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Guide to Moving to Nashville

Nashville-Skyline

A Guide For Anyone Moving to Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee. Also known as Music City, this metropolis has drawn many now-famous musicians in with its musical history and urban charm. All sorts of artists have worked their way through the city, though it’s country music that has really found its home here. But that urban charm draws more than budding artists to its seat on the Cumberland River. Nashville is filled with universities, healthcare, publishing companies, and a diverse and enjoyable mix of people that make up the 25th most populous city in America. It provides its residents with a stunning and exciting blend of work, culture, and history that anyone would be fortunate to be a part of.

 

Moving to Nashville

Like many cities, Nashville is divided into neighborhoods, each with their own unique attributes and characteristics. Different municipalities have distinctively different lifestyles, so when moving to Nashville make sure your neighborhood will fit your personality. If you’re looking to rent, you may want to consider renting in areas farther from downtown: East Nashville and Berry Hill are much more affordable per bedroom than neighborhoods like The Gulch or SoBro. For family living, suburbs like Nolensville or Green Hill may be your best bet. It’s always worth checking out advice from the locals as well, regarding safe and affordable areas of living.

Downtown-Nashville

Getting Around

In addition to cost, make sure you consider your daily commute. Parking can be a challenge in the city, and it can get extremely congested (as cities tend to do). Compare where you’re living and where you’re working on a map to determine the best options. There are plenty of busing options with the Nashville MTA, as well as the Music City Commuter Rail. Not to mention, Nashville is very conducive to walking and biking, so those daily errands won’t be too challenging to complete. Even so, transportation can hog significant portions of time, so be sure to align your workplace and living space in the best way you can.

Moving With Kids

Public schools, charter schools, and private schools are all accessible forms of education in Nashville. If you’re looking at public schools for your children, you’ll likely be looking at the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) district. Their site offers many useful resources like a map to help find which school your child would be enrolled in based on location. If you’d prefer to search by the school this list will provide you with a convenient and comprehensive list of all public and charter schools within the MNPS district.

If a private school is what you’d prefer, you’ll be looking at an average of $10,260 for elementary schools and $15,313 for high schools, according to the Private School Review. On that site, you can find a list of private schools, their locations, and what specialties they provide (if any). Make sure to check out local reviews of each school as well, to ensure that other parents have been happy with the private schools they’ve sent their children to.

Socializing

If you’re interested in treating yourself after an exhausting move, you’ll find Etch Restaurant on nearly every “best restaurants in Nashville” list out there. But if fancier dining doesn’t pair well with the move-in mood, consider something more casual like Merchant’s Restaurant or Adele’s in downtown Nashville. You’ll still get phenomenal food, but with a modest price tag and relaxed environment. As you continue to enjoy the new city you call home, make sure to explore the deliciously diverse cuisine that comes with it. Work your way through the Yelp lists depending on what mood you’re in.

Lastly, and above all else, be sure to try Hot Chicken. Nashville takes their signature dish seriously. Not only can you find it all around town, there is literally a Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition. It seems that the true initiation into Nashville is chowing down on this dish.

Nashville-Activities

Let’s not forget, Nashville is nicknamed “Music City” for a reason. The best of shows and most famous of artists will always stop in Nashville, so keep an eye out. Make sure to stop at a few of the famous attractions: the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, there are so many historic and popular attractions to explore. But hitting all the tourist hot-spots is just scratching the surface of what Nashville has to offer. Famous musicians are great to watch, but be sure to check out the local artists as well. Since Nashville is such a popular music city, you’ll find tons of budding artists looking to perform at any chance they get. It’s a great way to view some amazing talent and at a fraction of the cost of the big shots. Aside from the music options, look into what locals have to say about their favorite spots. Broadway and 2nd Avenue provide some fantastic Nashville hotspots. And yes, in the summer you’ll find a Hot Chicken Festival, it wouldn’t really be Nashville without one.

The things to do in Nashville are endless, no matter what your interests are, you’ll find people who will share and celebrate them with you. If this sounds like you, then moving to Nashville will be a great life choice.

Houston skyline at night.

A Guide to Being an Official Houstonian

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

 

If you want a big city lifestyle with a small town price tag, moving to Houston, TX should be on your to-do list. As the 4th largest city in the nation, It’s filled with affordable attractions, touting six professional sports teams, 19 museums, and is a short drive away from the Gulf of Mexico, making the list of activities seemingly endless.

