Thinking about moving to a new city? Joe Miragliotta of Joe’s Daily shares his best tips on how to make sure you’ll love your new home before you make it permanent.
The reasons behind why people choose to move to a new city are as varied as the types of individuals themselves. Some are following their career path, some fall in love with the place on vacation, and others are just looking for a little variation in their lives. No matter what the cause might be, unless you’re after a very particular kind of adventure, it’s probably a good idea to get a proper feel for what your life would be like in this unfamiliar place before acting. Below you’ll find 7 ways to help you explore a city you’re considering moving to. You can try out a few over a weekend trip or check them all off if you have a little more time to spare. However many you can get to, they’re sure to be helpful in granting some insight into what might just be your new home.
1. Stay where you might be living
As with just about any other kind of trip, a little specific research is going to go a long way. In this case, try to figure out where you might end up living using criteria you would in any other situation. Start with a real estate site to see what you’d be able to afford. After that, factor in things such as where you’ll be working (if you already know, that is), crime, what you like to do in your spare time, where your friends are if you already have some that live there, and anything else that might be important to you. Once you have a few neighborhoods narrowed down, look for a house or apartment there that you can rent for the duration of your trip. Of course, there won’t always be options for exactly where you’re hoping to wind up, but getting as close as you can will definitely be beneficial.
2. Use the same transportation
Keeping in theme with attempting to give yourself as close to an actual living experience as possible, do your best to use the same mode of transportation that you would expect to in everyday life there. Having lived in Los Angeles as long as I have now, I’m still kind of amazed at the number of people that come from places like Chicago and New York and expect to be able to use public transportation as their main means of getting around. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done. Unfortunately, unlike in these other cities, ‘efficient’ is typically not the word you hear used to describe it here. Yes, it can be tempting to just hop into a ride-share vehicle anytime you need to get from point A to point B when you’re on vacation. However, if this isn’t how you’ll actually be doing things, you’re really not doing yourself any favors. So, go ahead, get that transit pass or rent that car—even if it’s just for part of your stay.
3. Plan ‘normal’ activities
It may sound a little boring and maybe even counter to what one would think to do on a trip but, when it comes to the activities you plan on doing, try to keep things as normal as possible. While I wouldn’t suggest running errands or anything of that nature (aside from grocery shopping if you were able to score a place with a kitchen), stick to what you would probably do on an average weekend. Is there a brunch spot good enough to entice you out of bed on a Sunday morning? How about a hiking area or walking route close enough to keep you active? Perhaps a pizza place with great trivia nights or even an arcade bar with just the right amount of people around? The great thing about cities is that there’s always something interesting to do. The key here is to be honest with yourself about what exactly it is you would end up doing once routine sets in. Chances are you’re not going to have any issues finding things you like around, but it’s still important to gauge the environment when you’re looking to make such a big decision.
4. Do your favorite ‘big thing’
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that your visit should be completely low-key. Regardless of how often you do it, most people have a few bigger or more indulgent activities they like to experience every so often. Whether it’s going to see a concert or symphony or renting out an ATV for a day, you want to make sure that the new place is going to at least meet your standards. Though, in the event that it does not, that doesn’t mean it should be immediately written off. As every place is unique there’s a good chance it will have something else available that can scratch that itch. In this case, be patient and see what else is out there before finishing up with this part of your reviewing.
5. Scout why you’re contemplating moving
This one is a little more specific to why you’re choosing to relocate than the others. As I mentioned above, the reasons an individual chooses to make a big move vary from person to person. Your motivation doesn’t need to be the main focus of checking out your potential new city, but it should definitely be worked in. If you were looking to shake things up, take it a step further from just scenery and see if it has new and exciting activities around for you to enjoy; though moving for work might be a little harder to incorporate, at least check out what your everyday commute would be like; and if you were moving because you fell in love on vacation, make sure there are things to do other than what initially grabbed your heart, as you’re sure to become at least a little bored with it after a certain amount of time.
6. Take note of social interactions
Even if you’re making a move that keeps you in the same state, the way people engage with each other can vary greatly from one place to another. There are cities known for being polite, some for being relaxed, others for being aloof, and even a couple known for being direct. It can be easy to overlook the differences from what you’re used to if you’re on a normal vacation. However, after a short time of moving somewhere, they’re difficult to ignore. Make a note to be aware of how people interact with you as well as how they interact with one another during your visit. While I would never tell you that you need to change the way you personally do things, be sure the general atmosphere is one you can abide in. A sensitive person coming from a “polite” area might have a rough time of it somewhere “direct”. That’s not to say that adaptation isn’t possible, but knowing what you’re getting into will usually make things much easier in the long run.
7. Do some wandering
While this admittedly might be more of an activity for once you actually move, if you find yourself with a little free time I would highly encourage you to do a little wandering. It could be in the area you’re staying, a different neighborhood you’re considering, or even just around the block of where you had lunch. As a creature of habit, I’ve been guilty of living somewhere for years without properly investigating what the neighborhood had to offer. Restaurants, shops, galleries, etc. that I would have loved were all at my disposal and I completely wasted the opportunity to enjoy them because I didn’t think to look around. So, even if you’re not going to end up in the place you’re exploring, best to get in the habit now to avoid the same mistakes that I made.
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