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Moving to a new town

Moving to a new town can be exciting – it can also be scary and lonely. Whether you’re moving across the country or just to the next town along, here’s what you should think about before you pack your bags.

boy in new town

It's natural to be a little nervous

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Thinking of moving?

Maybe you fancy a change of scene, or you’re thinking of moving because of your relationship or a new job.

Should I move to a new town?

Can’t decide? Try asking yourself these questions.

  • What are your reasons? Why are you thinking of moving? Is it worth uprooting your life?
  • How do you feel about moving? It’s normal to feel nervous or worried, but if you’re totally dreading it you might want to rethink.
  • Can you afford it? You’ll probably need money for moving and housing costs and you might need to support yourself while looking for a job. The cost of living could be higher as well.
  • What will you miss? Whether it’s your mates or your local park, are you willing to try living without it?
  • What if you don’t move? What will you miss out on? What would you always wonder about?

Scout out the area

So you’ve decided to make the move. Don’t reach for the packing tape just yet though, as you might want to do these things first: 

  • Ask around: Talk to anyone you know who’s lived there. Find out what the area’s like and get details of people you might get in contact with.
  • Spend time there: Visit the place to see if you like it. Don’t just stick to the centre – check out the suburbs and living areas to see what it’s really like.
  • Make connections: Look for local Facebook groups, blogs and forums to help you get a feel for the place and start making a few contacts.
  • Save up: You’ll need money to cover a deposit and moving costs, plus living expenses if you’re going to be job hunting.
  • Look for work: Research work opportunities and send your CV to local agencies.

Find a new home

How will you pin down your new pad? Try following these steps.

Initial research: Browse online to get an idea of the kinds of properties and prices that come up in your chosen area.

Hit the streets: If you’re looking for somewhere to rent, head to your future hometown for some dedicated house-hunting time. Check local papers and letting agency windows, ideally in the morning – they often carry adverts several days before they show up online.

Talk to the locals: Ask local people about the area. The person serving your breakfast in the B&B could be a brilliant source of knowledge about where to live.

Stay safe: Don’t get scammed – you should never have to pay to view a property. Trust your instincts and take someone with you to viewings.

Temporary fix: Running out of time to find somewhere? Consider staying in a youth hostel. Friends’ sofas or spare rooms could also be an option, but don’t stay too long or you’ll outstay your welcome.

Leaving your home

If you rent, you’ll need to give the required amount of notice to your landlord or letting agent once your new tenancy is confirmed. If you’re leaving a shared house, it might be your responsibility to find a replacement.

Don’t forget to update your address. People you need to tell include banks, credit cards and mobile phone companies. The iammoving website can help with this.

Settling in

If you’re not going to have internet access at first, check where your local library is – most offer free internet access.

Find and join a doctor’s surgery, dentist and anything else you might need, like an optician or a vet. Check how their appointment system works and what happens out of hours.

Doctor’s records don’t always transfer immediately, so get any essential prescriptions filled before you leave.

How to make new friends

Try joining a local club or class, or volunteer for charity. Social media can also be a great way to make local connections.

New colleagues? Ask them to recommend a good hairdresser or the best local restaurant – they’ll feel valued and you’ll get a conversation going.

It takes time to make new friends, so you might feel lonely at first – whether you’re stuck at home or trying to settle into a new workplace. Try to plan activities that will get you out and in front of new faces.

Feeling shy or tongue-tied? Ask people questions. They’ll usually be flattered that you want to know about them.

Don’t constantly talk about your old hometown, even if it’s on your mind all the time. You can mention it here and there, but don’t turn into a stuck record.

What if I hate it?

It’s bound to take time before you settle in. It can be tempting to go back for lots of visits, but that could stop you settling into your new town. Why not invite people to stay with you instead?

If you really can’t stand it, you might decide it’s not for you. Be patient, though. The first month in a new town is never going to be like the last month in your last town.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Anne Wollenberg

Updated on 25-Sep-2012

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