Unlike a week- or month-long road trip, nobody enjoys long-distance moving. From the inconvenience of packing up your entire life to the agony of saying goodbye to your loved ones, moving homes can be extremely stressful and tedious. It also involves some risk as all your earthly belongings are transported from one area to another. Thankfully, there are ways to make cross-country moving easier, safer, and even fun.
Before the trip: Make a plan and stick with it.
A long-distance move requires a lot of research and planning. In the same way that a long road trip needs an itinerary, cross-country moving must also have a step-by-step procedure to ensure that everything goes smooth sailing.
Write lists for everything: an organized inventory of your belongings and which boxes they go in, a checklist for every moving-related task you need to accomplish, a spreadsheet of every expense, and many others. It will keep everything organized for when you make your move.
Take the opportunity to declutter and downsize. Separate your belongings into three categories: those you will keep, those you will give away, and those you will sell. Pack your belongings by room and label them. Unpacking will be a breeze if everything is properly arranged.
Research, research, research. Explore the best motels, hotels, or bed and breakfasts to check-in at during the trip. Every state or city has places catered to long-distance drivers, so there is a wide array of options. Look also for a reputable moving company. If you have a vehicle that needs moving, inquire about the most reliable car transport carrier companies in the area. Consider purchasing moving insurance. Find the best policies at the most reasonable prices and cut back on costs where it’s possible. After doing research, make the necessary reservations. Make sure the deals are fair and foolproof.
Your plan should include inspecting the car you will use to see if it’s fit for a long drive. Check also the locations of gas stations and estimate when and where you can gas up during the trip. Make a schedule for mealtimes, coffee breaks, and short picture-taking stopovers at city or state signs.
Triple-check your belongings and important documents before leaving. Make sure everything is in its proper place.
During the trip: Try your best to stick to the schedule, but make a contingency plan.
Try not to make unscheduled stops, especially when you need to make it to your new home at a specific time.
Schedules exist for a reason; a detailed plan is better than an unclear one. But sometimes, no matter how much we plan, unforeseen circumstances can force us to change courses. So, make room for necessary adjustments for contingencies.
There is no reason to be miserable during the trip. Create the road trip playlist of your life that you can look back on with fondness years from now. If you’re traveling with others, prepare some car games for everyone to enjoy. Set also a schedule for everyone to have a chance to choose the music. There is nothing more stressful than hostile car-mates during a long road trip.
Take the rare chance to enjoy the scenery—it’s not every day you get to cross state or city lines. Take photos of every beautiful sunset.
But of course, be vigilant and practice safe driving to avoid accidents and other unfortunate incidents.
After the trip: Organize the kind of life you want to live.
Check if all of your belongings made it safely to the location. Figure out where everything will go in your new house. Organize your furniture in a way that makes you want to stay home. If you were never the tidiest person, now is the best time to start being one. Moving to a new home is the start of a new chapter.
Do the necessary research on your new town. Familiarize your way around the area. Check where the banks, hospitals, gas stations, police station, and grocery stores are—you don’t want to get lost in your new neighborhood. If you have children, find time to introduce yourself to their new teachers. Also, say hello to your new neighbors and bring them a gift if you think it’s something they would appreciate.
A long-distance move is both an end and a beginning. It is a wonderful opportunity to start all over again and design your life the way you want to live it. But making the actual move isn’t easy. We need to do all that we can, no matter how small, to make it easier for ourselves and everyone else we are moving with.