Moving to a New City – How to Travel Like a Local Before You Settle In


Moving to a new city and the anticipation of new experiences often come hand in hand with feelings of uncertainty and stress, commonly known as “moving blues.” The process of relocating involves numerous tasks and adjustments, from packing up your life to getting accustomed to a new environment. This emotional rollercoaster can be overwhelming, especially when leaving behind familiar surroundings and close-knit communities, such as moving out of St. Charles.

However, one effective way to ease the transition is by immersing yourself in the new city like a local even before you fully settle in. This approach helps you get acquainted with your new surroundings, build connections, and reduce the stress associated with moving out of St. Charles. By exploring the city, understanding its neighborhoods, and engaging with its community, you can make the moving process smoother and more enjoyable.

Here are six tips to help you travel like a local before you settle into your new city.

1.   Plan Everything with a Moving Checklist

One of the most important steps in getting ready for a move is making a detailed moving checklist. This list will act as a roadmap, helping you navigate the numerous tasks involved in the relocation process. Whether it’s organizing and packing your items or working with movers, a thorough checklist ensures that every detail is accounted for. When moving from St. Charles, for example, it’s essential to plan everything meticulously. Hiring reputable St. Charles movers can make the entire process much easier.

Using a checklist can significantly reduce the stress of moving. It helps you stay organized, prioritize tasks, and manage your time effectively. Start by listing all the tasks you need to complete, such as notifying utility companies, updating your address, and scheduling moving services. Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps and set deadlines to keep yourself on track.

2.   Research Local Neighborhoods

Before settling into a new city, it’s important to research different neighborhoods to find the best fit for your lifestyle and needs. Each neighborhood has its unique characteristics, amenities, and vibe. Consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, parks, and public transportation. Also, think about what kind of community atmosphere you prefer – whether it’s a bustling urban area, a quiet suburban neighborhood, or something in between.

To gather information about potential neighborhoods, utilize online resources and local social media groups, and take time to visit in person if possible. Websites like Zillow offer detailed insights into various neighborhoods, including crime rates, school ratings, and demographic information. Joining local community groups on social media platforms like Facebook can also provide valuable firsthand accounts from current residents.

3.   Connect with Local Communities

Building connections in your new city is essential for feeling at home and supported. Engaging with local communities can help you establish a network of friends and acquaintances, making the transition smoother and more enjoyable. Start by joining local clubs, attending community events, and participating in social activities. These interactions provide opportunities to meet people with similar interests and form meaningful relationships.

Finding community groups can be made easier through online platforms, local community centers, and neighborhood bulletin boards. Websites like offer various groups and events based on your interests, from hiking clubs to book groups. Community centers often have bulletin boards or websites listing local events, classes, and activities. Participating in these activities not only helps you integrate into the community but also provides a sense of belonging and support during the transition period.

4.   Explore Local Cuisine and Markets

Exploring local cuisine and markets is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the culture of your new city. Food is a universal language that brings people together, and experiencing local dishes can provide insights into the community’s traditions and lifestyle. Start by visiting farmers’ markets, local restaurants, and food festivals. These places not only offer a taste of the local flavors but also give you the opportunity to interact with residents and learn more about their way of life.

To find the best local food spots, consider asking for recommendations from new acquaintances, reading online reviews, and using food apps like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Talking to locals can lead you to hidden gems that aren’t widely known to tourists. Additionally, online reviews can help you identify highly-rated eateries and markets. Exploring local cuisine and markets not only satisfies your taste buds but also helps you feel more connected to your new city, making the transition smoother and more enjoyable.

5.   Use Public Transportation and Walk

Using public transportation and walking around the city are excellent ways to explore your new surroundings like a local. Understanding the public transit system can help you navigate the city more efficiently and discover areas you might not visit otherwise. Walking allows you to see the city up close, giving you a better sense of its layout and character. Both methods of exploration can reveal hidden gems and provide a deeper appreciation of the local culture.

To make the most of public transportation, start by studying maps and schedules and consider using transit apps that provide real-time updates. Observing local commuters can also offer valuable insights into the best practices for using the system. When walking, take note of interesting places, parks, and shops that you might want to revisit. Walking tours – whether self-guided or with a local guide – can provide a structured way to learn about the city’s history and notable landmarks.

6.   Learn About Local Culture and Traditions

Learning about the local culture and traditions is essential for feeling connected to your new city. Every city has its unique history, customs, and events that shape its identity. Immersing yourself in these aspects can enrich your experience and help you feel more at home. Start by visiting museums, historical sites, and cultural centers. These places offer valuable insights into the city’s past and present, providing a deeper understanding of the community you are joining.

To further immerse yourself in the local culture, attend cultural events, read about the city’s history, and engage with long-time residents. Festivals, parades, and local celebrations are great opportunities to experience the community’s traditions firsthand. Reading books or articles about the city’s history can provide context and appreciation for its development and character. Engaging with long-time residents and listening to their stories can offer a personal perspective on the city’s culture.


Moving to a new city involves more than just a physical relocation; it’s about adapting to a new environment and lifestyle. By exploring local cuisine, using public transportation, and learning about the local culture, you can travel like a local and ease your transition into the new city. These activities help you build connections, understand your surroundings, and feel more at home. Embracing these strategies not only makes the move more enjoyable but also enriches your overall experience, allowing you to fully appreciate and integrate into your new community.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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