Packing for your London Working Holiday
Packing is an arduous task at the best of times, trying to squeeze in everything you think you will need for an extended stay in London and the UK can be a challenge.
The following suggestions are just that, suggestions. Makeshift, already acquired or borrowed items may do the job just as effectively as new ones. A lot of things can be bought in the UK when you need them. Even though it might be nice to have new things to take away, save your money for your travels. The suggestions have been categorised into: clothes, toiletries, documents and useful items.
Thermals For extremely cold weather.
Shorts One or two pairs.
Swimwear For warmer months.
Pants/Trousers/Jeans One or two pairs that you can dress up or down.
Track pants/leggings One or two pairs.
Jumpers One or two; try to avoid bulky ones as they can be cumbersome.
Coat A good, light waterproof (then you don’t need a raincoat) and/or windproof jacket (preferably with a hood).
Gloves A necessity in the winter months.
Thongs/jandals/flip-flops or sandals Very useful to wear to shower blocks in camping grounds and for walking in hot weather.
Joggers/hiking boots/walking shoes One pair with good thick soles. Wear them in before you leave home so you don’t get blisters. If travelling in cold weather, you will be wearing them every day, and you need to be comfortable.
‘Going out’ shoes One pair.
Work clothes Adapt these to the type of work you hope to be doing ie. suit, shirt and tie for office work, casual clothes for childcare, gardening, etc.
Passport with visa/s.
Bank statements (showing balance if on a working holiday to show immigration officials at your UK point of entry).
Driving license home country and international if you have one.
Spare passport photos for student identification cards, bus/rail passes and other purposes.
Medical prescription details if required.
Bank reference You may need one of these to open a bank account if you didn’t do it from home.
Personal references Some landlords require them for long-term accommodation.
Police clearance: Anyone planning on doing any sort of care work including childcare, teaching, aged care, etc. in the UK is required to have a Police clearance. Obtain from your local Police station. It can take a few weeks to obtain.
CV and references An updated, typed CV (maximum two pages) with at least two current work references is a must for obtaining work. Agencies check these things. Suggest you take an electronic copy.
Address book/electronic To keep in contact with friends and to add new ones.
Toiletry bag Preferably waterproof with handles so you can hang it up on hooks in the shower. Or use a plastic bag.
Toilet roll Don’t laugh, you will notice that a lot of countries do not supply toilet paper in public toilets.
Medicines Brands can differ in the UK so obtain a supply – take a written authority from your doctor with you explaining why you need such medication.
First aid kit Constipation, diarrhea and upset tummy tablets, bandaids (plasters), headache tablets, travel sickness tablets, eye drops, nasal spray, medicated ointment, etc.
Useful items packing
Sleeping bag Very handy for dossing on friends’ floors, travelling and staying at hostels (though most hostels provide sheets and blankets). It should withstand very cold weather and be light.
Money belt A safe way to carry money, credit/debit card, tickets and other valuables.
Torch You will be surprised at how often a small one comes in handy.
Travel clothes line and pegs It is hard to find a clothes hoist when you need one.
Washing powder Tubes of liquid wash are available from supermarkets and travel agents. Large hostels usually have washing facilities where you can purchase a cup of soap.
Plastic bags To hold dirty washing and stuff. Also for wearing over socks if ever caught without waterproof shoes.
Phone and/or other electronic devices and ear phones.
Camera or use your electronic device.
Travel iron Handy if you take clothes that need ironing.
Coat hangers A couple will be useful. Not metal ones.
Travel clock You don’t want to be late for work do you? You can use the alarm on your electronic device.
Power point adaptor and plugs UK standard plugs are 240 volts, 50 cycles (50Hz), three–pin (square-pin) plugs. Duty-free and travel accessory shops carry sets of plugs for different areas of the world. They are very useful if you are taking a hair dryer, electric shaver or other electrical equipment.
Blow up neck pillow For those long journeys when you might need to sleep sitting up.
Towel/s A chamois towel rather than the traditional type may be useful and can take up less space.
Hand towel For long journeys when you need to freshen up. It feels much better than paper towelling or toilet paper.
Water bottle/water purifier/water purifying tablets Or drink bottled water.
Flag To take to sporting events.
When you have chosen your luggage and gathered everything to take, lay it all out on the floor to see what you have. Over a coffee or tea or your favourite potion sit in front of your items and consider why you are taking each one. Convince yourself of its worth or worthlessness. Discard or pack.
Everyone has a trick for packing. Some people pack things flat. One way which is very useful is rolling clothes up tightly which seems to minimise wrinkles and lets you cram more in.
Keep something out to wear on your transport. It should be comfortable, loose fitting and suitable for the weather at your destination.
You might wish to have some activities for the plane; books, music, games, pack of cards, computer, etc.
The following items may be useful on the plane: eye mask; socks to keep feet warm; ear plugs to keep out the engine hum; a face towel and toiletries to freshen up; a bottle of spray water to keep face moisturised; a neck rest; sinus tablets; change of underwear.
Make sure you pack in your hand luggage: your passport with visa, travel tickets, money (credit/debit card, etc.), vaccination certificate (if required), original documentation of proof you have enough money to pay for your initial stay (eg. recent bank statements), address of your accommodation and a pen to fill in your landing card.
If you are after useful travel items to pack then check out Travel Universe.