7 Tips For Moving To A New City

5 min read

Moving to a new city? 7 tips for a smooth transition. Cover photo credit: www.9to5chic.com

You’ve just accepted a great job in a new city – pop the champagne!! Suddenly reality strikes and the panic sets in. “Oh s***, what have I done?!”

My friend Magdalena and I are self-declared modern day nomads. Between us we have schlepped through 11 different cities, four continents and countless apartments. Over time we discovered a few secrets to help expedite the settling in process. There were also a tonne of rookie errors made.

We can’t promise it’s going to be easy to find your feet, make new friends, navigate a new workplace and find a coffee shop to rival the roast back home, but we can promise it will be one of the best experiences of your life!

Follow these seven steps and you’ll be vibin’ with your new city in no time. Word.

Moving to a new city? 7 tips for a smooth transition
For a downloadable copy of this tip sheet, email us at hello@irislillian.com

Moving to a new city? 7 tips for a smooth transition

Walk your hood

It’s super important to get familiar with your neighborhood. New areas are daunting and can be terrifying (especially at night) but the sooner you become acquainted, the more relaxed you’ll feel. First, locate key places to keep going back to like cafes, ATMs, gelaterias, supermarkets and late-night snack holes. Then get creative with your routes home. Try a new way every few days and you’ll get the lay of the land in no time.

Make a nest

Once you’re settled in a place, whether you live on your own or with roommates, create a space that’s just for you. Decorate your room with some fav items, photos, candles, new bedding, fairy lights, a lamb skin rug etc.

“…the world is yours for the taking.”

Have fun creating a space that’s yours so that when you’ve had a tough day, you’re feeling lonely or you just want to chill, you can retreat to your happy place.

Find your crew

The sooner you find your crew, the better.

We get it, meeting people can be the worst. It’s tiring, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s soooo much effort. But, putting in the hard yards at the start will pay dividends down the road.

“…you’ll fall in love, laugh, cry, vomit, sing, fall down, get back up again and form unbreakable bonds to last a lifetime.”

To avoid being a Nelly No Friends on Friday night leverage any connection you can through work, a random friend of a cousin’s daughter, even Facebook (LOL). Throw an awesome party, join a yoga studio, sign up to a supper club, start a book club, kill two birds and rope someone into helping you put your new IKEA furniture together. If he’s cute, strike up a convo with the dude at the coffee stop and exchange numbers. You don’t have to be BFFs but it’s a good start.

Repeat after me, “I am open to everything (within reason) and I will say ‘yes’”. Got it? Good.

Explore, be a tourist

If you can wrangle a few weeks’ vacay before starting your job, do it. Relish being a tourist because your wide eye-dness will quickly fade. One of the best parts of moving to a new city is that you’re not stuck in a routine yet so you’re free to create your own adventures.

“Each week choose a new neighbourhood to discover.”

Each week choose a new neighbourhood to discover. In advance, pick out a bar, breaky or brunch spot to aim for, practice a little people-watching, and go from there. Pepper the locals with questions about their favourite bars, restaurants, shops, galleries, markets, doctors, bus route, tax adviser, rental agency etc.

Take public transport or walk as much as you can to become oriented with the layout of the city and figure out how it all fits together.

Sign up to every local event website you can find, read daily rags and magazines. Your inbox might not thank you but it’s worth it if you end up meeting your future husband/business partner/travel buddy/soul mate…

Give yourself time

“Remind yourself that you’re brave to have taken the plunge – not everyone is as plucky as you.”

The first few weeks can either be awesome or awful. You might be on a high with all the excitement of the move or you could be horribly homesick. Missing home is 100% normal. It will pass. Give yourself a timeframe of, say, three months to reassess how you’re feeling. Whatever you do, don’t jump ship right there and then.

We think it takes at least a year to feel at home somewhere new. So, be kind to yourself and acknowledge that moving is a big disruption to every aspect of your life. Remind yourself that you’re brave to have taken the plunge – not everyone is as plucky as you – and the experiences you’ll have and the friends you’ll meet will be worth every struggle.

Rookie errors to avoid

“…trying to re-create your old life in your new city is a major no-no.”

Constantly Skyping old friends, reminiscing about the past and trying to re-create your old life in your new city are common traps and major no-nos. What lays ahead of you will be just as amazing. Be open to this experience and embrace the unfamiliar: you’ll fall in love, laugh, cry, vomit, sing, fall down, get back up again and form unbreakable bonds to last a lifetime.

Be free

Moving to a new city is liberating! Everything is at your finger tips, you’re living in the moment, there’s no one to answer to and no family to “service”. You’ve got all the time in the world. So, go eat ramen on your own with a glass of wine at midnight, spend all Saturday dancing at a music festival, go to that improv class, hike up a mountain with your crew, sit at a café and write: the world is yours for the taking. Endless possibilities and experiences lay before you.

Now, get to it!

Meet Magdalena

Magdalena currently lives in Los Angeles. She is a graphic designer, traveler and air guitarist extraordinaire. She is also the co-founder of Bird an uber-cool website which publishes weekly feature interviews with fascinating women based in New York and Los Angeles.

Are planning a big move soon? Maybe you have moved before and have some great tips to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or head over to the IL Community to keep the conversation a flowin’.

Moving to a new city? 7 tips for a smooth transition

For a comprehensive list of local websites to help kick start your new life, just sign up here and let us know which list you’d prefer: London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Sydney.

Moving to a new city? 7 tips for a smooth transition.

  1. Debra says

    Very helpful information and advice.

    1. Elissa says

      Thanks Debra, I’m glad you got something out of it. Are you planning on moving cities anytime soon? Or perhaps you have before?

  2. Nikita Hall says

    So straight forward, but so easily forgotten! Great to have a reminder like this for those lucky enough to be nomading ?

    1. Elissa says

      I’m so glad you found it useful, Nikita. Are there any tips you would add?

  3. Skye Gilkeson says

    Great tips. So true about avoiding trying to create your own life. We have recently moved cities and we are trying to start some new fun habits that are unique to this city. Thanks for the advice.

    1. Elissa says

      Good you you for taking the plunge! I hope you’re both enjoying this new adventure. Creating new habits is a great tip, thanks Skye.

  4. Catherine says

    Great tips! I moved halfway across the country a few years ago, and it was a really hard transition. I wish I had read this then!

    1. Iris Lillian says

      Hey Catherine, good on you! It can be a real challenge. But what an adventure, yeah? What tips would you give to a friend who is uprooting their life and moving to another city?

  5. Rowan Osguthorpe says

    Aw wow I love this! When I moved it was so hard!

    1. Iris Lillian says

      Hey Rowan, yes it’s a tough transition isn’t it. What do you think helped you to settle in?

  6. Iris Lillian says

    I’m sorry to hear about the ‘divorce’ Catherine. It’s a good lesson for us all to spend more time with a diverse group of friends. Are you now settled in?

    1. Catherine says

      I am! We’ve been here a few years now, and we’re expecting our first baby girl next month. So excited 🙂

      1. Iris Lillian says

        Congratulations Catherine! That is wonderfully exciting news. I’m so glad you have well and truly settled in, now.

  7. […] I  moved to Hong Kong from Australia at the ripe old age of 32, and quickly realised that making new friends […]

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