During my recent move across the country from one city to a new one, I can't count how many times a website or app totally saved my life...or at least made it significantly easier. I thought I'd share some of the tools that helped me get to my new home and get settled in, and exactly how I used them during my cross country trek...
- Google Maps: I have put every single feature of Google Maps to the test in my new city. The ability to switch between public transit, biking, and walking directions is a godsend. Google's biking and walking recommendations are smart enough to take into consideration bike paths, trails, busy streets, etc. — all the things you don't know about when you move to a new place. The public transit directions are also amazingly accurate, which can be hard to come by when you're dealing with unpredictable buses and trains.
- Getaround: I am car-less in my new city, but there are a few occasions that I've needed to move some suitcases or a piece of furniture I bought. Getaround allows car owners to make their cars available to rent by folks like me at whatever rate they choose. Getaround also handles insurance and all that stuff, and it's free to get started.
- Craigslist: Of course, Craigslist is a good old standby, but its value can't be oversold. I've used Craigslist to facilitate every part of my move, from selling furniture to finding a place to live to re-buying new furniture for my new home. Craigslist easily wins the "most essential" title.
- Forecast.io: As fall is starting to settle in, so has my anxiety over what the weather is going to be like and whether or not I'm prepared for it, since my new adopted city's weather is much different seasonally than where I used to live. Forecast.io looks great on my computer or phone, and helps me quickly figure out what's the current weather, what to expect in the coming hours/days, and if I should really be so worried about the clouds I'm staring at here in Portland.
- Local websites and apps. I find it's important to find some time getting familiar with a new city's culture and events. In my move to Portland, PDX Pipeline has been a must for finding out about events and concerts in the city. The PDX Bus has been a great app to help with transit planning, and Cart Compass has helped me find the best gourmet food out of a truck in the city. I found most of my Portland-specific websites and apps from googling or talking to locals, and I'd highly recommend anyone moving to a new place do the same (Jason's ongoing series of roundups of specific destination travel guide apps is a good place to start).
What are some of the first techie things you look for or set up in a new city?
(Image: TheMuuj on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license)