Job relocation checklist: 10 things to do when moving to a new city

Posted January 16, 2018 by


It happened. You graduated. Landed that job. And now? You’re moving to a new city, off on exciting adventures. Many other recent grads like you are on the move — all over the country. In 2015, more than 300,000 Americans relocated.

Moving can feel like a metaphorical first step into adulthood. However, the process of moving is overwhelming, especially if you’re moving to a new city in a new state. Below are some tips to help you get there smoothly — and what to do in case you encounter any bumps along the way.

  1. Nail Down a Budget

Let’s not sugarcoat it: moving can be expensive. Really expensive. An intrastate move averages around $1,170, and moving between states typically costs around $5,630, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. Simply preparing for this type of expense ahead of time can help alleviate sticker shock.

There are a lot of factors to consider when planning your budget. Are you heading to a large or small city? Will you drive when you get there or take public transportation? How much is rent in your new neighborhood? Depending on where you set up shop, the cost of living can vary greatly. Having a budget (and sticking to it) helps prepare you for curveballs that may be thrown your way. Try to plan for as much as possible – everything from student loans to laundry. And of course, make sure you leave some wiggle room for anything unexpected that may pop up.

  1. Explore Moving Options

Options for your stuff when moving to a new cityThere are a variety of ways to get your stuff from point A to point B. Costs can range from who-would-actually-pay-that to reasonable. The good news? You’ve got options. With a little online research, you can get multiple quotes from different companies. Ask friends and family about their experiences and what they recommend. Whether you’re moving cross country or to a neighboring city, don’t just settle on the first moving company you find, or assume you’ll need to do everything on your own. Figure out what works best for you and your budget.

  1. Assemble Your Paperwork

Before the physical move, gather all necessary paperwork, including your driver’s license, registration, and insurance info for quick access on the road. If you’re starting a new job, make sure to pack any required documentation. Renting a new place? If you haven’t already, you’ll likely need to fill out an application and provide references for a background check. It will make the process quicker and smoother if you have all that info at the ready. Once you’re settled, you should update your information at the nearest DMV as well.

  1. Button Up Loose Ends

Through the chaos of packing, organizing, and trying to keep your sanity, small things can get overlooked. Taking a prescription? Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your move and start looking into local health care providers. Locked into a gym membership at a national franchise? Transfer your account to a location in your new area.

Also, get in touch with your bank to update your address. Don’t forget to submit a change of address with the USPS, too. This will help ensure all your mail gets to you before you have a chance to change your address with individual businesses.

Fido tagging along with you? Most states have laws that give cities authority regarding your furry friend. Depending on your location, you’ll need to register Fido with the city.

Also read: Work etiquette for new employees

  1. Cancel Outstanding Appointments

Schedule and cancel appointments when moving to a new cityRemember when Mom handled all your appointments? Ah, those were the days. Now that you’re leaving the area, make sure to reschedule or cancel any upcoming appointments. This includes (but not limited to) following up with your hair salon or barber, dentist, or doctor. It might not seem like a big deal to just skip out on someone, but in reality, it’s bad for business, and it might even cost you in no-show fees.

  1. Prepare Your Car

The last thing you need to worry about is breaking down in the middle of nowhere. So to avoid any speedbumps (see what I did there?), pop in to your auto shop and have them take a look at your tires and fluids, and perform any routine maintenance that’s needed. A quick vacuum, carwash and you’re ready to hit the road with confidence. And whether you’re transplanting from sunshine to snow or from country to city, make sure you may want to read up on any new driving challenges you might face in your new locale. And of course be sure to know the driving laws in your new state as well.

  1. Get to Know the Area

Once you’ve settled on a place to live, get familiar with neighborhood—even if you’re thousands of miles away. Use Google Maps to explore your new ‘hood from every angle. The site also lets you discover your new city’s public transportation system, navigate major streets and landmarks, and map out a local grocery store, gym or restaurant. Knowing where everything is (at least generally) will make it easier to get around and check things out when you arrive.

  1. Download Useful Apps

Get to know your new city with useful appsWhen you don’t have a local network to rely on, let your smartphone lead you in the right direction. Foodie apps can help you uncover a cozy corner bakery or the best sushi of your life. Map and driving apps can help you navigate unfamiliar territory with real time updates—or turn to ridesharing apps to alleviate the stress of hailing (or even finding) a taxi.

  1. Connect with Local Alumni

Congratulations, you’re all moved in! The boxes are broken down and everything has been put away. Now what? Consider getting to know your school’s alumni in the area. Search for groups on social media or reach out to an alumni association at your school for assistance. It’s a solid way to meet people in your area and bond over a mutual dislike of a rival school (they have the worst fans).

  1. Recognize That It Will Take Time

New job. New house. New city. It can feel like a lot to process, but know it’s temporary. There will be times when you have to step outside your comfort zone and get, well, uncomfortable. Enjoy the short-lived novelty of a new place. Appreciate the newness of everything. Once you nail down a routine, it will seem as if you’ve been doing this forever.

No matter how prepared you are, moving and starting a new job is a huge change. Give yourself time to adjust. And hey, if you happen to get lost in the cereal aisle at your new grocery store, we won’t judge. Try to take in every experience — both good and bad — in the now. You’ll laugh about it later. Most importantly, remember to enjoy the journey.

Alicia LikenAbout Alicia Liken: Alicia is a senior copywriter at Esurance. She spent most of her career in the Detroit advertising community before making the move to Chicago and most recently, San Francisco. With nearly 7 years’ experience, Alicia has written for a variety of industries including automotive, retail, non-profit, and even pharmaceutical compounding.

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