Moving to a new city with friends and family by your side is hard enough – but moving to a new city alone can feel impossible. It can feel lonely, depressing, and terrifying – but it doesn’t have to. Half the battle of moving to a new city is being prepared, so we’ve put together our top eight tips for moving to a new city alone:
Buy a Map of Your New City (Seriously)
You may be thinking, “But I can just use Google Maps on my phone!” But when you arrive, you might find that large swatches of the city have little to no cell phone service. And if you plan on using a form of underground transportation service? Forget about it. While you don’t need to take your map with you all the time, keeping it somewhere you’ll see often – like on your fridge or hanging beside your mirror – will help you familiarize yourself with the area. Make a note to check the map whenever you come home to see if there was a better route you could’ve taken, and to get familiar with the streets around you.
Scope Out the Area with Reddit
While it always looks really cool in movies or TV, showing up with no prior research isn’t a good idea. Scope out info about the city beyond the standard tourist information with Reddit. Simply find your new city’s subreddit (usually just reddit.com/r/cityname/), explore some of the historically popular questions, and ask any questions you have. This is a great place to ask about issues like unsafe areas to avoid, friendliness of the locals, and opportunities to meet people – and real locals will give their honest answers.
Try Co-Living if You Want to Make Friends in Your New City
Co-living is all the perks of a college dorm, minus all the downsides. Most co-living spaces allow you your own studio apartment and bathroom, with a small kitchenette inside, and a larger kitchen, living, and family area shared by all the residents. They offer mixers, fun events, and even outings for the residents, giving you a chance to make friends in your new city without venturing far from your new building. Most spaces have a particular mission and group that they cater to (such as families or young professionals), so choose your co-living unit wisely.
Only Pack the Bare Essentials
Packing is hard no matter how far away you’re moving. But if you’re moving somewhere alone, packing too much might just shoot you in the foot later, because when you arrive in your new city, there won’t be anyone to help you unpack. Besides, a move to somewhere new is a chance to start over, so take advantage of it. Ditch or donate as much stuff as you can spare – though you may think you’re losing cash, you’ll be happy when you see how much it costs to move your stuff to a new place.
And Take Advantage of the Chance to Order New Items Ahead
If you already have a job lined up in your new city, you’ll probably be busy right when you arrive. Save yourself some time by using buy online, pick up in store programs from stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. If you’re picking up big items, like furniture, you can even use Dolly to avoid going to the store at all – just send a photo of your receipt to your Helper and they’ll pick it up for you.
Use Craigslist With Caution
It’s expensive to move, so when buying stuff in your new city, you may be tempted to buy some used items off Craigslist. But be careful here – you’re alone in a new place, and while Craigslist is perfectly safe and reputable in some cities, it’s a lot less safe in others. If you do plan on buying through Craigslist, make sure to meet the seller at a public pickup point and follow these Craigslist safety tips.
Make Use of Amtrak to Ship Your Stuff Ahead
We’ve already established that the less stuff you bring, the better, but how do you get it all there? Hiring a cross-country moving company is expensive and could result in your stuff being held hostage. Shipping with USPS can be very pricey, but shipping with Amtrak is far less expensive. While Amtrak won’t ship your furniture or electronics, it’s a great way to ship clothing, blankets, and other household goods that are too bulky and/or heavy to ship using the post office. Find more details on how to ship with Amtrak.
Use Helpful Services to Make Moving to a New City Alone Easy
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when moving to a new city alone is taking on all of the burden and not asking for help. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a mixer event or making friends the old fashioned way, BumbleBFF can help you find nearby people with similar interests to chat with online before meeting up in-person. And while you may not feel comfortable asking your new coworker to come with you to pick up a couch you ordered on Craigslist, you can ask Dolly for help. We’ll send a pickup truck and background-checked Helpers to collect your new couch so you don’t have to worry about doing all the heavy lifting alone.
No matter why you’re moving to a new city alone, you’re starting your next big adventure. So trust your gut and get packing – your new life awaits you!
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.