I’ve moved out of state seven different times. And moving out of state? Its no joke. I had NO idea what I was doing the first time. I just gathered things together and hastily shoved them into boxes and then into the trunk and back seat of my car. The beautiful days of being able to move with only a few boxes and suitcases. Those are long gone now!
By the second, I’d learned a few lessons. Things like how to ship boxes at media prices, how to properly tape a box to get it in tact all the way to the next apartment, efficiently packing so that you only need to take one suitcase in with you to the hotel on the drive, and how not to get ripped off with moving costs!
At this point? I feel like I’ve got it under control. Or at least as much as one person can have it under control when you’re moving everything you own thousands of miles!
There are some things you can do to make the entire process a little easier on yourself though…
Top Tips for Moving Out of State:
- Plan your route far in advance.
- This will give you time to think about things like problematic weather, construction or other issues you might come across. It can also help you find a route that has a few side trips or better hotels. While you can’t exactly treat it like a vacation, if you’ve always wanted to try St. Louis BBQ or see the Barbed Wire Museum (yes its real!), this might be your opportunity, and it might make your trip a little less boring.
- Pack a suitcase for the hotels, and a box for your first night in your new place.
- Put several changes of clothes, toiletries and other must-have items in your suitcase.
- In your box, build on the suitcase with things you won’t have in the new place yet. Things like toilet paper, sheets, pillows, a few cleaning products, a roll of paper towels, a regular towel, and a flashlight.
- Give yourself extra time to get from Point A to Point B.
- Don’t try to make 10 or 12 hours driving a day, its not realistic. If you have to go thousands of miles, you’ll burn out by day 2 and day 3 (or worse yet day 4) will be more than you can take.
- Stuff happens. Even with the best of planning things can go wrong, a tire can spring a leak from a nail, slow traffic can add an hour, or a road can be closed. I had one cross country move that I started out with a cold. By the time I woke up on day two, because of altitude changes and the general wear and tear of moving out of state, I had a double ear infection and had to find an urgent care and a pharmacy. Not exactly the side trip I’d planned on! Luckily, we’d factored in extra time.
- Pre-book your hotels.
- This means giving yourself extra time of course to make sure you can reach your destinations each night, but it means you can find a hotel that’s both affordable and nice. The first cross country move I didn’t do this. We ended up in a small town in North Dakota that had two options available that night: A casino-hotel overrun with truckers with a room that had a broken lock and was conveniently located between the casino floor and the main door or a smoking room that smelled like an ashtray across town. Both were way overpriced.
- Moving out of state is stressful enough. Don’t make it any harder on yourself. It’s also an opportunity to find somewhere extra comfy. You can check to make sure there’s room in the lot for your moving truck, good food within walking distance, and that your room is somewhere you can get a good night’s rest (aka away from the highway, casinos and other noise!).
- Have lots of audio content to keep you entertained when you’re driving.
- Books on tape, podcasts, games; bring it all and have it ready to go. Playlists are your friend. On a long haul it’s hard not to get white line fever.
- Have an easy to reach car road trip kit.
- I take one of those fabric boxes that you normally would put in a set of square shelves and fill it with all the things I want close at hand during a long trip.
- Buy an industrial lock for your truck if you’re moving yourself.
- You want the kind that’s immune to bolt cutters. Long moves mean sometimes having to park the truck in a hotel parking lot or a rest stop. You don’t want to have to worry about someone breaking into the truck while you rest!