New York City Harbor (credit: Randy Yagi)

Whether you’re relocating for a job or moving to a new city to start over, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. This is even more important if you’re headed to a city where you don’t have any friends. However, with some advance planning before the big move, you can save yourself a lot of stress in moving your entire belongings to the destination of choice. Here are a few tips to help you ease into your newest adventure and settle in your new city.

Finding The Right Place To Live

Depending upon the rental market in the city you’re moving to, searching for the right place to live can be a breeze, very competitive or somewhere in between. Regardless of the situation, you can make apartment hunting easier by taking advantage of an assortment of helpful rent-specific websites and mobile apps. For several years, one of the most popular sites to search for an apartment or shared housing has been Craigslist, which is among the country’s 15 most visited websites and among the world’s top 100. However, the popular classified ads site is also known to be a haven for scammers who post fraudulent rental ads to bilk innocent people of their rental money and deposit. While Craigslist remains a solid recommendation, it is extremely important not to hand over a check or cash to a stranger unless the rental ad is deemed to be legitimate. Fortunately, you and other consumers have several other sites to utilize if Craigslist seems risky. Among the other top-rated online services for house-apartment hunting are, Apartment Finder, HotPads, Trulia and Zillow. All of these sites also offer mobiles apps for iOS or Android mobile devices.

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Preparing For The Big Move

As you are preparing to transition to your new city, there are some things you’ll have to do before you completely move out of your current place. This includes notifying the U.S. Postal Service of a new mailing address with a Change of Address form, disconnecting or transferring local utility services and determining which method is the most efficient means of transporting your personal belongings. If you have to hire a moving company, you must take certain steps to ensure you’re selecting a reliable business. You can start by visiting review sites like Yelp for top-rated companies, as well as other sites like Consumer Affairs, which provides a reviews comparison of 15 top businesses, My Move and MovingScam, a consumer driven site to help you assess moving companies. Other sites you might also want to consider are AllConnect, which allows you to select and order home utilities on a single site, and Find Your Spot for detailed information on your new neighborhood.

Vegetarian Dish (credit: Randy Yagi)

Vegetarian Dish (credit: Randy Yagi)

Finding The Best Places For Food

Even before you move into your new apartment, you’ll want to know where to go for great food. With widely used crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor along with reputable restaurant review sites like Zagat, Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon), MenuPages and Gayot, you should be able to determine where the best places are in your new city. Of course, you can also rely on your favorite social media site or two, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or others for dining recommendations, especially if you’re moving to a smaller market. You can also determine where the best local grocery stores are by finding online reviews as well as web mapping services like Google Maps, MapQuest and the steadily improving Apple Maps to find stores close by.

Santa Fe School of Cooking (credit: Randy Yagi)

Santa Fe School of Cooking (credit: Randy Yagi)

Take A Class

Whether you’re interested in advancing your career or interested in getting a good workout, taking a class is a great way to make new friends in your new city. If you’re an active person, a fitness class can definitely be a good way to settle into your new city, but you could also join a health club, or sport-specific club such as for tennis or running, or even a sports league for basketball, hockey etc. Of course, there are plenty of other social activities you can engage to suit your own personal preferences, such as religious studies classes, a cooking class, chess clubs and gaming events. If you have a parks and recreation department in your new city, you can also consider joining for free or very affordable fitness classes such as those offered by Shape Up NYC in New York City or a personal enrichment class from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks department.

Meetup App (credit: Randy Yagi)

Meetup App (credit: Randy Yagi)

Use Social Networking

It’s very likely you’ll make new friends right away at your new place of employment. However, you can further take advantage of social networking to find out about upcoming events and social gatherings that interest you. Facebook is obvious, but there are plenty of other sites such as MeetUp, which has about 25 million monthly users and features more than 200,000 meeting groups including hiking groups, nature walks, social dancing and singles groups. Like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites, MeetUp offers a mobile app for iOS and Android.

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Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on