Guest post by John Smith
Moving to London as a student can be daunting and exciting in the same breath. We’ve put together a brief guide to help you prepare for living in London. Follow this 5-step checklist that includes travelling in London, the different areas to live, student self-storage to look after your things, and working as a student in London.
1. Master how to travel in London
Get an Oyster Card! It’s the best way to travel around London. You can also use contactless card payments to tap in and out on the tube and buses (remember to use the same card to tap in and out).
The underground – 11 lines, 270 stations and over a billion passengers every year, the London Underground is a behemoth. It is likely that wherever you live in London as a student you’ll have a tube station close to you.
Each line has its own colour, and you’ll see a train on each line every 2-4 minutes on average, and the map is divided into zones 1-6, the cost increases depending on how many journeys you take and how many zones you cross during your journey. When on the escalator down or up to the platforms always remember to stand on the right and walk on the left!
Overground rail – Part of the network but slightly different from the underground lines, most commonly running from Zone 2 outwards. Prices and entry work in the same way as the Underground with few differences, such as the need to press a button to open the doors.
Buses and trams – Many of the bus routes are 24-hour so you’ll always be able to get a bus somewhere when you need to. The tram network connects much of South West London from Croydon down to Wimbledon
2. Where to live in London
London is consistently ranked in the top 10 for best student cities in the world, but because it is so big it can be difficult to know where to live. You’ll be on a tight student budget, so where should you look?
North London – Camden and Finsbury Park are both appealing parts of north London, vibrant and a heady places to find your scene as a student, whilst the Victoria Line is seen as the fastest tube line in London to help you get around.
East London – The Central line from East gives you quick access to the centre of London and you’ll find some more affordable options for students in the east, with some cool areas around Liverpool and Old Street to explore not far away.
South London – Brixton has always been a draw for students, a great nightlife and popular area to live because of the cheaper rents. There is plenty to do in a unique setting, without it costing you loads in rent and transport.
West London – The West is pretty expensive on the whole, but there are areas where you can find cheaper rent for students that leave you close to the action in Kensington, Fulham, and Shepherd’s Bush.
Wherever you choose to live in London there will be cost-effective accommodation, and you’ll always have good transport links from pretty much anywhere you live.
3. Make the most of student discounts
Finding and using student discounts will help you with the cost of living in London, which is as expensive as you would expect from a capital city. A Student Oyster Card gives you the best chance to travel around London whilst saving up to 30% on fares. You can buy a Young Persons Railcard for £30 for 30% off fares. Many brands offer discounts to students or membership perks. You might be asked to show your student ID or sign up to membership.
4. Working in London
Getting a student job will help you pay the bills and have enough left over to explore and make the most of this fantastic city, but it will also look good on your CV for future career opportunities. The beauty of living in such a massive city is that there are countless job opportunities to suit everyone, whether that’s as a delivery driver, waiting staff in a restaurant, working the bar in a pub or club, security guard, tutoring, babysitting, or in retail.
5. Look for student self-storage
There will be a few different types of students in London who will need to think about what to do with their things. This is where student self-storage solutions come in very handy.
Summer holiday student storage – Use a secure student self-storage unit to store your belongings until you come back after the summer break.
Storage for a whole year – Moving to London for just one year to study? Student self-storage solutions give you peace of mind that your belongings are looked after and secure whilst you are away studying in London for the year.
Short-term student self-storage – Store your things when in between student accommodation, save dragging your things around with you.
There is something for everyone in London, always something to do, one of the most exciting places on the planet, so make the most of it once you’ve followed our checklist and got through the ‘life admin’ tasks such as finding work, student self-storage solutions, and working out how the Tube works!