This is a question and answer with Barb Brady, a life transition specialist. Click here to see Part 1. 
Q: When people relocate, what is the biggest factor they overlook or misjudge in what will make them happy at their new place?
A: Not looking at the move holistically and how it will affect all areas of life, including friendships, finances, community, etc. Be clear about your most important criteria (the non-negotiables) and have a plan to make sure these are met. If someone moves for a new job, they may overlook the importance of their current connections are – e.g. family and friends – especially if they find it challenging making friends in their new place.
I’ve seen folks move to Asheville, NC because they love the city and mountains, then they can’t find work and end up suffering financially.
Years ago, when living in Massachusetts, I almost transferred with my then employer to San Diego, thinking climate was my most important criteria (as it was 10 years earlier). On a pre-move trip I realized that community was now most important to me, and this job would have been very isolating. I didn’t move.
Q: What’s the best way to explain to your family and friends that you’re leaving the area?
The key is, don’t tell your family and friends you are leaving until you feel at peace with and confident about your decision. Until then, talk out your thoughts only with supportive people who are not attached to whatever choice you make, but truly care about your well-being and will encourage you to listen to your inner voice.
Once you’re at peace with the decision to move, tell your family and friends. Focus on the positive aspects of the new place and your feeling “that it’s right.”
No one can argue with a gut feeling. Friends and family may take your leaving as a personal rejection. Avoid saying anything that’s personally negative about your current location, such as “I don’t like the people here.”
Talk in terms of preferences. “I really feel more energized in a warmer (sunnier, drier, etc) climate.” Let them know how important they are to you. Make a plan for visits and staying in contact – will you call each week? Daily? Use Skype or email? How often will you visit each other?
If you are not sure about the longevity of this move, let them know that too. “I’m treating this as a one year experiment, and if I like it, I’ll stay longer.”
Q: Fewer people are moving nowadays. Why do you think that is, and what does it mean for the future?
A: Uncertainty about the economy, job losses, foreclosures and difficulty selling homes have all contributed to more people staying put. There have been news reports recently that migrations to the Sunbelt and more remote suburban areas are slowing, while the exodus from major cities is slowing as well.
Factors contributing to this include more economic opportunities and shorter commutes in major urban areas. I think this will remain the same in the near future. In the distant future, I think more people will be re-assessing their values and priorities, weighing lifestyle and relationship factors more heavily in their decision on where to live than job opportunities that may not be here tomorrow.
“New urban centers” may emerge – smaller cities created on the village concept where people live, work, shop and gather in community. There are many such places in Europe and elsewhere – harder to find outside major cities in the U.S. due to the advent of the automobile, investment in highways verses railroads and the proliferation of sprawling suburbs.