Moving From a Small Town to a Big City - I Love Moving

Top 7 Tips for Moving From a Small Town to a Big City

Posted Moving Preparation / September 15, 2023
Diana Road

A talented writer from Wichita, Kansas, with a passion for helping people navigate the stressful process of moving. With her extensive knowledge of the moving industry, Diana has become a go-to resource for useful info

Moving overseas and making the leap from serene lanes to bustling avenues is no small feat, as the process of moving from a small town to a big city in a foreign country brims with both anticipation and uncertainty. To ease this transformative journey, we’ve curated some helpful tips to ensure your urban transition is seamless and rewarding. Dive in and embark on this metropolitan adventure equipped with knowledge and confidence.

How to move to a big city? Start by researching the area and understanding its neighborhoods and dynamics. Financial planning becomes essential due to higher living expenses. Given the smaller city accommodations, this may include adjustments like downsizing belongings. When moving internationally, think about hiring an overseas shipping company, securing a job in advance, and gathering essential documentation. To smooth the transition, learning the local language and connecting with other expats can be beneficial.

#1 Do Your Research Before Moving From a Small Town to a Big City

Before you start planning your international relocation, it’s paramount to immerse yourself in comprehensive research. Delve into city-specific resources, blogs, and forums to get a pulse on urban life and different possibilities.

Familiarize yourself with the distinct vibes of various neighborhoods and research their safety using platforms like Nextdoor. Being informed not only ensures a smoother transition but also maximizes the relocation benefits of urban living, from cultural diversity to expansive professional opportunities.

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#2 Budgeting Is a Must When Moving Abroad

With its vibrant allure and endless opportunities, life in a big city often comes with a heftier price tag. Cities generally have elevated living costs compared to smaller towns or rural areas.

As such, it’s essential to plan your finances meticulously, taking into account expenses like rent, transportation, and utilities. A well-structured relocation budget ensures you can fully immerse yourself in this journey of self-discovery without worrying about unexpected costs or moving stress.

#3 Downsize Your Belongings and Save Up

Lightening the load before shipping your belongings overseas is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the cost of shipping is often directly proportional to the weight and volume of items. By downsizing your belongings, you can significantly save money on relocation costs.

Secondly, international transitions can be complex, with many logistical challenges. A minimized inventory simplifies this process, reducing the chances of items getting lost or mishandled. Lastly, customs regulations and import restrictions vary by country. Fewer items mean fewer potential complications at customs, ensuring a smoother transition to your future residence.

Check the video below for tips on how to speed up your decluttering process.

City Apartments Might Be Smaller Than What You’re Used To

Embracing the art of efficient living and decluttering can turn these snug spaces into comfortable, functional havens. They are usually nestled amidst the dense urban fabric and might be cozier and more compact than what you’re accustomed to in suburban or rural settings.

While there are plenty of benefits of living in a big city, they often come with the trade-off of lower square footage. However, what these apartments may lack in size, they often make up for in character, convenience, and proximity to the city’s pulse.

Sell, Donate, or Store Items You Won’t Need Immediately

Instead of hauling everything to your future destination, consider categorizing items based on immediate necessity and only keep things that you reach for all the time. Those items that aren’t urgently needed might find a better home elsewhere.

Selling through a garage sale or online platforms such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace can provide extra funds for your international relocation. On the other hand, donating unwanted items to charity can offer a sense of community contribution, while booking storage services with your movers ensures that, should you need them down the line, they remain easily accessible.

#4 Hire an International Moving Company to Make Your Relocation Easy

At I Love International Moving, we understand that relocating abroad is more than just a new adventure – it’s a life-changing transition. As a premier overseas moving company, we take pride in making this transition as seamless as possible for our clients.

While many choose to hire movers without fully comprehending their moving services, we offer a holistic approach, ensuring every detail is transparent and taken care of. From careful packaging to efficient transportation, entrust us to make your international relocation easy and a journey you’ll remember fondly.

Use a Variety of Relocation Services

At the heart of I Love International Moving is our unwavering commitment to personalized service. We believe that every international relocation is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t do. To cater to the diverse needs of our clients, we offer a variety of tailored relocation services.

