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Last updated: December 14, 2022 • Lifestyle

How to Prepare for a Move to a New City

Deciding to move to a new city may be as simple as making up your mind. However, actually moving to that new city is never easy. Sometimes it may seem simpler if you are younger, but in actuality, you are likely to encounter the same situations regardless of your age. The only reason so many jump to say that it’s easier to move to a new city when you are younger is that young adults and professionals have a more active lifestyle and more openness to interact with people they don’t know yet.

Still, we all face those uncertainties to a certain level, but the thrill of moving to a new place and starting a new life isn’t something that’s easy to overlook. Deciding to move to a new city takes a great deal of ambition, especially if you do it alone, and managing to overcome the challenges that follow isn’t an easy feat. Whether you move for studies, job opportunities, or simply seeking a fresh start, it’s important to plan ahead when possible.

While happenstance moves are common, it’s better to be prepared and have at least an idea of what to expect. It will be easier to move to another city in the same state, but when you move states or leave the country altogether, there are plenty of changes you need to be able to face. It will be a new place, with new people, new cultures, and packed with new experiences. It’s best to have a plan but also be versatile as there’s only so much you can plan for.

How to Move to a New City?

young woman celebrated moving into new

Moving to a new city can be both a gamble and a challenge, so it’s better to do your homework before you pack your whole life and move. Still, it doesn’t have to be scary with the right mindset, ambition, and a few easy-to-learn skills. So, let’s go over a few of the things you can do to be better prepared for a move to a new city.

Do Your Research

When you decide to move to a new city, getting to know a few things about the city you’ll be moving to is the bare minimum you should do. While moving to a new city on a whim is always an option, it’s better and more organized if you do some research before you jump on the first train, plane, or boat to get there. 

It’s important to know if the city can give you access to the lifestyle you intend to live, but at the same time, be honest with yourself. Don’t choose a city that’s 100% car-dependent if you don’t have a driver’s license, and don’t move to a city like New York if your budget won’t cut it. Learning as much as possible about this new city should cover information related to the cost of living, the safety ratings, and job opportunities so that you can better determine whether it would be a good fit for you.

If possible, go for a visit to this city to get a feel of the atmosphere. If that’s not an option, I find going on Google Maps Street View as a good way to get at least an impression of another city. Browse around the neighborhoods and try to find one that fits your expectations, find social hotspots where you can go and meet people, and figure out what transportation options are available and what your commute could be … these are all things that you can research from your couch due to the vast information available online.

It’s best to be prepared for when you start this new chapter in your life in one of the best cities in the US. Try to imagine your life there based on your research and start thinking about areas that you’d like to live in, explore, and places you’d like to frequent. Find a coffee shop, a grocery store, a club, or a library if you often frequent these establishments. Like that, when you move there, you will already know where you can find at least a few of your favorite pastime activities. If you don’t have a job lined up, look at the opportunities in your field. If you do, look into the company, and figure out as much as possible about your future colleagues and any job-related activities.

Figure out Your Budget

budget concept calculator

Based on your research, you should have at least a general idea of your financial obligations in this new town. Regarding housing, if you haven’t got something ready for you when you get there, you can always go by the median rent price in the area and work around that. In regards to everything else, think of what you’ll need. If you have a car, car expenses like gas, parking, insurance, and a bit extra for emergencies are always good to have. If you don’t look into bus fares, metro costs, or car ride/share services, or just choose a bike if the city has a well-established infrastructure

It’s always best to save money before a big move because if you want to do it properly, a bit of extra money will come in handy. Something to remember is that meeting new people doesn’t often happen on a park bench, in a cab or as you commute to work. Any extra money you save before the move will come in handy for socializing, which means going to bars, cafes, restaurants, or any other place where you can mix and mingle with strangers. Meeting new people doesn’t cost money but putting yourself in the locations where you can meet new people and quickly strike up a conversation does. 

Regarding daily expenses, it is a good idea to make a budget based on your current spending. Take note of everything you buy regarding food, bills, household expenses, and the overall budget you need in a month. That will be the minimum of what you’ll need in the new city, depending if the cost of living is higher or lower than in your current city. 

