How much money do I need for an overseas experience to the UK?
For many Australian and New Zealand professionals who have considered the fantastic opportunity an overseas experience can offer, the next question invariably on everyone’s lips is…..how much money am I going to need to do that?! Being able to judge the answer to that question from home can be a struggle, so in this blog we help to you really understand the costs that are involved in getting over to, and living comfortably in, the UK.
Clearly the first money you’re going to have to spend up front is on physically getting to the UK. The main two costs here are for your flight and for your visa. As with all flights these days, you give yourself the best chance of getting the best deals if you book them as early as possible. That’s not to say leaving it later doesn’t work, you are just reducing your chances. Typically, most MyOErs buy a one way ticket, as it gives them the flexibility on when they return home (if they ever do!), and a single flight will cost from around $800-$1000.
Visa wise, it really depends on the type of visa you’re eligible for – for a more in-depth guide on the visa process and which one would apply to you then check out our visa blog. You should look to allow approximately$450 for your visa plus $550 for the UK healthcare surcharge, which allows you access to the full services of the UK National Health Service (NHS) during the length of your OE.
So, to get to the UK you need to allow yourself approximately $2000, with any UK rainy day reserves welcomed. For a Tier 5 visa you have to show evidence of £1890 in savings for it be approved, so that’s a good milestone for building your savings plan.
Travel before, during or after?
One of the questions you have to decide when planning an OE is whether you want to do some European or global travel before you arrive or wait until you have already established yourself in the UK. Clearly one of the benefits of a professional OE is that on leaving home, the world very quickly becomes your oyster, and many keen Australian and New Zealand professionals take the immediate opportunity to visit the US and Asia plus some quick stops in Barcelona or Rome before even landing in the UK. Equally we understand that lugging all of your worldly belongings around the globe can be hard work, so many instead choose to arrive in the UK as soon as possible so they can get settled first and start earning. The latter option means that once established in the UK they can explore the beauty and adventure of Europe both with new friends and perhaps more seasoned travellers, as well as having the benefit of more money in their pocket.
All important travel funds…..
If taking in a couple of European stops before you arrive in the UK sounds interesting to you, then you should allow around $300-$450 per night for accommodation, food, drinks and seeing the sights, plus the inevitable increase in your flight costs to the UK. If you are booking all that in before you get here, you may need to allow another $2000+ for a week, which is often the reason why many Australian and New Zealand professionals decide to start their European travels after their feet are firmly on the ground in the UK.
On arriving in the UK, many professionals look to make the most of seeing some of the world’s most iconic sites in their first couple of weeks, often using their friends and family network to find a spare room or bed whilst they do so. Typically from there, the job search begins in earnest, together with finding more permanent accommodation, as the challenge and adventure of getting settled and established into UK life begins.
It’s therefore suggested you look to save at least 4-8 weeks worth of UK living costs, so that you don’t find yourself financially hamstrung and having to live and work in places you don’t ideally want to be. Equally, finding a job can, of course, take time depending on your experience and skills, and most employers will still wait 2-4 weeks after you start before paying you. The worst scenario would be losing some of the excitement and experience of your OE because you’re stuck without enough money and finding it a bit trickier than you’d hoped to find your ideal job. By simply spending more time planning and saving at home, you can ensure you have the flexibility to really enjoy this exciting time, as you have the money to explore London and the rest of the UK whilst also getting your job and home sorted.
So what does 4-8 weeks worth of living costs look like in the UK?
Well, staying in good quality shared accommodation in an attractive but not expensive part of London will cost you around $1200 per month including bills. If you then add on travel and living the typical lifestyle of one of our MyOEr’s then your likely monthly living costs will be around $3000-$4000. By saving this much before you arrive you can be very comfortable that the OE you were hoping for gets off to exactly the start you want. This pot will mean you’ll be able to enjoy many weeks of exploring London with friends before even getting paid, seeing the sights and fully experiencing life in one of the world’s great cities.
If you don’t plan to stay living in London then your costs will undoubtedly come down, sometimes quite significantly. In the UK your lifestyle typically becomes cheaper the further north you go, so if London isn’t for you then heading to places like York, Edinburgh or Manchester will still get you off to an amazing start and will help in your wallet a little too. This article on How to know what City is the right one for you gives some great insight into this subject.
So get saving, get planning and get organising your OE asap!
So, in summary, if you’re a professional planning to get to the UK directly from Australia or New Zealand, then you should look to save around $2000 for your flights, Visa and medical cover, and then have around $6000-$8000 saved for when you land. Clearly many people have done it for much less, and some for much more, but these figures should at least give you a benchmark to create a savings plan for yourself. Equally, this budget means you can be assured of not having to worry about having to take the first job you’re offered or taking a cheap room in a place you don’t really want to live in. Given this is potentially going to be a once in a lifetime experience, taking the time to ensure you save the right amount of funds for the Overseas experience that you really want, is definitely worth it.
Finally, the good news that many of our MyOErs have shared with us is that once they made the commitment to travel they were amazed how motivated they were and how quickly they were able to save what they needed! They saw how sacrificing some short-term spend quickly meant that one of their lifetime goals could actually become a reality. So get saving!
For more information on experience the trip of a lifetime, download our MyOE handbook for more hints and tips. So what’s stopping you? Get saving, get planning and get booking those flights!