Woman rides bicycle down the street of hew new city.

Tips & Guides / Digital Nomads

How to Start Over in a New City

By Bri Hand | January 5, 2022

Over the past few weeks, I have been binge-watching a ton of TV, including Netflix’s most hated-but-also-loved show, “Emily in Paris.” While I’m particularly fond of following the *draaaama* of Emily’s romantic adventures, one of the reasons I can’t stop watching this show is because it’s so fun to live vicariously through the show’s protagonist as she moves somewhere completely foreign, explores her surroundings, meets new people, and ultimately makes it her home. There’s something very enticing about ditching your daily life in favor of a new adventure!

If you’re thinking about starting over in a new city, it’s natural to feel a little scared, especially if you are going alone and don’t know anyone. However, the experience can also be highly rewarding with just a little bit of extra effort and patience.

Here are some of our best tips on how to start over in a new city, from locking down a new home to bridging that oh-so-awkward gap between acquaintances and friends: 

How to find a job in a new city

One of the most important parts of kick-starting your new life is finding a new job. While it is possible to move somewhere new without having a job lined up, the prospect can be daunting when it comes to your own financial stability. Additionally, it can be tough to rent an apartment without stable employment, as landlords will more often than not want to see proof of income before approving your application.

When looking for a job in a new city, you’ll want to search for jobs online in that location. To make recruiters feel more comfortable with moving forward with you, it’s worth mentioning in your cover letter that you are actively pursuing jobs in that city and looking to relocate. You may even want to remove your current address from your resume entirely to avoid giving the company the impression that you wouldn’t be available to work in their desired location. 

When you make it to the interview stage, be open and honest about your intentions to move so that your commitment level is clear. Once you get further down in the interviewing process, you can also inquire about whether the company offers any relocation assistance. While not every company is willing to do this, this type of arrangement can help ease both the financial and logistical challenges of moving.

It’s worth noting that the job market today is increasingly favoring fully remote work. So, if you want to keep your job at your current company but feel strongly about starting over in a new city, ask your employer whether you could work remotely. You won’t know until you ask, and by sticking with the same company, you won’t have to deal with going above and beyond to establish yourself in a new workplace while also exploring your new city. 

How to find an apartment in a new city

Congrats—you’ve locked down a new job, and you’re ready to take the next step of searching for your new home. There are essentially two ways you can find your new place: 

  1. Searching online so you’ll be able to move in once you arrive
  2. Finding a temporary housing situation and looking for an apartment after you get there

Both approaches come with some benefits and drawbacks, so we’ll dive a little deeper into each option and share some tips below:

1. Searching for an apartment online

If you want to have an apartment locked down before you arrive in your city, you’ll have to rely on the internet to find your new place. Fortunately, this is easier than ever these days! There are a variety of apartment rental websites out there that include detailed apartment descriptions, high-quality photos, and even video tours to give you a sense of what it’s like to move there.

If possible, reading reviews online from any past tenants can also give you a good idea of what your future landlord might be like and any issues they’ve had with the building in the past. Renting an apartment sight unseen might make you feel uneasy, but with the proper amount of research about your new building and neighborhood, you can get yourself into a positive living situation. 

Particularly if you’re moving from somewhere far away, it can be worth looking into furnished apartments to cut back on the amount of furniture and belongings you need to bring with you (or invest in once you get there). If you’re in the market for a furnished apartment, Landing provides fully stocked and furnished apartments in over 365 U.S. cities with top-tier amenities. 

2. Searching for an apartment in person

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to search for an apartment in person, definitely take advantage of this opportunity. Try taking a trip out to your new city ahead of time to scope out neighborhoods you might want to settle down in, tour apartments, interview for jobs, and meet with potential roommates so you’ll be all set once it’s time for the big move.

Landing apartments also come with flexible lease terms that let you stay for as long as you’d like, so if you want to take the time to get a feel for a couple of new neighborhoods, you can easily transfer apartments within your new city to learn as much as you can about different areas. 

Packing and moving tips

Once you’ve found a great place to live, it’s time to bust out the cardboard boxes and packing tape! What you bring with you to your new home will largely depend on how long you’re planning on staying, whether you’re driving or flying there, and whether you’re renting an unfurnished apartment or a furnished one.

If you think you’re only going to move to this new city temporarily, it may be worth it to store your belongings instead of hauling them along with you or selling them. However, if you think you’re going to be staying more long-term, consider lightening your load and only bringing essentials with you. It can sometimes be fun to restock a new home—new city, new apartment, new you, new stuff! 

When it comes to actually getting your belongings from one place to another, you can either move them yourself in your car (or a very, very large suitcase), or invest in hiring full-service movers. This can get pricey depending on how far they’ll have to travel, but it can be worth the price to not have to reinvest in new belongings. You’ll also get peace of mind knowing someone else is in charge of your long-distance relocation. No move is entirely stress-free, but you can make it less difficult by getting help.

Explore as much as you can…

The first few days or even weeks in a new city can feel daunting, but it can also be so much fun to get out and explore! You may feel like a tourist for a while as you get your start, but that’s okay—embrace the novelty of admiring your new surroundings! Check off some of the classic must-see spots, but make sure you’re balancing out standard attractions with more local experiences, too. This isn’t just a trip—it’s your new life—so you can afford to take it slow and steady, one new coffee shop at a time.