If you want to be able to enjoy the move to a new city to the fullest extent, try to save up for 3 to 6 months just so that you are covered in case of anything. Having an emergency fund will come in handy for any surprise expenses and also for any social activities while you settle down. It’s also nice to buy a few things for the new apartment once you settle down just so that you can make yourself at home.

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Organize Accommodations

drawing houses magnifying glass

If you have something lined up regarding accommodations, this section may not be as relevant to you. However, if you don’t, it would be better not to find something permanent at first. You don’t need to rush to find your own place as soon as you move to a new city. Take your time and find a short-term rental or Airbnb, as some places allow weekly or monthly accommodation.

This may be the best way to go because, despite all your research, you are still getting used to this new city. At the beginning of your stay there, you won’t be able to know if one neighborhood or another works best for you. Finding something temporary gives you the chance to get to know the area and the time to find a place and neighborhood that fits you best.

During your research, you can look into different neighborhoods, but you won’t be able to know if they will fit unless you experience them for a few days at least. Once you figure out which neighborhood fits your lifestyle the best, contact real estate agents in the new city and start looking at apartments to rent or possibly a new home in your new town.

A way to save money and also interact with new people when you move to a new city would be to share an apartment. You can find co-living apartments where you have your own bedroom, but the rest of the apartment is a common space shared with the other inhabitants. Like that, you’ll save money until you get a feel of the city without being locked in a lease you’re unsure of.

Choose what You Take with You

donating decluttering wardrobe

Packing is always a problem when you move. For some, it is also a problem when they travel. Still, knowing how and what to pack will make your life easier. When you move to a new place, depending on how many things you own, packing can be a nightmare. One way to ensure you simplify the strenuous process as much as possible is to apply the Konmari method of decluttering your life before you actually move. This will give you the mindset to get rid of everything you don’t need in your life. Everything that weighs you down and keeps you tied to a past you no longer have anything to do with can be released, and you will feel less burdened by all those unimportant possessions.

Once you’re through with going over everything that you own and are left only with the things that are still meaningful to you, you will be able to pack much lighter. This will be of tremendous help as transporting a lot of luggage can be expensive. Limiting the amount of things you take with you will lower the actual move’s cost. It will also be a lot easier to settle into the new place once you find something that suits you. Furthermore, if you take a lot less stuff with you, you get the opportunity to make a home out of the new environment.

It doesn’t always make sense to move with your furniture, so sell it if you can. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for transport and storage until you find more permanent housing. In that case, you’ll need some of those savings we mentioned above, which might be better spent elsewhere. You might also move into a fully furnished apartment, where you’ll only postpone your garage sale.

Get out of Your Comfort Zone

group young hispter friends

It might be better to do this before you find a more long-term rental or housing option because this is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the city or neighborhood that strikes your fancy. When you move to a new city, your social circle is limited or nonexistent. Finding people you can relate to isn’t always easy, so getting out of your comfort zone is detrimental to meeting new people. So get out there ready to mingle and open to new experiences. Look into online groups on social media platforms, attend networking events in the area, attend meetups organized for new visitors, and join book clubs and bars, drag shows, or any other public events you’re interested in. Making friends as a newcomer isn’t particularly difficult as long as you ensure you go to suitable venues. 

Conclusion

Finding yourself is just part of the process when you move to a new city. For the people you leave behind in your hometown, it may appear that you’re changing, but in truth, you are finally allowing yourself to be your true self. We often tend to mold ourselves based on the people around us and may sometimes find it difficult to be ourselves. One of the best things about moving to a new city where you know very few people is that you will have the freedom to become yourself without any sort of limitations imposed on you by the people you grew up with, your family, or your social circle. You can discover yourself again, in your own time, with few preconceptions from those who’ve known you for years or decades. 

In many ways, moving to a new city gives you a sort of freedom, unlike anything you’ve experienced before, so don’t waste that opportunity. Do what you like, be who you want to be, and stop fitting into the different molds that people have forced you into. Find yourself, and you’ll find happiness as you move to a new city.

Let us know in the comments below which is your favorite social setting to meet new people. Do you prefer a bar, a book club or something else? I find this depends on the type of person you are and the expectations you have from the people you interact with, so there are no wrong answers. Like & Share this with friends and family to let them know you’re planning on moving or to help them plan their own move to a new city. There’s plenty of room to go around.

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