Whether you’re looking for packing services to safeguard your prized possessions or require overseas vehicle shipping to bring along your cherished four-wheeler, we’ve got you covered. Our commitment is to provide a comprehensive suite of services that ensures every aspect of your move is handled with expertise and care.

#5 Secure a Job or Source of Income

It’s advisable to kickstart your job hunt well in advance, allowing ample time to explore opportunities and align them with your skills and aspirations. If you’re currently employed, it’s worth exploring if your role is transferable or if there are similar positions available within your company in the new location. Having a financial foothold not only provides peace of mind but also ensures a smoother integration into your future environment.

Network and Reach Out to Other Expats

Building connections in a new environment is crucial for both professional and personal integration. Networking and reaching out to fellow expats can provide invaluable insights, shared experiences, and even potential job leads.

Platforms like serve as a goldmine for newcomers, offering forums, advice, and local groups that can make the transition smoother. Engaging with this community not only helps in understanding the local nuances but also fosters a sense of belonging, easing the challenges often faced in unfamiliar terrains.

#6 Gather All the Necessary Documents Before the Move

Gathering all the important documents needed for traveling abroad is a crucial step in ensuring a stress-free relocation. Proper documentation acts as the foundation for many essential processes, from clearing customs to establishing your new home abroad. Here are some fundamental considerations:

  • Personal identification – this includes your passport (with appropriate validity), driver’s license, and other forms of ID. It’s also beneficial to have copies of these documents in case of loss or theft.
  • Visa and work permits – ensure you have the right visa for your purpose of stay, whether it’s for work, study, or permanent residency.
  • Birth and marriage certificates – these can be necessary for various administrative tasks or to confirm your identity.
  • Medical records – having a comprehensive history of vaccinations, prescriptions, and any existing conditions will be valuable when seeking healthcare in your new location.
  • Insurance policies – whether it’s health, life, or property insurance, make sure you have all relevant documents and understand the coverage terms, especially if you’re transitioning policies.
  • Financial documents – bank statements, tax returns, and credit reports can be essential when renting property, buying a car, or opening a local bank account.
  • Academic and professional certifications – if you’re looking for a job or enrolling in education, your degrees, diplomas, and professional certificates will often be required.
  • Property documents – if you’re selling or renting out property in your home country, keep all relevant papers handy. If you’re moving items overseas, a detailed inventory list can be helpful for insurance and customs.
  • Recommendation letters – these can be from previous employers, landlords, or other notable figures and can help in various scenarios, such as job hunting or renting a place.
  • Emergency contacts – a list of essential contacts, including family, friends, and crucial institutions like your bank or embassy.
  • Language translation – if relocating to a country with a different official language, it’s wise to have vital documents translated and certified.

Research Visa Requirements

Each nation has its own set of stipulations and prerequisites that dictate who can enter, for how long, and for what purpose. Work or resident visas usually require more complex paperwork like background checks and interviews.

Failure to comply with a country’s visa rules can lead to entry denials, deportations, or even legal consequences. It’s imperative to consult official sources, such as embassies or immigration websites, well in advance of any planned move or trip, ensuring all criteria are met, and any potential hurdles are addressed promptly.

#7 Start Learning the Language in Advance

Diving into a different culture often comes with the challenge of learning its language. By familiarizing yourself with the basics of the language, you pave the way for smoother interactions, reduce potential misunderstandings, and enhance the overall experience in your environment.

Even a rudimentary grasp can break barriers, as locals often appreciate the effort made by newcomers to communicate in their tongue. Beyond mere utility, learning a language can also offer profound insights into the cultural nuances, idioms, and traditions of a place, enriching your immersion and connection to it.

Make Sure You Are Prepared for the Culture Shock

Keep in mind that culture shock is a common experience for many who venture into unfamiliar territories, manifesting as a mix of excitement, confusion, and sometimes even depression after relocation. It arises from the realization that familiar cues and societal norms you’ve grown accustomed to are no longer prevalent.

Whether it’s navigating different social etiquettes, adjusting to local cuisine, or grappling with language barriers, the initial euphoria of a new setting can gradually give way to feelings of isolation or misunderstanding.

Join Expat Groups and Learn About Life in the City

Engaging with expat communities can be a lifeline for individuals adjusting to life in an unfamiliar environment. Expat groups and platforms like and InterNations offer a unique blend of shared experiences and localized knowledge, making them an invaluable resource for newcomers.

