7 survival tips for moving to a big city for the first time

Moving to a big city for the first timeMore about Ethan Greenfield

Moving to a big city for the first time can be a genuinely exciting period in your life. In fact, there are many things to be excited about, especially if you’re moving to a big city from a small town: greater opportunities for personal and professional growth, endless options when it comes to entertainment at any time during the day or night, cultural diversity to expand your horizons, and probably most importantly of all – a unique chance to rediscover who you really are and what you really want in life.

You’ll most likely be thrilled about the upcoming big city move, but you may also find yourself worried that you don’t really know what to expect when you reach your destination. You may even be a bit scared to move to a big city.

Don’t worry and don’t be afraid – the following 7 tips should 1) help you avoid any serious mistakes when moving to a big city, and 2) help you acclimate and readjust to a brand new way of living and viewing the world around you.

Here’s what to know before moving to a big city for the first time.

#1. Do your big city research in advance

When moving to a big city for the very first time in your life, good preparation is vital. If you know somebody who lives or has lived in that city, then contact that person and request important information that will give you a real advantage after the move is complete.

  • Research your housing options to find a place you like and can afford;
  • Research your employment options in case you’re moving to a big city without a job;
  • Get familiar with the local laws and regulations to stay out of trouble;
  • Learn more about the weather in the big city and the region to know what clothes to pack.

#2. Get a job fast

If you already have a job secured in the destination city, then you’ll have one less thing to worry about. However, if the major reason to move to a big city is to find a good or a better job, then it’s time to start thinking about dipping your toes into the vast, mysterious and often unpredictable job market.

Update your resume but get mentally ready for a tough fight. In big cities, it’s normal to have hundreds of applicants for a single job listing. Try not to get discouraged by the fierce job competition – visit career fairs, seek free services and look for personal recommendations to make your resume stand out from the rest.

Check it out: What to consider when relocation for a job

#3. Move only the most essential things

One thing to remember when moving to a big city is that your new home is likely to be much smaller than the one you have in the small town or rural area. So, with much more limited living space to work with, it’s really important that you only take your most essential possessions with you.

Do pare down your belongings to make the big city move easier and cheaper too. Ultimately, the more things you choose to move, the higher the transportation cost will be and the harder it will be for you to find sufficient storage space for your stuff.

Good to know: How to declutter your home before moving

#4. Budget for the big city cost of living

Moving to a big city with no money to spare can be really challenging. You’ll soon learn (the hard way) that living in a big city is more expensive than living in a small town – the housing, food, transportation, utilities, services, and even taxes will usually be much pricier than what you’re used to paying.

As a result, the higher cost of living in the big city will require a much tighter control of your finances – after all, you want your money to stretch out as far as possible. The good news is that a big city will give you the chance to become a smarter shopper and a careful consumer of goods – look hard for freebies, clearance sales, promotions and discount coupons. Many big city museums have admission-free days while free concerts can be enjoyed in public parks.

Read also: How to save money after moving to a big city

#5. Find salvation in public transportation

You may have a number of good reasons to move to a big city. However, in case one of those relocation reasons is to enjoy driving around the metropolis in your car, then you might as well forget about it.

One thing to keep in mind is that big cities are not car-friendly in any way. The constant heavy traffic, frequent jams and occasional road rage are likely to force you to sell your car and use the public transportation system to make your life easier and less stressful.

You might be intimidated to use the public transit system at first, but once you try out the convenience of the subway and buses, you’ll soon to appreciate it. Oftentimes, good cities will have a good network of bike lanes, so using your bicycle to get from one place to another can easily prove to be irreplaceable.

#6. Explore your new city

First time moving to a big city? It’s time to summon your courage and initiate exploration trips around the new city. In the very beginning, the unfamiliar surroundings and the lack of familiar faces can confuse you, or even depress you like never before.

Yes, moving to a big city alone will be daunting at first, but the only way to adjust to the new world around you is to get to know it better. But where to start? It’s all about the little steps – explore your immediate neighborhood first, then get to know the big metropolis little by little to discover and enjoy its secrets.

So, use Google Maps your smartphone or get an old-fashioned city map, and start exploring your new city.

#7. Make an effort to make new friends

Big city moving is very different from the life in a small town – everything seems bigger and is moving much faster than the pace you’re used to. One thing you’ll notice right away is that most people in the big city are moving more quickly, and they may even talk a bit faster too.

When moving to a big city, the worst thing you could do is seek solitude. Do not barricade yourself in your new place, as spending too much time alone can bring about a foe you may know little about – relocation depression. Instead, use the best antidote against separation anxiety – making new friends.

For starters, get to know your neighbors, then see if you can befriend any of your new work colleagues. Consider joining clubs or groups that share the same interests as yours, sign up for dance classes, practice sports or take up yoga – any activities that will help you meet and interact with new people.

Be open to new experiences and take every opportunity to spend time with people whose company you enjoy.

See also: How to make friends in a new city

BONUS ADVICE: Hire professional movers

To make things even more complicated, the process of moving to the big city itself will introduce high levels of stress and anxiety. Leave the preparation and actual transportation of your things in the hands of experienced movers. Seriously, when was the last time you drove a big rental truck through a big city?

Get a free quote to get connected with top-rated city-to-city movers.

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