The Best Advice for Settling into a New City

The prospect of picking up and starting over in a new city is simultaneously invigorating and terrifying! On the one hand, you’re leaving behind everyone you know and love, your favorite places to eat, shop, and hangout, and completely altering your routine in ways you can’t anticipate.

On the other hand, you’re heading toward wide-open opportunity, exciting new people, places, and things to do, and the freedom to create the life and home you’ve always wanted! Whew, that’s a lot to handle, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

There’s a lot of advice and insight out there on the best ways to adjust to a new city. We’ve sifted through the bulk of information for you and narrowed it down to the most essential tips for settling into your new community. With these suggestions—and our trusted and experienced moving services—you’re armed with everything you need to embark on a successful journey and make your next city feel like home!

The Best Advice for Settling into a New City

Start with your new house

Unpacking and setting up your entire house may seem like a stressful and daunting undertaking, but it’s the most important place to start when adapting to a new environment. Organizing and customizing your new home will take some time but making it a priority will soon give you one less thing to worry about on top of figuring out a brand-new city.

Arranging your new house and making it feel like a home will help you reestablish a sense of normalcy to rely on when you start feeling overwhelmed with unfamiliarity. Get unpacking out of the way so you can focus on getting to know your new city and give yourself a safe and comfortable place to come home to at the end of the day.

Invest in a reputable moving company to make your transition easier and leave you with the time and energy to personalize your new space, so you can feel good about embracing your new home!

Locate the basics

There’s a lot you’re going to have to explore when you move to a new city—don’t feel like you need to rush the experience! Take your time getting to know your new home, but make sure you pinpoint fundamental locations first.

Essential spots to scope out include the grocery store, gas station, your local pharmacy, convenient—and delicious—takeout options, and a few of your favorite stores to shop (hello Target). Go out and explore in the car or on foot, or head to the Internet to find the most convenient locations for what you need.

Get the lay of the land

After you take note of the primary locations, spend some time just exploring the city to get a feel for it. Venture out on foot or use the opportunity to get to know the public transportation system. It might be a good idea to start with a test drive to work to ensure you know the commute and how much time it takes, while also checking out what’s along the way—like the closest coffee shop to get you through those early mornings.

Use local apps for your phone to start you off with some good spots to eat and hangout, or just do some general Internet research to familiarize yourself with what’s around. Be sure to actually go and check out the places you read about, as you can’t always depend on online reviews or assume your tastes are going to be the same.

Grab an old-fashioned paper map or use Maps on your phone to discover the best roots to take to those basic stores, the busiest traffic spots, and maybe a local park or bike path to explore. Delve into your new city with an open mind and no expectations, and you’ll learn how to maneuver around easily and start feeling right at home!

Put yourself out there

Don’t be shy! You’ll never meet anyone or have the chance to become a part of your new community if you don’t put in the effort. Say yes to any invitation you get—even if you’re not into bowling it’s still a great opportunity to make a few friends.

Don’t just wait for people to come to you either; be proactive and invite your coworkers out for happy hour or see if that guy you talk to on the subway every morning wants to grab dinner sometime! You never know when you might stumble upon a lifetime friendship, a new love interest, or even just get introduced to a cool spot to hang.

Join organized groups and get involved in your community. Try volunteering at the local shelter if you’re an animal lover; or do a little research and see if there’s a club volleyball team you can join if sports are your thing. Don’t be afraid to venture out alone either—to a popular restaurant, local concert, or the bookstore—to open yourself up to some potential social interaction with people who share your interests.

Embracing your hobbies and interests is a great way to get to know your new city, meet new people, and find a little comfort if you start to get lonely or stressed!

Be patient

Adjusting to a new house, let alone a new city, is a process that happens over time. Don’t expect to be all settled in with regular Sunday brunch dates and your favorite weekly Zumba instructor after only a few weeks of being somewhere new. Give yourself a few months to a full year to acclimate to your surroundings and establish a routine.

It’s important to be kind to yourself during this period of transition and understanding of when you need to hole up and just miss your old, familiar life for a night—but don’t let it stop you from embracing new opportunities. Don’t make any hasty judgments and decide that because you still don’t feel like you fit perfectly into your new city after six months it’s time to give up and move back. Routine, relationships, and comfort will happen naturally so just give them the time and effort they need to develop.

Try not to stress or overthink your progress—everyone adapts at their own pace. Do your best to stay positive and go with the flow, taking advantage of the new opportunities that come your way. Stay in touch with friends and family from your old city, or even pay them a visit if you start to really get homesick.

There isn’t one right way to adjust to a new city or a standard timeline for settling in. Take your time and know that as long as you’re putting in the effort and doing your best to appreciate the novelty of where you are, it’s going to work out. Soon you’ll be showing your old friends around town like you’ve been there your whole life!

Let Dowell’s Moving & Storage help ease your transition to a new city by making your move quick and easy, so the only thing you’ll have left to worry about is falling in love with your new home!