After being in London for a month now, I feel confident enough to say I know my way around. I wouldn’t exactly put it to the test just yet, but I now know the simple stuff such as where to get groceries, kitchen supplies, and how to navigate transportation. Here’s a short guide to help a study abroad student get settled here in London.
1. Getting the Necessities
Your school or housing may not provide bedding or kitchen supplies, so it’s important to know where to find those. Especially if you don’t want to sleep on a bare mattress your first night. Some good, inexpensive stores to look for would be Primark or Argos. Primark offers a cheap line of home goods such as bedding and decor. Argos offers a wide range of items from kitchen supplies, home goods and clothing. Something else you might need are things such as shampoo and conditioner. A great place to find these is Boots. They also have cheap hair dryers and other hair accessories. Sometimes American hair dryers and straighteners won’t work here because of the voltage, so it’s generally better to purchase them when you arrive.
Some housing may have a kitchen instead of providing a food plan to use. This means buying your own groceries and making your own food while you’re here. As great as eating out every night sounds, it’s not that great on the budget. Stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are pretty easy to find anywhere in the city. They provide fresh food options along with pre-made food to make meals a little easier.
Figuring out how to get place to place in London can seem like a daunting task at first, but after a few days and with the right tools, it because almost second nature. Two apps I downloaded to help guide my way through the city are Citymapper and Tube Map (iOS and Android). Citymapper works by putting in the address of the place you need to go and giving you options for getting there by walking, bus or tube. After you select one it gives you the route and tells you exactly how to get there using those options. Tube Map is a little bit simpler, just giving you the tube map, but it can be used offline. This is helpful when you’re already on the tube and don’t have service.