Moving/Relocating To Montana: 10 Tips To Know Before You Start Packing
Montana offers high quality of life with a growing economy, excellent education, and many outdoor activities. In addition, the cost of living in Montana is relatively affordable. Where else you can enjoy a great lifestyle that is budget-friendly?
This state is also known for its friendly residents. Living in Montana will be a chance for you to be part of a great caring community. Therefore, moving to Montana is a good decision to start a career and raise a family.
To help you adapt to the pros and cons of living in Montana, here we have 10 tips to know before you head to Big Sky Country.
1. Learn About The Pros And Cons Of Living In Montana
There will always be pros and cons wherever you live, including Montana. However, knowing them before moving to Montana will definitely ensure you’re well-prepared to live there. Here are some pros and cons of living in Montana:
The Benefits Of Living In Montana
Big Sky Country
Do you know why Montana is called the Big Sky Country?
The sky in Montana seems big and unobstructed, unlike in big cities. This state is sparsely populated, and there are no tall buildings like skyscrapers and other tall structures.
Montana Has The Nicest People In The Country
In general, Montana residents are friendly and welcoming. It is not a rare sight for people to greet each other or look out for each other in the neighbourhood.
However, you should not let your guard down and ignore safety measures. Although the rate is low, crimes still happen in Montana. It is always better to be careful, especially with strangers.
The Traffic Is Less Congested
Sometimes the traffic on the main roads in Montana is packed with vehicles. However, the traffic jams in Montana are less congested than in other states.
There is no concentrated crowd due to the sparse population. However, even though the traffic is less crowded here, it does not mean you can drive carelessly. Always make sure to pay attention to the road while driving as wild animals, such as deers, bison, elks, and racoons, may sometimes cross the roads in Montana.
In conclusion, the traffic in Montana is less-stressful, but you still need to be careful.
The Downside Of Living In Montana
You May Encounter Dangerous Animals In Montana
Sometimes you may share the neighbourhood with wild animals, and some of them are dangerous, like grizzly bears and bison. You need to learn what to do when you encounter one of them.
Wild animals like bears will come to the human-populated areas for food. If you encounter a bear, walk slowly sideways so you can keep an eye on it. Always carry bear spray in case you encounter an aggressive bear.
If a bison is on the road while you’re driving, you should drive slowly and keep all windows closed. Bison can chase or attack you when startled.
2. Adapt To The Weather When Living In Montana
Montana has two climates since the state is separated by the Continental Divide. The western part of this state has a northern Pacific coastal climate, and the eastern part has a semi-arid continental type of climate.
Northern pacific coastal climate gives the western part of Montana mild winters and cool summers. For example, in Missoula city, the summers are warm, with peak temperatures ranging from 87°F to above 96°F. Winters in this city last 3.3 months, with the lowest temperatures ranging from 18°F to below 2°F.
The eastern part of the state that gets the semi-arid continental climate has warm summers and brutally cold winters. In Billings, for instance, the hottest temperature can reach above 98°F, and the coldest temperature can drop to below -2°F.
By familiarising yourself with the climate, you’ll know what to expect when living in Montana. Besides that, you’ll also have an idea of what to prepare before moving to Montana.
3. Find The Best Cities To Live In Montana
Once you know the city you’d like to live in, do some research to find safe and affordable neighbourhoods. Below are some of the best cities in Montana for your reference. These cities have affordable housing prices and low crime rates.
Great Falls has safe neighbourhoods, many recreational options, and excellent healthcare facilities. Overall, this city is a great place to live.
Great Falls offers a dense suburb with relatively low housing prices. The average house price in this city is $232,100, and the median monthly rent is $704.
Great Falls is a family-friendly city. It has excellent public schools and many kid-friendly attractions such as a wall climbing centre, Children’s Museum, and a water park.
Kalispell is one of the best places to live in Montana. It has mountains, lakes, prairies, and forests, making it the perfect city if you love outdoor recreation.
Kalispell has a small-town atmosphere yet excellent city amenities. You will find amenities such as schools, parks, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres in the city.
In addition, Kalispell is the second safest place in Montana, with a crime rate of 31.52 for every 1,000 residents.
Nonetheless, the housing prices in Kalispell are still relatively affordable. The median home price is $296,338, and the median monthly rent is $928.30.
Helena has a population of 32,024 and is located in Lewis and Clark County. This city is one of the best places to live with a dense suburban feel.
Overall, this city is safe for everyone. However, some areas have higher crime rates. To find the safest neighbourhoods in Helena, you can use recommendations from this site for your research.
The residents in Helena are able to enjoy the relatively low housing prices. The median home price in Helena is $244,300, and the median monthly rent is $820.
4. Manage Your Finances: The Cost Of Living In Montana
Even though the demand for houses is increasing in Montana, this state can manage its cost of living to stay relatively affordable.
The cost of living index in Montana is at 94.0. This means that this state has a lower cost of living than the national average. Besides housing and healthcare costs, everything else is lower than the national average index, which is 100.
Even so, you still need to manage your finances, especially if you want to settle and purchase a house in the future. The housing costs in Montana are increasing rapidly. Therefore you need to calculate and plan your purchase well.
5. Find The Job And Business Opportunities!
According to data from Regional and State Employment and Unemployment, the unemployment rate in Montana keeps decreasing over the years. In December 2020, the unemployment rate in Montana was 4.205, and in November 2021, it dropped to 2.80%.
This data shows that the economy in Montana is growing and has potential in the future. It also means there are opportunities for you, both in the job market and business.
The economy in Montana is dominated by agriculture, forestry, mining, and energy production. Besides these primary sectors, outdoor recreation and technology industries are also growing in Montana.
If you are interested in the sectors above, Montana can be the perfect place to start your career and business.
