Top tips for students moving into halls

With university starting up for many freshers, if you haven’t already finalised your first-year accommodation, time is running short!

Living away from home for the first time can be a daunting experience. What are the main things you need to consider when choosing accommodation and preparing to move into your new home for the term?

Doing your research

As soon as you find out which university you’ll be attending, start researching the different accommodation options available. You’ll want to look at things like how many people will share your flat, the size of your room and shared areas, whether you’ll have an en suite or a shared bathroom, and how close it is to the campus, local shops, and of course the nearest bar!

If you have a disability, contact your university as soon as possible so they can help you find housing that meets your needs.

Finding out how soon you can move in

Most residences will be available several weeks before the official start of the term, sometimes earlier for international students. The sooner you can arrive, unload your belongings and unpack, the sooner you can meet people and take advantage of the pre-term fresher activities!

Being aware of space when packing

Regardless of the size of your new bedroom, you will likely have far less storage space than at home, so try to be conservative while packing. Bear in mind that you will only be in halls for around 9 to 10 months, so just pack what you need.

Getting help packing, moving and unpacking

Even if you’ve managed to reduce your packing, chances are you’ll struggle to pack and move all your belongings by yourself. Ask a friend or family member to help. If you can’t fit everything in a car, you may want to hire professionals to assist. Pickfords’ Man and Van service is designed for smaller, budget moves, with the flexibility to choose the level of service you need.

Sorting out insurance

While your accommodation should already have buildings insurance, you will need to arrange your own contents cover. This will protect items inside your room, such as clothes, TVs and games consoles, against loss or theft.

Depending on the plan you choose, you can also protect against accidental damage and purchase cover for outside your room or while out and about. Explore options for laptop, phone, gadget or musical instrument cover to suit your needs.

Checking if you need a TV licence

Some halls may already have a TV licence for communal rooms, but if you want a TV in your own room, you will need to pay for a separate TV licence.

Finding out your holiday storage options

You might not be able to keep your belongings at university during the holidays, or you wish to move back with family during Christmas or Easter. In which case, you’ll need somewhere to store your belongings outside term time.

Pickfords has a national network of storage centres, ideal for students. You can share a storage container with others to save money, or visit one of our local Self Store centres for an easy-access storage solution.

Top 5 emerging expat destinations

Say ‘expat’ and most Brits dream of the lush climates of Australia or New Zealand, or the many and varied career opportunities offered in the USA, Canada or nearby Germany or France. While these common destinations remain attractive, a growing number of expatriates are now exploring the unique opportunities provided by a range of overseas territories beyond the ever-popular top ten.

Below we explore the five most attractive emerging destinations for British expats:

5. Ecuador

The Republic of Ecuador is gaining popularity for expats, largely thanks to the low cost of living combined with the availability of real estate in highland areas that help protect from the heat. Low utility, rent and food costs make the Republic an increasingly popular place for expat retirees, generally settling in Vilcambamba, Cuenca or the capital city, Quito.

Expats looking for adventure will find a wide array of climates to explore, from costal beaches to the 10,000 foot mountains or the rainforest teeming with wildlife.

Job opportunities for expats primarily involve their major exports: oil and agriculture. Others teach English or set up their own local businesses, such as restaurants.

4. Panama

Another destination attracting expat interest due to low living costs, Panama offers affordable healthcare, residency incentives and inexpensive local food and drink.

Retirees are highly incentivised in Panama, enjoying a wide range of discounts on entertainment, local transport, hotels, restaurants, medical costs and utilities.

The only landmass bordering North and South America, Panama’s 29,000 square miles are among the most bio-diverse in the world, attracting some 900 species of local and migrating birds and a huge variety of edible plant-life, evidenced by the wide range of local produce available in the nearby marketplaces.

3. Costa Rica

Like bordering Republic Panama, Costa Rica offers affordable cost of living and a thriving economy, with a number of popular havens for expats including the Central Valley, Southern Zone and Gold Coast.

Costa Rica is renowned for its friendly residents, always willing to help and patient with expats trying to practice their Spanish.

Foreign business is encouraged while the environment remains resolutely protected, meaning great employment opportunities for expats seeking the Caribbean sun.

2. Mexico

The fourth Spanish-speaking nation on our list, Mexico offers a number of beach towns along the Gulf and the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as bustling interior cities which many expats call home.

Once again the relatively low cost of essentials (especially rent and local food) is a big draw for the growing expat population, coupled with the varied landscape, offering the intrepid outlander anything from canoe rides and mountain trekking to beach parties and water sports.

Community is of high importance to Mexicans; expats may quickly find themselves invited to neighbourhood festivities, religious ceremonies and even weddings.

 1. India

A world away from the rolling beaches and tropical jungles featured above, India is now a well-known ‘up and coming’ destination for British expats thanks to it’s growing industrial sector, boasting a wide range of expat careers in construction and engineering, IT and telecommunication and financial services.

India is attractive for expat families, with high quality yet affordable childcare and education, as well as low cost healthcare, fashion, food and household goods.

A large and populous country, India is incredibly diverse. Away from the thriving, bustling cities of New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, the northern border boasts the colossal Himalayan mountains, while the east hosts the Thar, or ‘Great Indian’ Desert, and the serene Keralan lagoons and beaches across the south.

Western state Goa is a popular destination for holidaymakers and expatriates alike, with stunning beaches and a rich subculture heavily influenced by 16th century merchants. The relaxed atmosphere attracts many repatriates looking to settle, resulting in a flourishing retirement community.

With 600 offices in 45 countries, Pickfords relocates thousands of expats to destinations across the globe every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

WIN a powerboat experience ride!

