Changing your state? Again, start your search with a bookstore or library. If the shelves contain no useful information, ask about other resources. Obviously books are available on all 50 states, but you may have to ask a clerk or librarian to order the one you want.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a good map store nearby, take advantage of it. A map and a phonebook can help you find nearby services, even if you aren’t yet nearby.
Even if you aren’t moving to a large city in the new state, subscribe to a daily metro newspaper. It will include regional and state as well as local, national, and international news coverage. It may also help you find housing and other living necessities faster and easier.
Regional magazines (New York, Atlanta, Southern Living, etc.) can also give you the flavor of your new location.
A long haul is a move that is more than 450 miles—a safe distance beyond the reach of most visiting relatives.
If you’re planning a move to another state and want to get lots of facts, try the official state handbook. You can find them through the state chambers of commerce, department of economic opportunity, or other official office. The handbook for your state may be called the state handbook, the blue book, or some other title. It will typically include governmental, political, social, and historical information about the state. It may include biographies of members of legislature, descriptions and telephone numbers of departments and bureaus, and other useful information. It may also include regulations governing bringing cars, guns, pets, plants, and other items into the state.
How much will it cost to live in your new location compared to your current one? A variety of cost-of-living sources are available to help answer your questions. Large employers and movers can typically prepare an individual cost-of-living analysis for your family comparing your old costs to your projected costs of the new town. Also check the classified and store ads in the newspaper to measure whether it will cost you more to live in your new home town.
Ask your mover what information services are available and the cost of those services. Some movers and relocation services will also use your information to prepare an individual cost-of-living analysis for your family comparing the costs in your current town to your projected costs in the new town.
Many moving companies offer a relocation service that includes information about your destination. For example, United Van Lines (800-284-6683) will provide a city or state report that includes government, taxes, geography, climate, housing, and other useful information for movers.
Reality check: What do you already know about the state to which you’re moving? Your information might not be accurate.
For example, most folks think that each state has a single personality that abruptly ends at the border where the next state’s personality begins. Not so. In fact, many states have multiple personalities—separated by geographic boundaries rather than arbitrary lines on a map.
For example, Washington state has many lifestyle regions within it. Seattle (west) is cosmo-metro (lots of BMWs). Spokane (east) is rural-metro (lots of sports utility vehicles). Walla Walla (southeast) is plain isolated (lots of rusty pickups). In fact, life in western Washington is more like that in western Oregon than it is in eastern Washington. Other states with an abundance of geography (mountains, rivers, lakes) also seem to develop multiple personalities.
The state’s department of tourism can be a good source of information. Call or write them and ask for maps and general information about the state, as well as for specific information about the region of the state you will be moving to. Learning about other parts of the state will help you create a list of fun things to do on weekends after you get settled into the new house.
Tips for New-State Moves:
- For children, find out whether their new school has a service club (Teen-to-Teen) that will welcome and help them make new friends.
- Obtain a travel video on your new state through your mover, a library, or a chamber of commerce.
- Make up a going-away video of your current home, neighborhood, schools, and friends to later help satisfy pangs of homesickness—or remind you why you left!