6 Tips to Successfully Relocate Across the Country
Moving across the country is not an easy task. Making the decision to pack up your belongings and leave your loved ones at home takes courage. In order to make the process easier, you must prepare and condition yourself accordingly.
I recently got to make this decision when I had been offered a job on the East coast. After accepting the position, I packed up my things and moved them (and myself) from Wisconsin to New Jersey with the help of my father and grandparents in less than two days travel-time. I had always fantasized about the East coast, particularly about New York, but now, as a 21-year-old, I’ve managed to make the dream a reality.
Let me tell you, New York is alive, real and bustling. Jersey is pretty exciting in itself, and I still have so much to discover about these areas. I don’t consider myself especially brave or courageous for deciding to relocate across the country, but determined and eager. If you’re like me and are planning to pursue a new location as a post-grad, I advise you take these measures in order to increase the ease of moving and avoid potential stress.
1. Build a Support Team
Starting with the place you’re leaving, make sure to surround yourself with loving and supportive people. It may be difficult to make new friends right away, so make sure the ones you’re leaving at home know how much you care and want to maintain your existing relationships. You’ll never have to say goodbye, just “see you later” that way. Materials are things. People are irreplaceable, so don’t seek out dopplegangers to fill the friendship void. Be patient to form new relationships. Build your networks gradually. The friendship gods will smile upon thee in due time.
2. Find a Place to Live
I was incredibly fortunate in that I had help finding an apartment on the East coast from my boss. I realize not all people are as lucky, so when searching for a place I advise you do your research. Look at safety ratings on government websites, area demographics and crime reports. Don’t be afraid to make some calls to city officials or network with friends of friends who live in or near your new destination. Don’t be naive about changing your location. Watch out for yourself.
3. Make a Packing Checklist (or Two)
Remember your college dorm checklist? This is it’s parent, it’s very strict and necessary parent. Be sure to consider all of your new place’s rooms: the bathroom, laundry-room, kitchen, bedroom, living room and office space will likely all have various sublists you’ll want to check twice, or if you’re like me, six times over and three times on Sunday. Since you won’t be familiar with your new location, it will be difficult to shop for these items once you arrive. Try to check as many items off your list as you can before you move. Consider the resources you had used outside of your dorm as a reference to create your list or consult a professional- Hi mom!
4. Research the Area
Before you move to a new place, make sure you have an idea about where certain locations are: the hospital, your place of work, banks, grocery stores, your favorite restaurants, your favorite stores, gas stations, etc. Narrow down coordinates, and make sure a GPS is something you’ve checked off your checklist. Having a GPS will be extremely helpful once you arrive at your new location so you have some idea about how to find these places.
5. Plan a Budget
Once you’ve accepted a job, it’s important to know how much you’ll be making in relation to how much you can spend, what bills you’ll be paying for and to account for unexpected costs. Moving is expensive, so for relocation costs that aren’t going to be covered by your employer, I advise saving as often and as much as you can. Put money aside from your current paychecks and plan with your future ones. I suggest using Mint.com as a guide. Mint.com is an easily customizable online budgeting system. It’s safe to use and you can connect your bank accounts to the website, which will help you see how your income truly looks compared to how much you’re spending. Forgive yourself if you spend too much at first or don’t know how to budget exactly. Nothing is perfection. You’ll get the hang of it.
6. Be Confident in You
There’s a reason you decided to move. Remember that reason. Believe in your best you and know there’s always room to improve yourself, your circumstances, your environment and your relationships. Maintain optimism. When you’re young, the world is at your disposal. Seize your opportunities. Be brave, even if you don’t think you are. I’ve heard once before that if you pretend something long enough, it becomes you. Play “pretend” positively. This isn’t a dream. This is real life.