24 Things to Do in Your First 30 Days24 Things to Do in Your First 30 Days

Settling into a new community takes time and often requires a checklist. Here are the things you need to do during those first few weeks to get established, make connections, and feel at home.

  1. First things first: Meet your neighbors. Research shows that knowing the people who live around you is good for both your physical and mental health. Don’t wait for your neighbors to come to you—be your own welcome wagon.
  2. Read up on specific Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth laws that could impact you.
  3. Get your vehicle inspected. Texas requires an annual state emissions inspection. Many mechanic shops, gas stations, and oil change locations offer these inspections. Find one near you at txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/vi/vIactivestationlocator. Be sure to take your driver’s license and proof of insurance.
  4. Get your Texas vehicle registration sticker and license plates. You can do this at your county tax assessor-collector’s office. You’ll need to show proof of ownership, such as registration or title from your previous home state, as well as proof of insurance.
  5. Apply for a Texas driver’s license at the Texas Department of Public Safety office in your area. To find the location nearest you, go to txdps.state.tx.us or call 512-424-2600.
  6. If you’re going to commute to work via public transportation, find your nearest DART station or bus stops and plot your route. Buy passes and do a test ride.
  7. If you’ll commute by car, map out first and secondary highway routes. If toll roads are in your future, get a TollTag. Test out your routes.
  8. Drive other stuff, too. DFW is a big place, and it can be difficult to budget for traffic. As you have time, pick a neighborhood that is not your own and drive to it. Do it a couple of times during different parts of the day. Then challenge yourself to get there and back home without using GPS. This will help you orient yourself to the area and make life easier when you need to get someplace out of your comfort zone.
  9. Print out emergency numbers, such as fire, ambulance, police, etc. Program these numbers into your phone as well.
  10. Locate the hospital emergency room nearest your home. Take a test drive to determine the fastest route before you need it. Likewise, find the nearest urgent care center to your home and office—and review your health insurance policy to discover what it covers.
  11. Find a new doctor. Find a new dentist. Find a new a hairdresser. Find a guy to fix your car when it breaks. Having the people you will need in place before you need them is peace of mind. We think the best way to do this is ask neighbors and co-workers for referrals.
  12. If you have kids, register them in school. If they’ll be walking to classes, map out their routes and do a test run. If they’ll be taking the bus, find out the schedules and routes. If school has already started, arrange a parent-teacher conference to kick things off right.
  13. If you have a dog, scout out dog parksAsk around for a veterinarian referral or check out a veterinarian’s office close to your home. Locate the all-night emergency vet clinic in your neighborhood.
  14. Get up to speed on current local news. Subscribe to the newspaper or a community magazine or bookmark the related websites. Check your cable television channels for local news stations and program your radio with your favorites.
  15. Read up on our colorful past.
  16. Join a gym near your home or office. It’s a good way to meet people and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Alternatively, you may want to join a club, professional organization, or special interest group. DFW has an abundance of running clubs, book clubs, car clubs, environmental groups, theater troupes, etc. You’re sure to find something that suits your interests.
  17. If you’re keen on local politics, attend a town hall meeting. Call the one in your community and ask about open meetings.
  18. Register to vote and locate your polling place. Go to votexas.org for information.
  19. Get to know your new co-workers. Join an after-work happy hour or ask someone to lunch or coffee.
  20. If religion is an important part of your life, explore the churches, temples, or synagogues in Dallas-Fort Worth. Our area has a plentiful and diverse selection of places to worship, so if your first selection isn’t the right fit, there’s likely another choice just around the corner.
  21. Get outside. DFW has a lot to offer an outdoors enthusiast, including hiking trails, cycling paths, running trails, lakes, parks, and more.
  22. Support the home team. Whatever your interest—football, basketball, baseball, hockey—we’ve got game (and a lot of trophies!). It’s also fun to connect with your college alumni group so you can support your own teams. It’s a good way to meet people with a background similar to yours and feel more at home.
  23. Volunteer. It’s good to give back, but helping out in your new community is a great way to meet likeminded people.
  24. Get some sleep. Moving is stressful. Take care of yourself.