Moving is a big undertaking—there are so many logistical concerns involved that planning your every step is paramount.
Preparation becomes even more crucial when you’re moving to a different state. Throwing your luggage into the back of your car and driving toward the sunset may make for a fantastic movie scene, but in real life, that’s a spell for disaster.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free long-distance moving experience, then check out these tips before you make your big move.
Researching your new state means more than just finding the best pizza joint in your area. If you haven’t yet, research whether or not your new location has a reliable cell phone reception—otherwise, you might have to look into getting a landline or switching carriers.
It’s also critical to know where the nearest hospital and police station are. How far is your new home from the fire station? Grocery store? Gas station?
Additionally, you have to prepare any moving permits your new location may require. Nothing’s worse than finding out you’re missing essential documents on your big day.
Gather all the documents and IDs you have that contain your address. You’ll need to plan when and how you’ll get all these updated. You may need to update some of them before the big move (e.g., your driver’s license if you’re going to be driving to your new place), while others probably can wait until you’ve settled in. Even if you’re not in a rush to update these files, it pays to have a to-do list ready.
Don’t settle for the first moving company you hear about (or the cheapest). Remember: you’re trusting this moving company with all your furniture, electronics, and family heirlooms.
When deciding on a moving company, ask your shortlisted companies the following questions:
- Are you properly licensed? Can you provide references?
- Do you have experience with the kind of move I’m making?
- Do you use your own trucks and vans or will you subcontract moving vehicles?
- How will my furniture and home be protected during the moving process?
- What compensation will I get if you deliver my furniture late?
- How do you handle instances of broken or missing furniture? How long will it take to process this issue if it arises?
Note that some companies like North American Van Lines specialize in long-distance moving, while other companies prefer to service intrastate moving. Make sure to find the company that will meet your needs.
Most people move during the summer, which means moving companies likely charge higher during this season. If possible, schedule your move during a different season, so you pay a little less than you would have during summer.
Your furniture can still get damaged even if you hire the best moving company in the world. It’s better to be safe than sorry—get your furniture insured. Of course, federal law requires moving companies to provide liability of about $0.60 per pound. However, if you’d rather have full coverage (and who doesn’t?), you can purchase insurance from an insurance company.
Make an inventory of everything you’re taking with you to your new home. It’s important to have a list of what you’re bringing, so you can check if any item is missing.
It’s also easier to plan your packing when you have an inventory list in front of you. Your most valuable items should be placed in heavy-duty boxes for additional protection. Electronics and other breakable items should get extra security as well.
Finally, when you’re packing, make sure you label the boxes correctly. This way, you don’t have to waste time guessing which box is which, especially when there are items that need to be unboxed first and items that you do not need to use right away in your new home.
Moving is an exciting, albeit challenging, experience. Long-distance moving, in particular, comes with its set of hurdles. With these tips, however, you can turn moving into a rewarding experience, something you can look back at fondly after a year or two.