It’s not like we haven’t moved between cities before. It’s never a fun process, but usually the excitement of having a new apartment to decorate and a new area to explore is enough to carry us through the hassle of moving.
This time, though, it was different. Moving from Sydney to New York meant that my husband and I couldn’t just hire a moving truck to haul our possessions to a new home. Instead, we sold everything we owned with the intention of starting from scratch.
Other expats have told us their experiences moving to New York, and each of them have said that they went through similar difficulties to ours. If you’re preparing to settle in The Big Apple, here are some essential tips on moving to New York without going crazy.
1. Spend time researching your new hood
We booked two rounds of temporary accommodation in areas that we thought were going to be great, only to find out that… they weren’t so fantastic. Location is everything when moving to New York, and you’re never going to enjoy it properly if you’re staying somewhere that isn’t the right fit for you.
Do your research, and take some time to explore a multitude of hoods before settling on any one place.
2. Save like you’ve never saved before
Moving cities always requires a certain amount of money, but moving to New York… well, I can nearly guarantee that this city will require twice as much as you think it will.
In our case, we were without a US credit rating as we’d moved from Australia, which made it difficult for us to secure an apartment. We had to hire a broker to find us a lenient landlord that would accept an increased security deposit instead. Upon finding one that was willing to rent out a place to us, we handed over thousands (and cried a little inside when we exchanged our worthless Australian dollars to expensive US dollars), then realised we had no money left over for furniture. An air mattress, hastily ordered off Amazon, was the only item filling our apartment for a full 6 weeks.
My advice to you is this: Budget the amount of money you think moving to New York will cost, then double it. Temporary accommodation, security bonds, brokers fees, and new furniture will add up to a lot of money, but even if you’ve accounted for all this, it’s difficult to predict exactly how much it will actually set you back once you’ve arrived.
3. Anticipate things not going according to plan
We spent 2-3 months preparing for moving to New York, including selling everything we owned, applying and interviewing for jobs, then applying for a US working visa… only to have it all fall apart right after we arrived. Our working visas were deemed useless when the job we had lined up fell through, and we had to go through the month-long visa application process again.
It seems to ring true for almost everyone who moves to New York – this city ain’t easy. You need some very thick skin to get through your first few months here. No matter how prepared you think you are, be aware that things might not go to plan. Brace yourself!
4. Expect New Yorkers to be blunt and direct
New Yorkers are known for being hard, direct, and unapologetic. They don’t care much for giving directions, and they’ll be sure to let you know if you’re in their way.
This is not to say that New Yorkers are mean or horrible, and of course there are some lovely people in New York – but if you’ve previously been living in an area where people say hello when you walk by and ask how your day has been, then you’re in for a surprise.
5. Be 100% sure of your decision to move to New York
If you’re planning on moving to New York, then you’re sure as hell going to have to commit. There will be times (I guarantee it) when you will question why on earth you decided to move here, but once you get accustomed to the conveniences, the optimistic attitudes, and the diversity of this crazy and wonderful city, you won’t be able to imagine living anywhere else. Especially when you try the food!
It takes a while to get on your feet in New York City, but once that happens, it can be an unbelievably rewarding experience. It’s one of the most unique and beautiful cities in the world, and if you’re anything like me then you’re bound to fall in love with it.
The best advice I can give is to have a detailed plan, then move towards it with determined ambition. If you can make it in New York City, then you can make it anywhere.
Want to visit the big city but no time to travel soon? Get on Grabr – we’ll connect you with a traveler who can bring a piece of NYC home to you. Stay caught up with ourblog for more city guides and inspiration.
This article was written by Ashlea Wheeler.