Relocating to London can be incredibly daunting, especially if you don't have family or friends in the city to help. If you're thinking of making the move – whether for work, university, or any of the countless reasons people head to the capital – and are worried about finding your feet, just remember: millions of others have done it before you.
This has its pros and cons, of course: on the one hand, it should reassure you that it can be done. On the other, all of those people are potential competitors for a seat on the tube, a spot at the bar on Friday night and, most importantly, an affordable place to live.
If you're considering the move to the big city but don't know where to start, here are our tips to point you in the right direction.
Finding a place to live
You've heard the horror stories about the rooms the size of a shoebox that cost almost all of an average paycheck, but still get snapped up within seconds – that's just how competitive the rental market in London can be.
Finding a place in London is almost an art form – you'll need to set up property alerts on Rightmove to stay ahead of the curve, and swoop in instantly when something new crops up. It's unfortunate, but you may have to put a deposit on a place without even seeing it, at the risk of missing out – so you'll need to get good at assessing listings.
The most affordable areas to rent in London are generally in the east of the city. As the Telegraph reports, property firm CBRE found that the three cheapest boroughs to rent in – Bexley, Havering, and Barking and Dagenham – are all in the south east.
Bexley rents average at about £1,007 – which sounds high compared to the rest of the country, but is less than a third of the price of the city's priciest boroughs.
Of course, prices generally fall the further out of the centre you go, and the highest prices in any area will usually be those closest to the train stations.
Of course, one option to keep the cost of renting a place in London down is to downsize to somewhere smaller than you would usually need, and use self-storage to store your things. London's self-storage boom is helping thousands of people live a little more affordably in the city without having to sell off their possessions to make room in a tiny flat.
Take a look at our London locations – it may help you decide on an area!
Oyster cards are always the cheapest option for travelling around London, with tube journeys sometimes costing as much as half the cost of a single ticket.
Although they can be harder to navigate, buses are often a cheaper option still – tube travel is priced by distance, but bus rides with an oyster card cost the same however far you're going as you only tap your card when you get on. So for longer journeys, the bus can save you quite a lot!
London can be a fantastic place to live – provided you can find a home that you can afford. So keep an eye on that Rightmove app, and get hunting. Good luck!