The prospect of starting a new job in a new city is both exciting and overwhelming. There are plenty of details to arrange—housing, transportation, and more. It’s enough to keep you awake at night! You can rest easy, however, if you start planning early. Taking care of the essentials now will improve your moving experience, help you transition smoothly to your new job, and prepare you for everything else that goes along with it.
Here are some of those essential details to consider as you move. They’re broken into four general categories: Housing, Packing, Travel, and Lifestyle. Take a look, consider how they apply to your unique situation, and get started on a few of these moving tasks.
1) Sell Your Current Contract or House
Whether you own or rent your current place, you don’t want to be stuck with double monthly payments after you move. List your current contract now, even if you don’t start with your new employer for a few months.
You can negotiate the move-in date to suit your needs, and your relocation package will often cover the cost of hiring a selling agent.
2) Find a New Home
This is no easy task, but checking it off the list will definitely add to your peace of mind. Housing markets vary from state to state, so dig through online listings to familiarize yourself with your new city. You can also compare the cost of living to your current area when figuring out the budget.
Decide what you care to be close to, and map out the neighborhoods that meet your needs. It’s also worth checking out any social media pages for the new area—many cities have their own Subreddits, for instance—and looking at Google Maps’ street view to get an on-the-ground feel for a place.
Try to visit your potential housing picks before you decide, but if you can’t, you’ve got a couple options. Some relocation packages include interim housing, giving you time in the area to find a permanent home. If not, you may want to hire a buyer’s agent to help you find and finalize a contract.
3) Cancel Your Utilities and Subscriptions
Before you start packing up important papers, grab a utility bill from each service provider and copy down your account information. In addition to gas, electricity, and water, look for information on your sewage, trash removal, internet, phone, newspaper, home security, cable, and even landscaping services and gym memberships.
Two or three weeks before moving, call your service providers and notify them of your move. Some providers can transfer your service, but if not, schedule an exact cancellation date. This is also a good time to forward your mail and notify credit card companies, the IRS, your physician, and your children’s schools of your new address.
4) Decide between a Self-Move and Professional Movers
This decision will determine how and what you pack, so start thinking about it now. Moving yourself is cheaper, but there are still costs to consider, such as truck rentals (and gas), moving supplies, food for helpers, and more. If you can commit family and friends to help load a truck, and if you’re willing to enlist help from new neighbors in your new city, a self-move may be right for you.
Professional movers are more expensive, but a good relocation package from your new job will often cover the cost. You can negotiate that relocation package to fit your priorities, including getting funds for movers.
5) Reevaluate Your Belongings
Anything you bring with you is contributing to the cost of a moving truck—not to mention the time you spend packing—so plan carefully. There are a few things you should avoid bringing with you, but most will depend on your circumstances. If you already know the layout of your new home, decide where you’ll place furniture (and if there are some pieces you can leave behind). Consider the climate and how that will affect your wardrobe, hobbies, etc.
Once you’ve decided what you’ll take with you, donate or sell your unnecessary items; it will simplify the moving process significantly.
6) Prepare a First-Day Box and Shopping List
It’s easy to get lost in boxes, so make things easier for yourself by setting aside your most-used items. Pack a suitcase with clothes, hygienic supplies, and anything else you’ll need to take you through a full week. This will make the days before and after moving much easier. In addition, pack a first-day box with home essentials, and prepare a first-day shopping list. Depending on the distance of your move, it may be easier to buy things like paper towels, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper after you arrive.
7) Don’t Pack Your Valuables
No matter how much you trust your movers, it’s best to keep most family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, and identifying documents on your person. You can put them in a small bag, fanny pack, money belt, or a secure pocket in your carry-on.
If you have larger valuable items that won’t fit on your person, it may be worth investing in moving insurance to cover them on the trek. Talk to your new company to see if they’d be willing to include this coverage in the relocation package.
8) Book Flights and Vehicles
As soon as you know your start date, make travel arrangements. You’ll want to arrive several days before you begin working to give yourself time to unpack and settle. If you’re moving yourself, determine how many days you’ll need in transit, and plan a route. Book a moving van and, if needed, reserve hotels along the way.
If you’re flying, booking early will mean better departure times and better prices. In addition, the best moving companies often book two or three months in advance, so reserve your dates as soon as possible.
9) Calculate Your Commute
Planning your commute is about more than just punctuality. Starting over in a new city means you can create an ideal commute. Do you prefer reading on the train or making a quick trip on and off the freeway? If you’re into biking, research the state’s bike laws and how the city’s bike safety compares to others.
Ideally, you’d visit the city and make the commute a couple times before making any final decisions. But if that isn’t possible, head to Google Maps and plug in different time frames on the route between your home and office. That’ll give you an idea how heavy traffic is and how early you’d need to leave to arrive safely at work.
10) Update Your Driver’s License and Registration
Yes, this is required. Most states give you thirty days to update your information, so find the local DMV and make the switch.
Different areas also have different requirements for minimum coverage, so you may need to update your auto insurance as well. Since monthly premiums vary based on location, vehicle, and other details, do some research to ensure you’re still getting the most competitive rate.
11) Select New Schools
If you have children, proximity to good local schools is a factor that’s likely to sway your relocation decisions. Many states offer open-enrollment policies that provide you access to a variety of public schools, but as travel time is still a factor, it’s wise to pick a school that’s somewhat close to your new home.
As long as you have immunization records, birth certificates, and proof of residency, you should be able to register your children for public school. Some private schools also require admission exams, interviews, and a waiting period before enrolling a new student, so if you intend to enroll your child in a school like this, start an application early.
12) Choose a New Doctor
Before you move, visit your current doctor and refill any necessary prescriptions. This will give you time in your new area to ask for recommendations and find a doctor with whom you feel comfortable.
If you have pets, do the same with your veterinarian.
13) Keep Up with Your Hobbies
Starting a new job in a new city will require a lot of adjustments. To avoid feeling disconnected in the new environment or burned out in your new role, put yourself on familiar ground by jumping into your favorite hobbies. If you frequently visit the dog park, find one near your new home and visit it soon after arriving. Locate your favorite chain restaurants, sport venues, religious services, or a local gym or library.
And another tip? If you’re into Netflix, gaming, or anything similar, you can save yourself some time by snapping a picture of the TV cords before moving. Then, when you’re setting things up in your new space, you can easily reference exactly where things go. Whatever it takes to make this new place feel like home, right?
14) Do a Professional Self-Evaluation
Last but not least, don’t lose sight of your work goals during the move. Your career is a huge part of your life. As you transition to a new job, ask yourself some reflective questions. What was most rewarding about your previous job? What made you feel successful? How can you replicate that as you begin a new position? What would you have done differently at your previous job? How can you avoid making those same mistakes now?
This is a big step forward. There is a lot to do, a lot to pack, and even more to think about. More important than any one task, however, is your perspective—so let it be one that celebrates risk, treasures the past, and embraces the unknown. This move is all yours.