How to Move Cross-Country

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Cross-country moving: the thought is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat. But a big move doesn’t have to make you crazy, if you plan ahead and organize. And you can start to quell that anxiety by focusing on the logistics you can control.

What do I do with my stuff?

First, consider selling what you can to make the move easier, especially those items that may be cheaper to replace when you arrive. Then go over your moving options:

            You pack, you move.

In this scenario, you pack your own belongings and load them onto a rental truck. You then drive the truck to your new location. It is a cheaper option, but remember, you have to drive a giant truck into unknown territory, possibly during hazardous weather conditions. This one is all about your budget versus your comfort level.

            You pack, they move.

A portable storage company dumps a giant metal box in your driveway, but don’t worry; those guys will be back. You pack and load your things into the unit, and they put it on a truck with several other units and drive it for you. A middle ground for stress and expense.

            They pack, they move.

This is your traditional moving company. It is the most expensive option but takes a lot off your plate during a stressful time, so you must determine if the convenience outweighs the cost. You also need to decide if you trust someone else to pack and organize your possessions the way you’d want.

What do I do with my car?

With all the focus on transporting your houseful of stuff, it’s easy to forget about your car. Your general options are as follows:

            Drive it.

Think about the reliability of your car. Can it make it? Does it need major repairs first? What will it cost in gas?

            Ship it.

Companies offer this service, but you’ll need to make sure the cost is within your budget and the delivery timeline works with your schedule.

            Tow it.

If you’re renting a moving truck, this is a possibility. Just be careful.

            Sell it.

Does it make more sense to buy a new one upon arrival, given your car’s condition and the associated costs with moving it?

Tricks of the trade

After trying to process the above information, you could use some tips to make this journey easier.

First, if you are using a packing and/or moving company, photograph and record the condition of valuable items.       

Ship books media rate. Boxes of books can significantly weigh down your car or truck, and are just really hard to lift.

Make lots of lists. To-do lists, packing lists, inventory of possessions, etc. Consider creating a big Excel sheet to organize apartment listings, moving costs, and schedules for things like setting up and shutting down utilities.

The final task for you in this ominous process is accepting a few things: accept that this is one of the biggest adventures you will embark upon, and it will be worth it. Accept that friends and family are there to help. And accept that you will have multiple breakdowns along the way, and that’s okay. You can do this!

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