By joining these communities, you can gain insights into the nuances of urban life, from navigating public transport to finding hidden culinary gems. Beyond practical advice, expats also provide a sense of camaraderie and understanding, offering a space where one can voice concerns, share triumphs, and sometimes even reminisce about home.

Follow Our Tips, and Your Move Abroad to a Big City Will Be Seamless

Navigating the complexities of an international move can be daunting, but at I Love International Moving, we’re committed to simplifying that journey for you. Our years of expertise, combined with a genuine passion for facilitating smooth transitions, position us as your ideal partner for such monumental steps. Every story, every relocation, and every dream is unique, and we’re here to ensure yours unfolds perfectly. Contact us today and experience the gold standard in international relocations.


What Are the Main Challenges of Moving From a Small Town to a Big City?

Relocation of this magnitude often means dealing with higher living costs, navigating complex public transport systems, adapting to a faster pace of life, and potentially feeling overwhelmed by the sheer density and diversity of people.

How Should I Prepare Financially for the Move, Considering the Higher Living Costs in Cities?

Delve into the specifics: research the average rent for the type of apartment you’re seeking, anticipated utility bills, local grocery prices, transportation expenses, and other daily living costs. Remember that cities often have hidden costs, like higher insurance rates or city-specific taxes. It’s beneficial to build a contingency fund – an amount separate from your moving costs and initial expenses.

Will I Need to Downsize My Belongings When Relocating to a City Apartment?

The apartments in urban areas, especially those centrally located, tend to be compact and come at a premium cost per square foot. This space limitation often necessitates a certain level of downsizing. Reflect on what you genuinely use and need.

Items that haven’t been used in the past year might be prime candidates for selling, donating, or worth getting rid of. For items with sentimental value that you can’t part with but won’t fit in your new space, consider long-term storage solutions.

How Can I Connect With Locals in the City Before My Move?

Online forums dedicated to specific topics or neighborhoods are a gold mine of information. Local groups on social media platforms, especially Facebook, can be a window into the daily life and concerns of residents. Platforms like Meetup not only offer a chance to meet people but also introduce you to various city-centric activities, hobbies, or discussion groups that can ease your transition.

Are Public Transportation Options in the City Reliable, or Should I Keep My Car?

Some cities have efficient public transport systems, making owning a car unnecessary and even burdensome due to traffic and parking costs. Research the city’s public transport reliability and weigh it against the cost and convenience of maintaining a car.

What's the Best Way to Familiarize Myself With the City Neighborhoods Before Deciding Where to Live?

While there’s no substitute for an in-person visit, there are still comprehensive ways to virtually scout neighborhoods. Many cities now offer virtual tours, providing panoramic views of streets, parks, and landmarks.

Additionally, local blogs or vlogs can provide an on-the-ground perspective of living in particular neighborhoods. Websites dedicated to real estate can also offer demographic data, pricing trends, and resident reviews, providing a holistic picture of a potential new home.

How Can I Ensure That I'm Moving to a Safe Part of the City?

To gauge the safety of different city regions, start by looking at crime statistics, which many city police departments publish online. Reading local news or community bulletins can give insights into prevalent issues or recent incidents in specific areas. If possible, consider visiting the neighborhood during both day and night to get a feel for its ambiance.

What Are Some Key Differences in Lifestyle Between Small Towns and Big Cities?

Big hubs often offer more cultural, entertainment, and dining options but can also come with increased noise, faster-paced living, and reduced personal space. While small towns might provide a closer-knit community feel, cities present greater anonymity.

Should I Secure a Job in the City Before Moving, or Is It Possible to Find One After Relocating?

It’s always safer to secure a job before moving, as this provides financial security. However, some people choose to move first, particularly if they have substantial savings or are in high-demand professions.

How Can I Effectively Manage the Stress and Culture Shock of Transitioning to City Life?

Try to keep in touch with your friends and loved ones, but seek out new friendships and establish a routine to bring a sense of normality. Consider joining support groups or therapy if the transition feels particularly challenging. Remember, it’s natural to need time to adjust to your new country and feel a plethora of emotions while doing so.

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