5 Tips for a Stress-Free Move to San Diego
Ah, San Diego. The beaches. The mountains. Balboa Park. The gateway to Baja California and Mexico. And (nearly) perfect weather, year-round. What’s not to like? Well, ask residents and they might tell you “traffic” and “cost of living,” but all in all, there are worse places to settle down. But moving to San Diego, particularly if you’ve never been or only spent a small amount of time there, can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be though. Follow these five tips for a stress-free move to San Diego!
1. Pick the Neighborhood that Suits You Best
San Diego means different things to different people. For the golf crowd, San Diego might mean La Jolla. For the LGBT community, San Diego likely means Hillcrest. So-called “Hipsters” and young professionals? You’ll find them in South Park, Golden Hill, and Bankers Hill. The beach bums call Ocean Beach home, and transplants tend to gravitate to Pacific Beach. And then you have the desert crowd, who tend to congregate in East and North County. As you can tell, there are actually multiple San Diegos. Choosing the community that suits your lifestyle can prove all the difference.
Roughly comparable in size to the State of Connecticut, San Diego County offers a lot of options when it comes to settling down. If you’re unsure of where to live, consider options that are in close proximity to your new place of employment or school. Alternatively, use resources like Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and Zagat to research San Diego’s vibrant and diverse communities to find the one that suits your lifestyle. Some communities are highly walkable while others require a car. Which do you prefer? Do some research, look at Google Maps, and plan accordingly.
2. Don’t Go it Alone When Seeking an Apartment
Housing can be very expensive in San Diego. Even if you have sold a previous home, you may find the cost of buying to be prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, a lack of affordable homes means rent prices tend to be high as well, and finding apartments can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. But fear not, because finding an apartment in San Diego is possible. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be that difficult if you use the right tools.
To find the best apartments in San Diego, your best bet is dedicated rental property sites, like ForRent. With the ability to search by zip code or town, you can find all of the available rental units in the communities you’re considering. You can also filter your searches based on your pre-requisites, so that you don’t waste your time getting your hopes up for units that don’t meet your criteria. Do you have a dog and require at least two bedrooms? On ForRent (and sites like it), you can conduct just such a search.
3. Consider Your Commute and Plan Accordingly
The average commute time in San Diego County is about 25 minutes. This means your round-trip commute will take roughly one hour each day. If that seems too long to you, consider looking at the communities that surround your place of work (or school) and see if there are suitable housing options. Over the course of a month, it could save you not just minutes, but hours of time.
Of course, if you are able to find a place to live that is near your school or work, you may also want to consider bike and walking paths. Though not as bad as Los Angeles, the various interstates and freeways in San Diego seem to become more crowded with each passing year, and bypassing them altogether could save you peace of mind – in addition to gas, which is among the most expensive in the nation.
4. Budget, Budget, Budget
Between housing, gas, food, insurance, and other living costs, San Diego can be quite expensive. If you are moving to San Diego for the first time, be sure to factor in major living costs, including rent and transportation, so that you can budget accordingly. You may have to give up things that you are accustomed to maintain a comfortable quality of life. Though the cost of living tends to be significantly higher than the national average, income is not, so plan to take this into account.
5. Enjoy Your New City!
San Diego can be expensive and finding an apartment can be difficult – that much is true. But for most people living in America’s Finest City, the upsides far outweigh the downsides. You can enjoy beaches, mountains, and desert in the same day; Los Angeles, Orange County, and Palm Springs are just a couple of hours away; crossing over the border takes mere minutes; there are world-class zoos and some terrific art museums (even if San Diego isn’t known for its culture, per se); and there is a burgeoning food scene (the Mexican cuisine you likely know about, but did you know that San Diego is renowned for its pizza as well?) that will satiate even the most discerning of foodies. Put simply, San Diego is a terrific place to live. That’s reason enough not to stress out!
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