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Moving to a completely new city can be exciting and terrifying all at once. Maybe you got a new job in a larger city, or maybe you were accepted to a college across the country—or perhaps you and your family just want a change of scenery. Whatever your reason for making a move to a new city, the process is still daunting. That’s why we’ve rounded up some tips to make the moving process go a little smoother for you.

Research the City

It’s crucial to research the city you’re moving to first so you can get a feel for the area. If you’re moving to larger city, customize your search to a specific region or neighborhood where you want to look for housing.

Proximity to the places that matter can make or break your new home. If you or your children are attending school, check how close the school is to your new home. Make sure you’re close to your work and any area hospitals as well. Also, no one wants to be far away from a grocery store or drug store, so keep an eye out for those.

Another important thing to know about your new city is what the transportation is like, as that will determine a lot for your daily commute. Will you be taking a vehicle with you or utilizing public transportation? If you’re taking a vehicle, look into area gas prices, garage or parking lot costs, and drive time. With public transportation, you’ll want something close to your new home. Research subway stations or bus routes in the city and compare prices.

Next, take into account the local culture of the city or region. Find out what your city is known for. City Data is a good site that lets you quickly scout cities around the nation for crime and safety ratings.

The final step of your research is to schedule a trip and stay a couple nights in your new city before you move. Walk and drive around as well so you can get accustomed to your new area.

Apartment or House Hunting

After you’ve researched your new city, it’s time to consider where you’re going to live. Are you going to rent or sublet an apartment at first until you know the area better, or are you diving right into a new home? These are things to consider when looking for a home.

If you want to rent or sublet, research the apartment and ask these questions:

  • Can I live here with pets or children? Is it safe for them?
  • How quiet is the building?
  • How many other people live there?

If you want to purchase a home:

  • Make sure it’s a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate.
  • Check what school district your children will be in, and research that school.
  • Find out if your neighborhood has a homeowner’s association.

Getting Everything There

Now that you’ve done a lot of hard work, the fun part comes—actually moving to the city!

Ask yourself if you will need to hire movers or if you can move by yourself. Hiring a moving company can be more expensive, but they have more experience and usually include some type of insurance for your belongings. Moving by yourself can be cheaper but harder personally and physically.

It’s a big decision to make so think about time commitment, the distance of your move, travel expenses, whether you’re moving valuable or delicate items, and if you’ll be moving with children or pets. These will all affect your choice to hire a moving company or move by yourself.

Hopefully, you’ve downsized your belongings before the move. If not, consider a temporary storage unit to store non-essentials until you’re ready to unpack them.

Remember: Adjusting takes time, but everything will eventually fall into place. Don’t try to do everything quickly. Try to go out and have fun while exploring your new city, as that’s the best way to get acquainted with new people and your new home.