UK ARRIVAL GUIDE | Some guidelines on how best to keep in touch with your loved ones back home.
Landlines and Public Phones
The number of public phones in the UK has reduced due to the increased use of mobile phones. You can still find a public phone on the high streets, some bus and train stations, shopping centres and some hostels. The traditional red telephone boxes have now largely been replaced by more modern versions suitable for cards. To dial an international number from the UK, first dial 00 followed by the country code for the country you are calling and the rest of the telephone number as per normal.
Phone Cards and Call Centres
Phone cards offer lower call rates to many countries, but check the time of day these rates apply. Call centres also offer similar discounted rates. 1st Contact includes an international call card as part of the Kickstart London Package. You can load it with additional credit as you need it.
A mobile phone is a must in order to receive calls from your recruitment agent and to organise your life. It can be a hassle to obtain a mobile contract if you’ve just arrived. You can use your mobile phone from home if it’s unlocked. 1st Contact will give you a UK
mobile SIM card with your Kickstart Package. You can opt for a pre-paid option, which you can top up with airtime as you require or take out a contract and pay monthly.
On arrival, if you need to access the Internet, just walk along any high street and keep an eye out for an Internet café. Most hotels, hostels and B&Bs offer Internet, as do coffee shops, gyms and the local library. If you have a Wi-Fi enabled laptop with you, there are hotspots at most airports and Starbucks outlets. For a longer term solution, look into setting yourself up with a connection in your home. Thanks to the competitive UK telecoms industry, broadband is relatively inexpensive.
Social Networking and Instant Chat
Keep up to date with friends and family by logging onto Facebook or MySpace.You can leave messages, photos and let them know your status in a very user-friendly environment that can become addictive. If you load Skype or Messenger, you can see when your contacts are online and chat with them in real time, hook up a web cam, speaker and a microphone and it’s almost as if they’re next door. Skype to Skype calls are free!
Use first- or second-class post to send mail within the UK or if it’s urgent you can request special delivery, which costs more. First-class mail will generally be delivered the next day and second class usually takes two days. There are sometimes delays; visit www.royalmail.com for info. It’s advisable to register a package or valuable letter to ensure it’s delivered. Never send cash or valuables anywhere through the post.