Gearing up for a move always comes with a series of challenges. But there’s plenty of excitement too—especially when you’re moving to a new city.

There are a lot more changes to navigate when the move is more than just relocating across town. Having a clear understanding of the different stages can help you plan with confidence. There are typically three phases. Here’s what you need to know for each one!

1. Preparing for Your Move

Whether you’re moving to a new city for a new job, to be closer to family, or just to get a change of scenery and a fresh start, the first stage of your move should be dedicated to research. First off, you need to have a general idea of the cost of living. From there, you can start to narrow down what your ideal neighborhoods and housing options will be.

Maybe you want to buy a home, or maybe it makes more sense to look into renting. Either way, you’re going to need to run some numbers and check your budget. Working with a real estate agent can be a major help, but it’s also a good idea to supplement their expertise with your own research. There are plenty of online resources that can point you in the right direction as you compare addresses and price points, so don’t rush the process. You want to make sure you’re landing in the right spot!

2. Managing the Moving Logistics

Once you know where you’re headed, it’s time to start decluttering and packing. You’ll want to set a realistic timeline for yourself, and working room by room can help you keep up a steady pace. Try to make a point to sell, donate, or toss what you no longer need. Then you can pack up the rest.

This is also the time to hire your moving company. The earlier you can get on their schedule, the better. You’ll also want to be sure that you’re going with a company that’s transparent and won’t surprise you with hidden fees. Checking online reviews and their company policies can make a big difference for your peace of mind.

With your moving date confirmed, you’ll also be able to make whatever phone calls you need to cancel your utilities or set up service for your new address. The same goes for your mailing address, and other important documents that might need updating too.

3. Settling in to Your New City

After the hard work of packing, your movers can help you bring all of your belongings to your new home safe and sound. Now you’ll be ready to really settle in.

Ideally you’ll be able to get all of your essentials unpacked right away. Then you’ll be entering the true “exploration” phase of your new city. Never underestimate the power of community. Meet your neighbors. Consider joining local social groups. Or start reaching out to new professional connections. Building your routine might take a little time, but that’s also part of the fun.

Every city—and even smaller towns—will have plenty of areas to explore. You can always ask around for recommendations on which parks or restaurants to try first. Or you might find new places all on your own. It’s a lot of change, but when you embrace every stage of the journey, the move to a new city can definitely be worth it!