We are working on completing our first year as Florida residents and already feel like true Floridians. Everything from the moment we arrived just seemed to fall into place here and we attribute that to being so prepared prior to moving.
You can never truly know an area from vacationing there even though it’s a start to understanding what you and your family will like. Research, and extended visits will really shine light on where you’re looking to go better than anything else.
What to expect when looking to live in paradise:
- Don’t go by word of mouth only. Only you can know what’s best for you and your family. Take what others say into consideration but research it also.
- Car insurance is much higher. No joke, my rates went up 7 times what I was paying up north. Ouch!
- Not every day will be sunshine and beaches. Some days will rain, some days you’ll be too busy to get out in time. Take it in stride and plan time in your week to enjoy good weather.
- Finding an exact place to live may prove difficult at first. It’s best to try a vacation rental or extended stay hotel at first before making the full move. With that said the monthly rental fees will be much higher than an apartment or most mortgage payments so prepare wisely.
- Start saving as early as possible and begin simplifying your life to make the adjustment easier. Your income may not be the same or may have a lapse when making a large move plus you’ll want money to explore.
- If you’re from the North like us the styles of houses were a bit different down here. While we’re used to basements and tall houses, here it’s more ranch and cottage styles.
- People are very kind, friendly, and outgoing. If you’re not a people person you might find this odd to have strangers approach you everywhere and strike up conversations. We weren’t used to this but really enjoy meeting so many diverse people.
- Give yourself time to learn your new area (time and money)
- Family will want to visit you! And by family we also mean that 4th cousin once removed who you maybe met that one time at your great-aunt’s birthday way back when. Yep it happens. You have a free crash pad now and everyone will want a piece of it. Just set your boundaries for your comfort level. Be upfront and never be afraid to say no. Its great to have family and friends visit but never a good situation when the motives are off. Always protect you and your peace in your paradise first.
- Friends may or may not come easily. Living in a vacation spot you’ll find many people are visiting and some don’t live here long term.
- Again, those two words- vacation spot! Yep, you guessed it…Traffic! The flow of traffic here is nothing like the north-east but patterns and congestion can and will change around beach seasons. Be prepared when needing to get somewhere on time.
- It does get cold down here! While 50-60 degrees may not feel so bad elsewhere, here with the humidity and breeze it will feel like a slap with a wet freezing blanket. Ok, I am a baby with the cold and love 100 degree days but others have confirmed this southern cold as well. You’ll still need and coat, pants, and warm shoes. We even needed hats this past winter!
- Background checks for jobs here will take longer if you’re from out of state and even longer if you’ve moved around often. Something to configure into your timeline of job searching, the hiring process, and distance to that first check.
- Changing your car registration, title, and license will run about $500 and need to be completed within a very short time frame at a local tax collector’s office. Add it into the budget up front.
These are just a few of the extras we came to find prior to making the move to Pinellas County Florida. We were fortunate enough to prepare thoroughly in advance but I’ve heard it many times that people move to the beach and don’t get what they expect. We moved knowing it would be hard work and a change in our lifestyle for awhile but in the long run it would all pay off and already has. No this life may not be all glamour with timeless days to spend beach side but it is a paradise to be cherished, appreciated, worked hard for, and enjoyed.
Have you made the move to Florida? What did you find that you didn’t expect? I’ll elaborate more on how we made our 1,100 mile move on a tight budget in the future. I hope that this information can help any one considering the move. Have an amazing day (and if you’re new here or about to be, welcome!).
Mandy- Wild Red
P.S.- Thought I’d share our favorite cruising around on sunny beach days, wind whipping in the windows, no shame sing it loud song! What are your favorite songs to cruise ocean side by? Take care and enjoy!!