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University students: a guide to moving away

Here's our guide to making the move out of home and in to university accommodation as stress-free as possible!

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
26 Jun 2023

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Moving away to university will likely be the first time that you ever lived on their own and had to fend for themselves.

The experience can seem nerve-wracking and stressful at the beginning, but with some careful preparation the transition from the home you've grown up in to your new home at university...

Before you move

Here are a couple of things you should do before you move in to your university accommodation:

  • You should be sure to set up an insurance policy that covers your room. Some insurers can even expand the policy to cover loss or damage whilst you walk around on campus.
  • You should also set up a student bank account. Student accounts usually offer great interest rates and additional benefits such as a free overdraft.
  • Another thing you should consider getting is a 16-25 railcard. You can purchase one for £30 for the year and as it saves you 1/3 on rail ticket prices, it usually recoups its cost in just two journeys.

Don't forget your key documents

Whilst packing, you should start a file that contains all of the relevant documentation regarding university and your accommodation. You should use this file to carry acceptance letters, enrolment information, accommodation booking confirmations and other necessary receipts – such as that from your insurer.

By starting a file early, you have all of your relevant details and reference numbers in one place for easy access when you need them. Be sure to put this in your freely accessible ‘essentials’ box, as you’ll need some of the documents on the day that you move in.

Check what's provided by your halls

Each set of halls around the country offer different features. Some offer a full set of kitchen appliances (i.e. kettle, toaster, microwave) in their communal areas while others don’t. Each hall’s website should be able to tell you what you do/don’t need to bring.

More often than not they will provide all of the white goods (i.e. fridge, laundry areas etc); you’ll just need to bring the likes of crockery, saucepans and cutlery, etc.


When it comes to packing you need to plan carefully. You should start by collecting moving supplies months in advance of your move. Cardboard boxes that can be flattened during the year, or plastic stacking boxes are usually the best, as they can be hidden away or utilised during the year, and then used again to take all of your stuff home.

Start by packing non-essential items a couple of weeks prior to the move, and gradually continue to pack up until the moving day. At the same time, try to condense what you take with you.

University is demanding, so will you really have time to play all the games that you have for your console or watch every movie that you own? Consider what you really need and what you don’t. 

> Check out our freshers' week checklist for more tips on what to take with you to uni

On arrival

When you arrive at halls, you'll usually be required to complete an inventory form that helps you to check that all of the features of your room are in working order. You'll also be asked about the paintwork and surfaces, amongst other things.

If there's any damage to your room, you should note this on the inventory sheet as this prevents you from being charged for it at the end of the year. Be sure to complete the inventory before you unpack your stuff – it’s much easier to audit an empty room than a full one.

With these handy tips, your big move to university should go swimmingly. Remember to plan ahead, and good luck with the next stage of your education!

This article was originally written by Nicola Allen. Nicola works alongside moving company Two Men and a Truck. Having moved away to university herself, she understands just how tough it can be leave home for the first time.

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