Exciting. Scary. Packing up and moving to a new town is always an adventure. While a long-distance move has some things in common with an in-town move, it also comes with its own set of unique challenges.
But long-distance moving doesn’t have to be a nightmare. You can experience a relatively stress-free move with a little bit of care and pre-planning. Here are our expert tips for making your long-distance move a success. Make sure you check out our other articles for moving advice too, since the advice in those articles applies to you, too.
Count costs, then count them again
There’s just no doubt about it—long distance moving can take a bite out of your budget. This is a time to count every penny, even if you’ve received a relocation budget from your employer. After all, anything that goes over budget comes out of your own pocket. And showing up broke is a very stressful way to arrive in any new city.
There are a lot of issues to consider. For example, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to move everything you own. Sometimes, however, it’s more cost-effective to move only your most precious items, and to replace everything else when you get there.
It’s difficult to make this determination without accurate information. Call us for an in-house quote before making any decisions. You need accurate figures to build your budget, and it’s hard to do that if you only want to speak over the phone or work over e-mail.
You also want to consider issues like gas, food, any hotels you’ll need to stay in, your deposit/first month’s rent or closing costs, and more.
Double your budget
You’ve got a to-the-penny budget worked out? Double it to stay on the safe side. There are a thousand unexpected expenses on the way.
Your child’s new school might require uniforms, even though your old school district didn’t. You’ll get to your new place only to realize you have to replace all of your spices, condiments, and cleaning supplies. Gas prices will go up. And for some reason, the amount you pay for your hotel room is always $10 to $30 higher than the amount that was quoted online.
You’re essentially combining a move with a road trip. Think about your last move, and think about your last road trip. Chances are you spent more than you thought you would. Don’t add financial stress to your moving stress.
- Accept that some things won’t go according to plan.
Your plans weren’t bad plans. There are just a lot of variables when you embark on a long-distance move. Add more variables if you’re moving with kids, pets, or both. You’re also exhausted, which means you might open up a suitcase to discover that you added five pairs of pants to a suitcase but neglected to add any shirts, which means having to buy new shirts you didn’t really want while you’re out on the road. You might discover that your pets can’t tolerate rest areas, which means your grand plan to save money by eating packed picnics on the road just went out the window—and now you have to figure out how to eat without leaving your car, since you can’t leave your pets unattended.
We could go on, but we think you get the picture.
In addition, some things will go according to plan—but the plan creates circumstances that are stressful and not at all ideal. For example, during a cross-country move it’s really not that uncommon for the movers, who are shipping a lot of items, to be a day or two behind you. That means you might have to do without your stuff for a few days, meaning you’ll spend the first nights in a new city in sleeping bags in an empty home, in a hotel, or at a relative’s house.
Just prepare yourself psychologically. Staying flexible will preserve your sanity. Keep your sense of humor—you’re going to need it.
- Pack properly.
A few packing mistakes aren’t so bad when you’re moving across town. You might not damage anything even if you do make a few errors here and there.
Packing mistakes are a huge problem when you’re moving across the country. Just imagine your items hurtling down the interstate at 70 mph, shaking, rattling, and bouncing about. Packing mistakes mean replacing more items then you care to (see tip #2).
Unsure about your own packing expertise? Take advantage of Eager Beaver’s professional packing service. It’s more affordable than you think it is—and it might just save you from having to replace every one of your plates when you get where you’re going.
- Use professionals.
There are a lot of self-service companies out there, and their big selling point is that they’re a great choice for frugal movers. Be that as it may, they’re a terrible choice for long-distance moves.
If you really want to go through the headache you can rent a van in town, leave your car in the rental place’s parking lot, and drive that huge truck to your loading and unloading zones with relatively few mishaps.
In a long distance move you’ve got to take your car with you. So you’re either going to have to drive the van alone while your spouse drives the car…or you’re going to have to put your car up on a trailer hitch and tow it while driving a huge commercial vehicle you have no experience with to an unknown location hundreds of miles away.
Just imagine navigating that entire array into a gas station. Think about trying to handle the rigors of traffic while driving the biggest vehicle you’ve ever dealt with. It’s an unsafe situation destined to create accidents. Those truck cabs are very cramped, too, which means they’re impossible for anyone with kids or pets.
Long distance moves are stressful enough. It’s better to focus on driving your own car while allowing the pros to worry about your stuff.
- Recruit allies.
If you can, it doesn’t hurt to recruit a couple of friends and family members on both sides of the moving process. Can’t go see your new apartment for yourself? Get a friend to check it out and verify that it looks as nice offline as it did online. Worried a package went to your old address? It helps to have a family member standing by to mail them on to you.
If you can’t find family members or friends then professional relocation coordinators might be helpful. You can’t always be physically present to take care of every detail of your move. Just make sure you aren’t asking your allies to move your piano—that’s what the professional moving crew is for.
Ready to make a fresh start?
Call 780-434-1100 to schedule an in-home estimate today. The Eager Beavers are standing by to make your long distance move a success.