How Do I Adjust To A New City Far From Home?

lady libertyIf you’re a bit anxious about picking up shop and relocating to a completely different city or area of the country (or globe), don’t feel bad. You’re totally normal! While transition is never easy, attitude and perspective are the two things that will “make” your transition. View this new move as an adventure! How often do we get the opportunity to make a whole new life for ourselves? Relocating allows us to start fresh, create new networks, develop new hobbies and much more! Enter your new life with excitement and hope. The following five tips will help you have a positive attitude and perspective when acclimating to your new city!

1.  Be Where You Are

This may seem elementary but it’s a real challenge not to hold tightly to friends and family back home. You may want to fly/drive home every weekend or month because you’re homesick or simply because you miss those connections with loved ones. I’m not saying you need to totally ditch old family and friends but be intentional about making an effort to become involved in your new city.  There are good people everywhere!

2.  Get Out There

As you make an effort to be present in your new city, take the next step by putting yourself out there. Google fun things to do in your city, make a dessert for your neighbor (if your cooking won’t kill!), take a walk around your neighborhood, and check out the local markets. Visit a few different churches or sign up for a painting class. Bottom line – don’t become a hermit, connected only to Facebook or watching TV. Get out there and meet some new people! You won’t enjoy your new city if you’re hulled up in your apartment alone. You could be in the most boring, small-town in the country but if you had good friends with you, it would be the best place ever. Connect!

3.  Find A Local Outlet For Your Hobbies

One way to really connect with people who have similar interests is to make sure you’re partaking in your favorite hobby. Whatever it is that rejuvenates you, you don’t have to leave that behind just because you’re in a new place. Whether that’s painting, biking, joining a Bible study, volunteering, or playing league volleyball, find a way to make that happen in your new city. Finding those outlets will allow you to feel like yourself even in a new place.

4.  Be Confident & Comfortable In Your Skin!

By now, half of you are excited and the other half are thinking, “I am way too shy to do this!” All I have to say is that I’m sure you’re awesome! You won’t connect with everyone but there are definitely people who you’ll hit it off with. Be comfortable in your own skin. My mom always said, “there are good people everywhere.” I’ve discovered this to be true! Just be yourself and relax. Most people are always a bit nervous when meeting new people, so you’re in good company. And if you’re doing things you already love (hobbies), you’ll instantly have something in common.

5.  Give yourself time to build a name and connections…

Finally, give yourself a break!  It takes time to build new friendships and networks. Don’t stress if you don’t feel like you fit in right away or that your co-workers haven’t seen how lucky they are to have you! Anything worth much takes time.

Good luck with your new move and enjoy this new adventure! For those of you who have already gone through a major transition, please share your experiences and tips with those who are just making that move.


About  the Author: Victoria is a grad student in Nebraska and is currently savoring the summer sunshine. This summer she is taking a break from classes by working with HireAHelper and loving it!

(Photo courtesy of Erick)


Keri’s Moving Checklist

Okay, so our last moving checklist didn’t quite cover everything you’d need on a checklist if you were moving last minute, but it covered the big four. Our very own customer service superstar, Keri, wrote up the following definitively more comprehensive list of things to do to prepare for your move. This moving checklist is based on her extensive experience helping customers get ready for one of their most stressful life events. Here is Keri’s Moving Checklist.

Keri’s List of Things To Do Before Moving

This is a list of things I’d want to have completed so that the customer is organized prior to a loading helper arriving:

Photo Credit to Georgie R

No One Likes a Cold Shower

  • Call to Turn On Heat/Electricity at New Location – this can be one of the mistakes with the biggest repercussions. Many gas and electric companies take 2-3 business days to get a technician out to turn everything on and switch accounts to a new customer’s name. After a huge move into a new place, with lots of unpacking to do, no one wants to take a cold shower by candlelight (or smartphone flash light, the candles are probably packed up right?).
  • Write Up a Move Day Plan – Customers know their items best and what their needs are. So, it’s always a good idea for customers to compile a move day “to-do list” prior to their move date. This way, on moving day, when their brain is going in 100 directions they can review their pre-planned list to confirm all criteria are met.
  • Pack & Label By Room – All boxes should be packed and labeled properly according to what contents are inside and what room it belongs in. Color coding boxes or markers makes for a smooth move. Everything should be packed before the movers arrive.
  • Liquids in Bags – Pack all liquid items in a zip lock bag separately to avoid messes if/when they open.
  • Empty Drawers – Take out all items from dresser drawers, the entertainment center, end tables or kitchen drawers and place them into packed boxes.
  • Stack Boxes by Room – As you finish packing each box, organize them into piles by each room they’ll be going to in the new house.
  • Spread Out The Furniture Pads – Each piece of furniture should have a furniture pad placed on top, helping the truck loaders take less time organizing materials.
  • Have Tape Ready – Have a stack of tape easily accessible for the helpers to use if/when needed.
  • Rope and Tie Downs – All straps and rope should be tidy and ready for use within the portable storage container/truck.
  • Disassemble Furniture – Make sure all furniture is broken down – i.e. bed frames, desks, entertainment stands, break front china cabinets. It’s true that most moving crews can disassemble for you, but it’ll stall their momentum and slow down the whole load.
  • Furniture Pulled Away from Walls – This will make it so much easier for the helpers to place the furniture onto dollies and wheel to the truck (not completely needed but if you can, then doing this will cut down on time).
  • Prep Sofas – Prepare all sofas for moving – make sure the “legs” are removed and placed into a plastic bag that is labeled and placed into a box labeled “open first.”
  • Clear Walkways – Make sure no items are left on stairs or in tight hallways, impeding traffic (no twisted ankles are needed).
  • Disconnect Appliances – Be sure that the washer/dryer are already unhooked and blankets or packing kits are inside both drums for transportation.

