As someone who went through the anxiety of planning and preparing for my arrival in London to begin my studies, I can understand how difficult it can be to get everything together at the last minute. This is why I have curated a short list of helpful tips that might aid you in better preparation and perhaps alleviate some of the anxiety.
1. Essentials to bring
While you would be able to find and purchase everything you need during your stay in London, there are a few essentials that I would advise you to bring with you when you move. Medication would be the most important thing to bring, especially if you require prescriptions for them. Bring an ample supply of your essential medication along with a prescription for it. While I would advise you to buy most of your winter clothing in London, especially if you are coming from a country that does not experience winters as harsh as those in the UK, bring a light jacket or a sweater or two. This can help you weather the initial chilly days before you can purchase your heavy-duty winter clothes.
Almost everything in London can be paid for using a contactless card, so I would ensure that I have at least one working credit or debit card that can be used for payments. If you have the option to do so, consider adding it to your Google Wallet or Apple Pay to make the entire process much more convenient. While it is always wise to carry cash as a backup, I would not recommend carrying exorbitant amounts because you will not find much use for it. A contactless card can help you pay for everything from your travel and groceries to shopping for things for your house and practically everything else you can think of.
3. Using public transport
London boasts one of the easiest-to-navigate public transport systems that I have experienced so far. Citymapper and Google Maps are very useful tools for figuring out how to get to your destination, even when you first arrive in London. There are excellent transport links from all of the airports, and you can use a contactless card to pay for your travel. After settling in, you can choose to get an Oyster card, and when linked with your National Railcard, you will receive discounts on your travel during peak times on the tube. Before you arrive in London, I would encourage you to examine the route map from the airport to your destination so that you are prepared and don’t have to spend a lot of money on Ubers.
These are the tips that I would offer to all students arriving in London, with the hope that they find them helpful in addressing some of their concerns. All the best.