 

Moving to Houston

All of those activities are great for tourists, but what if you’re relocating. Well if you’re moving to Houston, your wallet is in luck! In 2015 Forbes named Houston (Woodland Hills & Sugar Land) as the highest income to cost of living ratio, making it the metro with the biggest bang for your buck in the US. There are plenty of neighborhoods to choose from the heart of downtown to the outskirts of the suburbs to fit the lifestyle of you or your family. Make sure you’re looking at more than just housing quality and price, as the neighborhood you live in will probably be where you spend most of your time. Check out the surrounding attractions, food/drink options, and parks to make sure you’ll feel right at home in your new urban life. In addition to picking out a living situation, make sure you’re considering transportation options. Houstonians love their cars and urban sprawl is defined by this metropolitan area. This city is so spread out, it could fit Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit inside of its borders. The public transit system isn’t widely used, and because of its sprawling nature, it can be difficult to bike or walk from place to place. Having a vehicle in Houston is near-vital, so be sure to include the costs to ship a car when calculating your moving budget. If your not sure where to start with your moving budget visit Angie’s List. There are lots of great resources, whether you’re looking for a household goods mover or the costs to ship a car to your new hometown.

Lastly, don’t forget that much of the city is being rebuilt from massive flooding in the summer of 2017. Despite the recent tragedy, the city of Houston has come together and found strength in its community. The community values are reassuring, but double check that the area you’re looking to move to is deemed safe, and confirm that your future transit route to work or your child’s school isn’t unavailable due to damage or construction. But be sure not to discount this metro due to the flooding. The community is dedicated to rebuild and improve the neighborhoods that were affected.

 

Education

Unlike some cities, Houston public schools are not run by one specific district, but rather composed of 19 districts in total. Therefore, when looking for a place to send your child to school, you have quite a few options. Most of the districts are managed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), though there are multiple private school options which the TEA has no jurisdiction over. If you’re looking at sending your child to a public school, be sure to consider the location you’re moving as most public school enrollment is based on your new address. If you’re interested in state-operated charter schools, check out this list. Different charter schools have different specialties and focuses, depending on your child’s needs, but make sure you keep transportation in mind, as it may not be provided by the school. Lastly, if your budget allows then private schools could be a great option for your child, as Houston has hundreds of excellent private primary and secondary schools. When looking at schools, make sure to consider those that have been reviewed by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TPSAC) to ensure a quality education, since the TEA does not oversee private schools.

 

Food

 

BBQ Brisket and TexMex from Houston TX

If you’re a foodie like me then the best part of moving to a new city is trying all of the new types of food and finding that new go-to hot spot. Houston is no exception when it comes to food culture. But on nearly every “must try” food list, you’ll find two categories: Mexican and BBQ. There are way too many delicious options to name, but Zagat’s lists for best BBQ and Mexican restaurants is a great place to start. But if you’re not a Tex-Mex fan, be rest assured, you’re far from limited to those options. Houston is filled with iconic dishes from all over the globe. No one flavor is missing from this city: so start exploring your new food scene one delicious meal at a time.

 

Entertainment

No matter what area of the city you choose to settle into, you’ll never cease to find something new. If you want to check out the big attractions right off the bat (like the space center, museums, or the gorgeous parks) this list can help you get started on being a tourist in your new home. Want to find something to do after a long day of moving? Check out this calendar from Houston Press. And once you’ve settled in and are really ready to get to know H-Town, start working your way through the Houston Bucket List…or even better, research and create your own!

 

 

This city is one that’s filled with a diverse group of people with a strong sense of community. If moving to Houston is in your future…you’ll be sure to find a wonderful home there.

A view of the Chicago Cityscape from Lake Michigan

A Guide to Loving Your New Chi-town Life

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

 

The third-largest city in the United States is housed just around the middle of the country. Surrounded by the kindness of Midwesterners, but deeply rooted in an urban lifestyle, Chicago will give you the city vibe you crave and you’ll meet some wonderful people who crave the same. Located in Illinois, there are plenty of career opportunities in a wide variety of markets. The workforce of Chicago is not dominated by one particular industry, but rather a mixed business landscape. The diverse economy echoes the diverse population which has contributed to the rich history of the city. If you’re the adventurous type you will feel right at home, as there is no shortage of places to explore within the city.

 

Chicago Transit System and traffic congestion

Moving to Chicago

Careful! While it may be tempting to commit to the first apartment or living space you look at, make sure you’re considering a few things before signing that lease. Consider whether renting or buying will benefit you the most. Like many cities, Chicago life is heavily influenced by the neighborhood you’re a part of. Renting and buying benefits can vary from place to place, so whichever neighborhood you end up in may influence your decision on what will be best for you (and your family, should that apply).
Also, make sure you’re considering how you plan to get to and from work. The third-largest city in the U.S. doesn’t come without its transportation challenges. If you’re living on one side of the city and working on the other, it’ll feel like half of your time will be spent getting from here to there. While the windy city boasts a robust mass transit system (CTA), consisting of buses, Amtrack, and of course the famous “L” train, these routes do not all connect. Ensuring that you live and work on the same transportation line can save you some sanity in your new commute life. If you have a car, remember that parking will be a nightmare, no matter how many parking passes you purchase. And if the parking is not enough of an expense, most of the major interstates around the city are Toll Roads, although you can trim this expense slightly by utilizing the I-PASS system.

