If you’re considering moving this year, use this checklist provided by Blogger Paula Pant.

I’ve built my career, reputation, and many friendships around being money-savvy. Naturally, I decided moving to Vegas was a good fit for me.

Yes, that’s right. After five years of living in Atlanta, I decided to launch a new life in Sin City.

At the end of June, my partner Will and I packed our worldly possessions into the back of a moving truck and hauled a veritable Noah’s Ark—two cats, two turtles, two frogs, and two humans—into the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Why would I move to a city known for gambling and debauchery? What general lessons about moving would I share with anyone contemplating a similar interstate resettlement?

Why Vegas?

Will and I both work from our laptops, which means we can live anywhere with an Internet connection. We moved to Atlanta five years ago, partly because I have family there, and partly because we liked the idea of living in a large city with warm weather.

But for the past year, we’ve wanted a change in scenery. Where would we go next?

This may sound absurd, but we chose Las Vegas through methodical planning.

First, we decided to stay in the U.S., which narrowed our options considerably. Then we created a list of qualities we wanted in our new city. For us, that included:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low taxes
  • Moderate weather patterns
  • Mountains and/or ocean
  • Amazing restaurants, music, culture

Now that’s not the complete list, but Las Vegas matched every quality we wanted.

Last January we spent one month in Vegas, sampling the experience of living there.

At the end of that month, we made it official. We bought a condo in Vegas, leased out our home in Atlanta, and said goodbye to the southeast. We moved into our new condo in July.

Tips for Choosing Your New Hometown

When you’re ready to choose your next living destination, I recommend a three-step moving checklist:

1: Create your own list, similar to the example I’ve described above. (Yours will obviously contain different priorities.)

In fact, create two lists: “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Don’t hold back, no matter how far-fetched or unrealistic a feature may seem. This step is pure brainstorming. Culling comes later.

If you have a significant other, ask him or her to (separately) create a list, as well. Don’t share your list with one another until after they’re both finalized. Then see what common desires you share—and look for potential conflicts.

#2: Read online reviews. You’d peruse internet reviews before buying a refrigerator or camera, wouldn’t you? Why not do the same with cities?

Run a Google search for “What’s it like to live in _____?” and browse through the results. Pay particular attention to why people liked or disliked certain cities; their priorities may not be the same as yours.

#3: Sample the area. Even if you can’t spend a month in your new city, as we did, don’t commit to your new locale before making an extended visit. Spend at least one week in the area, avoiding the tourist spots.

Try to mimic the experience of being a local:

  • Find grocery stores
  • See which restaurants and shops the residents frequent
  • Check out the hiking or cycling trails
  • Take a yoga class, or get a drop-in punch card at the local gym
  • Drive during all hours of the day (and night) to get a sense of traffic patterns.

By the end of your visit, you’ll probably develop a strong idea of whether or not you could plant roots in that city or town. If the answer is yes, congratulations. It’s time to start packing.

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Paula Pant quit her 9-to-5 job, traveled to 33 countries, launched a business she runs from her laptop, and uses the profits to invest in real estate. She shares details about these adventures and more on her website, Afford Anything.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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