There are many reasons you might be looking to relocate to an entirely new area. You may be taking a job in a new city, need a change of climates for health reasons, or you have a sense of adventure. Maybe it’s just time for you to move out of your current living situation. Whatever your reasons for relocating, there are some steps you can take to help ease the transition.
Find your new neighborhood
Do you want to be right in the heart of the city? Do you prefer to be remote and rural? Or would you like something in the suburbs between the two? This is probably the first set of questions you need to answer when you start your new home search. You can change a lot once you’re there, but location is something you’re stuck with for at least a little while.
There are probably a few “deal breakers” on your list when you start your apartment search. For example, you may need to be a close distance to your job or not near an industrial area. You may want to be near theaters or nightlife. Whatever your most important amenities are, you’ll want to factor those in upfront so that you’re not stuck with a location that you can’t stand.
Find the important stores & services
Once you’re done with your apartment search, but before you move, you’ll want to search out the stores and services that you need and use most. The top of the priority list will probably be the grocery store, bank, and utility companies. You’ll want to look ahead of time so that you can get your new place stocked and set up as quickly as possible.
Once you have the basics set up, expand the list to include home improvement stores, clothing stores, salon service, or barber. Know where to find a doctor, dentist, and any other medical services that you might need. If you go to the chiropractor or massage therapist, you’ll want to get those visits lined up as soon as possible. Don’t forget about your pets; it’s never too late to think about the pet store, veterinarian, or boarding facility.
Get to know the transportation options
Your transportation options are going to be dependent on how rural you live. In the city center, you’ll probably have several public transportation options, cabs or Uber, bike, walk, or in some cases, have your own car. However, as you move out further, those options start to narrow. You may be limited to park-and-ride service or personal vehicles. Whatever your options are, you’ll want to know their ins and outs before you get there. It’s not fun to try getting on a bus on your first day of work only to find that you need exact change.
Take time to get to know the area
Give yourself some time (anywhere from three months to a year) to get to know your surroundings. Three months is just enough time to figure out the bus routes, your neighbors, and maybe the names of your favorite street vendors. But to really get a feel for a new place, it takes about a year; so that you can see it in all seasons. You can figure out which neighborhoods are safe to explore and which should be avoided. You’ll know which intersections get jam-packed at rush hour or which restaurants have the fastest delivery service. These are all insights that must be experienced, so give yourself some time before you commit to a permanent situation.
Try to meet new people wherever you go. Accept any social invitations that come your way. Scrabble night at church? Say yes. Rooftop BBQ at the new apartment? Say yes. Holiday potluck at the office? Say yes. These are all opportunities to meet the people you’ll be in contact with regularly.
If it turns out–by some rare chance–that none of the people you meet share your interests, you try an interest-based social group. Meetup.com is searchable by city and type of group and can be a great way to fall into social groups based on interests, like running or cycling, for example.
Once you’ve gotten that first three months down pat, and you roughly know where everything is that you need, you should take the time to (safely) explore. Be sure to have a fully charged cell phone and then just take off in some new direction. Peek around corners, ask locals for their recommendations, and just generally try new things. This could be exactly the kind of adventure that leads you to your new favorite coffee shop, Café, or bookstore.
In short, moving to a new area doesn’t have to be a stressful process. It can be a lot of adventure and finding new places. If you keep your “deal breakers” in your mind when you start your apartment search and learn to be flexible with everything else, you can have a great time somewhere new.