Keeping expenses like these in mind. Chicago is still a great option for those who want to live in a big city without the crazy price tag, but it’s not without cost. There are plenty of online resources to help you learn how to get started in the city while saving as much as you can. Additionally, sites like Forbes and SmartAsset have great tips on how to navigate the city you’re about to call home.

Safety and Education

Moving the whole family to the Windy City? Chicago can have an intimidating reputation, but there are many resources out there making downtown Chicago a safe place to live and learn. There are plenty of family-friendly neighborhoods the locals recommend. There are also many family-friendly suburbs within a short commute to downtown. The Chicago Police Department also put out a great list of safety tips, so you can read about their recommendations for specific events/places. Additionally, the city is very conducive to walking, which can help cut transportation costs.

As for children’s education, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district is the primary option. Students will be assigned to a school based on their place of residence, though there are a number of charter schools and schools with a selective enrollment that branch beyond geographic location. If you haven’t settled on a place to live yet, Chicago Magazine has an article about which schools they consider the best, and parents who have already navigated the system also have some helpful insight. However, keep an open mind when looking at schools: what didn’t work for one family may work well for another.

Navy Pier at night, Fields Museum and a Chicago architecture boat tour

Entertainment

Once you’ve passed all the stressful checkpoints of moving, it’s time to enjoy the new city you call home! If you want to start out as a tourist in your own city, Navy Pier is a great place to start! Located on Lake Michigan, this pier offers much more than just a beautiful view. It’s packed full of attractions: parks, rides, restaurants, shops, and more. It appeals to all ages and all sorts of interests. After you’ve conquered Navy Pier (though it may take a few days to see it all), you may consider visiting Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) for a gorgeous view of the city. For a more educational experience, plan a day trip (although it’ll probably take several day trips to experience it all) to the Museum Campus. This area contains many of Chicago’s biggest attractions, all in one convenient area. Another fascinating thing to do (even for the locals) is to go on an architectural boat ride. It may not have the most “fun” sounding name, but don’t count it out just yet. You can learn a lot not only about architecture but the history of the city you live in and how they interact. This boat ride is a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors, and it could really open your eyes to the deep roots that Chicago holds. Once you’ve learned and appreciated the city’s rich history, no worries about a more active source of entertainment: Chicago is home to 6 professional sports teams. So if you’re a football, baseball, basketball, soccer, or hockey fan, you’re in luck. The Chicago Bears represent the city in the NFL, the Chicago Fire and Chicago Red Stars are respectively the city’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs are both in the MLB, and the Chicago Bulls play in the NBA. So if athletics is your thing, you’ll have entertainment nearly every night, year round.

Food & Drink

When you think Chicago food, you probably think Chicago pizza. While thin-crust pizza has its time and place, that place is not Chi-Town. Chicago is known for its hearty, deep-dish pizza. It’s not like a traditional crust, sauce, then toppings kind of pizza. Chicago style starts with a deep-dish crust, is filled to the brim with cheese and whatever other toppings, and then topped with a thick layer of tomato sauce. It’s a staple, and it’s close to being considered a crime if you haven’t tried it. Pizzeria Uno is said to have introduced this style, so it’s definitely worth a stop. Though Pequod’s is a local favorite with a delicious caramelized crust, as mentioned in this article.

 

Chicago Style hot dog and pizza

 

The Chicago-style hot dog should also be on your list. Chicago takes their hot dogs seriously. But while it can be loaded with any topping you can think of from sauerkraut to potato chips, a true Chicago-style dog will not have ketchup. Many establishments don’t even have it available.

If you have some time to plan, check out Girl & The Goat. Though reservations are often needed a month in advance, the legendary “Pig Face” (not as gross as it sounds) is a Chicago favorite. Check out Al’s Italian Beef for another city favorite…Italian beef. For a late night bite, find The Tamale Guy. And if you’re craving Asian cuisine, Argyle is your go-to place for Phu, and it’s rumored that the banh mi from Ba Le is the best in the city.

So whether it’s a big family move or a solo adventure into the city, Chicago will make you and all you’re with smile. It’s filled with great food, people, and places to explore. There are gardens and parks for your pets, amusement parks for your kids, and history embedded throughout the city. The midwestern winters will hardly matter when considering the warmth and enjoyment you’ll get from the city (and the people) of Chicago.

The Seattle city scape with mountains in the background.

A Guide to Seattle WA

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

Known for coffee and rain, this cityscape is nestled among a great number of trees and placed atop rolling hills. Nicknamed, “Emerald City” because of this greenery, Seattle poses a perfect blend of city living and outdoor exploration. And coffee. Seattle loves their coffee. If you’re thinking about moving to Seattle, you’re not alone! It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S and has been for the past 5 years. Not surprising, since its business world is largely dominated by newer technology corporations. Five Fortune 500 companies have made their headquarters here, which is attracting many young professionals. However, Seattle has proven itself to be more than hipsters and millennials, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family or move to after the kids have grown. This city has a little bit of everything to offer to each person (not to mention, Washington state has no income tax!)

