Moving to a new city is never easy, and when you do it alone, there are always some extra challenges. Whether you are moving to a new city to study abroad, make a career change, or start a whole new life overseas it is one of the most exciting things that you can do independently.
The thrill of starting something new is hard to beat, but moving to a city isn’t just fun new experiences, and adventures to be hard. It also requires a lot of determination, patience, and planning to move to a new city successfully.
My Experiences Of Moving To New Cities
Personally, I have moved to new cities twice on my own as an adult, once to a new city in my home country, and once to another country alone.
When I moved to Vancouver, Canada from England 6 years ago, I was desperate for a completely fresh start. I’d always had a nagging feeling to go and explore more of the world, but it took huge losses in my life to give me the push that I needed to do it.
My experience of moving to a new foreign city taught me a lot about what to do (and not to do) when making a big move. It is always a gamble, and frankly sometimes a bit scary but there are lots you can do to make things easier.
Whether it’s finding an apartment, researching your new home, or trying to make new friends, these tips will help make your move to a new city a success.
Plan Your Move
My biggest lesson learned from my experiences moving to new cities is that planning is everything. And the earlier you can start planning the better. The best thing you can do as soon as you’ve made a decision to move is to map out the timeframe between now and move day. So for instance, if you are going to move in 6 months’ time, start putting together what you will need to do each month, and week as you get closer to move day.
You will find it far easier if you work backward.
- What has to be done in the last couple of days before your move?
- A week before your move?
- Two weeks before your move?
- A month before your move?
- Two months before your move?
Keep going until you’ve roughly jotted down the basics for each time period. Then from there, as you figure things out you can add things to the plan.
It will massively reduce stress, worry, and overwhelm – and keep you organized so that you don’t forget anything. If you’re not sure what you will need to do and when there are tons of resources online to help you.
Do Lots Of Research
Your most arduous, but most important task will be to do a lot of research especially if you are planning to move to a new city in a different country. It could become very time-consuming, but the more research you can do in the run-up to the move, the easier it will be for you.
As well as researching all of the basics like cost of living, accommodation options, work available (if it isn’t a study or work relocation), local travel and commute times,
Make Lists & Goals For Your City Move
As part of the planning for your move to a new city, make lists of everything you want to take with you, including things that you will need and anything you might have to buy. This is especially important for a move overseas where you may have to itemize your belongings for customs.
Also set some goals for life in your new city, for instance, if you will need to find a new job, when do you want to be working and what kind of work? But don’t just set goals for practical things like work.
Also, make lists of tourist places you’d like to visit, and things you want to experience in your new home.
Look At Neighbourhoods
As part of your research, take a look at the neighborhoods of the city you will be moving to. And find one or two neighborhoods that would work for you, and be the ideal areas to live in. It will make your accommodation search a lot easier. Plus it will make discovering a new city a lot easier when you arrive solo.
Take More Money Than You Think You’ll Need
Once you know you’re going to move to a new city, start your financial planning early. The standard financial advice is to have 3-6 months of savings available as an emergency fund, and that’s something you’ll definitely need for a big move.
It helps to come to your new home with a bit of extra money—not just because there are likely to be a lot of surprise expenses, but because you’re going to need to be extra social & ready to spend on new activities and things to do.
Come to your new home with extra savings—more than you think you might need. And the move-in process will be so much better!
Try To Pack Light
Moving can be pretty tiring, and expensive too especially if you use movers or a shipping company.
The less you pack, the cheaper and easier your move will be. Plus if you pack light, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself to some new things for your new home. You will also find that you just won’t use or need everything that you pack.
So when you start packing for your move, it’s worth considering selling your furniture and large electronics especially if you are moving overseas.
You might also find that it’s worthwhile to move into a furnished apartment or a long-term Airbnb temporarily while you acclimate to your new city. It will give you more time to find a longer-term home and apartment hunting will probably be far easier once you are there.
