UNITED STATES—Moving someplace new is a big decision, not at all the kind of thing you should take lightly. There are so many factors to consider, however, that it can be tricky knowing which ones matter most.

Before you start browsing listings for Mountain View apartments, here are a few things to think about that could help you determine if you’re really ready to make the big move…

Can You Afford to Move Right Now?

The first thing you should probably keep in mind when contemplating a move is the nature of your current financial situation. Having a decent savings often makes all the difference when transplanting to a new city.

Moving is expensive, after all, not just in terms of finding a new place but also transportation. More importantly, if you don’t already have a job lined up, it might be a while before you’re able to find work. Consider also that the cost of living might be different than what you’re used to, and it’s clear that financial stability is crucial.

How Independent Do You Need to Be?

This goes hand-in-hand with the money issue, although it’s worth remembering that there is a difference between financial independence and other kinds of independence. When considering a big move, it’s important to know exactly how much independence will be required of you, in all forms.

How far away will you be from your support network? Will you be moving in with someone or living on your own? What new responsibilities might you have to take on that you’re not yet accustomed to?

How Will This Affect Your Loved Ones?

Speaking of independence, the concept is often associated with relative isolation. And for good reason; moving often requires leaving close friends and family members behind. Think about how a move might affect your relationship with your loved ones, and if you’re comfortable with that.

Conversely, if you’re heading someplace where you already know people, moving can actually improve your relationships. Even if you don’t know anyone, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Moving can also help you make new friends, so it’s a give-and-take situation.

What Opportunities Are You Seeking?

Often, the key to figuring out whether or not you should move is in figuring out why exactly you want to move in the first place. What changes or opportunities are you seeking? What do you hope to gain from the experience?

Although moving can be a great way of achieving your goals, there might be other routes worth considering. If you’re looking for a change in routine, for example, there are simpler ways of going about it. If you’re hoping for better employment, make sure you’ve exhausted your local options first. Moving isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t always the best choice either.