 

Housing

Upon moving to Seattle, you may be faced some housing questions. Because of Seattle’s rapid growth, rent is high and it can be challenging to find a place to rest your head. But before just googling “places to live in Seattle,” try looking into the neighborhoods. Seattle is described as a city made up of a bunch of smaller cities- each neighborhood has its own culture and personality. Millennials tend to go towards neighborhoods like South Lake Union, Queen Anne, and Capitol Hill. Many Seattle hotspots can be found in these areas. For a lower priced option, look at areas like West Seattle or Beacon Hill, just be aware that the commute from the city could be significant. The neighborhoods of Magnolia or Ballard are great choices for family living close to downtown. And if you’re not sure where you want to live, but are eager to start life in the city temporary housing is readily available. Rivet is a temporary housing apartment complex with quite reasonable prices for being in the South Lake Union area. It’s pet-friendly and has a patient and helpful staff. Other temporary housing reviews all over the city can be found on Yelp. And don’t hesitate to move those pets with you! With plenty of pet care centers, you’ll have someone to take care of them during the day. And with plenty of hiking trails and parks to explore, there’s no need to worry about pets being unable to adapt to city life.

 

Schools

As for the kids, Seattle has some great public school programs. You’ll want to consider each neighborhood and the districts, as certain schools have had to close or relocate due to economic issues. Each district is assigned to a public school, though you can always make an intradistrict choice and attend a public school outside of your residence, it’s just not guaranteed since you’ll have to apply. The Seattle school system is safe and high-quality. The primary complaints seen are about the administration, but with the search for a new superintendent, there’s hope this will improve quite soon. If you’re interested in the public school system, more information can be found here: https://www.seattleschools.org/

 

Some of Seattle's local food favorites.

Food

Once you’re settled in (or at least have your wallet unpacked), get ready to explore the new city you call home. If you want to treat yourself after the move, head over to Metropolitan Grill, an American steakhouse with raving reviews. But as you adjust to your Seattle life (and can’t afford to treat yourself nightly), locals love the inexpensive diner Luna Park, and Pike Place Chowder is perfect for a cheap and delicious meal. Often when looking at cheaper options you’ll find that Asian cuisine is a good go-to option. Green Leaf is a local favorite for Vietnamese and Jamjuree for Thai. Need a morning pick-me-up? Not to worry; there’s a coffee shop on nearly every corner (though yes, most of them are Starbucks). And on those days you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, locals swear that Dick’s Drive-In far surpasses the classic In-n-Out Burger.

 

With so many people moving to Seattle, there won’t be a shortage of people looking for something new to do on those weekend nights. If you’re looking for something a little different, you’ll get a delicious meal with a fascinating and unique atmosphere at the Pink Door. Afterward, head to the Unicorn Bar, a carnival-themed bar you probably haven’t experienced anything like before. And if the morning after has you in need of some brunch, the locals swear by Portage Bay.

 

Things To Do

Sure, when you first move to Seattle, you’ll be tempted by the classics: visit the first Starbucks Café, the Space Needle, and the Seattle Art Museum/Olympic Sculpture Park. While these are fascinating parts of the city (and highly recommended), you won’t be acting a tourist during most of your Seattle residence. In addition to exploring whatever neighborhood you end up in, here are a few options to venture out, on the weekends. (Just beware, there’s no income tax, so sales taxes can be a pricey addition to your adventures.)
Chihuly’s Garden and Glass is a gorgeous and unique gallery featuring the work of glass artist Dave Chihuly. Pike Place Market is a fun and energetic place to be a great way to explore downtown and the local vendors in the area (plus, the original Starbucks is in that area, so you can cross that off your Seattle bucket list at the same time). If you’re looking for something for a classy day out, Woodinville Wine Country is a mere 30 minutes outside the city. And for intellectual stimulation, check out the Boeing tour- a tour of a working Boeing factory and a hands-on way to learn about aerospace and the craft. For outdoor fun, check out Discovery Park or the Burke-Gilman trails, these are great places to take the pet or to get some exercise (Seattle is quite hilly after all!)

 

No matter where you’re from, Seattle is a growing city filled with things to do, people to meet, and live to grow. Your children will find a home here, your career will find success, and your lifestyle will fit right in.

Alex-Office Cat

An Unlikely Team Member

by Kirstyn Jones, Customer Service Representative

Many companies have taken on more creative ways to boost productivity in the workplace and keep employees engaged. One example of this is the inclusion of a furry friend on the team here at Executive Auto Shippers. Our little office kitty Alex always becomes the most popular team member when stress levels seem to be at an all-time high, especially in the customer service department.

