American Expat Diaries: How to Make a New City Feel Like Home

We all know that moving can be stressful, but moving to another city – or even country? Yikes! The thought can seem completely overwhelming.

Popular London lifestyle blogger Mollie Moore shares how to make a new city feel like her home in her series American Expat Diaries

Those first few weeks of living in London as an American expat were not easy. Everything was unfamiliar, a little scary, and very intimidating. Even the simplest tasks such as grocery shopping or going to the bank became something I had to learn how to do all over again. During that time I found a few things that really helped me feel more comfortable in my new surroundings. Whether you’re moving away from home for college, starting a new job, or just need a fresh start in a new place – this post is for you!

  1. Be sentimental about what you pack. Particularly when moving to a completely new city or country, it can be easy to adapt the “less is more” approach and get rid of almost everything. While I definitely think there’s something to be said about getting rid of the things you can live without, I do think it’s important to bring with you a few sentimental items, no matter how silly or small! When we first moved into our new London flat, our boxes hadn’t arrived yet and I just couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t home. As soon as everything arrived and I was able to put up the sentimental decor pieces I had brought, they instantly added the coziness and familiarity that our space was so desperately missing. Be sure to bring with you the things that make you feel most at home.
  2. Become familiar with your new neighborhood. This is especially important if you’re moving to a large city – it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Spend your first few weekends exploring and trying new local spots. Where’s your closest grocery store? Pharmacy? Nail salon? Perhaps you like to have a cup of coffee in the mornings – where’s the best spot to grab a cup before work? Where is the nearest subway or bus stop? What’s the best route to take to go on a run? Is there a park nearby? Learning all of these things will help make your new city feel more familiar, and a little less big.
  3. Find others who are in a similar situation. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to speak to people who are going through the same things as you. No matter the country you’re moving to, you’ll be able to find a community of fellow American expats to connect with. Chances are your new job will have a few, but if you don’t have a mutual friend or jumping off point to find some fellow Americans, go on social media! I’ve met several fellow expats this way, just by using the hashtags #expat or #expatlife. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them! I’ve found the expat community to be incredibly helpful and welcoming.
  4. Network. One of the best ways to make new friends is to network! Go to the office happy hour, sign up for online dating apps if you’re single, volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about. Never pass up an opportunity to meet and connect with new people!
  5. Find time to speak with your friends and family. This is especially true if you’re moving to another country, as the time difference becomes incredibly apparent and at times difficult. Figure out what times work best for your friends and family to chat, so you always know when you can give them a call.

Have you ever made a big move before? What did you do to make it feel like home? I’d love to know!

xx Mollie

Loving these tips? Click here now for more on my awesome American Expat Life!


  1. Lacey
    September 26, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    My husband and I moved to a new state, and it is never going to be home. It is just simply not the same. There are nice things about our new home, but nothing that a nice vacation to here wouldn’t have also covered. And after unpacking the majority of our boxes, I think there are a few sentimental pieces that I gave away in haste, because of the sheer amount of stuff we were shipping.

    • September 28, 2018 / 11:01 am

      Hi Lacey, I totally get that!! I definitely got overwhelmed when I was packing up our boxes to be shipped as well, and I sent a lot of things to our families for storage that I wish I had sent here. I know moving can be hard, but I just try to be grateful for the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things. I hope you’ll settle in soon! xx Mollie

  2. September 26, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    All great tips … I have lived in 5 countries in my life so far and I wish I applied some of these tips … hopefully next time 🙂


  3. Danielle
    September 26, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    I loved this post! It has to be so hard living in a brand new city so far from home, but you have the perfect tips!

    xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco

  4. September 26, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    These are such great tips for someone who is relocating. I’m o impressed you have done this!


  5. September 26, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    These are all such helpful tips! I cannot imagine moving overseas would be easy but it has to be so exciting to live in London!


  6. September 27, 2018 / 1:24 am

    I admire you so much for moving to another country! My husband and I seriously talked about moving to London a few years ago and I chickened out. It takes guts!

  7. September 27, 2018 / 2:02 am

    I think that number 3 is sooo important!! I know how hard can be to be alone and far from your family. Having other people in similar situation would help with the burden and they will become part of your new extended family!


  8. September 27, 2018 / 2:11 am

    These are awesome tips that I think apply to every move! New York City would be such a magical place to live in!

    cute & little

  9. September 27, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    Such a helpful post – bookmarking for future reference because my daughter wants to live abroad

  10. Laura Leigh
    September 27, 2018 / 12:49 pm

    Loved this Mollie! Such a well written, detailed post. Thank you for sharing this!

    xo Laura Leigh
    Louella Reese

  11. Kelsey
    September 27, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    Ah these are such great tips!! I definitely did some of these things when I first moved to Charleston!

  12. September 28, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    Finding others in the same situation is a great tip!! It’s nice to be able to talk about your struggles with someone you know will truly understand!

    How 2 Wear It []

  13. Jenna
    October 23, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Great post- thank you so much for sharing this! I will be moving to a new city after college, and I think these are great tips to help me feel adjusted to the new place 🙂 Love your blog!
    -Jenna <3
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

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