Our 10 tips when moving to a new city 

By Charlotte Deprez Published 31/07/2019

Moving to a new city this summer? Getting settled in a new environment is very exciting, but it’s never ever a piece of cake. The high temperatures, the administration, the people on vacation… Here are our few tips to overcome — or anticipate — the little inconveniences of moving abroad.

Getting settled: practical aspects

  1. Rise and shine. Or well, rise and move
  2. Book your spot on the street
  3. Internet
  4. Administration and practicalities upon arrival
  5. Survival kit
  6. Getting a social life
  7. Reach out to local / expat communities
  8. Sign up for the (summer) activities
  9. Learn the language

Rise and shine. Or well, rise and move.

It’s probably quite obvious, but if you’re moving to a new city by car in the summer, chances are that the weather will be warm. The earlier you take the wheel, the cooler the temperatures! Also, if you drive on a weekday, you’ll avoid the morning traffic. Furthermore, you might wanna get to your new place while it’s still daylight.

Book your spot on the street

It might seem like an insignificant technicality, but trust us, forgetting to book your spot on the street for the moving trucks or cars will make your moving go from “already painful” to “absolute hell”. 

Picture this: you arrive, super excited, to your new place with basically your whole life in your car trunk, and can’t find a spot to unload your stuff. Imagine the amount of time you’ll lose to try and find the parked car owners. Not to mention it’s a fairly lame way to meet your new neighbours! Booking your spot on the street can usually be done by addressing directly the local administration. 


When you arrive at your new home, you’ll most probably need internet to find where to go for your groceries, what are the things you can do in your neighbourhood, how far you are from this or that… 

In some cities, it can take weeks to get an up and running internet connection. So don’t forget to do your market research and subscribe to an operator in your new place long before you get there! 

Administration and practicalities upon arrival

If you’re moving to a new city in the summer, chances are that administrations and banks will be on holiday mode, hence less work hours and longer waiting periods. To avoid any inconvenience, taking care of your paperwork should be at the very top of your to do!

Also, don’t forget to buy a local sim card right away. It’ll make all your communications way easier.

Survival kit

As you would pack a hand luggage, pack a survival luggage for your first week in your new home! Think about what you might need in the early days, such as :

  • clothes (thanks captain obvious)
  • bed sheets
  • travel size toiletries
  • toilet paper (you’ll thank us for this one)
  • chargers for all your devices
  • tea or coffee 
  • food requiring little preparation (yay instant noodles) 

All in all, visualise room by room what you feel is essential to your functioning, and pack that! 

Getting a social life

But moving to a new city isn’t all about technicalities, it’s also about getting settled in a new life, with new people and new habits! Here are our top tips to adapt smoothly.

Settled in? Good, now get out.

Once you’ve unloaded all your things inside your new home, it’s time to go out there and explore your new neighbourhood! Of course you could go on Google Maps to do that, but Google Maps is not the real life.

By walking around and allowing yourself to get lost a little, you might discover hidden treasures right at the corner of your street, but also meet your neighbours. Yes, it might sound super adventurous like this — not — but how did people cope before the smartphone era? Huh?

Once you’ve explored your new area a little, don’t forget to travel outside of the city and discover the nice spots your adoptive country has to offer. That’s what week-ends are for!

Reach out to local / expat communities

Food, photography, wine, yoga, reading,… No matter your passion or aspirations, there’s probably a community in your new city that shares your enthusiasm for a precise topic. To find them, join Facebook groups and Meetups!

They’re a great way to easily meet like-minded people or people coming from your home country. Because we all feel homesick every now and then.

Also, if you travel alone, you might wanna check out coliving options instead of taking a flat all by yourself! They’re a great alternative with all the amenities and you’ll be part of a community right away!

Sign up for the (summer) activities

Summer means local events, flea markets, festivals and tons of outdoor activities! Take advantage of the season to explore all the options your new city has to offer. The city website must have a calendar of events, whether they happen once a year or every week.

You can also enjoy the summer hiatus to enroll in a new weekly activity, such as joining a gym, an art class, a book club…

Learn the language

Easier said than done, right? Start with the basics: “hello”, “bye”, “thanks”,… You’ll already observe a tremendous change in how the locals react to this teeny tiny effort, and you’ll get more and more confident.

Then try and find classes or discussion groups where you can learn and practice. Trust us, it will make a huge difference in your whole expatriation experience.

And always remember

You’ve got this. The hardest part is over, now try and get the most out of this amazing experience! Get over your shyness, you have nothing to lose.

Also, you’re not the first expat, nor the only one, which means you can reach out whenever you feel down!

About the author Hello there! I'm Charlotte, based in beautiful Brussels and passionate about traveling, food and photography. Follow me @thetinynomad!