Laptops, smartphones, blow dryers, etc.
The European voltage system is different from most of the world. It operates on a 220 voltage system as opposed to the more common 110. Happily, most electronic devices are now capable of “feeding off” 220 volts without being damaged. Always check the device itself or with a manufacturer (and the more expensive the device, the more reason for you to check), but laptop computers, cell phones, tablets and so on should all be just fine. Also, the UK plug system is very different from other countries — you’ll need to go to a travel store to get plug adapters for all your devices. They should be relatively cheap since they don’t have to convert the voltage anymore. Unless you want to keep plugging and unplugging all your devices, you’ll probably want more than one. (The countries of Europe have ANOTHER plug system, but most adapters are Euro-friendly and will work in either socket.) Just don’t expect to come here and plug your items directly into the wall. One item that typically DOESN’T work in the UK is your blow dryer. They operate on an extremely high voltage and can easily short circuit. If you need a blow dryer, that will be one item you’ll want to pick up when you’re here.
Check with your local bank before coming to see what they charge for accessing your account from the UK. Most companies give you that day’s exchange rate and only a modest fee for taking out cash. The same is often true for credit cards but — again — check with your provider if you’re uncertain. It’s best to avoid the airport or local currency exchange stores if possible since they often charge a premium. As you know, Continental Nurse will help you set up a UK bank account for the depositing of your pay-checks. But it’s nice to know what you can access your home account at minimal cost. Also, be sure to obtain a modest amount of British pounds before traveling — it’s always nice to be able to buy a newspaper or coffee (or pay for a taxi) without having to look around for an ATM. Of course, if you fly into London, Continental Nurse will typically be there to greet you. But having some local currency on hand is always a smart way to travel.
It’s wise to pack at least one or two outfits for all types of weather — the nights can get pretty cool depending on where you’re based. And who knows where you might travel to on weekends, holidays or between assignments? Thermal underwear is never regretted nor are duck shoes.
It’s really easy to get a UK sim card and when you do there is no charge for incoming phone calls. Calling out on your regular number is incredibly inexpensive – with lots of countries down to a few pence per minute. As most of you will be aware, the quality of internet calling is getting better and is virtually free via Skype and other services so you can stay in touch with home more easily than ever…if only to make your friends jealous about all the fun you’re having.
One of the delights of traveling is diving into new dishes and eating what the locals eat. But almost everyone has one or two favourites they can’t live without — and chances are they might not be available here. Feel free to ask us if your personal indulgence is available in the local shops. Whether it’s a particular coffee brand, crisps like Twisties, biscuits like Tim Tams and Oreos, or even just vegemite, it’s a good idea to bring a stash of a favourite food for a taste of home.
Once here, you’ll find the UK public transport ranks with the best in the world. You’ll be able to get to your job and just about anywhere with a system that is safe, clean, accessible and quite wonderful. Weekly and monthly passes are available and are the smart option as typically you will be using public transport every day.
If you’re on medication, getting a supply to last your expected time in the UK is a good step to take. Certainly, you can check if your brand is available locally, but there’s also the time-lag between arriving and getting a prescription provided and filled to consider. On the other hand, in the UK medication is heavily subsidized — as is your health care — so it’s possible you might find the same prescription at a much cheaper cost here. When you arrive at your destination, we’ll walk you through the easy steps to getting a doctor. Remember to bring copies of your medical records with you.
If you are a Commonwealth national or you intend on staying in the UK longer than six months, you and your dependents are covered by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) from the moment you arrive in the British Isles. In the case of an emergency, everyone is treated without question.
Whether planning a long weekend getaway or a major trip between assignments, you’ll be thrilled to discover that the UK has a large and growing number of budget airlines that make travelling around the UK and Europe extremely affordable and easy — even on short notice. Talk to us and we can provide all sorts of tips on where to look for cheap tickets.
While the UK’s subsidised health care has much to recommend, the country does lag behind when it comes to dentistry. It’s basically free from the government, but it’s much more difficult to obtain since dentists are in short supply. An increasing number of locals go to private dentists and pay for their care, despite it being technically available for free — that should certainly tell you something. Get a check-up before you leave and have any pressing needs taken care of — that’s the standard operating procedure even before a short trip overseas.
To travel, you’ll need a passport and other basic documents related to your nursing. When traveling anywhere, it’s a good idea to make a folder of your important documents and make copies of all of them, such as your passport, nursing license, driver’s license if you have one, birth certificate and other crucial documents you may travel with or want access to in an emergency. Leave a copy with friends or family back home, carry another copy with you separately from your actual documents and/or store them online in a secure location for easy access. In case your passport or other documentation is lost or mislaid, having copies of them on hand or accessible with a phone call will prove a lifesaver.