Apartments Near Me

Rent Calculator

Moving to a Big City from a Small Town: A Quick “How To” Guide

You can probably still recall the butterflies in your stomach, the anxiety, the feeling of loneliness or uncertainty that you felt on the first day of high school. That was your body’s way of telling you: “You’re in danger. Change is dangerous!” But it wasn’t all so bad, was it? You surely survived if you’re reading this right now.  

The fear of change is normal and will pop up multiple times throughout your life, including when you decide to move to a big city from a small town. If you’ve already made the decision, you probably feel the same as you did on your first day of high school. If so, consider that the best way to control fear is by planning every single step you need to take in order to navigate this massive life shift.  

Moving to a big city from a small town requires some mental preparation since big cities are more crowded, fast-paced and expensive than small towns. However, they also have better opportunities for education, jobs and entertainment. So, it’s no wonder that Gen Z renters are now moving to large urban areas. If you’re one of them or you just want to broaden your horizons, here are the steps you should follow to make your transition from a small town to a big city as smooth as possible:  

Know the City  

Knowing the city you’re relocating to is like knowing the person you want to marry — which means you should do your research before saying “yes.”  

First and foremost, find out the cost of living in your city of choice to get an idea of your future life there. If what you find out is encouraging enough, dig a little deeper. Look into the neighborhoods, crime rates and employment opportunities. While you’re at it, check out the quality of the public schools, universities and other learning services.  

As for recreational facilities, big cities are filled with parks, restaurants, museums, sports clubs and malls, so you’re bound to find something to your liking. To be able to say “yes” confidently, use all the resources you can access — the city’s official website, local blogs, virtual tours, social media, etc.  

Find a Job BEFORE Moving 

The cost of living is undoubtedly higher in big cities, as you may know. Therefore, ensuring financial stability before relocating is the smartest move you can make. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a great job will emerge out of nowhere right after you’ve moved. The chances of that happening are pretty low. So be prepared! Nowadays, there are many websites that can help you find a job tailored to your needs and personality: Glassdoor, Monster, FlexJobs, Indeed and ZipRecruiter are just some of them. To that end, keep your résumé updated and consistent, and don’t overlook the importance of your LinkedIn profile.

Save Up a Substantial Amount of Money  

Even if you have an excellent job with decent monthly pay, you never know what challenges might come up along the way. For example, what if your payday comes after the rent is due or you realize that food is insanely expensive after you’ve already moved in? Likewise, you might also encounter unexpected expenses in the big city, like utility or security deposits, parking tickets and packing supplies. If you opt for a moving company, they might charge you additional fees. What’s more, your new rental will probably require some new furniture and appliances. Of course, you can’t predict with certainty how much all of this will cost and what other expenses are bound to lighten your wallet. That’s why confronting challenges is always easier with a fat bank account.

Find a Rental  

So, you have the money, the job and you’re ready to start your urban adventure. But you also need a place to call home, right? That’s why finding a rental should be a top priority. While a city apartment can be pricey, it also provides immediate access to the job market and other amenities — like groceries, medical services, shopping spots, entertainment and transportation options.  

Fortunately, you can conduct a quick and easy search on to look for apartments for rent. Make sure that those that are available are spacious enough for your needs, but also try to stay grounded – big cities are more likely to offer smaller spaces for higher prices. With that in mind, check out this RentCafe study that shows you how much space you can get for a monthly rent of $1,500 in America’s largest cities.  

Remember, finding the perfect rental in the ideal neighborhood relies on your research skills — so don’t get lazy when reading blogs, news, reviews and apartment listing websites. 

Make New Friends (But Keep the Old) 

Just like in high school, adjusting to new environments is smoother if you have supportive friends who understand your struggles. Although moving to a big city from a small town might seem like a social disaster because you have to say a lot of goodbyes, it also gives you the chance to meet exciting new people. Our advice is to use the internet (again!) to connect with locals from the city you’re moving to. Knowing you’re not alone in such a vast urban area will also make you feel safe and less homesick. As for your old friends, we have the answer: Yes, you guessed it — the internet! Take advantage of the digital era and enjoy life in a big city. It’s going to be a great experience! 


Felicia Domentii
Felicia Domentii
Felicia is a marketing writing intern at RentCafe, where she feels inspired to grow and learn something new every day. She's passionate about economy and psychology, but her biggest dream is to become a songwriter. Between articles and research, Felicia is enjoying a life full of warm hugs, cats and dark chocolate.

Related posts

Moving in the Summer: What You Need to Know

Choosing to move in the summer offers many benefits, which is why it is the most popular time of...

New Apartment Inspection Checklist for Moving into a Healthy & Safe Rental

Looking for an apartment to rent can be a stressful, hectic experience. Let us help make it a little...

This Is How Much Apartment Space $1,500 Gets You in 36 Cities in Pennsylvania

For $1,500, you can rent 869 square feet of apartment space in Pennsylvania, on average, or 4% more...

Latest research

Follow us