Moving to a new city is often a challenging decision. I recently moved from NYC to ATL. It was a pretty big move. I was born and raised in Queens, NY so moving felt very scary. The only time I’ve lived outside of NYC was for school. I went away to college in Ithaca, NY. While there I also studied abroad in London, UK. Those moves felt temporary because I was in school and knew I would end up back in NYC. But this move felt WAY more serious because I wasn’t forced to leave for school or a job. I was making the choice to uproot to a city while we’re in a global pandemic. However, quarantine made me realize that nowadays we can truly work from anywhere.

Therefore staying in a location because of work didn’t seem as pertinent to me anymore. The only thing tying me to NYC was familiarity, family and friends. I knew that my friends and family would communicate with me no matter where I lived. Familiarity wasn’t enough of a reason to stay so I made a pros and cons list. I compared the cost of living and quality of living in the two cities.

I wrote out what I was looking for in my ideal neighborhood and ideal living space. My fiancé and I had plenty of conversations about it and we communicated with those who knew us best. After all of that, we decided to drive 14 hours down to ATL. If you’re reading this post, I’ll assume that you have an interest in exploring living in a new place. Here are 5 things to consider before moving to a new city based on my experience.

1. Visit before you move

I visited ATL about six times before I decided to move here with my fiancé. There isn’t a set number of times you should visit, but I highly suggest visiting at least once. Get a feel for the people, the neighborhoods, the job market, transportation, weather, safety, schools, entertainment, and overall culture. Of course, visit the place you’re considering living. We made sure to walk through our apartment complex before applying. You can research these things online but there’s nothing like exploring and experiencing these things in person.

2. Make sure you can afford it

Despite wherever you’re moving to, moving can be expensive. I recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses saved up so you don’t have to deal with financial strain as you get settled. Make a spreadsheet of anticipated income and realistic monthly expenses in your new city, also factor in the fees to move all your stuff. Research the cost of living in your new city and ask people who live there as well. Keep in mind that bills vary depending on where you go.

For instance, in NYC we had to pay for gas but in ATL we don’t. Also my MetroCard fees are now replaced with a car note since ATL is a driving city rather than a public transportation one like NYC. Also weigh the pros and cons of bringing all your furniture to your new place or selling it and buying all new things. After factoring the price for a UHAUL versus selling our things, renting a car, and bringing the bare minimum down to GA, we decided driving down with the bare minimum was more cost effective. Additionally, we were fortunate to have received going away gifts that helped us with furnishing our new place.

3. Consider renting before purchasing a home

The thought of purchasing property in a new city before living there freaks me out. Mainly because you have no idea if it’ll be temporary or not. Of course if you do decide to purchase a home, you can always rent it out or sell it if you decide to leave. But to avoid the headache and long term commitment to a property, rent and take your time getting to know the city. You may rent in one area then discover another neighborhood you like much more.

4. Make a comprehensive moving list

I cannot stress enough how important it is to sit down and plan. There’s so many loose ends that you have to take care of before leaving one city for the next. Tasks like changing your address for your mail and bank/credit accounts, closing electricity or cable accounts you no longer need, opening up new accounts in your new city, transferring over your medical records to your new doctors, updating your insurance policies etc. Make sure to also make a list of items you plan to take, items you plan to sell, and items you’ll need to buy once you’ve moved.

We sold almost all our furniture on Facebook Marketplace, we also got rid of a lot of things we didn’t need and had very easy to follow lists of things we needed to buy. We avoided aimlessly walking around Target buying whatever we felt like…we all know how easy it is to overspend in Target.

5. Consider moving to a place where you have family or friends

Making friends as an adult can be challenging…amiright? If you’re not forced to meet people in school or at your job, it can be difficult to build a network in a new place. Add on the complexity of a pandemic and it seems to be near impossible. When my fiancé and I were weighing our options on where we wanted to move, we opted for a place where we at least had family and some friends. That has greatly helped us adjust to our new home. Even though we’re only a 2 hour flight away from our hometown we wanted to make sure we had a network that reminded us of home in our new city as well.

Moving to a new city is exciting and well worth it. You never know if you’ll love living somewhere else until you go out and do it. Of course it’s scary but often the best things are on the other side of fear. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, comment below.