As much as I’d like to say this specific field is as easy as it comes, it’s not. I’ve had multiple customer service representative positions and as much as you try not to take things to heart, sometimes it’s unavoidable. The biggest asset to my current position is the atmosphere with fellow employees, the support they show to one another, and last but not least our office cat Alex. When I started this position I was forewarned that Alex is not always the friendliest of felines and from that moment on as a cat lover, it became a personal goal to befriend her.

Alex-Office Cat-1

At first, we had our ups and downs as I started filing in the back room as something to do with my free time between calls and emails as my customer base grew. With time I grew to understand her preferences, as Alex is an older girl and very selective on whom she demands attention from.

Alex was taken in as a stray kitten, fortunately, our co-founder Jenny found it in her heart to give her a lifelong home in our office. I am forever thankful that she did. Alex typically spends most of her day sleeping on my desk making frequent trips up and down.

Alex-Office Cat-2

She makes her appearance known with howls each morning followed by a couple paws perched on my chair, while she stretches she bats her paws up my side. I pick her up, place her on my desk in front of her box, that she loves to curl up in and continue typing. More often than not she chooses to curl up in my arms. It makes maneuvering the mouse a little more challenging with her long-haired tail flicking every few minutes. However, during the elongated calls, she provides support by simply sleeping, purring and waiting patiently for another pet. She purrs constantly which always puts a smile on my face as well as my co-workers who occasionally stop by to check in on her. I’m sure I’m not the only person who enjoys her company in the office. Regardless of the scenario she always welcomes my affection and her appreciation makes the stress melt away.

From my personal experience of having an office cat, I’d have to say she’s a great asset to the team. While she may not be the hardest working team member at Executive Auto Shippers, her emotional support is second to none.

LA Blog-Cover Photo

A Guide to the City of Angels

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

Spanish for, “The Angels,” Los Angeles lives up to its name. It’s a sprawling, star-studded city filled with some of the most creative and fascinating individuals in the country, and that’s not without reason. Los Angeles (or L.A.) is home to 3 of the 6 major film studios. You’ll hear of many aspiring movie stars making the big move here. But even if winning an Oscar isn’t your dream, there are so many other reasons to call L.A. your home.

Located in southern California, you’ll find most of your days filled with warmth and sunshine.

Now you can honestly say you enjoy long walks on the beach; there are 15 beaches in L.A. alone (and many more in the surrounding counties). But no worries if sand-between-your-toes sounds more stressful than relaxing; L.A. has quite a variety of habitats including wetlands and mountains, so most everyone can find an outdoor environment they feel at home in.

Los Angeles-beach and outdoor

 

Housing

Los Angeles is an amazing city, but it can be intimidating to move to. As liberating as it may feel to say “I packed up my bags and moved to L.A.!” that may not be the best move. It can be just as difficult to land an apartment as it is to land an acting gig. When looking for living areas, keep in mind that the neighborhood you choose is especially important. L.A. is so sprawled out that what you live nearest will become part of your life. Driving 8 miles will probably take you 30 minutes, so make sure you’re taking job and school locations into account. Being in the same city as a friend may seem convenient and easy, but if you live in neighborhoods on the opposite ends of the city that could be far more difficult than you’d initially expect. Make sure to utilize resources that assist with nabbing a budget-friendly apartment.

If you’re moving your family to Los Angeles, keep in mind that the housing market in southern California is tough. However, there are plenty of housing rentals available for a budget-friendly option. There are great lists of family-friendly neighborhoods with renting and buying options that can be really helpful.

Los Angeles-suburban living

 

Schooling

If you’re worried about finding a school within a reasonable distance than worry no more! The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest school district in the nation. But don’t feel as though your child is bound to the school in the area you move to. There are some great charter and private school options throughout the city as well. The LAUSD also has great resources to help provide some assistance in navigating the L.A. school system and others that summarize some pros and cons between those options as well. But make sure to check out your neighborhood schools first; if they’re a good fit for your child, that could save much time and stress in the search.

Los-Angeles-public-school

 

Food

Once the stress of finding a living and education options is over, make sure to explore the fascinating and diverse culture of Los Angeles starting with the phenomenal food options.

A move to L.A. requires some planning and so does a trip to one of L.A’s hotspots. Bestia, an Italian restaurant, can be costly (and reservations often must be made a month in advance) but locals insist that it’s worth it. If you don’t feel like a true L.A. local until you’ve seen a celebrity, you may want to head over to Tower Bar. Even if you don’t see the star you were hoping to, it’s a delicious meal in a beautiful spot on Sunset Boulevard. For sushi, check out Sugarfish for a quality bite. And for a way to relax after your move, treat yourself to some gorgeous views at Malibu Wines Tasting Room; wine in the mountains, what more could you want?

