Moving Across Country? Here’s Your To-Do List

Whether you have three months or three days to prepare for moving across country, you are facing a monumental task. Spending a few hours devising a step-by-step plan limits your stress during the actual move.

Whether you have three months or three days to prepare for moving across country, you’re facing a monumental task. Spending a few hours devising a step-by-step plan limits your stress during the actual move. Here are a few items to help you get started.

Start Packing

You can never finish packing too early. Collect and save empty boxes as soon as you know that you’re moving. Don’t skimp on packing materials like bubble wrap and sturdy boxes or you’ll risk damage to your items during transport. Also, take into consideration things you don’t need to pack. If you’re moving to a warmer climate, you can probably shed some of your winter-weather gear. Host a garage sale, sell unwanted items online, or drop off donations for a local charity.

Set a Date of Departure and a Date of Arrival

If you’re relocating for work, discuss with your move dates with your employer. Ask if any moving assistance is provided as part of your relocation package. Determine your date of arrival and make sure to call the utility companies and turn on the power and water. No one likes pulling up to a cold, dark house after a 20-hour drive.

Select Method of Transportation

You and your belongings may or may not be moving across country together. If you’re driving a personal vehicle or rented truck, keep your most valuable and personal items with you. Create a folder with all important documents as well: directions, contact phone numbers, personal identification, and financial data. Allow moving vans to carry furniture and boxed items. If you have time you might want to type up an inventory of everything traveling without you. Deciding the best way to move pets is another important step in the process. Consider how they’ll handle a cross country drive or if they need to be transported separately via an airplane.

Plan Your Rest Stops

To avoid reaching a point where you’re too tired to continue driving and then not being able to find a highway hotel that looks comfortable and clean, try to plan out how far you’ll travel each day. If you’re bringing pets along for the ride, you may be limited as to where you can stay, so search for pet-friendly hotels and make reservations.

Add a Few Cushion Days

Many people choose to move over a holiday or long weekend to take advantage of the extra day or two to facilitate their move. Starting a new job the day after a big move is difficult. Chances are, you won’t even know where your work clothes are the day after move-in. Give yourself some cushion by building a few extra days into your trip if at all possible. Your van may break down, some of your belongings may get lost, or you may get lost. Once you arrive, take a deep breath and enjoy your new home.

And, finally, if you’re planning on moving to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love welcomes you!

Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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