Movingfrom a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition.Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Researchbefore you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Doresearch online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking,weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If youcan, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived therebefore.

Have aplan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you startpacking the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know whereyou’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment thatyou haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to checkfor you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know whatyou’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line upthings like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parkingpasses ahead of time as well.

Getinvolved. Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect theneighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city lifeis often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things youliked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try newthings. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage otherpeople, so find what you like.

Mindyour wallet. City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food,insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off,whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where yourmoney is going.