Ok, so you’ve packed your bags, said all your goodbyes and navigated the chaos of visa services during the pandemic. You are now ready to embark on your new life in the UK.
Hold up! You’ve forgotten one key thing… your smartphone of course! How many of us spend hours or even days (*sigh*) glued to these things that have often been known to literally suck our souls from our bodies. Now, although I’m sure I can go on and on like a broken telephone (no pun intended) about the trials and tribulations of a generation brought up on these cellular devices, it’s important to note how essential my phone was in helping me have a smoother UK transition. And with that being said, here are the 5 essential apps that you must download when you move to the UK:
Friendly tip to start for my andriod lovers: you are only able to change the location settings of your Google Play account once a year. This means that if you decide to forgo a country update, some of these apps may not be available to you. The choice is yours…so choose wisely.
I was told about this app while still in Canada from a friend that had moved to Toronto from London, and I’m so glad she shared the goods. The Citymapper app is one of the best tools for navigating major European cities and their transit systems. Not only does it give you suggestions on how to travel based on your metro preferences (i.e bus/tube/rail/step-free) it also breaks down which exits you should take and even which train car you should get on to get off closest to your destination. The app also breaks down other journey travel options such as cycling, walking, paid hired cars (think uber alternatives) and black cabs. What’s also great is that it includes prices and length of times for each of their journey options. So before you brave that train jouney from the airport to your new home, make sure you have CityMapper downloaded -that sounded disgustingly commercial… anyways NEXT!
When it comes to finding all of your beauty fix needs from hair salons and nail treatments to waxing and eyebrow aesthetics, Treatwell is where it’s at. Being from Toronto, I think I was a bit spoiled with the selection of easy to find and well-priced beauty treatments, this proved to be a challenge when I moved to London. However, once I discovered Treatwell, I was able to view a ton of beauty service spots based on specific areas, this helped me to compare pricing and get a sense of what’s reasonable. What’s also great about the platform is that often these beauty services offer discounts to fill appointments during off-peak hours so 1/2 price dip powder manicure here I come. I’m telling you nothing makes me happier then a discount on a service… no…thing. Just a tip if you do use this app, be sure to Google the salon before booking the beauty service as I do find that some of the ratings on the site are a bit inflated.
The rumors are true, many people (young, old, single, coupled) in London and other parts of the UK have housemates or flatmates. As a newcomer to London and as you begin to dive into the world of where to live (there is soo much to unpack with that one) Spareroom can be incredibly helpful. Specifically when looking to move into a houseshare or even just looking for someone you can connect with who has a similar budget and can rent a place with you. When I first was doing my research on where to live, SpareRoom was a major help! Now, I was able to luck out and I eventually moved in with friends of friends, but if not, I can guarantee that SpareRoom is where I would have found my landing place.
I can’t even put into words how much this app saved and changed my life. It’s as dramatic as it sounds, I promise you! If anyone has any idea of the pain and heartache it takes to simply transfer money from one account to another overseas and not pay an exorbitant cost, then you understand me. TransferWise, obviously developed by the app gods, is an easy and super affordable way to transfer your money from one account to another. The set-up is simple and all done online through the app. With TransferWise, you can send money to and from your account using your banking info, debit card or even your credit card. They now even offer a Multi-currency account that allows you to hold your money in 50+ currencies. Also I got the hookup, so use this link and get your first transfer of up to £500 completely free.
Now for those who may not love the idea of hearing the voices of flatmates first thing in the morning or the barking of your housemates mascot throughout the night, there is Zoopla. Now Zoopla is not the only app in existence where you can find a place to rent (or dare I say buy) but I find it’s the most user-friendly. On Zoopla you are not only able to search homes by location (I typically start off with a specific tube station), budget and #of rooms. You can also search by property type (think flat or semi-detatched), furnished or unfurnished, pet allowances and specific key words. What’s also great about Zoopla is that once you select a property you can scroll to the bottom and see what your final monthly total will likely be, including estimates for bills and council tax. Soo Happy House Hunting!
As an alternative to Treatwell, I feel like I have to mention up-and-comer BeautyStack, from beauty disrupter and innovater Ms. Sharmadean Reid (my WCW Err’day). BeautyStack’s aim is to financially empower smaller beauty professionals by promoting their services and portfolio’s to a wider audience. There are some super duper dope and extremely talented beauty services on there (my jaw dropped when I visited their nails pages – check out this blog). So be sure to check them out, we all know how badly these services are needed post-lockdown.