Your guide to becoming a tourist
A change of address can be like visiting a foreign country. To get settled in your new home, think of yourself as a tourist. Soak in the culture, explore the famous locales, chat up the locals and, most importantly, enjoy yourself. Before long, you'll feel like you're speaking the locals' language.
Buy the guides
Planning to move can be like planning a vacation. Before moving, buy guidebooks and maps for your destination. Find out what makes your new home unique. Reading town histories can give you a better understanding of the culture you'll be joining. As with traveling, the more you know beforehand, the richer the sightseeing experience will be later.
When you're traveling somewhere new, you always want to make sure you have the right gear for any situation. If the climate is drastically different in your new hometown, make sure you have the right clothing. Keep the appropriate clothes within reach during the move, and pack them all together for easy access once you're at your new home. That way, you can dress the part of a local before you unpack the rest of your goods.
The first thing most travelers do in a new town is locate the ATMs, convenience stores and any other place for essentials and emergencies. Do this early and you won't have to worry about it later.
Now begins the fun stuff. There is a multitude of ways to explore a new town. One way is to plan an itinerary. Give yourself a day or a weekend after moving solely for the purpose of acting like a tourist. Locate the famous landmarks and museums, and find out what activities are most popular. Build a whole day around visiting those sites, and be sure to start bright and early. Prioritize your list as if that weekend is the only time you'll be spending in that town before your travel is over and you have to leave. Pack in a lot and stick to that itinerary. Consider making day trips to other towns. Your feet may be sore, but you'll have seen plenty, and you'll really start to feel like you know the city.
Throw out the itinerary
Another way to explore your new town is to forget the planning and just head to the center of town. This plan is best for bigger cities where there is plenty to explore. Bring a camera and take pictures. Use a notebook and jot down thoughts. If you prefer this kind of travel, just make sure you still give yourself a weekend to act like a tourist.
Chat up the natives
Locals usually have the best scoop when it comes to trendy restaurants, interesting events and enjoyable traditions. Talk to your new neighbors, or else chat up the barista at your local coffee shop. Talk to as many people as you can to get a better lay of the land. Just don't be shy.
One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its food. Online rating sites can be handy guides to the best restaurants in town, but so can the local paper or those natives you engage. Make a plan to follow through with their suggestions, even if it's not necessarily a kind of cuisine you like. Now is the time to broaden your horizons. Include certain restaurants on your weekend itinerary, but also keep a list that you can visit in the future. Try eating out once every week or two.
As you're making your way through your new town, make sure you keep track of your favorite restaurants and landmarks. Visit these sites often, especially if you find yourself in poor spirits. The more you have to like about a city, the more you'll feel at home.