Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeLifestyleTravelTravel Guides

8 Must-Know Tips for Living in London as an American

4 min read

8 Must-Know Tips for Living in London as an American
London is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The best word to describe the experience of visiting this city for the first time is “magical.” And one never gets tired of this magical feeling.
There is always something new, something amazing and unique, each time you walk through the streets of the Big Smoke.
However, for an American, living in this city comes with a price and sacrifice. Although there are similarities between London and some cities in the United States, don’t expect it to be the same.
If you are an American planning to live in London or just moved there and are looking for the right tips to help you adjust to the new environment, then you are reading the right article. Here, we will share 8 must-know tips for living in London as an American.  Let’s begin!

1. Prepare for the High Cost of Living

Depending on which American state you live(d) in, just like other big cities, the cost of living in London is one of the highest. It is one of the top complaints of people who just moved to the Big Smoke from the US, mostly if they came from smaller states.
So, if you don’t want to be stranded or fall out of love with the idea of living in this magical city, you need to prepare your pocket to absorb the shock you are about to receive.

2. Live Your Life Like a Londoner

When you go to Rome, behave like the Romans. It is safe to say when you go to London, behave like the Londoners.
Friends may take you out but expect you to pay for yourself. Also, in London, people don’t ask anyone to do something directly. Let's say you left your coat on the chair after eating at a dining. A Londoner will say your coat is on the chair instead of telling you to pick it. When you hear things like this, don’t be surprised, but live your life like them. 
Absorb how they communicate, what they wear, and what they like to eat to blend in. This way, you will not be left out.

3. Make Your Meals if You Can

Enjoying your favorite meals comes at a high price in London. Whenever you sit in most of the beautiful diners, you are not only paying for the food but also for other services.
If you want to cut costs and can cook, prepare homemade meals. Then, on special occasions, you can eat out. If you must eat out, go to low-class or medium-class diners. You will be surprised that you can get more delicious meals there than spending a huge amount eating in fancy places.

4. Learn to Understand English

One of the first things you will observe as soon as you land in London is the way the Londoners speak. Yes, they speak English, but it is not the same way it is spoken in America.
Don’t be surprised that you will not understand some of the things the Englishmen are saying. It is not because you don’t understand the language. The reason is their accents. Also, the names we call some common things differ from theirs.
To avoid being lost when speaking with most Londoners, prepare yourself to relearn the English you already know, or we can say, prepare to upgrade your English to the Big Smoke version.

5. Forget About Owning a Personal Car

One of the good things about London is that they got their transportation system right. Unlike many big cities where moving from one place to another is difficult, in London, the case is different because of the multiple transportation options available, plus they are also top-notch.
You can use the Docklands Light Railway, tube, overground, bus, riverboat, tram, cloud cable cars, taxis, etc. The interesting part is that transportation is one of the few relatively cheap things you will find there. Therefore, you may not need a personal car to go around easily.

6. Shop in the Market

Americans are used to shopping for their food in grocery stores and other things in the malls. However, shopping is different in London. Most of the things from grocery stores and malls are also available in the London market.
In one mall or grocery store, however, you can buy everything you need, but in this city market, it is not so. Different markets have different types of things being sold, and you may need to go to two or more markets to complete your shopping.
The city has hundreds of different markets. Depending on where you (will) live, it is best to locate the ones closest to you and know what is being sold there.

7. Beware of the Rain

If you want to live in London, one of the things you should never forget whenever you want to leave the house is that it may likely rain. It rains ten to fifteen times every month during the peak for several hours, with an average of one rainfall every two days.
So, if you don't want your body to be drenched whenever it rains when you are out, always bring an umbrella, raincoat, and boots with you. 

8. Watch Out for Scams

Yes, scams are common in the United States, and many Americans are aware of this. The UK, however, is no exception. The most common scams are taking place online, but you can also be targeted with a phone call or a text message, also known as phishing and smishing, respectively.
If you see that a call, for example, is coming from the US, reverse search the number on Nuwber, a website that provides information about US citizens, to know who you’re dealing with. If it’s a UK number, google it to find the necessary details about the caller, or use local people search engines.

Final Thoughts

The Big Smoke is one the best go-to cities for people who want to relocate, but it’s natural to be scared when moving. However, if you want things to be easy, then you will need to follow the eight tips we have shared.
Keep in mind that living in London is expensive, and people here are different from Americans, so you may change how you do some things.
With the above-mentioned tips, you are sure to blend in like a true Londoner.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.
Banner image credit:  Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash
Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk