When You First Arrive — Short term accommodation in London for the working traveler
Once you have your visa and if your main goal is to start working as quickly as possible after you arrive in the UK, you should plan to find well-located, reasonably priced, safe and secure short term accomodation. From here you can begin job-hunting, looking for a more permanent pad and of course enjoying the sights of London!
There are a lot of accommodation options in London and it really comes down to personal preference and other cost of living factors.
Your main options are:
- Backpackers Hostel
- Cheap Short Term Accommodation
- Jobs with Live-in Accommodation
- Couchsurfing London
Backpackers Hostel — London
Booking a backpackers hostel in London is a popular option for working travellers from countires like Australia, New Zealand and Canada starting out in London. It's a great place to stay while looking for apartments to sublet, or other short term accomodation in London. Hostel accommodation is flexible (there's no contract or lease agreement and you don't have to feel guilty about dossing) and its inexpensive (expect to pay from £11 to £27 per night for a shared room). Staying in a backpackers hostel in London is also a great way to meet other travellers who can give you travel tips and advice on living in London; or if nothing else, join you in the nearest pub for a pint!
There are hundreds of hostels across London with varying degrees of comfort, cleanliness and privacy (most will have shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities) so it pays to shop around and check out the advice of other travellers (see below).
Most London based hostels will offer a weekly rate that works out cheaper than paying night by the night, and often have a range of facilities and services including internet access, televisions, kitchens, laundries and travel information services. Many also have private rooms, but if you are considering this option you should compare these with cheap short term accommodation options (below) as you may find they offer better value especially longer term. Ideally you should also try to choose a Hostel in London located within Zone 1 or Zone 2, so you are not too far from the main sights and attractions.
Top rated hostels by backpackers include, Palmer's Lodge - London, Astor Museum Inn - St Christopher's Camden - Meininger London Hyde Park - London, LSE (Passfield Hall).
Dont forget to book in advance of your arrival as you will find the most unique and well-rated hostels go quickly.
Also use other travellers reviews in working out the best place to party or launch your job search from.
Cheap Short Term Accommodation
Not everyone is comfortable with sharing a dorm with 10 other people, especially if you plan on staying on in the city and working for a while. Even before you arrive in London, you can book short term accomodation that's easy on the wallet and will provide you with more privacy and more safety for your valuables.
Two great short term budget accommodation options in London are available. Small cheap hotels and cheap apartments in London offer fine alternatives for multi-week stays. To save costs sharing a bathroom with several other guests is a common option, and many of the cheaper hotels (but still excellent) offer this option.
The savings are especially good for people travelling in pairs. If you've got someone you can share a room with (often with twin beds and a communal kitchen) you will find some great deals for inexpenisive and well-located accomodation in London. As a bonus, hot breakfasts are also often included with many hotels or you can prepare your own meals in your own apartment (which can be a real treat after trying to eat out for cheap all the time).
For booking of cheap hotels or apartments for weekly stays use the service below. Click on "Vacation Rentals" for weekly short term accommodation in apartments, studios and flats. Dont forget to book in advance of your arrival as you will find the most interesting and popular places go quickly. As there is not a huge number of small cheap hotels or apartments the better ones do book up weeks in advance. Other traveller reviews are also very helpful.
Jobs with Live-in Accommodation
If you like the idea of rolling out of bed tromping downstairs and serving up pints for the afternoon regulars, live-in accommodation is a great option.
Many jobs in the hospitality industry such as waiting tables, bartending, reception work and kitchen jobs offer live-in work arrangements. Often in a live-in arrangements include a good deal on meal plans that come out of your pay along with the rent, making it easy to plan your budget and save up more travelling money.
live-in work is usually found outside of London, in regional UK areas, smaller cities, and towns. So live-in jobs are great for those that want to experience life outside the big cities and get to know the locals. To be sure, it often involves long hours and hard work, so think carefully when considering this option.
Live-in Care jobs can also be a great option.
The time-honoured tradition of ‘dossing’ is where you pay a small weekly amount (or if you’re lucky enough to have a generous mate, nothing at all) for a piece of floor, cupboard or couch. Yes, you read right - a cupboard is indeed a valued piece of UK dossing real estate!
A ‘dosshouse’ could have 5 to 15 people living within its walls and in many cases the focus is on partying. Sleep and privacy often take second place; yet for many this accommodation option suits perfectly.
Be sure to offer to help out around the place and contribute to any expenses (a good dosser will be allowed to stay on longer than a lazy one!) and be careful not to outstay your welcome. To find this kind of accomodation, you'll need to meet young people who share a house. The best way to do that, is to go out to the pub and ask around.
The latest big craze in short term travel accommodations is couchsurfing. Thanks to a network of open-minded and charitable individuals, you can find free couches or floors to sleep on for a few days before moving on to another house (in hopes that you will offer the same hospitality when you get home). This can be a good way to meet people and get to know different neighbourhoods in the city before deciding on an apartment or hotel to settle in.
For those concerned about security, check the couchsurfing website to see if your host has been verified by other members.