William and Mary Law School

10 Things I've Learned From Moving to London Without Actually Having a Place to Live Yet

1.    McDonald’s is the only place in all of London that has free wi-fi.  Except maybe Burger King.  Even Starbucks charges per minute.

2.    Even if you thought you remembered the directions from the tube to the letting agency, London’s interesting habit of not posting street signs where you, as an American, thinks they should be will cause you to need to find the closest McDonalds.  Failing that, ask a passerby and hope that they aren’t as hopelessly lost as you are. 

3.    McDonalds are right next to tube stations 100% of the time.  Passersby are as hopelessly lost as you are 50% of the time.

4.    If you find an apartment that you like, get it.  Immediately.  I don’t care that it’s 5:30p and you just have to talk to your roommate in America tonight and you’ll get back to the agent tomorrow at 9:00a sharp.  That apartment won’t be available anymore.  Yes, places go that fast.

5.    Get the day pass for the Tube.  The Oyster card is for when you know your way around London.  Or when you know how to use the Tube.  The day pass is like your learner’s permit.  Use it well.  

6.    You can get a bigger place than you would expect in London.  But you’re gonna pay a little more than you thought.  But don’t worry, it’s just a little.

7.    Until you realize that the pound translates to almost twice that in dollars.

8.    Alright, back within your budget?  Don’t get too attached to the idea of having your own bathroom.

9.    Fork over the £100 for the finder’s fee.  You will not find a place on your own.  Trust me.

10.    Don’t get snobby about the huge block of ice growing in your refrigerator, or the fact that your shower head doesn’t stay up unless held up.  Your place is still nicer than all of your friends’ that insisted on finding somewhere from the States.