If moving is challenging, moving to a new area is twice as hard. There's the usual hassle of signing papers, arranging a moving truck, packing boxes, and all the other joys that come with a new home. On top of that, you also have to get to know the new area, change all your information, find utilities providers in your new area, and a number of tedious and seemingly endless tasks. Then, when you are finally settled in with a fully-functional home set up (which either takes years or feels like it does) there is the real work of getting to know your new area. Whether you are moving to Orange County for work, family, or just to be closer to the beach, here are some tips that can make your transition a smoother process.
Yes, in the age of digital everything, changing your snail mail address seems like the last thing you should worry about, but when you fill out the change of address form you not only get a year of forwarding for all those lovely bills, you also get a nice packet of coupons and flyers from local stores that can help you move into your new home. As someone who has recently moved across the country, trust me, it's worth it's weight in new bedsheets or lawn fertilizer. Here's the link to the USPS change of address form so you can get everything done online. It might also be a good idea to notify the IRS of your new address, change your address with the DMV (required within 10 days of moving), and update your voter registration (although this can also be done through the DMV).
The basics for a new house are standard, pretty much wherever you end up: water, gas, electricity, cable/TV/internet, and garbage removal. Because the providers of these things vary from city, here is an incredibly useful site with the specific Orange County utility providers, broken down by city.
They say home is where the heart is, but in my experience the stomach has more to do with it. Once you've found a spot or two that consider you to be a regular, living in a new area seems to become a great deal easier. Orange County is home of a great variety of restaurants, from gourmet cuisine to the best fast food burgers you'll ever find (Yes, I'm talking about In-N-Out, where my wife and I practically lived when we first came here). Here's an Orange County restaurants guide to get you started.
Orange County has a huge variety of things to do and see, from the incredibly touristy attractions to things you only know as a resident. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, here are some useful resources to give you a general feel for the area:
Orange County is known for some of the best public schools in the country. Some areas offer open enrollment type policies where you can choose which school your child attends, even if it's out of your district. No matter what district you live in, it pays to be informed. Here's a link to the Orange County Department of Education website where you can find information on all your school options, listed by district.
While this is just a drop in the bucket for all the cool things in this area, it should give you an idea of the basics and a good jumping-off point for the rest.
Live in the area and have any favorite things to do or local hang out? Let us know what we missed in the comments section!