Historically, studies have shown that the average person will never live more than 40 miles away from where they grew up, but that’s starting to change. But in a new age of remote work, people are becoming more mobile, which means that cross-country moves are becoming more commonplace than ever before.
If you’re one of the many Americans considering relocating cross country, the notion of a long-distance move might be an unnerving endeavor. It’s not a typical move, that’s for sure. Here’s how to make the move happen without a hitch.
- Research Your New Home State
- Get a Job Lined Up
- Find a New Home
- Sell the Stuff You Don't Need
- Consider How You'll Move
- Get Moving Quotes
- Choose Your Moving Date
- Set Up a Forwarding Address For Your Mail
- Pack Your Stuff
- Book a Hotel or Airbnb if Needed
- Figure Out What You'll Do With Your Car
- Load Up the Moving Truck
- Start Driving Cross Country
- Unpack and Settle In
1. Research Your New Home State
Moving cross country means that you won’t have as much knowledge about the lay of the land as you would moving to the next town over. To make sure that your move goes off without a hitch, make sure that you do research on the town and pick the right home for you.
2. Get a Job Lined Up
If you’re a freelancer and work in a home office, this step isn’t always necessary. Technically, you don’t need to do this step if you are confident that you can find a job in your new state. However, it’s always better to ensure that you have a job lined up before you move.
3. Find a New Home
Before moving across the country, you'll need to find a new home to live in. Even if you plan on renting, it's best to line up a place before you move to the area, simply because trying to find one while you have all your stuff in storage might be a nightmare. Ideally, you’ll have time to explore the area and get a tour of the neighborhood before you move there.
4. Sell the Stuff You Don't Need
When you’re moving across the country, the price to move all your stuff skyrockets. You will most likely need to sell some of your items just to make the move affordable. Having a yard sale, using eBay, or just doing consignment work can all be beneficial here.
5. Consider How You'll Move
Now it's time to set up your cross-country move. Depending on your budget, you'll want to consider finding a portable moving container, a large freight truck, a U-Haul, or a full-service company. Portable moving containers are usually the cheapest, followed by U-Hauls. With these options, you will have to pack up everything yourself. If you get a full-service company, they will pack things up for you.
Consider the perks and pitfalls of each option. If convenience is key, a full-service mover is going to be your best bet. If you’re looking for a cost-effective choice, looking into portable moving containers that double as storage is best.
6. Get Moving Quotes
To make sure you get a good price, call around and ask at least three companies to give you a quote. Ask what the quote includes and what add-ons you can get. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. Many places will offer discounts, but only if you ask. Military and corporate discounts are the most common, but there’s a chance that you might be able to swing something if you ask politely.
Finally, don’t be afraid to do some of the work. You can save a ton on labor if you do.
7. Choose Your Moving Date
It’s worth noting that the moving date you choose can impact the price of moving across the country. We suggest making a mid-week move to try to cut down on pricing. However, if you are in dire need of a move, you can always do it during the weekend despite the higher pricing.
8. Set Up a Forwarding Address For Your Mail
Another important thing to do before moving is to set up a forwarding address for your mail. You should also wrap up any subscriptions you have sent to your home and close out any utilities in your name there.
9. Pack Your Stuff
Now it's time to get some moving supplies and start packing. You can purchase moving boxes at a store like home depot. You'll also want bubble wrap and other packing materials so that you can wrap and protect your stuff. If you have professional movers who do packing for you, you can skip this step.
10. Book a Hotel or Airbnb If Needed
It can take several weeks to move your items into your new home, and that means you may need a place to stay while waiting for your movers to arrive with your belongings. Packing a light travel bag and just finding some temporary housing can help you bridge that gap and make the move easier.
11. Figure Out What You'll Do With Your Car
If you have a car, you'll need to decide what to do with it. It is possible to find cross-country car transport services, but they often cost around $500 to $2000 for a single car. If you don’t want to pay that money, you can drive your car to the location, or you might even consider selling it.
12. Load Up the Moving Truck
Upon move day, load up the items (or have your movers load it for you) into the truck. This will be an all-day affair, and it will be pretty difficult to do at times. When loading everything up, keep a suitcase, your IDs, and your laptop with you. You will need to have some basic goods when you get to your sublet.
13. Start Driving Cross Country
Whether you're driving the moving truck or your car, it's time to start your drive across the country. You'll want to plan your route ahead of time, and book hotels along the way if necessary.
If you are not driving the truck yourself and are not driving a car cross-country, then book a flight to your location and ask that movers call you when they arrive. The moving company should give you a general estimate of the day when they will bring by all your things. Take a taxi to your sublet and live there until things settle.
13. Unpack and Settle In
Now that you've officially moved across the country, it's time to unpack and start settling into your new home. You'll also need to set up utilities in your new place and update your driver's license.
Moving cross country can be a little scary at first but don’t worry. Once you get used to your brand new state, you’ll find that it can quickly begin to feel like a home away from home.
People choose to make cross-country moves for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes, it’s career-related. Other times, it’s because they are moving in with someone they love. Or maybe they’re moving to enjoy a better lifestyle in a state with lower taxes and living costs. Whatever the reason, it's important to plan your move ahead of time to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.