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. I know, I took two big bags of clothes and other stuff with me and found I only wore half the clothes I took with me. So here are my suggestions of what to pack for your London & UK working holiday.
The following suggestions are just that, suggestions. A lot of things, pretty much everything can be bought in the UK so you need to decide to take things with you or buy them as you need them in the UK. My following suggestions have been categorised into: clothes, toiletries, documents and useful items.
The weather in the UK can range from t-shirt weather in the summer months to thermals during the winter months so you need a wide variety of clothes. I learnt to wear layers. I suggest you predominantly take clothes for the season you are arriving in, then budget to purchase clothes as the weather changes.
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. What you wear in your home country is pretty much the same as what they wear in the UK.
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.
Document organiser To keep all your documents in the one convenient place. You can purchase a Wallet Document Organiser here.
Toiletries Take enough to get you to your destination then purchase more.
Toilet roll Don’t laugh, you will find a lot of countries do not supply toilet paper in public toilets.
Condoms Better to be safe than sorry.
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.
Toiletry bag Preferably waterproof with a hook so you can hang it up in the shower. You can purchase a toiletry bag here.
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. To keep all your electronic devices, plugs and chords together consider an electronic bag organiser such as the one below. You can purchase an electronic devices bag here.
Camera or use your phone.
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. Ensure your plug as USB ports to charge your devices. You can purchase travel power point adaptors here.
Power Board As well as a power adaptor a small board for 4 plugs is another must.
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.
If you are after useful travel items to pack then check out my Travel Store. I am stocking it only with the most useful items for travelling.
More details on what to pack for your London & UK working holiday can be found in my ebook LiveWork&Play in London & the UK.
So there you have it my list of suggested items to pack for your London & UK working holiday. No I suggest you lay everything out on the floor to see what you have before you pack. I have recently discovered packing cubes have used them during my last two holidays. They are wonderful to categorise your stuff so you can find your things easier. I have some available in my travel store.