Moving anywhere is an adventure, but a cross-country move is especially exciting. Of course, there are some logistical challenges you’ll need to address to ensure you have a safe, smooth trip.
So, take heed of these six tips for moving across the country by yourself.
1. Do Your Research
This one may sound obvious, but it’s a step that a lot of people skip. Once you’ve chosen a city to move to, do some digging beyond the basic articles designed for tourists. This is especially important when it comes to finding a place to live. You’ll want to make sure you find a neighborhood that’s relatively safe and close to work, school, or other places you need to go.
Of course, if you haven’t picked a city (or even state) you want to move to, you may want to look into the cheapest states to live in.
Similarly, unless you’re moving specifically for a job, it’s wise to research and apply for jobs in the vicinity of your new location. Be sure to investigate whether you’re moving somewhere where there are decent job opportunities in your field. And if you want to be extra-prepared, you can secure a job before making the move itself.
2. Downsize as Much as Possible
If you’ve moved a few times in your life already, you know that the more stuff you have, the more involved the move ends up feeling. And whether you’re moving everything yourself or hiring movers, getting rid of things you don’t need can keep things simpler and more affordable.
Try your best to mostly hang onto things that are necessary or have sentimental value. Unless your furniture is valuable, it usually makes more economic sense to sell your existing furniture and then purchase more when you arrive at your destination. The same goes for other larger items.
Going through your belongings can be overwhelming, but if you have a system, downsizing will get easier. Set up separate bins (or even piles) for items you want to keep, items you want to sell or donate, and items you can throw away. It’s also helpful to go through one room at a time; it will give you a sense of accomplishment each time you finish one.
3. Create a Checklist
Any time you move, there’s a seemingly endless list of loose ends you need to tie up. It can help to write them all down on a list so you don’t forget anything. Here are a few things you might include on the list:
- Cancel utilities at your current home and have them connected at your new address.
- Arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new address.
- Have your medical records transferred to your new doctor.
- Sell or donate items you won’t be taking.
- Take an inventory of everything you’re taking with you.
- Plan your moving route.
Of course, it can be helpful to write a very detailed list planning out what days you will pack certain rooms, when you will book a moving company, when you will transfer utilities, etc. When things start to get hectic, a moving list can really help.
4. Consider How You’ll Get There
One of the most important things to weigh out is whether you want to haul all your items yourself or pay a moving company. If you only have very few things, you might want to haul everything yourself in your car.
However, if you’re driving a moving truck or choosing to fly to your new home, cross-country car transport is often a quick and economical way to transport your vehicle without adding more miles or wear and tear.
Before deciding how you’ll make the move, call around and get at least three moving quotes from different companies. This will help you get a more realistic sense of how much the move will cost you if you choose to hire movers.
5. Pay Attention to the Season
Moving is almost always expensive regardless of the circumstances. But if you have some flexibility when comes to timing your move, you might want to choose a less busy month in order to save on total moving costs.
Most people move during the summer, so the cost of truck rentals, hiring movers, etc. are likely to be more expensive in these months. Generally speaking, winter is the cheapest season to move. Additionally, you can likely save money if you opt to move mid-week as opposed to on a weekend. And as a plus, if you take this option, traffic is likely to be lighter, too.
Of course, it’s not always possible to be extremely flexible when it comes to timing. But if you can, you can shave a bit off the cost of your move.
6. Map Out Your Route
In a world where most people just plug an address into a GPS and go, it might seem strange to map out your entire route. Having a printout of directions might seem like overkill, but if something goes wrong with your GPS, you’ll be thankful you’ve got it.
Mapping a route is especially important if your move is long enough that you’ll need to stay in a hotel. Finding a place to stay after a long day on the road is no fun at all, so be sure to make hotel reservations for each night before you go. If you wish, you can even plan where you’ll stop for gas or to stretch your legs a bit.
When you’re mapping out the route, it’s a good idea to make yourself a schedule and stick to it. This is especially important if you’re driving separately from a moving truck; you don’t want to arrive at your new home only to find your belongings aren’t there!
When you plan ahead and invest some time into organizing your cross-country move, you’ll help ensure that the next chapter of your life begins smoothly. Take time to figure things out, and best of luck with your move!