Erin Pennings is a marketer by trade with multiple cross-country moves under her belt. She writes about her life, recipes, and family fun at SalmonAtSeven.com.
You’ll have no trouble fitting in in your new hometown, right? Or maybe amidst all the other move preparations, that hasn’t crossed your mind just yet. When preparing for a move to a new city or town, it’s easy to focus on what’s immediate — the move itself. But it’s also good to look ahead beyond the move to what’s next — your new hometown. By taking advantage of some of these tips, you’ll find yourself settling in comfortably to your new home, perhaps even before you arrive.
With advances in communication and technology, it’s easier to stay in touch with distant family than ever before. As we become a more global society, it’s also increasingly common to see people moving from state to state (or even internationally) for career stability. We could spend the whole article discussing this, but since The New York Times has already created a fascinating series of charts on where people from each state are moving to, you can take a look at their work.
Those who move frequently have likely developed a system for how to assimilate into their new hometown. However, not everyone preparing to relocate has moved before, so where do you start? Hiring long distance moving companies is the easy part. (If you haven’t done that yet, then get a free moving quote here.) Everyone knows they’ll need advice on packing tips, moving companies, and where to find the best moving checklist, but have you considered how you’ll meet people in your new area?
If you’re really looking forward to hitting the ground running and avoiding the first few potentially lonely months, we’d love to help you develop a network in your new area. Try some of these ideas on for size so you can fall in love with your hometown before you even arrive.
1. Local Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce
These city and/or state organizations are GREAT sources of information – and you can nearly always request a relocation packet. These are typically filled with brochures, information on activities, and maps. Their websites are also phenomenal resources for things to do and how to get involved in the town.
2. Online Forums & Social Media
While some lament the level of connectivity that the technology age brings, there is no better way to build a strong social network than through social media. Looking for a job? Build up your LinkedIn profile and start looking into opportunities in your new town. Want information on neighborhoods and schools? Log into Facebook, join some groups, and start asking questions. As always, it’s a good idea to practice online personal safety, without sharing too much personally identifying information, but you can definitely start to get a feel for the area and friends. Not sure which groups to join? Join a sales page within the new community and ask. You’ll get LOTS of great ideas.
3. Parenting Groups, Kid Activities or School PTAs
Obviously this applies only if you’ve got children, but start looking into parenting groups that meet regularly. If your kids play sports, find out how they can join a local team. If you know what school they’ll be attending, find out how you can get involved in the PTA. As for the parenting groups, you can likely vet locally-based options online, but there are some national organizations like the Boys & Girls Club or Hike it Baby that are a great place to start. The local Parks and Recreation Department may also be a great resource for programs. By getting your kids involved and helping them to make friends, you’ll make your family life as a whole much stronger, and it will lead to you finding friends within the community as well.
4. Volunteer Organizations
Is there something you are passionate about? It’s almost guaranteed that there is. Reach out to local organizations before you arrive – pet rescues need dog walkers, soup kitchens need helpers, or maybe you’re a trained EMT/firefighter and the local department is looking for volunteers. You know where you’ll fit in best.
5. Your New Neighbors!
This may go without saying, and unless you know exactly your new address, it may be challenging to do in advance, but seek out your neighbors! Hang out in your front yard, host a cookout with everyone you know, bake cookies and introduce yourself around. You may have some awesome friends on the same block who are just waiting to meet you.
If you’ve got a big move up ahead, know that everything will come together eventually, and you will learn to love your new hometown. The wider your approach, the more quickly you’ll assimilate into your new surroundings. By having plans to look forward to and a tentative routine in mind, by the time you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve just moved home.