Your Guide to Moving to a New City

You’re about to do the unthinkable – pack your bags and move to a new city… all without a single contact in your phone book. Moving to a new city is nothing less than daunting, so we’ve created a short guide to help you prepare for the upcoming move. We’ll pepper in a few tips to help you get started and a few tips to help you long after you call a new city home.

Get in Touch with the Locals

So you’ve done some initial investigating – which neighborhoods are closest to the local Trader Joe’s, which neighborhoods boast the highest number of bars per block, which neighborhoods are the most family-friendly. But, what you really need is an insider’s perspective.

Here’s how: Check out blogs written by locals, or even post your own questions on forums like CityData. It’s that much easier to get a feel for everyday life (like how much a twenty-something spends on groceries per week) if you’re talking with locals who live, work and play there.

Create a Moving Expenses Spreadsheet

When you move to a new city, your cost of living expenses might vary dramatically (Case in point: If you’re moving from Fargo to New York City, expect a slightly higher groceries bill). Your moving expenses should factor in things like the state tax rate and what the average city-dweller spends on things like rent, groceries, utilities, insurance, or fitness memberships per month.

Pick a Couch, Any Couch

Once you’ve identified a few neighborhoods you like, it’s time to take ’em for a test drive!

Sublet for a week, couch surf, or even stay in an Airbnb for a couple of nights to get feelers for the area. It’s a great way to “live like a local” and assess whether you like the vibe of the neighborhood – its nightlife, proximity to public transit, or whether living in a fifth-floor walk-up is something you can actually survive.

Work Your Contacts

Even if you know a friend of a friend who lives in the city, now’s the time to reach out! Shoot them an email, and ask for their local recommendations (Think: “Hi Mike, Guess what? I’m moving to Miami, and I’ll be in the neighborhood for a few weeks. What’s the best place to grab a burger? I want to hit all the must-visit places, from the perspective of a local!”). It’s a nice, low pressure way to ask for a local’s recommendations – then, just leave it up to them whether they offer to show you around the city.

Plug Into Your Hobbies

As simple as it sounds, connecting with people who share a mutual interest in the activities you love is a sure-fire way to build friendships right off the bat. Try signing up for a swing dance Meetup, a class at Crossfit, a wine tasting class, or anything you do to relax.

Last but not least, keep things in perspective! Remember, getting in the groove of things isn’t going to happen overnight, so don’t worry if you’re not feeling settled in at the third, fourth, or even the fifth month mark – it takes time!


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