Congratulations on your new job in a brand new city! Lots of exciting experiences await you. Before jumping for joy (or trembling with terror) you’ll need to properly prepare for the big move. You’re moving your entire life to a new city — that means your pets, bank accounts, healthcare, etc. are coming with you too.
Successfully completing your laundry list of things to do requires careful planning, lots of phone calls, and online research. It will be stressful at times but as long as you keep organized, you will find yourself enjoying your brand new job and life in your new city. Scroll through our checklist to keep yourself on track!
1. Decide on a realistic relocation timeline
This will likely come up during your job interview, but a recruiter or manager will want to know how long it’ll take you to relocate, then start your new job. You’ll want to be realistic about the time it’ll take you to pack all your bags and settle into a new environment.
It’s pretty typical to ask for 2-3 weeks for relocation time, even longer if you’re moving across many time zones. This all the depends on the company, of course, but any realistic HR manager will negotiate with you. You’ll also want to ask about relocation reimbursement — more on that next.
2. Check if your employer covers relocation costs
Some companies will cover relocation costs but some will not. It’s worth asking during your job interview, especially if money is tight for you. Moving can get expensive! If your new company does cover moving costs, find out what exactly that entails so you can better plan your moving budget.
Expenses companies might reimburse are shipping services, packing services, transportation, and travel expenses related to your new home. If you’re nervous about asking for specifics of reimbursement, remember the worst they can say is “no.” Add this to the to-do list you should be writing — tips on doing that below!
3. Start writing to-do lists
Are you not a list person? Well, you better become one. Moving to a new state and starting a new job involves a lot of moving parts, especially if you’re relocating your family as well. Make a to-do list of everything that needs to be addressed before the big move.
Making a list keeps you organized and helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. You’re starting a new job and shouldn’t rely completely on your memory for remembering all your to-do’s. While you’re in the planning mode, make a budget. We’ll teach you how to do that exact thing in the next slide.
4. Create a budget
If you’ve never made a budget or kept track of your spending, this is a good time to start. Creating a budget for moving is a good idea as there are a lot of unexpected expenses that will pop up. Plan for everything you might need: meals along the way, packing boxes, gas for your drive, etc.
You can at least know where you might end up financially and plan your spending around it. This is also useful if the company you’re moving for is offering a sum of money to relocate you. Giving them an accurate number will get all your expenses paid! Include travel arrangements on your budget — tips on that coming up.
5. Make travels arrangements
Once you decide on a start date with your new job, make travel plans ASAP. If you have to fly, book flights as soon as you can because they will get more and more expensive. If pets are coming with you, you’ll have to plan ahead for them. Check the airline’s policies towards pets.
Perhaps, choose a particular airline if their policies are better than others. Also, take into account the weather and the route if you’re driving. Decide what items you’re taking with you as well because that’ll determine if you’ll need a moving van and professional movers or not. More on that next.
6. Pick what you’re taking with you
This will be the hardest step for the hoarders out there. This is the time to be realistic about what you do and don’t need. Moving an ancient, massive couch and old TV might not be cost effective. You might spend more on actually moving them than buying something better on Craigslist upon arrival.
Take stock of your items — especially the heaviest ones — and determine if you should keep ‘em or toss ‘em. You could make a little extra cash by selling things you want to get rid of on Craigslist or OfferUp. Once you have a list of what you’re taking with you, read the next section on moving methods.
7. Research moving methods
If you don’t have a ton to take with you, you can pack everything up into a couple suitcases and tote them yourself. If there’s a lot to pack, look into moving companies out there. Some companies will load all your stuff and drive them cross country. This might cost a lot, however!
Home Advisor says that the average cost for movers can range anywhere from $481 to $1,331 with an average rate of $25 to $50 per hour. A cross-country move can be pricey given those numbers, but invest in that if you want! Valuables can get hurt during the move. We’ll teach you how to protect them with insurance below.
8. Protect your valuables with insurance
In the hustle and bustle of a cross-country move, there’s a danger of something possibly happening to your dear valuables. It’s wise to consider an insurance option to protect possessions in case they break. Moving companies will give you some options for insurance but it’s recommended to understand the nuances of each package.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says moving companies are federally required to offer two types of insurance: full value protection and released value protection. If you select the latter, some movers will offer to get you separate liability insurance. Next up, you’ll want to forward all mail to your new address.
9. Forward your mail
If you alert USPS about forwarding your mail, they will forward certain mail up to a year and then magazines for six months. You can put in a forwarding request in person or online. The DMV might be able to do that as well but it depends on what state you’re located in.
To change your address online, go to USPS.com/move. It’ll cost $1 to do so. USPS recommends to not use a third-party service to change your address as it’s usually a scam. These sneaky scammers can charge $40 or more. Coming up, more entities that’ll need your new address.
