Living in the UK – particularly London – is expensive compared to many places in the World. The cost of living will of course depend on the individual situation (and tastes!) of each working traveller, but you still need to be prepared financially. Just because you’ve been working hard to save many thousands of your own currency, doesn’t mean it will be quite as many pounds! Check out a Currency Converter to get an idea of what your currency will be worth in the UK.
There are also some initial costs that will whittle your wallet down fairly quickly if you don’t plan accordingly, especially when it comes to setting up longer-term accommodation. Generally you should budget for the following:
Accommodation when you arrive: If you haven’t already organised accommodation for when you first arrive make sure you have enough money for hostel or hotel accommodation (from £11 upwards per night) or to give to mates who let you doss.
Bond and first month’s rent: This will be your most significant outlay. When leasing a flat or room in a flat-share bond can be up to 6 weeks rent and on top of that you will probably have to pay up to a month’s rent in advance. This could be as much as £1000 depending on the price of your rent.
Transport: Flat and job hunting can take a lot of trekking across the city on Tubes and buses. Make sure you have some cash for public transport or to purchase an Oyster card, see Getting around the UK.
Mobile phone: If you’ve brought your mobile phone from home you still may need to buy a SIM card or pay to have your phone ‘unlocked’ from your previous carrier. Avoid phone contracts if possible and opt for pre-pay calling. Be sure to put aside some cash to buy pre-paid top-ups; not being able to call back a potential employer because you have no credit is not a good look!
Internet access: You'll probably be using the Internet for job hunting, searching for accommodation and making PC to Phone calls for staying in touch with family and friends back home. Internet cafes charge from £1 an hour, but allow plenty of cash for this as you'd be surprised how many hours you can rack up in these places.
Clothing: Hopefully you packed suitable clothes for the season you’re arriving in the UK and if you found room in your suitcase or backpack, suitable clothing for job interviews in your line of work. But, if sneakers won out over suits, make sure you have some pounds in your budget for interview and work-wear.
Eating and drinking: Your first few weeks are sure to be a blur of eating, drinking and socialising. Eating out in London isn’t cheap so try not to have breakfast, lunch and dinner (and those crisps with your pint) while out and about as it will be more economical to buy groceries and prepare your own meals.
Enjoy thousands of free events, lectures and seminars held in London throughout the year. How? Visit Time Out
Sign-up for discounted student travel and save 33% on London travel. How? Visit Transport for London.
There are thousands of student discounts available ranging from travel to books and cinema tickets to eating out. How? Read the Study London guide.
Research where to live. Rent costs vary widely depending on your location in London. How? Read the London Student Accommodation Guide.
The best things in life are free. Discover historical London, visit Royal Parks and enjoy free entrance to world-class galleries and museums. How? Discover London at Visit London.