If you’re reading this, you’ve ideally made it all the way to your new city and have started making friends and building a network. It’s time for our last installment of the Relocation Survival Guide.
Once you’ve gained a better understanding of the area immediately around you, the next thing to check off your bucket list will be expanding your horizons. Doing so will help you feel less as if you’re in a foreign place and it makes a big difference when you can reference nearby areas and hotspots.
First, do some homework
Every region is different and the United States covers a lot of land. When aiming to explore, start at the computer. What do you want to experience first? Here are some examples of good destination types that are fairly universal.
- National Parks/forests
- National monuments
- Historic buildings/sites
- Large cities
While very general, this list covers many of the options you’ll run into as you look for spots. Keep in mind, at the same time there may be something completely different in your area. This is why it’s important to intentionally look around online for your specific area.
TripAdvisor and Triptipedia are great resources for this exact situation. Both allow you to browse by region and examine any interesting landmarks and destinations, as well as any travel tips to make the experience that much better.
Remember the local tour guides from the section above? Talk to them too. Make an effort to find friends that were born and raised in your new city. Not only will they have the tribal knowledge we talked about, but having them as an active part of your life will make it much easier to integrate. When you’re deciding on a place to eat, they’ll often expose you to new things. If you’re planning on a fun weekend activity with no idea where to start, they probably have been in the same boat and went somewhere awesome!
Local friends are also going to be able to give you insight on the culture and evolution of the area. These are things that you can’t quite get as potent with tours. The experience of living life with someone from the area is almost vicarious in making you feel as though it’s your home too and you’ve always been there. Unlike other friends you’ll make through networking apps, you’ll likely need to hunt down locals the old fashioned way in person.
In most cases, they’ve established a network that pulls new friends for them meaning that most people you’ll find on local networking apps are in a similar boat as you. Go to coffee shops, events, and local parks that may have people there. These areas are where you will likely find people that have been here for a while, so don’t be afraid to approach someone or a group and introduce yourself!
Tours can be very useful in learning things you may not have otherwise heard about a specific place. Even in your new residing city, there’s still going to be a lot more for you to learn about at this stage of your move.
Tours allow you to not only meet someone new and ask any questions about the area that have been on your mind, but also meet others that are in your same boat and discover new things together. In my opinion, the best resources to organize these are showaround and toursbylocals. Both services offer tours that are organized and run by locals. Think of them as Uber for tours. This ensures that you’re not only encountering the tourist destinations, but the tribal knowledge of some hidden gems as well.
Seek out cheap or free transportation
If you’re feeling an itch to go explore a nearby city or area of downtown you haven’t covered yet, there will likely be a cheap or free option to get there. Depending on your city, there might be a bus line that is completely free for a specific area of travel.
If you’re looking for a longer travel distance, Google Transit is a simple tool to find every option available to you in order to make that happen. Wanderu is also available to serve the same purpose, specifically for those on a budget.
I highly recommend looking into these options before limiting your travel ability. For so long I had told myself that I would never be able to travel much, because of how much it costs. Understanding that it’s not as big of a barrier as it seems will be crucial in allowing yourself to explore your new region to the fullest.
Additionally, if your options are all still too expensive consider driving your car. Depending on the car you own and the distance needed to travel, that may end up being your cheapest option anyway. Gasbuddy has a road trip cost calculator that will tell you exactly how much you’ll need to spend on gas for whatever journey you will be making. Keep road tripping in mind as you weigh your options, as others may not even come close.
Expand Your Horizons
Once you’ve taken in everything your area has to offer, keep working outward. Start by exploring the rest of your state and move on to neighboring states. If you’re like me and moving to a completely new side of the country, you’re going to have a lot of opportunity to create new memories in brand new places.
Keeping yourself in a cycle of new experiences can not only help prevent the feeling of stuck-ness and homesickness, but also create new memories with the friends you’ve made. Doing so ensures that you’re building a second home away from home. Once family or friends from your hometown come visit, you’ll have a lot of interesting and cool knowledge to show them around and share the experiences and connections you’ve made here with them.
Tour Guide Tools
Relocating is a very long and challenging process. Even after several months, you’ll still find times where you miss home. That being said, there’s a lot you can do to make the benefits outweigh the challenges of this process. If you want that to happen, you need to be intentional about building a network, collecting experiences, and really pushing to assimilate in every way possible. If you need a reminder, or end up moving again, review this series and the tools offered to improve the odds of a seamless experience. Best of luck in your new home!