10. Contact your bank with your new address
Most folks receive their credit card statement online rather than mail — it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and do this. You don’t want your statements to show up at your old address accidentally with all your sensitive information on there. You’ll never know what the new resident at your old apartment could do…
Usually, it takes just a couple clicks on your online banking accounts to update your address and opt to receive your statements online. You can also call customer service and request to make these changes. While you’re at it, determine if you need a new bank account. More on that next!
11. Transfer funds to a new bank
Most national banks have made this process a lot simpler so you don’t have to find a new bank, transfer funds, get a new credit card, etc. If you’re a client of Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or any other massive bank, you don’t need to go through the trouble of switching banks.
If you’re a credit union customer, you might need to find a new bank as your new city is likely to not have the same credit union you were using previously. In the case of moving to a new country, you might also need to switch banks. We’ll teach you about transferring your 401(k) next.
12. Transfer your 401(k)
If you had a 401(k) with your old company, there are several options you can take. You can either leave it where it is if you’re pleased with the investment, cash out, roll it into your new company’s 401(k), or have a distribution check made out to you and then roll it into your new employer’s plan.
Rolling your 401(k) over might depend on the amount you have in there, however. Also, if your new company requires you to wait a certain amount of time before participating in their 401(k), you can’t roll it over right away. Meanwhile, consider your new health insurance. More on that in a bit.
13. Get new health insurance
If your new employer is offering health insurance, they will instruct you on how and when you can enroll on your first day or during your interview. Some companies offer healthcare immediately when you start, some have a waiting period of a month or more. Make sure you’re aware of when your coverage starts.
You might be able to have coverage from your old insurance for a certain amount of time after leaving your previous company. If you had outside insurance from a huge company like Aetna, you might be able to use it in your new state. Medicaid might be tougher. Next up, a task you might be forgetting if it’s not election season…
14. Re-register to vote
You might not think about voting until an actual election comes around. When it does, you might be out of time to re-register at your new address. This could be low on your list of priorities but should be done! Vote to let people know what you think about local issues and politicians.
Yeah, yeah we’ve heard all the rhetoric from naysayers: “My vote doesn’t count,” “voting is boring,” or “I don’t like politics.” Even if you’re self-proclaimed apolitical, measures and new candidates will likely affect your new life in your new city soon. Learn about local issues on location scouting trips. We talk about that below.
15. Make location scouting trips
If you haven’t been to your new city of residence (or even if you have) it’s not a bad idea to make a trip or two out there to get a lay of the land. You can explore potential neighborhoods, find the best grocery stores, things to do, and do some apartment hunting.
If you have friends in town, they can give you a tour and introduce you to new people. Doing a couple trips like this will make you feel more confident in your move. Familiarity helps people calm down. Location scouting is also important in researching your new commute to the office. See more about that next.
16. Research your new commute
You can get a good feel of what your new commute will look like if you try it out during rush hours on location scouting trips. If you don’t have the time or can’t make it out there before your move, you can pull up your route to work on Google Maps.
Time yourself and take that into account when you’re getting ready for work your first week. It’ll help you avoid any embarrassing moments walking in late! If you’re driving, ask if your new employer will provide a parking pass. Timing your commute will be easier once you learn where you’re living — more on that next.
17. Locate a new apartment or house
It might be hard at first to locate a permanent housing solution your first week in — unless you’ve secured a living space during a location scouting trip. At first, you can secure a temporary housing solution until you settle in. Depending on your comfort level, a friend’s couch will do.
If you’re not down for couch-hopping, Airbnb and hotels are good short-term housing solutions but they might get pricey. Your least expensive bet might be to find a sublet for a month, then use the time to find a perfect permanent space. If you have small children, it’s imperative to find permanent housing fast. Scroll down for more.
18. Make sure family moving needs are met
If you’re moving your entire family with this career change, things could get complicated. You’re moving for a new job and new opportunities, but the rest of your family might not see anything for them in a new city yet. Communicate with them to make sure they’re comfortable.
There are other logistics to be wary of: Getting your kids and spouse new healthcare, finding them comfortable housing, moving your stuff AND theirs, and locating a new school. The latter might be a tough task, especially if you’re picking from various private schools. Find out how to make the right choice below.
19. Find a new school for your kids
If you have young children — in high school or younger — they’ll need to continue their education and live with their guardians. Going the public school route is much easier than other choices because your kids will be assigned to whatever school is in the district you end up living in.
The new public school might not be up to snuff compared to their last school. If so, there could be options for private schools (if you can afford it) or charter schools that your child can take the bus to. You won’t forget about your kids, but will you forget to keep your moving receipts? Here’s why you shouldn’t:
20. Save receipts from moving expenses
Wait! Don’t throw away those receipts just yet! If your new gig has promised to cover relocation costs, they may want to see what you needed to spend your money on. They might be sketched out if you’re unable to produce receipts but spent an inexplicably large amount of money on relocation.
