London and Los Angeles. Probably two of the most famous cities on the planet, and certainly ones that many people aspire to live in. But not only are they on virtually the other side of the world from each other, they’re worlds apart in ways other than distance.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how to move to London from Los Angeles in 10 easy steps:
1. Get a Visa
If you want to move to London from LA, the first thing you’re going to need to do is get the relevant visa – because without it you’re going nowhere.
There are different types of visa’s depending on your reason for wanting to come to London. These include work visas, student visas and family visas. Each differs in the amount of time you’re allowed to stay in the UK, and whether or not you can apply for indefinite leave to remain at any point. The official Government website details the exact steps needed to apply for all types of visas.
2. Decide on an area (or find a place) to live
However, it’s possible to reduce accommodation costs pretty dramatically by living in an area slightly outside the centre of town. Some of the cheapest places to live in London include Holloway and Southgate in North London, Stratford and Leyton in East London, Streatham in South West London and South Norwood in South East London.
And although these areas are on the outskirts of London, they still offer easy access to the centre, thanks to London’s underground train system that provides quick and easy links to any and everywhere in the city.
3. Decide on the type of accommodation you want
The language of property is a little different in London than it is in LA. An apartment is known as a flat, and there’s certainly no chance of getting a property with an ocean view!
But a view over the River Thames is a pretty good substitute (although such properties tend to be the homes for those in the top 5% of the earning hierarchy).
Property websites Zoopla and Right Move are good places to begin your accommodation search. They cover both purchasing and rentals, and you can define your search down to your personal criteria. This includes area and facilities of the individual property.
4. Find a job
This could, of course, slot in neatly at number 2, rather than at number 4. Because in all reality, you might have already been offered a job (or have a place to study, if you’re moving for education), before you decide where to live. But whatever your circumstances, if you need to find a job in London, there are a number of places to begin your search.
Register with the largest job websites. These include Monster, Indeed and Total Jobs. Upload your CV (which is the British word for your resume), to the website, do a little pre-planning and form filling, and then you can begin applying for jobs.
Another good job hunting tip is to see if the company you work for has any opportunities in London. For instance, if you work for Apple, they certainly might have use for you on the other side of the pond.
5. Think about what you need to take with you
One thing many Americans fail to realize when making the move from LA to London is the difference in voltage. London (and indeed the whole of the UK) have 240v power – double that of what you’re used to. What this means in practical terms is that your electronics won’t work in London. Well, some might (such as your TV and computer), with a voltage convertor or transformer), but unless other electronics are 120-240v compatible, they might as well be left at home.
The good thing is that you can buy very reasonable priced replacements in the UK. And the money you’ll save on shipping will probably cover this. Places such as Ikea, Homebase and Argos are good places to purchase such items.
6. Choose a moving date
This might seem a small aspect, but it’s a hugely important psychological step to making the move from LA to London. Once you’ve decided on a date, tell everyone – that makes it official. You’ll then be able to commence other important aspects of the move, such as booking the removal people.
7. Booking the movers
There are many different companies who’ll take care of all the shipping for you. Be sure to get a good few quotes before you accept a price, as different companies charge sometimes widely difference amounts. But remember, cheapest isn’t always best, and you really do get what you pay for.
8. Time to learn some ‘British English’
Because the one thing that many Americans find a challenge is the little difference in our two languages. You’d have thought that as we both speak English, this shouldn’t pose a problem. But if you’ve never had anything to do with British English before, then a little foresight before you make the big move will take one teeny tiny stress out of the equation of slipping seamlessly into your new London life.
Pants, in London, are your underwear. What you call pants are known as trousers (or any other form of legwear, such as jeans, combats, chinos, leggings – there are a few different words).
Here are some other words that you should probably know have completely different meanings in London and the UK. We’ll refrain from making any puns, as we’re sure they’ll spring to mind anyway…
Buns are either cakes or bread rolls, soccer is football, a vest is a waistcoat, and an ass is a creature similar to a donkey… The list of differences is pretty extensive, and it can help to know some of them before you move.
9. Make some friends
Yes, you can do this before you move thanks to the power of the Internet. Joins some social networking sites, such as Meet Up or City Socializer can not only provide you with some folks to meet up with on your arrival, but you can also ask questions and find out more about your new home city from those who’re already living there.
10. Make the move…!
Yes, the big day will soon arrive. And following a (no doubt tearful) farewell from your nearest and dearest underneath the blue sky and golden sunshine of LA, make your way to the completely different and changeable climate of London. This is a momentous time for all involved – but the best way to successfully approach the move is with an open mind and a great sense of humour. Because moving to London from LA really will be one of the most awesome experiences of your life – so enjoy!