You're about to move? Tips for expats and veterans

How to Move and Settle into a New Area: A Guide for Expats and Veterans


Moving to a new area is exciting but it also presents unique challenges. From finding basic amenities, like your go-to grocery store, to integrating into a new community, a successful transition requires more than simply unpacking moving boxes. Settling into a new place can be especially tricky for expats who have moved to a new country with a different culture.

Military veterans also face unique hurdles as they must simultaneously adapt to civilian life. According to The Military Times, younger veterans in particular may struggle to adapt after leaving the service. Read on for more tips for a successful move courtesy of The American Legion, Department of Indiana.

Plan the logistics of your move in advance

The key to a smooth move is advanced planning. Before you make the transition to another state, Redfin recommends researching fiscal details like property tax, so you can prepare financially. You don't want to find yourself struggling with money as soon as you arrive. If you're strapped for cash, staying with a friend or family member until you've found an affordable home or rental can be handy.

When it comes to the actual move, Style At Home has tips on how to expedite the process. First, seize the opportunity to cut down on your possessions. Label everything using color-coded post-it notes to keep organized and take written inventory to easily track items. Last but not least, prepare one box of essentials that you'll need immediately upon arrival in your new home. This could include a change of clothes, toiletries, and medications.

Introduce yourself to the neighbors

Once you're settled into your new home, take the time to say hello to your neighbors. This can be a valuable first step towards integrating into your surroundings and making it feel like home. New Home Source recommends bringing by a bottle of wine or some baked goods to get to know your neighbors if you don't run into them naturally. If you have children and there are families with similar-aged kids nearby, this can also help your little ones acclimate. Once your home is ready to receive visitors, consider hosting an informal gathering like a barbecue or cocktail evening to get to know the people nearby.

Look for ways to get involved in the local community

A daily routine will allow you to feel more connected to your community. As Psychology Today explains, people are creatures of routine. Say you go to the same coffee shop every morning. Seeing the barista's familiar face on a daily basis is a great way to start feeling at home in your new area. Giving Compass provides actionable tips for ways to further integrate into your community. You can check out local websites for events, look at poster boards in local coffee shops, join religious organizations, or find volunteer opportunities.

Immerse yourself in your surroundings independently, not just as a couple or family

When you move to a new area as a family or a couple, it's normal that you will get to know your community together. However, it's also important that you put yourself out there as an individual. This can be especially important for the "trailing partner." If you've moved to a new place because of your partner's job or military station, for example, they will have an automatic connection due to their work life. You don't want to simply be known as their partner or spouse. Get out there on your own, establishing connections and purpose.

The above tips can help you make a successful move and settle into a new community. Give yourself time and remain patient as you adapt. You won't feel at ease overnight but with some effort, you will soon be happy to call your new surroundings home.

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