As part of Pickfords’ participation in this year’s P1 SuperStock Championship, Sky Sports are offering YOU the chance to win an experience ride in a Panther Powerboat of of the next race weekend in Cardiff on 30 August!

Click here to enter and for full details of the competition.

Closing date 24 August 2015.

Good luck!

P1 Gosport 2015 OnEvent Tim Piper

Blog series – Pickfords Powerboat 2015:

What are the challenges of hospital relocation?


Most hospital buildings will undergo refurbishment, or even a complete rebuild at some point in their lifecycle. Facilities inevitably become outdated and unsuitable for the latest equipment, buildings too small for their growing needs or unable to meet the latest standards of healthcare.

Large redevelopment or relocation projects can be rather daunting, particularly if it’s the first time for those involved. The following are the main challenges of hospital moves, and how they can be addressed:

Ensuring patients’ comfort

Moving or relocating a hospital can be an uncomfortable experience for patients, especially the elderly, disabled or otherwise vulnerable, as their environment moves and changes around them.

Pickfords Business Solutions’ staff have the experience, resources and training necessary to work in sensitive environments. All relevant staff are DBS cleared for your peace of mind.

Overcoming the complexity

Hospital moves can be highly complex, with the unique requirements of many different departments to consider; patients, equipment, furniture, filing, IT and telephony must all be planned and accounted for within a set timeframe.

Key areas such as A&E, maternity wards, operating theatres and ICU have a clinical imperative to remain operational at all times, so timing is important to ensure these services can be offered in at least one location at any one time.

Following careful preparation and planning, Pickfords will create a comprehensive move plan to allocate resources and schedule move periods effectively and efficiently, ensuring the smoothest possible execution.

Pickfords’ national resources allow us the flexibility to keep removal crews on standby to accommodate for any last-minute schedule changes or unforeseen circumstances.

Keeping departments operational

During a move, you’ll want to keep as many departments open as possible for as long as possible, especially A&E.

Pickfords will work with hospital staff to create a solid move schedule to ensure little to no interruption of service delivery, particularly for emergency departments.

Moving drugs and chemicals

Medical drugs and chemicals require expert care during transportation to eliminate the possibility of any accidents, particularly in a sensitive hospital environment with vulnerable patients at risk of exposure.

Certain chemicals also require temperature control, as well as security to protect against theft.

Pickfords liaises with hospital staff to ensure all drugs and chemicals to be moved are known and carefully inventoried, working with specialist partners with the expertise and equipment to transport each chemical and ensure any potential risks during the move are eliminated.

Moving specialist equipment

Most hospitals have specialist equipment that must be moved with the utmost care, such as laboratory equipment, cold storage units, heavy machinery and specialist IT equipment.

Pickfords has the experience and expertise to fully project manage the decommission, relocation and re-commission of a wide range of specialist medical equipment and machinery, working with hospital staff to ensure a safe environment and clear paths for access and egress while transporting such items.

Pickfords’ national network of storage facilities means that equipment can be safely contained and stored for any length of time during a hospital move or refurbishment.

Pickfords has a wealth of experience moving hospitals and healthcare facilities, working closely with staff to ensure an expertly planned and executed move, suited to their needs. To find out more about moving your facility, contact Pickfords Business Solutions on 0845 130 6559 or or visit our website.

Pickfords powerboat racers stay dry this weekend

Round 3 of the Powerboat P1 SuperStock Championship at Hull this weekend saw Pickfords’ racers David Toozs-Hobson and Christopher Schreiber recover from their disastrous tumble at Gosport, earning a respectable 48 points over four races.

Unfortunately their efforts this weekend weren’t quite enough to bring them back to the top of the league table; at 124 points the team stand just shy of the top 5 by a single point.

With two more rounds to go, David and Christopher are determined to make the most of the final races, aiming for that coveted podium finish they had a taste of back in Round 1.

Blog series – Pickfords Powerboat 2015:

Pickfords’ powerboat gearing up for race weekend

The Pickfords powerboat team David Toozs-Hobson and Christopher Schreiber are busy preparing for another exciting Powerboat P1 SuperStock Championship weekend!

David & Christopher will be eager to regain their 3rd place position after the boat tragically overturned in last month’s tumultuous conditions at Gosport, leaving them in 5th place overall.

Luckily there’s little sign of stormy weather for this weekend’s races in Kingston upon Hull, so a podium finish may well be on the cards for round 3!


Blog series – Pickfords Powerboat 2015:

Furry stowaway finds a home

A cat who was discovered in a Pickfords container earlier this year has found a home.

The feline, believed to have been a street cat, had found its way into a shipping container in Limassol, Cyprus, and spent a month on the water on its way to the UK.

The container was unloaded and trucked to Pickfords’ international warehouse in Kempston, Bedfordshire. On opening the container to unload its customers’ goods, the Pickfords warehouse team discovered the tabby.

The cat was not in the best of health when the container was opened, so Pickfords gave her food and water to keep her going. The team called the local Bedford Trading Standards organisation who sent a team to catch the cat, who was then taken into quarantine.

Once given the all-clear from quarantine, she was taken in by Cats Protection Birmingham Adoption Centre. The cat attracted a lot of interest, but being rather shy after her ordeal, went several weeks without being adopted.

Eventually, an elderly couple visited the Centre, saw the stowaway and fell in love. Confident they would be able to coax her out of her shell, they adopted the feline, naming her ‘Miss Pickford’.

Miss Pickford now enjoys the comforts of her new Birmingham home, and is slowly becoming less shy around her owners.