Moving to a New State: 5 steps to help you transition into your new life smoothly

Moving boxes
Photo by El Gran Dee via cc.

When I originally found out I was moving to California from New Hampshire, I was elated; a job at LinkedIn, a brand new coast, and a bunch of great opportunities awaited me. Over time, that elation turned to confusion, and then took a complete turn to fear. Where would I live? Could I afford it? What should I bring?  Up to this point, the total moving cost has been around $1,800. This is how I’ve kept overhead down and found a way to transition without fully breaking the bank.

Do some geographic research.
Google Maps can and should be your best friend in this process. Not only is it the most comprehensive way to see a location, but it also gives real time updates on mass transit, major highways, attractions, and neighborhoods.  Being able to know what an area looks like before I get there definitely eased some of the apprehension I’ve had about making the trip out West.

Find out the cost of living.
Moving costs money. But after you settle down and begin to adjust, you still have to live, which means you still have to pay for groceries, gas, transportation, water, electricity, and whatever else comes with it. Sites like NerdWallet and PayScale have great cost of life calculators that give you a slick overview of what the prices in your new home will look like.

Apartment hunt early and often.

Finding the general prices in an area has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Originally, I wanted to find an apartment as early as possible. Unfortunately,  prices are dictated by vacancies and the market you are looking at, not by what you want. I was able to keep my primary housing costs down by finding a family friend to stay with until I could find a permanent lease agreement. Don’t be afraid to access your personal and familial network. You never know who may be able to help!

LiveLovely is one of the best sites to find an apartment in your budget and in an area you are interested in. You can request information directly from the platform and create notifications when new properties that match your criteria get posted.

These are also a couple other sites worthy of mention:

PadMapper – aggregates active Craiglist postings onto a Google Map

Zumper – screens all apartment listings to show you the best rentals only

Make a checklist.
You will forget things you need. To avoid this, get a checklist of things you will need and/or want to take with you. I found this awesome checklist that outlines almost everything you could think of (and some stuff you wouldn’t) in preparation for your move.  A checklist keeps you focused and organized on the practical things you’ll need when you begin to pack up your stuff.

Take some time to breathe during this process. Personally, preparing to move has been overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating, but exciting.  There have been a lot of emotions about moving from a place I’ve always called home, to somewhere so unfamiliar. The frustration has often come about when things haven’t gone as planned. But truthfully, that is part of life, and it is bound to happen when moving to a new place, regardless of how well you plan.  In spite of all that, I’m still excited for new opportunities, new friends, and new experiences. The rest of my life is ahead of me, and I like how it looks from here.

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