1. The Holy Trinity
Going to a catholic school I remember my teachers talking, singing and praying about the Holy Trinity and how they represent the three divine entities in life. I had no idea they were actually referring to the online review sites: TripAdvisor, Booking.com and HostelBookers.
Between the three, you can take the guess work out of accommodation, location, cleanliness, value, facilities and atmosphere. They are the modern day Lonely Planet guide that will not only save your soul, but also a kilogram in luggage weight.
2. The Tube map is NOT to scale
Being female, I was born with the lifelong ailment of having no sense of direction or ability to judge spatial awareness. Little did I know there is a special place for people just like me…the London Underground! In order to get anywhere you have to completely forget about geography and simply follow the pretty coloured lines.
3. Getting your finances in order
Getting a bank account up and running can be a bit tricky at the best of times. I actually paid quite a lot of money to set this up from Australia only to have it brilliantly fail. My advice would be to visit a Lloyds or Barclays the second you get off the plane, provide them with the most reliable UK address you have and possibly allude to the pub you are working at, but wont get paid for until the end of the month and therefore have no pay slips. It worked for me…
4. Getting a job
In order to get yourself a decent job over here you must first get yourself a good old fashioned recruitment pimp. I recommend giving your CV to Global Career Link who set me up with at least three great interviews. Other pimps about town are Michael Page, Morgan & Hunt and StopGap.
5. Practically fashionable
One of the great things about living in London is the purely practical fashion. If you can’t run, jump, ride and swim in it, you might as well leave it behind.
6. Finding a place
If you are looking for a place to live in London you will most likely come across the online classifieds site, Gumtree. Gumtree is mainly used by regular people looking to rent a room, sell a car or move a couch. It is also used by kiddysnatchers, con-artists, criminals and other “less desirables” to lure innocent people into their homes at whatever time is most convenient for them. If you do decide to go this way, make sure you play it safe and bring a friend along with you or meet in a common space such as a café.
7. Chickens produce salt?
I would normally never admit to eating Dirty Bird but I feel that it is my responsibly as a blogger to make all travellers aware of this one. London KFC chips do not have chicken salt. They don’t even know what it is*.
8. Dealing with Chav’s
My eldest sister lived in London a few years back and was kind enough to educate me about what a Chav was. If she hadn’t, I probably would have thought a chav was a rash between the legs that can be cured with Pawpaw cream. Now I think about it, I probably wouldn’t have been too far off the mark.
She said to ‘watch out for child terrorists who dress in imitation Adidas tracksuits, tucks their trouser legs into their socks, uses phrases such as ‘wanna make somfen of it? Bling Bling’, and sits outside Mickey-D’s (McDonalds) acting as if they are 8 foot tall and built like a rugby player’.
If you are ever confronted by a Chav the best way to handle the situation is to speak to them with large, complicated, intellectual words which will cause them to become disoriented and confused and will give you ample time to make your getaway.
9. Currency confusion
Cents are called pence, which can also be abbreviated to just ‘p’, but not to be confused with pounds. Using that logic our cents should be called dents**. Best not to think about it too much.
10. The bible
It’s pretty easy to overlook the towering piles of free newspapers and magazines you get hit with at every tube and bus stop, but there is one worth looking at. TNT Travel magazine is well worth the 2 seconds it takes to collect and will deliver days and days worth of entertainment including gig guides, travel tips, last minute deals and loads of reviews.
* I have had a bit of feedback on this one and it turns out that ONLY Australia has chicken salt on their KFC chips. If you ever have a chance to visit Oz, make sure you treat yourself to some. But I warn you, regular chips will never be the same.
**Honourable mention to my #1 sister for that one