Five London Must-Haves, From Oyster Cards to Umbrellas

Living in the city can be exciting, once you get your bearings. Ensuring you have everything you need to deal with daily life in one of the world’s busiest cities is important in London. There are a few certain things that every Londoner knows they could never live without. If you want to make the most of your time in London, then you will need to ensure you have a few of these essentials. We've prepared a list of our top five London must-haves. 

An Oyster Card

If you only buy one thing when you first get to London, make it an Oyster card. These handy cards are issued by Transport for London (TFL), and make travel on London’s buses, trains and tubes much cheaper and easier. Using an oyster doesn't just save time, but it saves money, which is important while you're studying in London. A cash single fare on the underground is £4.20, while the Oyster card fare is only £2. When you get an Oyster, you can either use it as a pay-as-you-go card that you top up as needed, link it to your bank account below to top up automatically, or purchase a weekly, monthly or annual Oyster travel card, that gives you unlimited travel within specified zones. Don't forget that students are eligible for discounted Oyster and National Rail fares, though you will need to get a special student photocard to prove your status as a student in London

Tip: Don't forget to pick up a London tube map available at every underground station; or download a free app for your phone.

Pocket London A-Z Guide

You may have GPS on your smartphone, but you just cannot get to know this hectic city on a phone. A proper A-Z will allow you to get a real feel for London, with every street mapped and easy to find. Keep it in your pocket so you can dig it out whenever you need it. 

Tip: You can also download a free Pocket Guide on your smartphone, for easy access even without data service. 

An Entertainment Guide

There is so much going on in London that trying to work out where to go and what to do can quickly make your head spin. Get yourself a guide to help you through the maze. Time Out is a top choice for many, with recommendations and reviews for bars, restaurants, clubs, theatres and more and they produce a weekly free magazine with the latest gigs, events and deals. You can also check our Facebook and Twitter for Scape's social recommendations. 

Tip: Don't just stop at Time Out, View London and the Londonist also offer great reviews and listings. You can also check with your Student Union to see what's happening locally!

Deals and Discounts

London has much to offer, but if you find yourself constantly priced out, it can be a frustrating place to be. Help is on hand in the form of numerous discount cards and deals websites, such as the View London View Card, and the Groupon daily deals website. Sign up for as many as you can to get the most out of London. 

Tip: Most stores and retailers offer a student discount if you show your Student ID or provide them with your UCAS number. 

An Umbrella

It might be unfortunate, but it is true: London has notoriously unreliable weather, and you are rarely far from a surprise shower. Keep an umbrella with you at all times to avoid getting wet. 

Tip: A compact expandable umbrella will be easy to keep in your bag so you're never unprepared.

We’d also like to add a cheeky 6. Somewhere great to live. We’re pretty sure that’s us. 

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