Fort Worth is more than just a Dallas suburb. "Cowtown" is a laid-back city with a relaxed vibe, and living here will make you feel like a true Texan. Here are some tips for finding the best apartments in Fort Worth:

The basics
The cost of living in Fort Worth is 11 percent less than the national average. Many people who work in Dallas choose to live in Fort Worth – rentals prices here average about $900 across all rental types. A one-bedroom costs an average of $860 per month, while a two-bedroom here will cost approximately $1,175 on average. Fort Worth really is an excellent city for young people – a recent survey of 900 young professionals here revealed that 92 percent were happy living and working in Fort Worth, a place that "works like a city but acts like a town."

The neighborhoods

  • Downtown: You'll be in the heart of it all and close to the best restaurants and nightlife. You can expect to pay a bit more for rentals compared to outlying neighborhoods.
  • Fairmount/Ryan Place/Magnolia: These up-and-coming areas have a mix of old craftsman-style homes, large manors and apartment living. Magnolia Street is the best in the city for ethnic food.
  • Forest Park/TCU/West Cliff: These neighborhoods are close to/part of Texas Christian University, but they aren't too rowdy. In fact, you'll find a mix of single family homes and apartments with young families, seniors and students.

Insider tips
Be prepared for extreme heat in Fort Worth – it averages 40 days per year of temperatures above 100! Stay hydrated and have plenty of sunscreen on hand. If you're looking for a relaxed vibe, Fort Worth is the opposite of flashy Dallas. The restaurants serve up no-fuss good barbecue and things are as casual as they get in a moderately sized city.

Also, Dallas and Fort Worth have a healthy rivalry, so be prepared to defend your new city!

Aside from knowing that Philly has a delightful and surprising culinary scene (more on that later), before moving to Philly, it's a good idea to get the scoop on what to expect when you begin the apartment search. Here are some tips to get you started:

The stats
The vacancy rate on Philly apartments is one of the ten lowest in the country at around 3 percent, meaning competition for an apartment will be stiff, especially in the most desirable Center City. The average rent in 2013 is about $1,115 per month. If you're moving in December or January, you're likely to find fewer options but more flexibility in pricing, as it can be difficult for landlords to fill vacancies during the winter months. Of course, moving with a few feet of snow on the ground has its own hardships. 

If you're looking remotely, start online.  If you're already based in Philly, take a walk around the neighborhood or check out some rental open houses to get an idea of what to expect in each area. Rental agents are common in Philadelphia, and most of the time the landlord will pay their commission, so it's a free service to you. As the market is tight, if you find a great deal, it's good to be prepared with your own credit check, a security deposit and the final month of rent in case you want to snag the place right away.

The neighborhoods
Center City is Philadelphia's largest downtown area as well as one of its most sought-after –  neighborhoods in Center City are extremely walkable, biker-friendly and have decent public transit. Here's some information on a few of the most popular:

  • Rittenhouse and Fitler Square: Rittenhouse is one of the ritziest and priciest neighborhoods – affordable apartments are often small, but there's a great selection of restaurants and bars nearby. Fitler Square is just southwest of Rittenhouse and is a great neighborhood for small and young families.
  • Graduate Hospital: In southwest City Center, G-Ho is an up-and-coming neighborhood with cheaper rent than Rittenhouse and Fitler Square that's great for people who are on a tighter budget yet still want to be close to it all.
  • Queen Village and Bella Vista: These areas are funky and artsy with bright rowhomes and plenty of attitude. They're extremely walkable though slightly pricier.
  • Fairmount/Art Museum: To find a place in this trendy area with pretty townhomes, you'll likely have to use JMH Realty or Loonstyn Properties.

Another popular neighborhood is University City, which is home to University of Pennsylvania and Drexel and located just west of the Schuylkill. Other cheaper options include Spruce Hill and South Philly – the traditionally Italian neighborhood.

Insider tips
Philly folk are proud of their food, so it's good to get the lingo straight before you get there:

  • Water ice: Often pronounced "wooder-ice," this is the preferred name of Italian ice here.
  • Hoagies: There are no subs, grinders or heroes – they're hoagies, period.
  • Cheesesteaks: You order them "wit" or "witout" onions – but don't say the onion part.