If you travel with any frequency, you’ve probably found yourself saying, “Let’s stay here forever!” at least once. You may have turned to your travel partner and started having hypothetical discussions about moving there for good. In some instances, these discussions might have even gotten serious. Heck, I have known a few people who wound up buying a house this way, so never discount the importance of the hypothetical discussion! However, most of the time a move to a relatively unknown place isn’t spurred by a vacation. It can be brought on by a new job, a family event, a marriage, or any number of big life changes. Moving is actually one of the most stressful life events, having been linked to maladies ranging from the onset of dementia to depression in children. So why, then, does moving seem like such a grand idea while you’re on vacation? Part of the reason is that you gain a sense of familiarity for an area when you visit, which is actually one of the key tips for reducing the stress of a move.
If you do find yourself facing the possibility of a move, using a vacation as a tool to research the location is a fantastic idea, simply because of the familiarity you are able to develop with the area. If you are on the fence about making a move, or if you are planning a move to an unknown locale, try having a bit of fun and plan a vacation around your decision to relocate before committing. Even if you only have a few days, you can learn valuable information about a place that can help ease the stress of moving later. Make sure to bring the whole family along to ensure that everyone is engaged and invested in the process.
Planning this trip will likely be a bit different than planning a typical vacation, since your travel will actually be part recon mission and part vacation, so you will have to take a slightly different tact than you might normally employ. Instead of researching good bars in the area, you might be looking at schools. Instead of making plans to visit a museum, you could find yourself checking out the local supermarkets. Using a vacation to research a move will be different, so don’t be afraid to do things a bit differently. Rather than hopping on Trip Advisor or Yelp, try using local resources, such as blogs or Facebook groups, to research community topics and canvas the locals for opinions.
Instead of staying in a hotel, which would often be in an area set away from the residential parts of town, you might consider other options. For instance, staying at a property listed on IVHE will give you an opportunity to feel what it’s like to live in a real home in the area. You will get real-life experience in the neighborhoods and might even be able to ask a local or two for their opinions. Because you’ll have a limited amount of time to research for this potentially life-altering decision, you’re going to want to make the most of it. Do as much research as you can on the front-end, including narrowing down the sections of town you’re most interested in living in, so that you can truly immerse yourself in life once you arrive.
The next time you’re thinking about uprooting, try planning a vacation first. Taking a vacation as a way to research a move allows you to see an area for what it truly is – not just for an hour or two, but at all times of day and night. Taking the time off to focus exclusively on your destination is also helpful when it comes to forming an opinion on an area. While you might not do all of the typical “vacation” activities on this unique trip, if you determine that the area is right for you, you’ll be immensely glad to have familiarized yourself beforehand. Taking a vacation as a way to research a potential move will help cut down on moving stress. I can even prevent you from making a potentially disastrous move if you find yourself saying, “It’s nice to visit, but I’d never want to live there.”
Thank you to guest travel writer Emma Sledge.