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10 Tips for Moving to a Different Climate

Senior couple admiring family home in front yard

Planning a move to the wind-swept east coast? How about a new home on balmy Vancouver Island, or Nunavut, for a new job? Long trips like these usually mean that you’re going to be living in a different climate—and sometimes, just a trip from southern to northern Ontario can mean a big change!

Whether you’re moving to a tropical island to escape the cold or moving across the country to try your hand at farming, we wish you the very best. Getting a fresh start in a new city or province (or country!) is one of the most exciting things that can happen to a person—so we have some tips to make sure the trip goes well. Moving companies like ours know what to expect, so here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your family and your belongings acclimatise properly.

  1. Minimize your stuff

Whether you’re wondering how to pack for a move or you’re a veteran mover, the first task should always be the same: Minimise your stuff! The less stuff you have, the less work moving will be, and the less you’ll have to think about once you arrive. Believe us, it might be hard to part with nice clothes that don’t fit or cool kitchen gadgets you never use, but when the time comes to pack them, carry them to the moving vehicle, carry them in again, move them from room to room and find somewhere new to store them—you’ll feel differently.

  1. Adjust for humidity

Climate has a big impact on your skin! Regions with dry air can quickly strip your skin and hair of their normal water content, calling for regular moisturization for the whole family. In particular, those with sensitive skin will notice the different in the air. Conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dandruff can be made worse when the humidity is low, so prepare to stock plenty of moisturising cream and expect to use a household humidifier once you reach your destination. Keep some on-hand for a long drive, too.

On the other hand, high humidity in the air can make it difficult for people with lung conditions like asthma to breathe comfortably. In that case, a dehumidifier will pull some of the excess moisture from the air so everyone can breathe easy. It might be tough to find the right balance at the beginning, but your body will also help you adapt to a new climate over time.

  1. Pre-prep and protect any items going into storage

When packing up any items for storage, think carefully about the containers you choose. Cardboard moving boxes are okay for storage spaces with low humidity, but airtight containers are necessary for areas of higher humidity. If rain and damp are issues where you’re going, think carefully before using cardboard containers unless they’ll be indoors with you instead of out in a shed or garage.

Dry, clean air is relatively gentle on metal and fabrics, though wooden furniture and décor will require regular oiling to stay in good shape. High humidity, on the other hand, brings a higher risk of mould and fungus attaching itself to your belongings and causing a musty smell. If left in this condition long enough, fabrics can become irrevocably stained or even fall apart. Wood, paper and cardboard will become damp and potentially mouldy as well, and metals will eventually rust.

  1. Book your pets into the veterinarian’s office

When moving to another country with pets, they’ll need certain vaccinations and health certificates to be allowed to enter. In some cases, like moving to Mexico, cats and dogs require health paperwork signed and dated by a veterinarian no more than 15 days before your entry into the country. Book ahead to make sure you don’t miss the deadline! If you’re moving somewhere a different language is spoken, be sure to have your paperwork translated for local customs agents.

  1. Plan to tweak the climate controls in the new house

While locals may not feel the need for an air conditioning unit in every bedroom, you just might. Look into the costs of any climate control upgrades you’re likely to require and be sure to set aside part of your moving budget. Upgrades or additions might include AC units, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, space heaters and fans. Remember to budget for additional home upgrades that may be necessary, such as opening up a heating or AC passage in a cement wall.

  1. Change your old food storage habits

If you are used to storing potatoes, root vegetables, flour, and baking ingredients in a pantry, you’ll need to rethink that habit when living somewhere that’s usually hot and humid. While a climate-controlled food storage area is fine, a regular closet or walk-in space will no longer safely hold your fresh ingredients and foods in open packages. Instead, find some space in the refrigerator for produce and opened food packets, and keep only canned or intact bagged foods in your cupboards and shelves.

That said, cold humidity, such as that found in Niagara Falls during the winter months, is actually quite good for storing root vegetables! They’ll last months in these conditions, just as if they were in a good old-fashioned root cellar.

  1. Find out what the locals wear during peak temperatures

Will you be enjoying a brisk -30 degrees Celsius in January, or +35 in July? When temperature peaks like these are new to you, find out what the locals wear to keep yourself as comfortable as possible. In the first case that means hardy winter coats, boots, tuques, etc., while in the second case that means significantly less—say, t-shirts, shorts, sandals, light trousers, and jackets.

Some of your winter or summer things will probably need to be stored for part of the year, so designate a closet for outerwear, footwear, and other clothing that’s out of season.

  1. Consider if you are getting too little or too much sunlight

Living in a northerly (or very southerly!) latitude means a significant decrease in the amount of sunlight that splashes down on you every year—while, on the flip side, living on or near the equator will increase that amount considerably. It’s important to note that a lack of sunlight can negatively affect your mental health—so, if you’re in the dark, turn on a sun lamp or two to help your body produce that crucial vitamin D.

Of course, as Canada’s snowbirds well know, too much sun is a problem, too! If you’re getting daily exposure to the sun, remember to use sunscreen on your face and any exposed skin every day to prevent sunburn, premature aging and more serious conditions like melanoma. Don’t be afraid of the sun! You need it to feel healthy and happy (something you probably already know), so make sure to enjoy your time in the sun in moderation.

  1. Change your bedding

What served you well in your old home probably won’t do the trick once you’ve moved. To stay warm in the cold weather, look into fleece sheets and multiple blanket layers. A duvet or comforter is a necessity. In places where it’s much warmer throughout the year, thin cotton sheets and pillow cases could be all you need in the summer, plus a thin woven blanket or two for when the temperature dips below average.

Reach out to Bird’s Moving for help with your big move!

There are many factors that come into play for homeowners starting over in new climates. We’ve seen it all, so let us help! Start by reading our Moving Day Checklist, then get in touch with our highly rated Niagara moving company today to discuss your big move! Bird’s Moving handles interprovincial and international moves, including vehicle and boat transportation. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process of picking up and moving a long distance, we’re happy to talk you through it. We’re here for you!