How To Research A New Destination Before Deciding To Relocate
Before I was a frequent traveler or digital nomad, I was an Army brat and a gypsy soul. My family relocated more times than I can count! When I started adulting in the San Francisco Bay Area, I moved just about every year. Then Mr. Misadventures and I did a sabbatical in an RV for 18 months.
At the end of our journey, we began exploring places to relocate to. We ultimately moved to the Phoenix area and then 2 years later to the Raleigh area, so I guess you can say I am a bit of a pro when it comes to this topic! (Plus I did an international move to France and back!)
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Your explorations take you to places you didn’t know existed. You encounter different people, cultures, histories, cuisines, and experiences that can change your perspective on where you’d like to reside. Be that as it may, vacationing in a particular destination is different from living there permanently.
Therefore, you need to do extensive research before making a final decision on where to relocate to.
Best Research Tools
Modern advancements have literally brought the world to your fingertips. With a secure internet connection and a computing device, you can enter a few keywords and access a wealth of information on cities and states across the US (and the world). While a general search of the city and/or state you wish to move to could suffice, there are digital platforms that can make your research more manageable.
- Neighborhood Databases – These are websites that collect and record data about cities around the country. Each city is broken down into neighborhoods, where you can find details on the cost of living, housing and rental rates, median salary, crime rates, school systems, and more.
- City Websites – If you want to get the facts about a town, the best resource is the city’s official website. Here you will find information on the destination's history, population, demographics, and various resources for new residents.
- Renter And Real Estate Sites – Real estate websites, databases, and other digital mediums go beyond displaying descriptions of properties in a designated area. They also focus on providing comprehensive materials to help consumers make the most informed decisions about their living arrangements. Whether you want to learn about preparing your finances to own a home or how to move to another state, you’ll find easy-to-read posts on their blogs to provide guidance.
- City Blogs – many travel bloggers have niched down their websites to specific states and/or cities. When I was planning my move to North Carolina, I checked out NC Tripping and NC Eat & Play. Now there is also This is Raleigh too! These are great resources.
- Facebook Groups – And speaking on NC Tripping, when I was planning my move to North Carolina, The NC Tripping Facebook Group was priceless.
- Instagram: I am pretty sure that all states and large cities have Instagram accounts and hashtags, small cities and towns as well. Make sure to do a visual search on Instagram to find more info. Raleigh is Growing's Instagram account is still a resource I use today.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a visual search engine and it will lead you to information on your target city or state. Just put it in the search bar (like Raleigh) and go!
Factors To Consider
Now that you know which tools are ideal for your research, the next step is to determine what you need to learn more about when deciding to relocate. Below are some suggestions.
- Rental or Real Estate Rates – Whether you plan to rent or buy a property, affordability is a priority. One of the first factors to evaluate is the rental and real estate rates. Ask questions like, What is the average cost to rent an apartment or buy a house, or How often do these rates fluctuate? Use tools like Redfin and Zillow to check out prices in the zip codes you are researching.
- Cost Of Living – Your mortgage or monthly rent isn’t the only thing you’ll need to survive. You’ll also have to cover utilities, insurance, groceries, transportation, etc. Reviewing the average cost of living will let you know how much you’ll need to earn to provide the bare necessities.
- Political/Social Scene – While you may not consider yourself a political person, politics significantly affects how you live. You want to ensure that you’re moving to a place with a political stance that aligns with your needs and desires. You also want to check out the social environment to ensure that you’ll be living next to people you can identify and connect with on a social, personal, or professional level.
- Crime Rates – Everyone wants to live in a safe place. Although crime happens everywhere, there are some locations where it occurs more frequently. As you want to stay away from crime as much as possible, it’s in your best interest to learn more about the types and frequencies of crimes in the area you want to live.
- Job Market – Unless you are a remote worker or make money online, you’ll need to secure a job to afford your new place of residence. So, before moving to another state, find out what types of jobs are available and review the unemployment rates. Ideally, you want to reside somewhere with various earnings opportunities and high job security.
- Schools – If you’re moving with your kids or plan to start a family soon, you must review the school system to see where they rank. As education is a fundamental foundation to living a successful life, you want to ensure that your children have the best opportunities.
When travel is a regular part of your life, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of making a new destination your place of residence. Although you may be intrigued by your experience, impulsive relocating could have some repercussions that you weren’t prepared to handle.
Therefore, it’s best to do your due diligence and use the above tools to learn more about the city or state you’d like to call home.
Research, get prepared, and go for it! To your new adventures!
How about you? Have you relocated to a new city, state, or country? Do you have additional tips to share? Do tell!
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