Saving those receipts will be useful when tax season comes around. You can deduct any expenses that relate to your job not paid for by your employer. This is a good option if you don’t have your relocation expenses covered. Next up, we have some information on how to keep your valuables safe when you arrive.
21. Store your valuables in a safe place
Above we talked about insuring your possessions — moving companies are required to offer you two insurance options when you sign on with them. In addition to that, you’ll want to pack delicate items in bubble wrap in such a way that won’t damage them during the trip to their new location.
You probably won’t have your living situation set in stone when you first arrive in your new city. Therefore, you’ll need somewhere safe to place your belongings. Many storage facilities exist for people in transition that you can use. Even before you leave, make important appointments so you don’t forget! Tips next.
22. Make necessary appointments ASAP
You can do this before you leave, if necessary, in order to plan out your first few weeks in the new city. Meeting with potential landlords and roommates are some appointments you might have to make. Doing them soon will ensure you have a place to live as soon as possible.
There might be appointments you need to make in your current city before you leave as well. Perhaps you want to get in your doctor or dentist appointments. Maybe even get a new haircut for the gig and a fresh manicure. The following to-do on the list has to do with location scouting: Finding the essentials in your new town!
23. Locate essentials in your new town
If you have some time to settle in before your first day, take a peek at Google Maps to locate the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, laundromat, and anything else you think you might need. Even better, take a walk around your block to see if there’s anything of interest to you.
If you don’t have time to settle in, you can do a Google search for all the stores you’ll need in your first week. Eventually, you’ll learn the lay of the land and be able to find your essentials with ease. Bringing your car? There’s a lot to do — scroll to find out.
24. Get a new driver’s license and plate
Some states will let you keep your old state’s license plate but some might not, like Washington. We know the DMV is a drag, but you’ll have to get there eventually. A day before your new gig starts is a good time to kick up your feet in their waiting rooms.
Some DMVs might have an option for you to make an appointment online, so you can skip the lines and walk right in. If you’re one of those folks that wants a vanity plate, it might not come in time for your state’s registration deadline. More on how to register your vehicle below.
25. Register your vehicle
Moving to a new state usually means registering your vehicle in that state. It’s a good idea to check with the DMV first to understand their requirements (or RMV or DOT, depending on the state). There might be differences in how soon a car must be registered and what documents are needed.
You can register by getting a new driver’s license. To save yourself the trouble, do your research on necessary paperwork and insurance information before you get new plates for your car. This’ll save time so you can do other things — speaking of which, did you cancel your old memberships yet?
26. Cancel your old gym membership and get another
Say goodbye to the elliptical you used every gym visit, the one perfectly positioned in front of the TVs. You’ll be moving and you won’t need your old gym anymore. Cancel your membership soon too or else it’ll just incur unnecessary costs you don’t need during an already expensive transition.
If you’re using a chain gym like Chuze, Planet Fitness, or 24 Hour Fitness, you might be able to transfer your membership to your new location. Can’t hurt to ask! Getting exercise in will help relieve any potential moving stresses! A Skype sess with fam might help too — you’ll need your internet hooked up for that.
27. Get new internet service
Internet will be your friend when you need to find basic essentials like grocery stores, Target, laundromats, the DMV, and more. Don’t forget to cancel your existing Internet provider (especially if you have it on autopay!) and get a new one once you move into your new digs. Until then, use your data sparingly!
Overusing data will rack up the numbers on your phone bill. To save even more money, bring your router and modem with you when you move. Then, you don’t have to buy a new one. You’ll also have to set up a few other services. See below to find out what.
28. Create new accounts for gas, electric and water
Once you’re able to find a new apartment, you’ll need to make sure you have running water, a working stove, and electricity! Unless the landlord pays for this already, of course. They’ll specify what they’ll offer when you sign a lease. Ask if they don’t! This will be important as you plan your budget.
You’ll have to either call or go online to the gas and electric company’s website to register your home to receive services. If you’re taking the place of a departing roommate, you might need to switch services into your name. There are other essentials you’ll need — more about that next.
29. Buy the essentials for your first week
Don’t over do it when you’re packing, otherwise you won’t fit the important stuff, but throw a couple living basics in your suitcase. Basics like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and floss are good to have on hand for your first few nights. You’ll probably be rushing around and won’t have time to buy those.
If you’re starting your job immediately, you’re probably unaware of where the pharmacy and grocery store is. Being able to have a toothbrush handy is super helpful. Those that tend to get homesick easily might be comforted by the scent of the shampoo you used at home. Below we have the most important to do of all…
30. Start making friends
One of the most important resources to have when you move to a new location are friends! They are the ones that’ll give you advice on where to find the best sushi in the city, tips on apartment hunting, and lend a shoulder to cry on when things get tough.
Start building out your network as soon as you can. Even if you only have a handful of friends in your new home, you can use them to help you branch out and create your niche. No friends? No problem! There are people at work, in groups, or clubs that are waiting to get to know you.