A beginner’s guide on how to move to uni without a car

two students who are moving for uni

Your trembling hand rips open the envelope holding your future. What’s this? You’ve smashed your exams? Great! You’re moving to uni and are going to live somewhere different than your hometown for the first time. Soon you’ll be packing up your valuable belongings ready to embark on a new stage in your life.

However, there is just one thing to consider. How will you get all your belongings to your university accommodation safely? And how are you going to move to uni without owning a car? This guide will tell you just that.

How to move to university stress-free

Preparation is king

Moving to uni is a daunting milestone, but with more than 50% of young people heading into the world of higher education, you’re not alone. Making sure that you remember to bring everything you need for university requires some prep. But if you plan well and plan smart, you’ll be set to bust some of that stress.

Do your research

Before you do anything at all, check what your uni accommodation provides. Every student accommodation is different, and some provide more things than others.

For example, if bedding is provided then you can cross that off the list of items you need to bring. If not, invest in bedding that’ll make you feel at home – and make sure to check which size you’ll need. Mistakes happen more often than you might expect!

Divide and conquer

Split the items you need into categories based on the different areas of your home. These categories will typically be bedroom, kitchen, study and miscellaneous.

Be realistic in making these lists with what you actually need – you don’t want to bring loads of things up when you will only use 20% of the stuff. However, at the same time make sure you don’t forget any essentials!

Box everything up

Once you have your list of all the items you are going to bring, you need to pack them up and pack them up properly! Pack all your items into boxes and label those boxes with the corresponding category (e.g. bedroom, kitchen, bathroom…) – any clothes can be put in a suitcase or bag, so you don’t need to box these up.

Use collapsible boxes so you can easily store them in your uni accommodation or student house, then when you come home you can use them again. A word of caution: if any of your items are fragile, such as ceramic plates or wine glasses, make sure you pack them up properly, following our expert packing advice.

The logistics

So you’ve packed your items and you’re ready to start moving to uni. Assuming you have quite a few items, you won’t be able to take these all on the train in a rucksack and a suitcase.

If all of your items will fit in one car, then it’s happy days. But if you need more than one car, then you might be able to find someone near where you live with some spare room. This could be family, friends or an acquaintance. You can strike up a deal to pay their petrol costs or owe them a favour later down the line to sweeten the deal.

student booking a man with a van for moving to uni

What if I don’t have a car?

Student movers

If you don’t have a car or can’t access one via someone you know, then it is worth getting a moving company like VanaMango to carry out your student move for you on a budget.

You might also not want the hassle and expense of taking your own car to university and then having it sitting there, and especially in a walkable city. In this case, it would be good again to get a company who can do student moves on a budget.

Getting the van size right

Depending on how many items you are moving, you will want to ensure the right sized van is provided so make sure to tell the company all the items you need to move. Also, if you want to save yourself money then make sure to pack your items up yourself, so the moving company don’t have to do it for you. You can check out the best way to pack up your belongings here!

Hiring and driving a van

You may also consider hiring a van which could save you money too. The only issue here is that there are restrictions. So, you need to have a valid driving license, have been driving for at least 3 years (usually) and be at least 25 (often). So usually this is not a feasible option for students, who are better off hiring a company.

student moving to uni with a box of belongings

Arriving at university

Unpack and decorate

Once you have got to your accommodation, the first thing that you will want to do is unpack all of your belongings and plan where everything needs to go.

A good place to start is to unpack bedroom items. First, put on some bedding and some home pictures/posters/photos this will give your new accommodation a more homely feel to it. After this, you can start to put away your kitchen items and clothes.

Meet and greet

Make sure to save some time to go meet and greet your new flatmates. Keep your door open so you can chat to anyone who is walking by and compare notes on the freshers events coming up. These are great places to meet new people, experience new things and make friends.

The first food shop

If you have time to go to the shop to stock up on food, try to coordinate this with your flatmates. Not only is an easy and casual conversation starter, but the supermarket is a great low-stakes environment to get to know someone without the pressure of constant eye contact.

You likely won’t have a lot of time to go buy food during your freshers week as you’ll be busy partying! So make sure to grab all of the essentials, from food to toiletries. You don’t want to rely on takeaways every night as it’s not good for you and it is not cheap either!

student research jobs after moving to uni

A couple of pointers for once you have arrived

Budget your money

Most people moving to university are not going to have a lot of dispensable income. So, make sure that you budget yourself and you don’t splurge all your money when it lands.

You need to make sure you have enough money to buy food, stationery and other essentials. You don’t want to have to keep going to the bank of mum and dad asking for money constantly, or have to work extra shifts at your part-time job. Really, no one wants that!

Make friends with people outside of your flat

There will be times when you feel like you need to distance yourself from your flatmates as you are spending a lot of time with them. It’s good to have other friends who can meet and spend time with too. So try to make a variety of friends in societies you join, your course, the accommodation you live in and on nights out of course!

students making friends after moving to uni

Final preparation tips

Learn how to cook and clean

Ask your parents to show you how to cook basic meals and learn from them. You could also get some cooking books and take them with you. You can buy student cookbooks or even find recipes online.

Find a part-time job

Research the area where you are going to be living and see if you can find any local jobs. Once you settle into university and realise you don’t have much money at all, it is guaranteed that you will need a job. (Unless your parents can pay for everything for you!) By getting ahead of the line you can start applying in the summer and try to line one up for yourself early than some of your peers.

Be a social butterfly

You’re going to have to make new friends! Everyone else moving to university is in the same boat and they won’t have any friends there too. So be prepared to make new friends and be friendly! If you don’t make friends then university won’t be anywhere near as enjoyable as it should be.

You’re all set!

Et voila – the complete low down on moving to uni without a car. We hope you learnt a thing or two and will make the most of the years that will make up the best time of your life!