BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana’s music scene, Creole-Cajun inspired foods, and celebratory atmosphere makes it a unique state that draws international attention.

So, when a Louisianan is faced with the option of leaving the Bayou State, this can be quite a tough decision.

Before making the leap into such a huge transition, experts say there are a few key questions to consider.

Four of those questions are listed below.

#1 What is the cost of living, and can I afford it?

You may have been offered a job with a salary that’s significantly higher than what you’re making in Louisiana. While the added zeros may look great on paper, experts advise caution.

Instead of assuming you’re all set, ask yourself, “What is the new state’s cost of living?”

It’s crucial to sit with this question and do your research in answering it. This is necessary because if the cost of living is too expensive, you may end up in a worse financial situation than before.

To find out how much it costs to live comfortably in the new state, it may be helpful to find out the prices of:

  • An average grocery run 
  • Gasoline/fuel
  • Rental/mortgage 
  • Monthly energy fees
  • Car insurance
  • Medical care (doctor’s visits, medications, etc)
  • Child care and/or pet care

In addition to doing your own research on the data above, you can also visit websites that detail the costs of living in each U.S. state.

#2 Do I have any friends or family in the new state?

Maybe you’re an independent soul, and you’re used to keeping to yourself. This is an advantage when striking out into a new area where you don’t know many people.

That said, knowing at least one or two people in your new location can not only ward off feelings of isolation, but serve as a means of protection.

For example, should you become seriously ill or find yourself victimized by a crime, it can be helpful to know someone in the area who will check on you and possibly even support you financially until you’re on your feet again.

But what if even though you don’t have contacts in the new state, you feel emotionally and financially capable of making the move? In that case, moving may be the thing to do. After all, you can always take steps to build a social network upon arriving.

#3 Will I fit into the new state’s culture?

Not to be overlooked is the new location’s vibe and culture. If the atmosphere is laid back and most of its activities are outdoors, is that a good fit for you? Or what about the political climate? Is it in sync with your beliefs, or will it be challenging for you to fit in due to differences in opinions?

An article from Mental Floss suggests, ” If you’re miserable in your current city, and hoping the new place will be better, carefully consider why you’re not happy in your current location and what about the new location seems preferable.”

#4 What will my back-up plan be if this doesn’t work out?

Hopefully, the new move will be enjoyable and open doors to new opportunities.

There is, however, the possibility that a new job will fall through or securing a place to live turns out to be tougher than expected. This and other unforeseen challenges might upset the move.

This is why it’s good to lay out a Plan B. Having a back-up strategy will remind you that all is not lost and despite a few bumps along the way, you can still enjoy this new chapter of your life.

Back-up plans may include dipping into a savings account, rooming with a friend in the new state, or returning to Louisiana. In any case, alternative plans are a means of protection.

For many, leaving Louisiana is a bittersweet experience. But those who choose to take the leap often find themselves on an enriching adventure that affords new experiences and opportunities for growth.