Don’t Hesitate To Ask For Help When You Need It
When I moved to Vancouver on my own, I knew very few people. So I looked for Facebook groups and organizations that could support me. As a newly landed immigrant, I was fortunate to get lots of resources through the Canadian Government and Settlement Agencies. However, I also wanted to start meeting locals and fellow travelers early on to start networking and making friends.
So I announced on social media, and in Facebook groups that I was moving to Vancouver. I also joined some local social groups like International. Stepping out of my comfort zone to do these things really helped me to meet people and settle in quickly.
It can be really daunting to ask for help and put yourself out there. Afterward, when you have made connections you will be so glad that you did though.
Go Out & Explore In Your New City
Moving to a new city can come with a lot of stress and unforeseen challenges. You have to adjust to a new place and learn new ways of doing things. But it’s also a really exciting adventure. If you make the move with an open mind and a willingness to explore you’ll love your new home in no time.
Go To Events & Be Extra Social
The social aspect of moving to a new city can be really daunting especially if you are an introvert. Once you start meeting people, it will get much easier to go and be social with new people.
Making friends will make all the difference so prioritise socialising in your plans – and give yourself a budget for socialising.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
To go to events, and socialize with new people you will have to get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself to attend events alone, and promise yourself that you will make an effort to talk to people even when it is really uncomfortable.
Some events will be good, and some won’t be. If you go to an event and something feels off, or you’re extremely uncomfortable then just leave that event. The important thing is that you make an effort.
Also, don’t be afraid to try new things, and do things you have never done before. You are in a new city where no one knows you so go have fun and be adventurous.
Network & Make Connections
Go to networking events relevant to your work, attend local meet-ups, or join a club. In many big cities, you’ll find that there are non-profit organizations, meet-ups, facebook groups, and clubs relevant to your career and personal interests.
If you are looking for work, or just want to get yourself established in your new home, getting involved with non-profits is another great way to network and settle into your new city,
Keep Some Mementos From Your Old Home
From time to time, you will feel homesick so keep some small mementos from your old home in your new home. It will help you to get through difficult times.
Keep In Touch With Friends & Family
Just because you’ve moved away to a new city, it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain the relationships you currently have. It will be hard at times to stay in touch, but they can help you through challenges, and you will feel less homesick by chatting with them.
Journal Or Blog About Your Experiences
Keeping a journal or a blog of your new adventures is a great way to store your memories. It is also a way to keep yourself accountable to try new things. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t start my blog, or a journal, from day one. There have been so many things that I wish I had documented.
Walk & Use Public Transportation
Finally, one of my biggest tips is to walk and use public transportation everywhere rather than drive. I’ve always found that by far it is the best way to explore any new place. You will also find that you will learn how to get around far quicker this way.
Plus by exploring this way, you will probably discover places, and see things that you just wouldn’t find if you drove everywhere. If you are on a budget it will also save you a lot of money.
I hope that you find all of these tips helpful. Moving to a new city alone is one of life’s adventures that can be as exhilarating as it is challenging. If you put in time to plan and prepare for your move, it will be so much easier – and fun!
How do I find the right city to move to alone, considering factors like safety, cost of living, and job opportunities?
What are some practical tips for planning the move, from finding accommodation to budgeting for the transition?
How can I overcome feelings of loneliness and make new friends in a new city where I don’t know anyone?
Are there resources or support networks available for solo movers to ease the transition and provide guidance?
What are some recommended ways to explore and embrace the new city’s culture and local lifestyle?
How can I prioritize self-care and maintain a positive mindset throughout the moving process and settling into a new city alone?
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Gemma Lawrence is the creator of This Brits Life. Born and raised in England, she has been living in British Columbia, Canada as a permanent resident since 2016. A solo traveler for the past 9 years, she hopes to inspire and help others to enjoy solo adventures too. As someone who has always struggled with her self-confidence and mental health, she also shares tips and inspirational stories relating to self-love, self-care, and mental health.