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Starting over in a new city: Girl's Guide to getting a fresh start

Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance travel writer specializing in hotels and resorts. She's the author of The Food Lovers' Guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appea...

New you, new town

For most people a New Year brings a desire for a fresh beginning -- resolutions to lead a healthier life, decisions to get rid of "downer" friends, finally making a move on the guy at your local coffee shop who's been eyeing you since August. Some may also see the start of 2009 as the perfect time to make the leap to a new city. But before you send out those change-of-address cards there are some things you may want to lock down as you move to a new city.

Tips on moving to a new city:

Do your research

Sure the northern part of town is super trendy and bustling, but rent might be double what you're looking to pay. Before you pack up the U-Haul make sure you've hammered out a budget and more importantly stick to it. Websites like Neighborhood Scout also offer resources on appreciation rates, real estate opportunities, crime rates and more.

Seek out the visitors' center

So you've made the move, now what? You're bound to get friends and family in town who want to check out your new life. Where should you take them for the local must-have meal? Which shopping hub has the best selection for your fashionista sister? What should your adventure-obsessed uncle conquer during his stay? Your local Visitors' Bureau will have all the answers.

Secure transportation

If you're making the move from a single traffic light town to a big city, you'll want to consider your options for getting around. Subways, taxis, trains -- in a major metropolitan area, the options are endless. You may even be able to sell the old clunker for some extra cash. Did someone say new big city wardrobe? For those fleeing the busy streets for the ‘burbs, make sure there's plenty of gas in the tank!

Support the Mom and Pops

There's nothing like giving back to your community and shopping at local stores is the best way to do so. Starbuck's is great for the Monday morning rush but Sam & Lola's probably has more character and just-as-good coffee. And buying a dress at a locally-owned boutique means there's less of a chance someone from your office will have the same one.

Plan a trip

A day trip will help you get oriented in a new area and give you a good look at the state's road and freeway systems. Plus, exploring the outskirts of town will help you gain insight into the history and culture of your new spot. You're a local now and being in-the-know will come in handy when helping lost tourists.

Find a doctor

Planning ahead of time and nailing down your new PhD is important. Check with your health provider for a list of doctors and dentists in the area and schedule an appointment within your first month. Making the connection before anything actually goes wrong will save you a major headache.

Join a Networking Group

Besides your actual job, it's the quickest way to meet new people. Many industries have membership organizations geared specifically toward your profession. Looking to develop something other than your resume? Join a book club, volunteer at the local shelter or take a trip to the dog park with your pup. Your Blackberry calendar will be full in no time!

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