 

If moving to L.A. has your wallet exhausted, there are plenty of cheaper options to choose from as well. While Broken Spanish has some well-worth-it higher end Mexican food, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the many food trucks you’ll find scattered throughout the city. Guerilla Tacos is a local favorite! If you’re looking for something else to spice up your night, Howlin’ Rays will do that, literally. The lines are long, but the locals claim it’s some of the best spicy chicken they’ve had. Another popular joint (but with quite a wait attached) is Gjelina’s. But don’t forget about GTA (Gjelina’s Take Away!) This is a great way to enjoy the delicious Italian but avoiding the wait. And for those nights you want authentic Asian food without breaking the bank, Pine and Crane is a great choice.

Los Angeles-food truck-Guerilla Tacos

 

Things to Do

There is never a shortage of activities in this city. While you can always enjoy the tourist classics (seeing Hollywood sign, walking along Hollywood Boulevard, visiting the Capitol Records Building, or seeing a show at Walt Disney Concert Hall) you’ll be able to find a group of people interested in nearly every hobby out there. For the night owls out there, check out the bars in Highland Park, they’re some of the cooler and more modern ones out there. In the summer check out the 626 Night Market. It’s filled with a crazy variety of foods to try and you can stay up late instead of getting up early for a traditional farmers market. If you’re looking for a unique way to get to know the city then consider taking the Secret Stair walk. While searching for historic staircases may not sound like the idea of a good time, it’s fascinating way to learn more about your new home while exploring some of the lesser-known spots. And if you think city life is the only way to experience L.A., think again. The city is filled with outdoor treasures. For the pets, check out the dog beaches. You can always find some beautiful scenic places to visit. Leo Carrillo State Park is also a gorgeous area to explore when you have some time off.

Los Angeles-things to do

 

L.A. is quite a place. Don’t be too fooled by the urban lifestyle, a car is still pretty necessary to get around, and jaywalking tickets are actually given to disobeying pedestrians. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged, but there’s no shortage of food. The city can be intimidating, rejection can happen, but it’ll pick you up anytime you’re feeling down, with its beautiful sunny days. Whatever you need to feel at home, Los Angeles can provide.

View of the Boston skyline over water

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

If you like working with passionate people, you’ll find them in Boston. The citizens have a passion for their sports, their food, their history, and most importantly- their city. How many cities can you say have their own accent? Their own slang? Founded in 1630 and a sight of many historic events of the American Revolution, Boston is deeply embedded in the nation’s history. Writers as influential as Ralph Waldo Emerson have found themselves living here, and it houses some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. Its historic and academic relevance has helped mold Boston into what it is today- an economic and global powerhouse with the 6th largest economy in the nation and 12th in the world.

 

Housing

As is with many cities, Boston is known as a “City of Neighborhoods” so when looking for places to settle down, make sure you’re looking at the area surrounding the place of residence. This will affect your standard of living, your commute, your children’s schooling options, and your lifestyle. A guide to the neighborhoods of Boston can be found here: https://www.jumpshell.com/boston-neighborhoods. And don’t be afraid to bring your pets! While Boston is a very dense and urban city, there’s plenty of park space; from the Arnold Arboretum to the Boston Commons, you and your pets will always have outdoor options to enjoy.

If you’re eager to begin your Bostonian adventure and don’t have the time to locate and research the neighborhoods, consider temporary housing. For a business stay, consider Buckingham Business Apartments. Garrison Square and Boston Best Rentals also have great reviews according to Yelp.

For those looking for more than temporary housing, just remember that housing costs are very expensive in the Greater Boston area. For those without a high income, considering a rental or roommates isn’t a bad idea. Regardless, when you move in keep in mind that moving permits are required for street occupancy and must be obtained at least a day in advance. And try to avoid the end of August and beginning of September- Boston is home to several universities, and trying to move in simultaneously with the students is just asking for increased stress levels.

A Boston neighborhood in the Fall

 

Schools

Public education is organized differently in Boston than it is in most cities. You could live right next door to a school that your kids still may not necessarily attend. That’s because the public schooling system operates on lottery assignment. Location is considered, but no matter where you move, there is no guarantee that your child will go to the school you want them to. Many children in Boston go to different schools than their neighbors.

If the public schooling system doesn’t seem like the right choice, Boston does have some well-renowned private schools, just bear in mind that private schools have a tuition associated with them.     

However, most offer significant scholarship options, so don’t be afraid to consider them. There are plenty of specialty schools as well, so whatever your child’s strengths or passions may be, there’s likely a school that can match them. There are pros and cons to both enrolling in the public school lottery and applying for a private school, but there are many online forums and resources to guide your family’s decision.

School bus traveling the city streets of Boston

 

Food

Being walking distance from the ocean, it’s no surprise that Boston is known for its seafood. If you’re interested in treating yourself after the move, consider grabbing a lobster roll and chowder from Neptune Oyster- it’s on the upper end in pricing but is highly recommended by the locals. For more moderately priced and accessible seafood, you’ll find Legal Seafood in multiple locations. This is a popular place for Boston residents to visit once they’re settled in.

For a relaxing and fun night out with friends, consider the Barking Crab. This is a great place to kick back and relax with some friends. They have amazing food for very reasonable prices and often have live music. Abby Lane is a perfect for a casual meal in the theatre district, with quality food and prices, and The Paramount has a very well-priced brunch that the locals frequently enjoy.

A more tourist-oriented stop is Faneuil Market in Historic Downtown. There will be no difficulty in finding a meal under $10, the problem will be deciding what to choose from! The market has so many local specialties and is great for when the family can’t decide on one kind of food to eat.

 

Lobster and fish on display at Faneuil Market in Boston

 

Things to Do

Bostonians love their sports. There’s the Celtics (basketball), the Bruins (hockey), or the Red Sox (baseball) sports season is all year long. People come from all around the country to go to the games. Fenway Park- home of the Red Sox- is also home to Fenway Franks, a delicious place to grab a bite while watching the game. And Fenway Park offers tours, too!

If history is more of your thing, there will be no shortage of things for you to see. In addition to the seemingly endless sites of the American Revolution, you can stop by Caffe Vittoria, the oldest Italian Café in Boston. Because the city is so ingrained in history and education, there are many museums to be explored as well.

If you want to start exploring your creative side, check out Artisan’s Asylum for learning craft skills- including bike maintenance, glass/metalworking, and more. And if the outdoors is where you feel at home, enjoy exploring the “secret gardens” of Boston. There are so many things to do in this city, and as a resident, you’re fortunate enough to have the time to really explore them all!

Ariel view of Boston's Fenway Park

 

No matter who you are, you’ll be able to make a home here in Boston. It has a such a unique culture that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s a great place to pursue education, start your career, raise a family, or settle into an adventurous retirement. There are places to explore and there are places to relax. Urban pride at its finest, the people and places won’t let you down.

The New York City skyline

by Kara Masteller, intern writer for Executive Auto Shippers

 

New York, New York. From the bustling diversity of Queens to the “suburbia” of Staten Island, this city is a cosmopolitan whirlwind of color and culture. It’s been known as the City that Never Sleeps, the Melting Pot, and the Capital of Finance, of Culture, of Technology, and of the World (despite not being a capital city at all!) While it can seem overwhelming, everyone and anyone should be able to find their place when moving to this global city.

 

New York City is the most populated (and most densely populated) major city in the U.S. It consists of 5 boroughs (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island), each with their own personality. However, when you’re looking for places to move, look less at the borough and more at the neighborhoods. Yes, it’s generalized that Manhattan has the highest living costs, and Staten Island is more suburban than the others, but the real personalities show within the best neighborhoods. If your family is looking to move, there are plenty of family-friendly neighborhoods in each borough. And while Manhattan has higher costs, if you work there it could save substantial amounts of time and money for your commute. If you’re living alone and don’t need to be home as often, make sure you’re looking more at the up-and-coming neighborhoods than the actual apartments- you’re bound to spend more time in the area around your home than anywhere else, so make it count.

 

New York City taxi cabs in traffic

 

So what will you do with all that time outside the home? There’s no shortage of places to visit in NYC. The Bronx has a great zoo and botanical garden for family fun, and Brooklyn is filled with museums and art. You’ll find amazing food anywhere you go, but your widest variety will be found in Queens, as 48% of its population is foreign-born, and each brings their culture’s phenomenal cuisine. Manhattan (being the most well-known borough) is full of tourism and has plenty of activities for both the young professional and the growing family. But once you’ve exhausted your tourist destinations, there are plenty of alternatives that’ll really make you feel like a local.  

Ferris wheel in Brooklyn NY

 

While the city is just about as urban as you can imagine, it’s remarkably easy to find parks, trails, and other outdoor spots- some close the heart of the city, some just a short commute on the subway. Once you’ve experienced the beauty of Central Park, the next step may be enjoying Sunset Park. Lesser known, it’s the highest point in South Brooklyn Park and offers a beautiful view of the skyline- perfect for family outings, romantic strolls, or enjoying some quiet time with a book. Another option is Fort Tryon Park, a smaller, but still gorgeous outdoor area to roam around. Nested in Fort Tryon is “The Cloisters” which is a castle that contains historic artifacts and art. These are just a few of the free outdoor activities- find your own favorite place by exploring the different areas of the city. There’s guaranteed to be something you love close to home.

Apartment building located in New York City

 

So, while New York, New York is filled with opportunity for adventure and exploration, it’s also a great place for a family to settle down. There are about 1,700 public schools in the city, in addition to charter and private schooling options. The New York City Department of Education is the largest school district in the U.S., serving 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools. One of the best school districts in the area is Jericho Union Free School District.  If you’re looking for a different (yet budget-friendly) option, there are over 200 charter schools to choose from as well. These do not have a tuition and often have great specialty programs. Lastly, private schools are also great alternatives as NYC has some of the best independent schools in the nation. Many families may choose to live in less-expensive areas to save for tuition, though there are often a multitude of scholarship opportunities available.

