Moving to a Small Town?

So you find yourself in the curious position of moving to a small town?

Maybe it’s for work, maybe it’s family-related or maybe you just needed a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, you’re almost definitely going to experience some culture shock.

These days, situations like this usually involve someone moving from a small town to a big city, not the reverse, since so much of modern civilization’s capital and thus workforce are tied up in large metropolitan areas. The shift in lifestyle and tempo when you move to a small town from a big city will be just as noticeable and poignant, however. Here are some of the more important issues that will likely crop up, and some tips to deal with them.

Scale and scope

First off, what do we even mean by calling a town or city small? “Small” is a totally subjective frame of reference. For instance, if you’re moving from New York City, pretty much anything short of a Chicago-sized city will seem small by comparison, versus moving to a small town from, say, San Diego or Seattle.

Let’s assume a more extreme transition, though, say from NYC to a town of no more than a few thousand residents. What will hit you most right away is not a thing but the absence of it. Where previously you lived in what was essentially an ever-shifting urban puzzle with new faces and sites around every corner, you’ll now find yourself confronted by the same places and people every day, and many fewer of them.

While this may sound dauntingly sparse for a former city-dweller, like most things, this change will eventually grow on you if you give it a chance. You probably enjoyed many of the stores, restaurants and bars in the city that you did specifically because they evoked small-town charm or presented a more village-esque take on things. Now you’ll get the chance to take those things in from the source, in the small town. You’ll find those kinds of paces no less charming for their actually being in a small town than when they were a subway ride and a borough away.


The second biggest change/challenge for you after moving to a small town will be accepting that life moves at VERY different paces depending on location. In small towns, stores and restaurants will close earlier than you’re used to. Generally there is less frantic, kinetic energy and fewer people who always seem to be in a rush to get somewhere. “Night life” is many times relegated to one or two local outposts and not only will they close earlier than you may be used to but their selections could be very limited as well. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Big city vs small town is often an equal trade, the diversity and excitement of say New York definitely has much to recommend, but then, so does the simplicity and peacefulness of a small town.


The very idea of prosperity, too, differs from city to town. Small towns require fewer public services (e.g., subway) and are typically not wanting for space, whereas in a big city, the need for space and regular access to public services define a big part of what it even means to live in a city. Because of this difference, there is simply less need for higher wages to support a higher cost of living in a small town. So small towns aren’t usually where you’ll find your fortune. The upside of this is that you’ll learn to redefine your personal sense of prosperity in other ways, through close-knit friendships and a sense of community, the strength of which, as it grows, will likely astound you. You’ll take great comfort in, as they say, “the little things.”

Ultimately the best advice for anyone moving to a smaller town is to just take a breath, look around…and reboot. Tabula rasa. You’re starting over in a whole new life. So relax and learn to share the best parts of yourself and leave the more city-centric parts of you behind that no longer make sense in a small town context. Most of all, be open to what you may learn from your new community.

View and print our full moving checklist here.

And no matter where you’re moving, if you’re a Vonage customer, you can take our trustworthy, top-notch service with you anywhere. You’ll also get to keep your original number. So if you are in the 212 in NYC, you can keep that local number when you move to Nome, Alaska. You can add a second local line too to make it easier for your fellow “Nomes” to get to know you.

For anyone who is not yet a Vonage customer, if you give us about 10 business days to switch your number, you can move to a small town with your old local number, or you can get a “small town number” before you even leave.

Learn more about moving with Vonage and how you can keep your number when you switch phone service to Vonage.