Top 5 Expat Hacks for Moving to the UK from Hong Kong
Leaving your home, friends and family in Hong Kong and starting life in a new country can be daunting, but it can also be very exciting! Just remember that you’re not alone. We’ve put together five top hacks that have been gathered from expats who have been living in the UK for a couple of months in the hope that it will make your upcoming move easier.
Join a Hong Kong community group in UK
Sort out your banking strategy
Keep it simple when it comes to cards
If you are choosing to live in London, just rely on public transport
When looking for flats, look closely at transport links
Hack 1: Join a Hong Kong community group in UK
Missing home or feeling lost and alone in a foreign country? It’s completely normal, and it can take some time adjusting. But don't fear, as there are lots of Hong Kong community groups in UK that you can join to easily integrate and assimilate with British society while maintaining your Hong Kong identity. You can find plenty of communities online and on social media, and some organisations will even help pair you up with someone living in the UK who will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you set up bank accounts and register with a doctor.
Hack 2: Sort out your banking strategy
Traditional banks are often very expensive and can have lots of hidden fees when it comes to using your card in a foreign country or transferring money abroad. But there is a solution! In the last couple of years online banks have grown increasingly popular due to their accessibility and 24-hour support.
Another option is online payment platforms, which allow you to have an account in which you can hold, send and receive money. Wirex is a UK-based, FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulated digital payment platform that allows you to buy, sell, exchange and hold multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies.
Traditional accounts often require a lot of paperwork to set up, and it can take weeks before they’re ready to be used. With Wirex, you can set up an account in just minutes. Your relatives and friends in Hong Kong can also open a Wirex account, making life much easier if you want to transfer crypto to them. It’s fee free if you send crypto from one Wirex account to another, meaning you can save a lot of money.
Hack 3: Keep it simple when it comes to cards
It can be really confusing when you have lots of different cards, and can’t remember which one you used for which purchase. With a multi-currency account, you can easily hold your traditional currency like GBP, EUR and more in one place, without needing to have a local account. What’s more, with Wirex you can also hold your cryptocurrencies in the same place, meaning you can keep track of your pounds, dollars, Bitcoin and many more using just one app and card. If you are a crypto novice, you can easily buy, store & exchange them effortlessly with over-the-counter rates. Even if you are a crypto expert, you’ll want to get your hands on this as you can easily exchange crypto to fiat and back again instantly.
Soon, you’ll be able to get your hands on to the new multicurrency Wirex Mastercard that gives you the power to spend multiple crypto and fiat currencies with real-time conversion at point-of-sale and zero exchange fees. Plus, you can earn up to 2.0% Cryptoback™ rewards on all your spending. You can join the waiting list here and may even be able to order the card to be delivered as soon as you arrive! So, if you are heading back to Hong Kong to visit your relatives, you don’t have to exchange GBP to HKD and carry around lots of cash and different cards, as you can use your Wirex Mastercard at more than 60 million locations worldwide. It can save you a lot on expensive and hidden exchange fees and make your trips much easier.
Hack 4: If you are choosing to live in London, just rely on public transport
You’ll notice a sea of cars in London but that doesn’t mean you should own one yourself as London is well known for its heavy traffic and expensive parking! Taxis are also extremely expensive, and don’t make your journeys any quicker. The public transport in London is good enough that the majority of people living there don’t own a car at all. With fuel prices and limited car parks, using public transport will save you so much money and time. Even better if you own a Wirex card all you need to do is tap it to pay when getting on a bus or the tube, and you’ll earn Cryptoback™ rewards just for travelling around! Save, exchange or spend them afterwards, it’s totally up to you.
Hack 5: When looking for flats, look closely at transport links
London is a city where people from all around the world come together, and given the size and span of the boroughs, it means there really is an area that will suit everybody. Many people often think that they need to live in the centre of London in order to get the real London experience, but you can often find everything you need or want in one of the zones further from the centre - plus, it will likely be much cheaper than trying to live in the centre of the city. People often think they need to live close to a tube station in order to be able to get around, but did you know there are 19,000 bus stops in London?
When looking for a place to live, be sure to check out what stations and bus stops are nearby, even if you’re unsure about doing the research yourself, you can ask your landlord or housing agency, they’ll easily be able to provide you with this information. Is it important that you live near lots of restaurants or walking distance to a school? Make sure you have an idea of what you might like from your new neighbourhood and an idea of what your budget is, and the search can begin! Online Hong Kong communities will be able to give you tips and tricks, and there is plenty of information online to help you in your move to a new country.
These tips are of course just a starting point when it comes to moving to the UK, but hopefully they should provide an idea of what to expect and what to be prepared for when it comes to starting your next adventure as an expat!
DISCLAIMER: The websites and organisations cited in this article are in no way affiliated with Wirex Limited. Any views and opinions expressed are their own and Wirex accepts no liability for any advice, representations, errors or omissions made by these third-party websites.