For your information, the minimum hourly wage in Montana is $8.65. It means you have the chance to earn more than this number.
6. Get Your Degree In A Top University In Montana
The two biggest universities in Montana are Montana State University and the University of Montana. The total number of undergraduate students enrolled in both universities by fall 2020 were 14,240 and 6,975 respectively. These numbers are pretty big, considering most colleges in Montana only have less than 3,000 undergraduate students.
Montana State University offers unique research facilities, such as the Plant Growth Center and the Center for Bison and Wildlife Health.
On the other hand, the University of Montana has programs specifically dedicated to American Indian culture. Students also get the chance to do internships at the Ecological Farm.
If you are interested in pursuing higher education, consider Montana to be your destination. The overall cost of living is affordable here, so it is perfect for students.
7. Challenge Yourself By Doing Winter Sports
Despite harsh winters, the snowy season in Montana is wonderful. There are many winter sports that you have to try, at least once in your life.
Some of the winter sports that you can enjoy during the freezing winters are snowmobiling, back-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Winter is also the time to visit the top-notch ski resorts in Montana like Big Sky Resort. The total length of the slope in this resort is 250 km.
If you prefer relaxing types of recreation, you can try these activities in the winters:
- staying at a forest cabin,
- visiting a museum in Bozeman,
- ice-fishing, and
- enjoying the hot spring.
8. Include These Must-Visit Places On Your Bucket List
Montana is abundant in natural beauty and wildlife. That’s why there are beautiful open spaces in Montana that you should visit during your vacations.
Include these recommended recreational spots on your bucket list when you arrive in Montana.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park covers a 3,472 square miles area, with 96% of the area in Wyoming, 1% in Idaho, and 3% in Montana.
Some spots that you cannot miss when visiting this park are:
- Grand Prismatic Spring;
- Old Faithful Geyser;
- Lamar Valley; and
- Grand Canyon.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located northwest of Montana, along the Rocky Mountains. The park is about 40 miles northeast of Kalispell or around 50 minutes drive from this city.
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in July and August when the daytime temperature is around 80°F. It is more comfortable to go around the park at this temperature. The top attractions in this National Park are:
- Lake McDonald;
- Going-to-the-Sun Road;
- Grinnell Glacier;
- Avalanche Lake; and
- Virginia Falls.
If you want to hike at this park, you must know that water is the number one cause of fatalities. Avoid slippery rocks and logs, and do not wade the fast streams rivers.
9. Get A Taste Of The Local Delicacy
If you think that Montana is not a place for a food adventure, then think again. This state offers delicious dishes for everyone. These unique local dishes can be your favourites in no time.
Below are some of the recommended iconic foods from Montana that you should try:
- cinnamon rolls;
- bison burgers, stews, and steaks;
- huckleberries pie, jam, and ice cream;
- flathead cherries;
- pasties (meat pie); and
- Rocky Mountain oyster.
If you love food a lot, you can try restaurant hopping during the weekend with your local friends.
10. Simple Tips To Know Before Moving To Montana
These two tips are simple yet crucial. By following these tips, your relocation to Montana can be more enjoyable.
Secure Your Income And Home
It is best to move to Montana after securing a job or business. This way, you can rest assured about your income.
Make a budget to calculate how much you need for the first three months in Montana. Three months is usually how long it takes for one to settle in a new city financially.
Besides income, you also need to secure your home. Find the best place to live and contact the real estate agent. Contact your real estate agent several weeks before your arrival to make your relocation even more seamless. This way, your agent will have time to schedule a slot for you and prepare all the essentials you need.
Do Not Stress Yourself Out About Shipping Your Belongings
Contact a professional mover like Sanelo. It is wiser to get your belongings shipped by Sanelo than carrying heavy luggage on your trip to Montana.
Sanelo has the experience of helping thousands of people move locally and internationally. We also have storage facilities to keep your belongings safe until they reach your new home.
Conclusion About Moving To Montana
Living in Montana is suitable if you want to live in a less populated state with no traffic jams, a friendly community, potential economic growth, and a reasonable cost of living. Especially if you plan to live and settle in Montana for a long time, you’ll be glad to find that there are cities with affordable housing prices and low crime rates.
In addition, the options for recreational activities seem endless in Montana. You can hike, camp, try out local dishes, visit museums, and even enjoy outdoor activities during the harsh winter.
Before moving to Montana, you need to secure a job or a business. This way, you can secure your income when you arrive in Montana.
Another thing you should find before moving is a home. Do some research and find the best neighbourhood to live in. Contact your real estate agent several weeks before moving.
Lastly, do not force yourself to carry all the luggage. Engage Sanelo to help you with the shipping of your belongings to Montana.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Montana
Is Montana A Good Place To Live?
Montana is an excellent place to live and is considered very safe compared to other states in the country. This state is perfect for students, young professionals, families, even retirees.
Do I Need to Switch My Driver’s License In Montana?
When you become a resident of Montana, you need to switch your out-of-state license for a Montana driver’s license.
How Much Money Do I Need To Live Comfortably In Montana?
The answer could be different from one city to another. However, overall, singles in Montana should at least make $23,260 annually to afford the cost of living. For families with children, the minimum annual income they should earn annually ranges from $52,000 to $82,000.
With the average household income in Montana being $57,153 annually, you are more likely to afford the living expenses in Montana.
How Far Ahead Should I Contact Sanelo Before Moving To Montana?
The ideal time to contact Sanelo is two or three months before your moving date. This way, our team can manage to schedule a slot for your shipment, and prepare all the required paperwork.
Three months before your moving date should be ideal if you are moving from overseas. By having this buffer period, our team can assist you better when dealing with the clearance and documents.
For your reference, check out our articles about moving to other states around the country: