6 Need-To-Know Tips For Relocating To A New City On Your Own


What To Do Before Making The Big Move

Moving is overwhelming on its own. Add on the stress of relocating to a new city and you might be downright terrified. It takes guts to leave the comfort and support of your current home and enter an unfamiliar world where you don’t know anybody. It’s a big step, and, in a way, a change of lifestyle. So, if you've decided you’re going to relocate—whether it’s for a job, financial reasons, or simply for a change of pace—there are a few things you need to consider before leaving. SEE ALSO: Cross-Country Move Considerations: The Northeast

1. Think It Through

Whatever your reason for moving, it’s important to ask yourself, “Is this really what I want?” Again, relocating on your own is a big deal and can cause drastic life changes—both good and bad. So, it’s important to be honest and figure out if the change is really worth it. Is leaving your old life behind worth the cushy new job? Are the opportunities available there really enough incentive to make you go? Will you regret not seeing your friends and family as much? If you need to, make a list of pros and cons, then weigh them out to rationalize your decision.

2. Do Your Research

It’s always smart to do some reconnaissance before an important mission, so find out everything you can about the city before you start looking for a place to live. Here are some things you’ll want to know:
  • The cost of living: can you afford to live there on your own or will you need to find a roommate? How much are utilities? Will you have enough for groceries and other necessities?
  • The crime rate: find out how safe it is to live there. Are there any areas you should avoid? You should also check the local sex offender registry before deciding on a neighborhood.
  • Laws and restrictions: some cities (or neighborhoods) have uncommon laws or rules you should be aware of beforehand. For example, some cities don’t allow overnight parking on the streets, and some only allow a certain number of pets per household.
  • Available services: familiarize yourself with where important establishments are located, like hospitals, police and fire stations, banks, highways/interstates, grocery stores, gas stations etc.
  • The social scene: living on your own can get lonely, so it’s best to make friends quickly. Look for local hot spots, clubs, or organizations you would be interested in checking out.
  • The weather: you’ll want to know what kind of wardrobe you’ll need to bring with you.

3. Budget

Moving requires a budget since fees tend to add up and expenses can come out of nowhere. Make sure you set aside money for packing material, movers, moving insurance, travel expenses, and other incidentals. Of course, you can save by doing a lot of the work on your own, but it’s best to have some sort of contingency plan just in case. And, if you’re relocating for your job, don’t forget to ask your employer if they offer relocation assistance. Budgeting your time is important as well. Even if you know months in advance that you’re going to move, time can fly by quickly. Before you know it, it’s a week before moving day and you haven’t even started packing! Setting up and sticking to a schedule will save you both time and stress. Try to start packing a few weeks before so you can purge the things you won’t be needing, and organize documents and other necessities you’ll need for the move.

4. Tie Up All Loose Ends

Before starting your new life in a new place, you’ll want to make sure everything in your old life is squared away. As soon as possible, inform anyone that may be affected by your move (your boss, landlord, insurance company, bank, doctors, etc.) that you are leaving so any needed procedures or arrangements can be made. Also, don’t forget to have your utilities disconnected and your mail forwarded to your new address. And, if you want to save some time and money, set up your utilities, internet, and cable TV in your new place before you move. This will also insure that you won’t suffer any down time during your first few days in your new place.

5. Don’t Commit Just Yet

If things work out perfectly, you’ll be living your new life and loving every minute of it. However, things don’t always work out the way we want them to. That’s why you shouldn't make any long term commitments until you know for certain that this is where you want to be. Establish a trial period of a few months to determine if your new location and lifestyle are a good fit. Rent, don’t buy, and go for a short-term lease. Even if you end up enjoying everything about the city and your new job, you’ll want the wriggle room in case you happened to choose a bad apartment or neighborhood. SEE ALSO: Cross-Country Move Considerations: The Southwest

6. Embrace Your New Home

As lonely and intimidating as it might be at first, make an effort to get yourself out there and experience what your new surroundings have to offer. Get to know your new neighbors and co-workers, and make use of social media networks to meet new people with the same interests as you. Join a gym, take a class, or do some volunteer work. Go out and explore the city. Check out local restaurants, parks, libraries, museums, and other attractions that make the city unique. It’s a whole new world for you, so take advantage of it anyway you can. Not only will organizing and planning ahead save you time and stress, it will also give you the opportunity to gradually adjust to the whole life changing experience. Relocating to a new city on your own can be scary, but with these tips in mind, the process will hopefully be less daunting and more exciting.
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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