Frugal Beautiful

Relocation 101:

Posted on: January 26, 2011

If you find yourself in a new city for business, for pleasure or for-ever here are some resources to get acclimated to your new city.

-Yelp.com and Citysearch.com: Find anything you need based on your geographic location and filter based on price, user reviews and whether or not they serve alcohol and take credit cards!

If you’re on a computer, you can type in your address and find the closest Indian Restaurants and make your decision based on user reviews and price!  If you’re mobile, use your phone to give you walking or public transportation directions as you move.  Yelp has been my go-to tool for navigating Chicago’s train lines.

-Google Maps: Unlike other map sites, Google  Maps allows you to quickly view different routes for walking, biking, public transportation and of course, driving.   Not having a car got significantly less sucky!

-FourSquare: This is one of my favorite phone apps!  If you’re out in a new city, or even want to find some really hilarious hidden spots (like the “Batcave” and “Masturabatorium” near my apartment) download this app to your phone and post your check-ins around the city on facebook, or simply share with other friends on Foursquare!

-Meetup.com: There is a group for anything and everything.  In less than five minutes I was able to find groups for fellow pug lovers, knitters, feminists and Chicagoans on a budget and when they meet.  Chances are everyone in these groups will be adventurers like yourself who just want to make friends in a new city- so you’ll be in good (and equally unacquainted) company!

-OKCupid.com: Sure, some people would call this “OKStupid.com” but honestly- I’ve used it myself when I was timid and afraid to dip my toes into the waters of online dating.  If I was crazy enough to relocate to a new city by myself, how scary could this be?  Great news, is that it’s free and if you hate it, then cancel it!  You can get to know some great restaurants and coffee houses this way as long as you meticulously pre-screen for crazies.

-Couchsurfing: This takes a brave individual to either surf or host, but it might be fun!  The concept is simple:  randoms who need a place to crash can find other randoms to host them and let them stay at their house for free, or for a small favor (like dinner..not sexual favors, McNasty!).  You can do this while  you’re foraging an unfamiliar city, or, you can be the brave one and break in your freshly unpacked futon with some new  person from internet!

-Groupon: Groupon offers an array of great deals in your neighborhood!  Get deals to restaurants, salons, spas and theaters for 50-7% off.  This is a great way to try new types of foods and entertainment in your area that you might not want to pay full price for, or for places you adore but still want to save money!  I got a gift certificate to Amazon.com and Nordstrom Rack for 50% off this way!

But What About Off The Interwebs?

-Scout for Free Stuff: Head over to your local (Note: not Starbucks) coffee house, boutiques,  library and grocer to see what is posted on bulletin boards, and any local publications that you can pick up and check out for free.  This is how I got free postcards to send home, a free neighborhood guide and a list of community happenings to plan out my first month in a new city.

-Buy these shoes:

Okay, so maybe you don’t need these so-ugly-they’re cute Toms,  but they are GREAT for walking around in!  Celebrate your exploration by supporting your arches and children who need shoes.  Tom’s donates a pair to a child in need for each one that’s purchased.  Buy at your local shoe store or at Toms.com – but be aware, they run a little big!

-Simply talk to people! Before moving across country, I posted status updates about it on Facebook.   Chances are, your current friends have family or friends in your new area of choice.  I met several new friends simply because my Facebook friends helped me make that connection.  Also,  when you get to your new neighborhood, people will sense your bewilderment and are usually more than happy to help you out.

-Speaking of libraries…my local library had a whole section on Chicago guides, several of which went beyond the basic tourist information.  Chances are, you can find books for free or cheap that are geared towards exploring new locales on a budget.  Of course, a simple Google search can yield a lot of great info about your new area!

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