How to Handle a Relocation Like a Pro
Whether you are moving to a new neighborhood in the same city or packing up for a non-local move, relocation can be downright stressful. You’ll need to manage the emotions and tasks in tandem with carving out new routines. Instead of getting frantic, use these life tips and resources to handle relocation like a pro, or at least with a spirit of adventure.
7 Sites to Help You Research Your Relocation Destination
Instead of feeling overwhelmed with too much to do, start early and research your new location well. Look up things like demographics, crime information, school systems, doctors, and other essentials with these 8 sites.
- Crime Reports
- My Local Crime
- Spot Crime
- Niche.com (schools near you)
- Healthgrades.com (ratings for doctors)
- Zocdocs.com (find doctors near you)
- GoodRx.com (find pharmacies)
Map it Out
One of the best things to do is start a Google overlay map. This will allow you to plug a potential home base in, then add features to familiarize you with a neighborhood. Where is the Whole Foods store? How far is it to the train? Is there a gym nearby? Once you get your list, head over to Yelp for reviews. Make notes right on the map.
Some things only look great on paper though, so use your words and talk to people (e.g. future co-workers, the principal at a new high school) to get the inside scoop.
Factor in Commute Times
Chances are, between packing and unpacking, stocking up on groceries and waiting (im)patiently for the cable company to hook up your TV and Internet, you may have forgotten what time it is. But this doesn’t have to be so.
When you scout out new homes, some listings do include walk scores but may not show average commute times. U.S. Census data lists the latter, but may not be specific enough. You can, however, plug your address into WalkScore.com and get transit and bike scores.
Also, with technology like Google Maps, you could get some great details in order to manage your time and get there as seamlessly as you used to. Key in some of your choice properties as if they were ‘home’ then get directions to your office, kids’ schools, gym, grocery stores, etc.
This will also give you route options whether you plan to walk, drive, or take public transit. Get some street views from Google Street View to see what all this means. You may be technically able to walk somewhere but you don’t necessarily want to cross a freeway to get to the other side.
Get Rid of Red Tape
No one says they love red tape. For a reason. It always seems complicated, and/or tedious. That said once this hard part is done, you will breathe a well-deserved sigh of relief. Once you know your new location it is easy to fill out a change of address with USPS online. Remember also to advise banks and credit cards of any modifications, even if you receive online notifications and statements.
While you are at it, set your calendar with a reminder to change any autofill forms you have on mobile devices. This is definitely worth doing before you forget and call for an UBER in the rain with no umbrella or eyeglasses. Or ask Siri to navigate to home and you find yourself en route to your old doorstep.
With regards to driver’s licenses, this is one thing to cross off your “to-do” list once you have relocated. You might be able to do some things online, but there are state requirements to consider, time frames for car inspection, new plates, etc. Again – boring but worth getting done with at the earliest.
Line up Your Providers
The last thing you want is to miss a season finale, big game, or your emails. Lining up providers well in advance is sometimes wearisome – yes, you will probably be put on hold – but necessary nonetheless. Scheduling this framework of services makes it easier to feel at home. Plus, if you are trying to set up a home office, you want the appointment time that works best for you.
Organize Your Move
Whatever stage of life you are in, moving is a detail-oriented process. Make really good friends with a sharpie. Label boxes well. Keep valuables separate. Put your toothbrush where you can find it. Organize yourself to minimize the disruption. Make lists. It helps.
Even moving across town will give you new neighbors. Not to mention you have to find a grocery store, pharmacy, fitness club, yoga studio, beauty parlor, and so on. One of the best ways to transition is to plug your old activities into new venues.
Online reviews are often useful for this, as is the map you started for navigation purposes. That said, learn to read between the lines. Go to a place that resonates with you and use your move to reflect on what you actually prefer. Replacing routines gives you the opportunity to turn off auto-pilot.
That said, if you are agonizing that you can’t see your BFF for coffee, simulate it. Facetime, Skype, whatever technology you use makes a great substitution. Yes, it isn’t what it used to be but use it as a touchstone to stay real while you connect and build confidence.
Work it Out
U.S Census data lists new job or work transfer in the top five reasons for relocation. In some ways, a transfer may be easier in that you are familiar with the corporate philosophy, but you still may be in for some culture shock. Try not to keep a comparison going in your mind – it just adds extra background noise to two already challenging events: moving and new job. There are bound to be some things you like, love and/or hate but this all gets worked out in its own time.
One Thing at a Time
If your relocation has you in a new city, state or country, the bottom line is there will be lots to do, and a sense of ‘having to accomplish’ might zap your energy from the get-go. Set mini goals – even one per week, to slide into a new groove. One week you might try the new gym, the next, a new brunch place. Venturing out breeds confidence and saying hello could actually be the first step to a widened network.
The Journey is the Destination
I consider myself an expert at relocation. As a Montrealer, I came to the U.S to get married to a Philly boy. We spent the first three years or so in New Jersey until my husband was relocated from Hoboken to Philadelphia. Now, we are moving (again) to a whole new neighborhood. I had to move through many fears and tears. As Hellen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”