7 Tips to Survive the Cross-Country Move
It turns out there’s more to moving than packing a few boxes and loading up a big truck—especially if you’re moving across the country. Keep your belongings and your sanity intact with these tips for your long-distance move.
Every good move begins with a plan. Organize your belongings into categories that make sense to box together. Use high-quality boxes or bins meant to withstand a long-distance move, label every box you pack, and keep important items accessible. When it comes to packing a moving truck, follow general guidelines, like heaviest items in first, to keep your belongings safe and secure during transit.
Let the Experts Handle It
If you don’t feel confident in your packing skills or simply don’t have the time to do it well, hire help! Professional movers can do the heaving lifting—literally—including everything from packing your boxes to unloading them in your new home. If you opt for a full-service experience, it still might be helpful to organize your belongings so unpacking is easier. If you are moving for a job, you may be eligible for relocation assistance to cover your costs.
Insure Your Belongings
Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to see what kind of coverage you have in case something goes wrong, like loss of or damage to your property during the moving process. This is especially important for cross-country travel. Speak to your insurance company about your limits, deductible, and the possibility to purchase temporary coverage for high-value items.
Yes, fuel your vehicle, but also plan to fuel your body and brain. Pack healthy and filling snacks in a cooler you can access during your drive and restock as necessary. You’ll save money, time, and health by being prepared for hunger and therefore less tempted to stop for fast food or gas station snacks. Download hours of playlists, podcasts, and audiobooks to keep boredom at bay.
Make It an Experience
If you have to drive across the country — or even just across several states — you might as well see a few sights along the way. Plan your route to hit national parks and monuments, fun cities you’ve always wanted to visit, or quirky roadside attractions. Allow for some spontaneity and lots of compromise, especially if you’re traveling with children. Book hotels ahead of time if there are events happening in cities where you plan to stop, and if you don’t book ahead, keep distances between destinations in mind so you don’t end up in the middle of the desert late at night, hours from the nearest town. Finally, invest in a GPS unit to minimize the time you spend lost or sitting in traffic in unfamiliar places.
Allow Extra Time
To make your move a memorable journey rather than a race from one place to the next, build in a few more days than you expect the trip to take. This allows for itinerary changes, some spontaneity, and the occasional mishap. You don’t want to arrive at your new home stressed about starting work or school before you have time to settle in.
Prepare for Arrival
Have a step-by-step plan for your move-in. What time will you arrive? Where will you park your moving truck and other vehicles? Are there any parking restrictions or space reservation requirements, especially on busy city streets or outside apartment complexes? Will you have assistance unloading? These are all good questions to answer before you leave your current home to minimize any anxiety about the unexpected.
A cross-country move can be a high-stress disaster or a fun and memorable experience. A little bit of thought and planning goes a long way to creating the latter!
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