PLEASE NOTE – Customers storing furniture for a long time or moving in areas with high humidity should NOT use plastic wrap on upholstered furniture. This should only be used on wood furniture if needed. This is because black mold will grow on the items that can not breath due to the plastic wrap.


Preparing to Move Internationally

By Rob Toledo

Picture of the Earth Packed in a Box

Back in April, we put up a checklist: A Baker’s Dozen To-Do List for Moving Internationally. It talked about 13 things you need to take care of at home before you move; a “jumping off point before you reach your jumping off point.” Today, we’re going to talk about the next level of preparation: the 6 things you need to do not with your home or belongings, but with yourself so that the move doesn’t turn from a dream into a nightmare.



The most important thing you can do when moving abroad is understand the place you’re moving to. If you can’t afford to take a vacation there before you move, take some time and study the culture. Read about it online; if you can, rent a few popular movies from the area and watch them. Get it under your skin now, because if you don’t, it’ll really get under your skin when you get there. It’s likely to be foreign currency so make sure to study rates and get used to the currency exchange in order to decrease likelihood that you will drastically overpay for something (although it will probably happen at least once).



Once you have a feeling that you know what you’re getting into, it’s time to find out if you actually can. Connect with the country’s nearest embassy and talk to them about immigrating there. They’ll tell you exactly what the requirements are and, if you meet them, help you connect with people local to the place you want to move.



If you don’t already speak the language native to your locale of choice, grab a copy of Rosetta Stone — or, even better, get in touch with a local tutor that speaks your language and set yourself up with lessons on day one. The sooner you learn the language of the country you are moving to, the better. If you fail to learn it, you may feel quite lonely and isolated, and you may tend to only make friends with other expats like yourself.



Consider what you do currently for things like recreation, your children’s schooling, and the other parts of your life that are about to be shaken up, and try to plan substitutes for each of these in your new home. Find the best school you can afford for your children, a boat and a lake to fish on if that’s your thing, and so forth well in advance.



Not only do you need a visa to stay in most foreign countries for an extended time, but you also need basic functionality, like a locally-approved driver’s license. You can save yourself a world of hassle if you arrange a driver’s license test and other relevant permissions before you leave, so you don’t have to wait weeks once you get there.


Speaking of driving, in many countries abroad, the driving is very chaotic and it may seem scary for someone coming from a more developed country with well-organized traffic laws. Learn in advance about the driving situation where you’re going, and look into what it may cost to hire a driver. You may think hiring a driver is expensive, but in many countries it’s cheaper than you may think, and well worth it.



Society is a universal human need. We all need to feel like a part of something bigger and more important than ourselves, or we start to drift. Moving to a new country is like voluntarily cutting yourself off from your support network, and finding a new group of people to become a part of (not just for you, but for anyone moving with you) is probably the single best way to make sure that your new life is one you’ll love.

It is best to start making friends before you move, so you will have some people you can (kind of) trust when you get there to help you get acclimated. These days, it’s fairly easy to find some friends by hanging out in forums with other expats from your home country that are living in the country you’re moving to. Find a few of them that are in the city of your destination, befriend them online, and ask them some extensive questions addressing your concerns about your move. Then when you get there, you’ll have an instant support network to help replace the one you’re leaving.


Rob Toledo is hoping to one day step foot on at least 100 countries with one on every continent (even Antarctica). He can be reached on Twitter @stentontoledo


Moving Con Men Myths – Counterpoint to The Daily Finance Blog

A post showed up recently on the Daily Finance blog that pointed out the terror of full service moves, called “How to Tell When the Moving Man Is a Con Man.” I agree with most of the points as valid regarding movers and how customers should be cautious when trusting someone with belongings. However, there are a couple of proposed “indications” of an illegitimate company that aren’t always true.

Image of Cowboy BanditsThe post highlights a warning that demanding for payment upfront is a sign of a shady business. I’d have to respectfully disagree as our company charges before each move to protect the customer (and have done so on the several thousand moves we’ve booked over the past 4 years). Continue reading


Moving Internationally: A Baker’s Dozen To-Do List

by MelB

The Eiffel Tower

So you’ve been searching for a long time to find that perfect place to live. Maybe your goal was to find the cheapest place to live and staying in the United States just no longer made sense. As great as you believe it will be, moving out of the country is a challenge for even the most enthusiastic adventurist. In order to lend you a hand with your international move, we have prepared a short list of 13 things (a baker’s dozen) you can do to organize this exciting project. Think of it as a jumping off point before you reach the real jumping off point. These are things that you may want to put on your to-do list as you get ready to press the start button. Or print this out and check off the empty check box next to each item as you progress through your move.

Household Inventory
Take inventory throughout your house and get rid of stuff that is no longer useful to you. Please consider giving those items to a charity and help someone else in the process.

International customs will want to know everything you are importing, make a descriptive list of what you pack into boxes and label (number) the boxes so you know Continue reading