to movies and comedy performances. You just need to know where to go and what to do!