7 RED FLAGS you shouldn’t move to the UK

You might have a dream to live in the UK as an expat, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be right for you.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alanna and I’m a Canadian but I’ve been living in the UK for the last 8 years – and we need to talk about these 7 signs that you should not move to Britain.

1. You’re trying to escape your problems

I see a lot of expats who think that “if I just move to a new country, all my problems will be solved.”

Unfortunately, no. Not all of them.

If you are stressed, lonely, depressed or anxious in your home country – guess what? It’s likely you’re going to be more stressed, lonely, depressed and anxious in the UK. There’s certain things you can’t just run away from and expect to be different.

Expat tip: work on your problems in your home country: they won’t solve themselves. If after some work you feel like you can handle those issues at home or abroad, then maybe moving to the UK would be right for you at that time.

Why you shouldn’t move to the UK

2. It looks cool online

Social media is a big problem when it comes to portraying things in a way that isn’t real. We know people use photoshop on their bodies, or filters on their faces, but I think less of us are consciously aware that they can also mislead their own experiences online.

It’s hard to say that moving to the UK was a mistake (or that it sucks) because they want to showcase the best side of your life online. But that’s really misleading for the rest of us watching.

If you really want to know how it is to live in the UK, you need to find someone who will talk about the bad stuff, because there is bad stuff! There’s always pros and cons to any place.

I have a Youtube channel called Adventures and Naps where I’ve documented my experience living abroad: the good and the bad, if you want to check it out.

Expat tip: follow content creators that talk about the good and the bad. If you watch someone online that says living in the UK is perfect and their life is perfect, they’re lying. Find better people.

3. You’re afraid to get out of your comfort zone

So much of living abroad in any country is about getting outside your comfort zone. Are you willing to do that?

Are you willing to do things like the Brits?

A big part of living in the UK, especially at first, is doing things alone. Can you get groceries, go out to lunch, visit a castle, go to the gym or the cinema alone? You need to be comfortable doing that. You need to make your peace with living out of your comfort zone, otherwise living in the UK will be a waste.

Expat tip: practice! Go to an event at home solo. Visit a new cafe on your own. Try things that are outside your comfort zone while at home, and it will be easier to do those things abroad.

4. You think “my life would just be better”


As an expat in the UK, you will:

  • have a harder time getting a job
  • you will have zero friends
  • you will have no family (and that feels really evident when you have to spend holidays like Christmas alone)
  • you will have to spend 10x more money just to stay in the UK with visa costs and NHS fees

So how would your life be better?

Expat tip: Your life could be better, that’s possible, but really think about what you mean by that. If it’s just a vague assurance in your head that things will be better, actually sit down and figure out why you feel that way. Because it might not be true.

5. You’re unwilling to change

A large part of being an expat is the ability to change. Sometimes quite a lot.

If you are unwilling to go with the flow, to change your habits or preferences or how you do things, living in the UK will be really uncomfortable and will never feel like home.

I know some people who think “I know best” and that type of attitude is such a waste here. It’s all about trying new things but also being willing to change who you are.

I am not the person I was when I first moved here 8 years ago. And that’s kind of scary, but that’s life and that’s adapting to a new way of British life. Without accepting change, the UK would never feel like home to me. And it does now.

Expat tip: try doing things differently in your home country. Try new foods you normally avoid, or events that you normally wouldn’t bother. Find ways to experience change and it won’t be so alarming when you need to do different or unusual things in the UK

6. You’re not financially literate

The cost of living in the UK, especially in cities like London, can be very high. Rent, groceries, transportation, and healthcare expenses can quickly add up. You can be living very close to the edge – are you good with finances? Can you balance your own budget? There will be no safety net if you don’t.

You won’t be able to “just move back in” with your parents if you lose your job. It’s also important to remember that as an expat, you will not be receiving any government money or benefits. It’s all on you.

Expat tip: start a budget!! Right away! Keep your own budget (even if you’re living at home with your parents) and practice.

7. Can’t function on your own

Moving to a new country will be challenging, there’s no escaping that. Especially if you don’t have a support system in place. Being away from friends and family can feel isolating, lonely and scary. You can’t call up a parent to help you fix your car, or have your best friend join you while you view apartments. It’s going to be done alone.

Are you willing to build a support system from scratch? Can you function on your own until that happens?

Expat tip: like getting out of your comfort zone, practice doing things alone. It feels really weird at first, especially if you’re used to doing everything with a parent or a friend. But in time, it’ll become normal and you’ll be that much more independent.