 

Moving to NYC can be overwhelming with new sights, sounds, and information being thrown at you every which way, so here are a few tips to help you get started in the city. If you aren’t sure where you want to live, but are eager to start your life in NYC, look for the best temporary housing or sign short-term leases. If you don’t need to settle down right away, this is a great way to figure out what kind of neighborhood fits your lifestyle the best (and it helps avoid being stuck in a less-than-stellar studio apartment). Another tip: try not to sign a lease if you haven’t seen the place in person. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. And when you’re looking for new places, be prepared to make an offer. Good deals and living spaces go fast, so what’s available one day may not be available the next. Lastly, understand that it’s not just New York’s high cost of living that’s going to put pressure on your wallet. The city, with all its activities and attractions, has a high-spending culture.

 

By living in NYC, you’ll get a blend of urban bustle and outdoor exploration. You’ll experience culture like you’ve never seen, and people from all walks of life. You can move around during your first few years, or settle in a great neighborhood with hundreds of quality schools to choose from. Wherever you come from, you’ll find hundreds of other people who share your values, desires, and love for this crazy place you’ll call home, New York City.

By Kristi Kenyon, freelance writer for Executive Auto Shippers

You’ve worked hard day in and day out and given everything you had to your career. You’re now ready to retire and have decided that you don’t want to shiver through another Midwestern winter. After some careful consideration, you’ve decided to head south for the winter months to the beautiful gulf coast area of Corpus Christi and become a Texas snowbird. You want to get the most out of your time but you don’t know where to start. Don’t let planning your winter vacation feel like a job – here are some tips to help you reward yourself during that seasonal vacation.

Beach Home for wintering in Texas.

How to Get There

Driving that distance can take a few days, not to mention the toll it can take on you and your vehicle. Many airlines have great deals from Midwest airports like Minneapolis, Omaha, Des Moines, and Kansas City down to the Corpus Christi area. By flying instead of driving, you’ll start your winter vacation in hours rather than days. Don’t want to have to rent a vehicle? Have your car shipped! There are many reputable car shipping companies that can help you arrange for your car to be delivered when you arrive and the same for the return trip home. (link to Snowbird page)  

Starry sky over the gulf coast of Texas.

Where to Stay

Don’t want to stay in a hotel but not sure if you can afford a pricey condo? There are many options to choose from in the gulf coast area. One popular place to stay is Hotel de Ville Resort located right on North Beach. Their DeVille Suite has three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and full kitchen with dishes and appliances. It’s also on the ground floor, making it just like your own beachfront house. With sites like Tripping.com, you can also find housing ranging from $50 to over $300 a night. If you are comfortable dealing with a private party to secure your logging, check out the Airbnb app. This service is great for stays that last weeks instead of months.

Sculpture on display at the beach in Corpus Christy

What to Eat

When it comes to finding good places to eat, it’s always best to ask the locals. In Corpus Christi, one of their favorite places is Snoopy’s Pier. This restaurant uses locally harvested quality seafood. They also have an on-site fish house and shrimp breeding facility so you know it’s fresh. If you visit on Sunday evenings, they offer patrons free sundaes to eat on their veranda during sunset. Doc’s Seafood and Steak is another local favorite. Located under the JFK Causeway which connects the Gulf coast to Padre Island, you’ll enjoy live music from local artists while you dine and enjoy the view of the Intracoastal Waterway. You should also visit Harrison’s Landing while wintering in Texas. This unique establishment is a floating restaurant in the Corpus Christi Marina surrounded by sailboats.

Ferris wheel located on the Galveston pier.

What to Do

Finding ways to keep yourself busy is usually the most daunting task when on vacation, especially if you’re trying to stay on a budget. Luckily, Corpus Christi has plenty of activities and many at a low or no cost. Corpus Christi Bay is a fishing hot spot for the Texas Gulf Coast. People from all over the world come to enjoy the great fishing that the bay offers. All fishing skill levels are able to enjoy this hot spot because you don’t need any fancy gear or equipment. Padre Balli Park is also another great fishing spot as well as for camping and hiking. Bird watching or birding is also very active in this area as well as on the Mustang and Padre Islands. There are hundreds of species along the coast and programs for those who’ve always wanted to try birding but aren’t professionals. In fact, a great day trip in Corpus Christi is exploring the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. This offers great bird watching as well as other hidden treasures along the coast. If exploring and hiking is more your style, you should also check out the Padre Island National Seashore. It’s the world’s longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island. The island is also a nesting place for sea turtles and has a bit of history with Spanish shipwrecks from the 1500s.

Wild life at the beach in Texas.

Don’t make your winter vacation more work than it needs to be. Your retirement is meant to be a reward for decades of hard work, by utilizing the resources available to you, you can make sure to get the most out of your time away!