8 Steps to Making Your New Town Feel More Like Home

Just moved to a new city? A new neighborhood? Or are you planning to make a major move a few months down the road? You’re not alone. Each year, about 15 percent of Americans move to a new location.

Whether you’re moving for a new job, to further your education, or other opportunities, exploring a new place can be exciting, challenging, and intimidating — all at the same time. That’s why some medical experts say that moving can be one of the most stressful events you will encounter in life.

To assist you in your transition, we compiled a list of 8 things that can help you more quickly adjust to your new home.

  1. Become a regular at a local cafe. There are still plenty of places where everyone (eventually) knows your name. You only have to visit them frequently enough to become a “regular.” Chat up the barista. Pull out your laptop or tablet and stay awhile with your drink of choice. Make the extra effort to say ‘hello’ to other regulars of the establishment. With time, you’ll enjoy running into familiar faces.
  1. Say ‘yes’ to work/school events. For some of us who are more introverted, the last thing we want to do after working 8 to 10 hours is attend another event. But just say ‘yes’ anyway. It will be a great opportunity to make some new connections.
  1. Join a Meetup group. If you’re really picky about the people you hang out with, join a Meetup group. No matter what your interests may be — cooking, hiking, theater, Star Trek, tech, photography, crafts, writing, or dogs — you’re sure to find a group that has common interests in your new home.
  1. Invite a friend or relative to visit. You know what it’s like to have friends and relatives visit from out of town. You want to show them a good time. What better way to get off the couch and explore the highlights of your new town by playing host to your out-of-town visitors? Take the time to schedule an itinerary before they arrive. And if it will be a while before they visit, explore those areas yourself first.
  1. Ask, ask, ask. Many of the residents in your new home town will likely be happy to help you get acclimated to your new surroundings. Don’t hesitate to ask neighbors, co-workers, or that barista for advice on the best restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops and other top spots in your neighborhood. Sure, you can look at Yelp and other online review sites, but you can connect with other people by just asking for advice.
  1. Navigate your new neighborhood. Explore the city in your car as well as with public transportation, if it’s available. Use Google Maps, Travelocity and Yelp to discover spots that are considered among the top destinations in the city.
  1. Volunteer. Overcome those feelings of isolation by volunteering to work at a social services agency. One great thing about volunteering is that organizations welcome the help, and they are apt to treat you as part of the team. You’ll also have more opportunities to meet like-minded people.
  1. Get a dog! If you’re a canine lover, maybe it’s time to consider adopting one into your household. Most dogs are notoriously friendly and can help you break the ice with strangers in the park or during walks. Of course, only take this route if you’re ready to commit to a pet for the long haul.

Adjusting to new surroundings takes time. Don’t pressure yourself to feel at home quickly. Enjoy the experience of exploring new places, destinations and friends.