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New year, new Londoner? Five tips for surviving in the big smoke

Written by
Camilla Laake

If you've already collided into fellow commuters, received uncomfortable looks for trying to spark up convos on the tube, or discovered the hell that is Bank station, breathe: we've all been there. But rest assured, it will get better. Here are six handy reminders to help fresh arrivals to the city get used to their new home. 

Ticket barriers, London

© Tom Page

 1. Attach your Oyster card to a lanyard

You’ll burn through Oyster cards quicker than you can get them out, so having it attached to you means you’ll be saving a hell of a lot of fivers on deposits. No, it may not look stylish — but extra fivers means extra wine; and after extra wine you’ll no longer care.

Kew Gardens Station in the rain

© Annie Mole

 2. Resign yourself to the fact that you're going to get through a lot of umbrellasknow where you can pick up a free one

If they’re not snapped in two by gale-force winds, you'll almost certainly leave them on public transport. Instead of shelling out for new brollies, pop to your local theatre. There’s a good chance they’ll have an uncollected stash in lost property that they’re happy to give away, before they chuck them out.

Evening commute on London Bridge

© Adam Tinworth

 3. Invest in a quality rucksack

For a week you may feel a bit like a school kid again — but it's well worth the absence of backache. You’ll save a good £60 on not needing to fork out for a massage a month. 

Northern Line tube commute

© Mark Hillary

 4. Get a good pair of trainers

Travelling around London sure keeps you alive and well, but it murders your shoes. Trainers may not go with the brand new look you've just splashed out on for your first week at a new job, but your feet will thank you for the extra support. (Forget about looking trendy on your travels on the chance that you meet the person of your dreams. Smiling on the tube is rare, and interaction is a no-no. Save it for the office, or Tinder.)

Man blowing his nose

© William Brawley

 5. Load up on the hand sanitiser

All personal space goes out the window when travelling around London. If you don’t want to share germs like you share your commute, stock up pronto. 

Want more advice? Here are 29 tips for when you first move to London.

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