If you’re planning on working in the UK for up to two years (this is the time limit of your working visa), then you’ll want to make sure you have a decent roof over your head.
You can either do this before you travel or wait until you arrive – particularly if you are fussy about where you stay!
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By far the easiest way of sorting out a place to stay before you arrive is to find yourself a job that includes accommodation. The type of jobs that normally include sleeping accommodation will be pub and hotel staff, nannies and au pairs and leisure/activities resort staff.
Depending on the job, the standard of accommodation may vary and you will often find yourself sharing with fellow working travellers, but it is a great way of making friends and kick-starting your social life.
If you’d prefer to wait until you’ve arrived in the UK before finding accommodation it may be a good idea to organise a few nights in a backpacker hostel. These provide cheap and (sometimes) cheerful accommodation to those on a tight budget; often you’ll only pay a few pounds a night if you are happy to share a dormitory room with others.
It’s one way of making your money go further, and will put you in touch with fellow travellers who are in a similar position. You may even meet someone who you’d be happy to make longer term living arrangements with.
A good website to use is hostelbookers.com which includes Hostels in a variety of locations around the UK.
Another alternative to find comfortable short-term accommodation is Airbnb.com – you won’t find dull, generic accommodation here, but private rooms in family homes, unique loft spaces and beautiful, stylish apartments at a fraction of the price you’d pay for a hotel.
Once you’ve found work or decided on a location where you’d like to stay longer-term then you may want to find more permanent accommodation.
Renting somewhere completely private may sound ideal but it can be expensive so if you’re trying to save money, then choosing shared accommodation is likely to be the most affordable option. You will still have the privacy of your own room, giving you a place to unpack all your belongings but you’ll share communal kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.
How to find rented accommodation
There are a number of ways you can find rented accommodation:
Check websites such as gumtree.co.uk Speak to a local letting agent or check out notices in shop windows, student bars etc. Looking around universities can offer good options as you’re likely to be sharing with people of a similar age and the area will usually have a vibrant nightlife too. If you’re happy to become a lodger in someone else’s home – as opposed to an actual flatshare – then check out spareroom.co.uk. This can sometimes offer you a more cost-effective way of renting.
Don’t forget to check out exactly what costs will be involved whichever option you choose. Does your rent include utility bills or is it all-inclusive? Do you need to pay a deposit? Make sure you are happy with your notice period – plans can easily change on a working holiday so you’ll want to make sure that your contract is fairly flexible if you want to move on at short notice.
Been in the UK on a working holiday? Claim your tax back now