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Your Guide To Moving To a New City For The First Time


Moving to a new city can be an exciting way to start a new chapter of your life. When you move, you get to experience the thrill and possibility of unfamiliar settings and new surroundings. 

But it can also be a confusing, intimidating, and stressful experience. Learning new geographies, meeting new people, and putting down new roots when you’ve just pulled up your old ones can be challenging. For many, arriving in a new city can feel like being the new kid in class on the first day of school.

No matter how you slice it, moving to a new city alone is going to come with its share of advantages and pitfalls. Fortunately, knowing how to prepare for your move and learning tips to help you acclimate to your new home can help smooth the transition. 

What to Consider Before Moving to a New City 

No matter how excited you might be to set off on this particular adventure, there are some things you should do before you move to a different city. It’s a big decision that involves uprooting your current life, so taking the time to research and plan your big move is crucial. Here’s how to prepare.

Do Your Research 

When moving to a new city, it’s imperative to do as much research as you can—especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time there. From the average price of rent to entertainment options, there’s a lot to learn about any city, and knowing these details will help you decide where exactly you want to plant new roots. 

Ask yourself what aspects of your new home are most important to you, and start from there. Consider looking into:1

  • Cost of living – How expensive is it to get by in the city you’re moving to? Knowing things like the average cost of renting or buying a home and the median income in a new city can help you determine whether it’s a good option for you. 

You’ll also want to consider other cost-of-living factors, like food prices, transportation costs, and the cost of recreational activities like movies or sporting events.

  • Neighborhoods – One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is what neighborhood you want to live in. Those with children will want to know which neighborhoods are ideal for families and serviced by the best-performing school districts. On the other hand, young singles might be attracted to different areas with a higher concentration of people their age.

If you prefer to be close to or within walking distance of stores, restaurants, the theater, and other entertainment options, look for neighborhoods that are adjacent to those offerings.

It can be helpful to make a list of other issues that are important to you, such as crime rates or public transportation options, and use those concerns to guide your research.

Search for Housing

After researching your new city, you’ll have a better idea of the different areas you want to look for housing. If possible, consider searching for your new home in person—although people have been known to pack up and move to a city they’ve never set foot in, it’s a good idea to scope out the place firsthand.2 

While this does mean making an extra trip, visiting your new city and seeing housing options in real life can give you an accurate sense of the city, your neighborhood, and your new living space. 

When searching for housing, it’s helpful to ask the following questions: 

  • How much is the rent?
  • What’s included in the rent?
  • Is there a deposit or additional fees?
  • How long is the lease agreement?
  • How are maintenance requests handled?

Make a Plan

Moving to a new city alone is a bit more complicated than moving across town—especially if you aren’t able to search for and settle on a living situation in person. That’s why planning is so crucial. Well before your anticipated move date, make a solid plan for how you’ll organize every aspect of your big move. 

Be sure to account for things like:

  • Movers – If you plan on hiring a professional moving company, you’ll need two crews—one to pack up your belongings in your old city and one to unload everything in your new one. You’ll need to make arrangements for each set of movers separately in the city where you need them.
  • Transportation – If you’re renting a moving truck, make sure you know what size you need. If you’re moving large or special items, like a piano or artwork, you may need to make additional accommodations. 
  • Budget – Aside from what you’ll need to pay a security deposit on an apartment, be sure to figure out how much you’ll need to set aside for general moving expenses, such as gas, tolls, a moving company, and moving trucks. 

When it comes to moving, there are bound to be bumps in the road, but a well-organized plan will help you stay on track.

How to Acclimate to Your New City

Once you’ve made the physical move, it’s time to begin your new life in your new city. Although it might be tempting to hit the ground running, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to get settled. Unpack your belongings. Arrange your furniture. Hang up some photos. Doing these things will help make your new place feel homier.

Once you have a comfortable set-up, you can start the process of acclimating to your new environment. Here are some tips:

Go Exploring

Now that you’re in a different city, you shouldn’t shy away from adventure. Your goal should be to discover everything your new location has to offer. 

To get an idea of the city: 

  • Consult travel books – Although you’re not on vacation, a travel book can give you great insight into what makes your new city unique. You’ll even find suggestions for quality restaurants and other attractions.
  • Look at a map – Even if it’s the one on your phone, looking at a map is a good way to get a visual sense of your new city’s geography. You’ll be able to see how the city is laid out and where important amenities, like grocery stores and hospitals, are located.

Of course, long, aimless walks or meandering drives are also great ways to get a sense of your new surroundings. In doing this, you let the city be your guide. Follow the path of your whimsy and see what you discover. 

Start Making Friends

As an adult, one of the most intimidating aspects about moving to a new city is the prospect of making new friends. Without the shared context of high school hallways or college classrooms, forging new friendships can be difficult.

However, it’s far from impossible. Here are some tips for making friends and building your community in your new city:

  • Use your old friends – Before you move, see if any of your current friends have connections in your new city. If so, ask them to arrange an introduction. Their old friend might become your new friend.
  • Take a class or join a club – Ceramics classes, exercise classes, or special interest clubs are all fun ways to meet new people.3 They offer you the opportunity to connect with others who share your interests and get to know them over the course of weeks or months.
  • Be proactive – Once you’ve started to make connections, don’t be afraid to take the initiative in your new relationships. Instead of waiting for an invitation, ask people out for drinks or organize a get-together. Have ideas, make suggestions, and form plans.

Give It Time  

At the end of the day, getting fully acclimated to a new city takes time. It may take months or even longer to learn where everything is and how to get around, to make new friends, and to start to feel fully at home in your new surroundings.

It’s important to manage your expectations here. Even if things don’t go exactly as you may have envisioned, don’t start second-guessing your decision. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself at least a year to really settle into your new environment before deciding it isn’t for you.4 

In the meantime, you can help things along by:

  • Building a routine 
  • Doing the things you love
  • Discovering new hobbies

Make Moving to a New City Easier, with Common

Wouldn’t it be nice if moving to a new city were as easy as choosing the location of your dreams and going there? With Common, it practically is. We’re rethinking the way we live and simplifying housing for young professionals like you in cities all over the country. 

How are we doing that? By combining convenience of homes at an attainable price with the built-in community of shared housing. 

When you become a Common coliving member, you’ll pay less than the average cost of rent in your city for access to a beautiful private room or apartment accompanied by amazing amenities, community events, and more. Plus, our homes offer keyless access and easy-to-follow instructions, so move-ins can take as little as 30 minutes. That means you can start exploring your new city and connecting with your community even sooner. 

If you want to save money, meet new people, and take the hassle out of moving, look no further than Common. Become a member today—your life in a new city is only a few clicks away. 


  1. Redbookmag.com. Tips for Moving to a New City. https://www.redbookmag.com/life/friends-family/interviews/a4750/moving-to-new-city/  
  2. Sheknows.com. What to Do Before Moving to a New City. https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/807547/before-moving-to-a-new-city/  
  3. Lifehack.org. How to Make A Bunch of New Friends In Any City. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-to-make-a-bunch-of-new-friends-in-any-new-city.html 
  4. Apartmenttherapy.com. Moving to a New City Alone Tips. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-tips-for-moving-to-a-new-city-and-making-it-yours-211408  


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