Your adventures in your new city don’t have to be all itineraries and bucket lists, either. Simply walking around your new neighborhood (and exploring new ones!) will help you get your bearings and better familiarize you with your new home. Trust us—being able to get from point A to point B for the first time without a GPS is a fantastic feeling! 

…then nail down your local favorites

As fun as it is to hit up a new coffee shop and bar every day, it’s also a great idea to find one or two that you really like and go there consistently. Why? Because getting into a routine will help you feel more at home! Other spots to hit up repeatedly include your local grocery store, gym, and library. The more familiar you are with each spot, the more you’ll feel like a local. 

Plus, going to the same go-to place as part of your day-to-day routine increases the likelihood that you can make connections that turn into acquaintances and maybe even friends! At the very least, it’s nice to walk in somewhere and be recognized as a “regular” or have your local barista remember your coffee order. Going out of your way to make sure this happens sooner rather than later will help you feel far more welcome in your new city. 

Use your network to make new friends

The hardest part about starting a new life is needing to make friends and find a support system. It’s not easy getting to know new people as an adult! Fortunately, there are some avenues to explore when it comes to expanding your friendship circle in your new home. 

If you have a new job in the city, try to get to know your co-workers as much as you can. This is one of the easiest ways to meet new people, since you automatically have things in common by working together, you see each other often at work, and your new co-workers likely have great recommendations for things to do and see in town. Don’t be afraid to play the “I’m new!” card!

If you’re working remotely or aren’t jiving with your colleagues, that’s okay—not all hope is lost! Ask any friends whether they know anyone in your city who’d want to meet over a coffee or drink, or look into an alumni group from your college or university for any local transplants. Sports leagues are also a great way to make new connections, whether you want to play competitively or just drink beers while playing kickball. If you’re not into athletic activities, finding local spots to practice your hobbies can be a good way to connect with like-minded individuals, too.

There are also apps that help people connect in new cities. Meetup offers plenty of outings, such as book clubs, walking clubs, or even just mixers for people brand-new to town. You can also use the Bumble BFF feature on Bumble to sync up with other people looking for company in their social life.

Say “yes” to new things

When I moved to Boston in 2014, I essentially adopted the plot of the movie “Yes, Man!” to help in my quest to get to know my new city and make some friends. Getting drinks with coworkers? Yes! Grabbing dinner with an acquaintance? Sure! While this philosophy led to likely far more late nights and tough mornings than I care to admit, it was effective: Within three months of moving, I became part of a friend group who are still my closest friends to this day.

By going into every situation with the mindset of trying to meet new people and make friends, you’ll wind up in some situations that push you out of your comfort zone—which isn’t the worst thing in the world when you’re living somewhere new. Obviously this has some limits depending on your social battery, but taking advantage of people’s offers to hang out can have great results. Just be open-minded!

Be okay with some moving blues

Getting a fresh start somewhere inevitably means you’re going to have bad days—and that’s okay! Feeling lonely and isolated is very common after a big move, and it’s totally normal to have times where you question whether it was the right decision. 

When this happens, try to remind yourself of your reasons for making the switch. Maybe you’re feeling homesick, but think about how great the weather is! Or, maybe you’re having a hard time finding new friends, but think about all of the opportunities you have to be outdoors now! Finding even small things to feel grateful for can help shape your overall mindset after moving.

The lonely feeling will most likely pass with time—and if it doesn’t, the experience will only help you better understand what is important to you and what to search for in your next living situation. Practice self-care, monitor your mental health, take your time, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself if starting over isn’t perfect from the moment you arrive.

Keep your connections back home

Unless your reason for a fresh start was to entirely escape your past, starting over in a new city can also be easier by continuing your relationships with the people you left behind. Zoom and Facetime make it easier than ever to connect with people from your old life and avoid feeling too lonely. It can be fun to have someone to share your new adventures with, and it’s validating to hear someone gush about how jealous they are of your new life!

You can also keep your relationships going by inviting old friends and family to come visit you in your new city once you’re feeling acclimated! Hosting people is a great opportunity to show off your new life, rattle off all your local knowledge, and do some of the more touristy things you maybe haven’t gotten to yet. It’s fun to see your city through someone else’s eyes!

Embrace the opportunity for personal growth

At the end of the day, starting over in a new city is scary, but exciting! Your growth as a person will benefit enormously by trying something new, getting out of your comfort zone, and getting into a new routine. Plus, when you don’t know anybody, you have a unique chance to be who you want to be, so lean into that feeling! It’s not often that people get a fresh start in life.

Have fun! 

It may sound cliche, but one of the biggest benefits of moving somewhere new is taking the opportunity to lean into the experience, take what your new life gives you, and make the most of your new chapter. There are no promises that the move will be sunshine and roses the entire time, but that’s part of the fun of navigating this wildly unpredictable stage of your life. So many people wish that they’d had the chance to try out a new location before settling down, so make the most of your time in a new city—whether your move is just for a few months or becomes a permanent part of your life story. 

Live somewhere new this year with Landing

If you’re looking for an adventure in a new city, try renting your new apartment with Landing. We offer fully furnished apartments in over 375 cities throughout the U.S., all with flexible lease terms that make it easy to stay in town for as long as you’d like. No one ever said that starting over in a new city isn’t challenging, but by living with Landing, it’s easier than ever to make your move when—and where—you want. 

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.