Considering an out-of-state move? The cross-state moving process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be! Prepare for your upcoming relocation with our guide to moving out of state.
Preparing for Your Out-of-State Move
Wondering how to plan a move out of state? The more you prepare beforehand, the less there is to figure out on moving day! Get your interstate moving checklist ready and follow these tips for moving out of state.
HOW MUCH WILL MOVING COST?
Get to Know Your New City
Don’t just research the real estate market in your new city—learn what it’s like to actually live there! Unless you’re relocating for a job, you should research the local job market, unemployment rate, and the main industries or employers of the city. Go online and research the nightlife of the area, and see if are there plenty of entertainment options you’d enjoy—like art walks, community musicals and plays, amateur or professional sports leagues, outdoor recreation opportunities, family-friendly activities, and more. Be sure to look into your new state and city’s laws that may affect you, too—from taxes to pet licensing. Researching aspects like these will help you see what your future life will look like.
Research Your Future Neighborhood
Most cross-state movers will either live in temporary housing in their new city, rent an apartment, or buy a home before arriving. Regardless, people moving to a new state should look into their future neighborhood’s proximity to childcare centers, doctors, vets, and other vital facilities. Test potential commute times and look for local businesses and nearby activities on Google Maps. Choose the best local school for your children with websites like Niche or GreatSchools. Find trails and parks near your soon-to-be home. Check online for events the neighborhood or your future HOA hosts, like community garage sales, neighborhood clean-ups, porch festivals, and more!
Set a Moving Budget
Worried about the cost of moving out of state? Plan ahead with a moving budget to save money and stress. Include moving costs like packing supplies, hotels, meals while traveling, plus a shopping trip for new house essentials. You can also look for moving discounts and relocation assistance from employers or government programs to save on moving costs. Make sure you also have an emergency fund to cover unforeseen costs like your rental truck breaking down or the moving company billing you for fuel surcharges. Before relocating to another state, you’ll also want to update your monthly budget. A cost of living calculator can help you check for cost of living differences in your new city, from transportation to grocery bills.
Decide How You’ll Move to Another State
The best way to move out of state depends on your specific situation—how many belongings you’re bringing, your moving timeline’s flexibility, and budget. If you’re moving by yourself and driving your personal vehicle across the state, plan on making a minimalistic move and sell or donate many of your belongings. This option allows you to decide the moving schedule, how you pack and arrange boxes, and every other detail. Another common moving method is to hire a professional cross-state moving company—they’ll help you save stress and time by packing your belongings, loading and unloading, and even transporting your belongings!
Prepare for Employment Changes
Have a new job lined up or request ample time off from your current job for packing, traveling, and moving into a new house. If you maintain a professional license, research the requirements and transfer fees in your new state. Regardless of your profession, keep employment paperwork organized—from paystubs to employee relocation packages—and be ready for two state tax returns! Notify the IRS of your change of address, along with your employer, and if you receive Social Security benefits, change your address online with my Social Security account.
Transfer Services & Subscriptions
Tell your utility companies that you’re moving out of state and set a date to transfer or cut off services, including your phone, internet, and cable. You can call to schedule a start date for utilities, trash, and recycling services at your new home as soon as you know your move-in date. Update your address for subscriptions like scheduled food and product deliveries, magazines, and even streaming services for accurate billing.
Make Travel Arrangements
Book your travel arrangements as far in advance as possible for the best rates. Depending on the distance to your new home and how your household prefers to travel, reserve a rental car or buy plane tickets for everyone. Confirm timeframes with your moving company to determine how long it will take them to transport your belongings. And if you don’t plan to move into your new home right away, book temporary housing a few days longer than needed in case of delays in paperwork processing, utility start dates, or moving deliveries.
Handle Home Transitions
Before you move out of state, give at least a 30-day notice to your landlord or list your home for sale. If you rent, be sure to do a walkthrough yourself or with your landlord, and clean your old home or hire a cleaning service to help get your security deposit back. Also, let relevant schools or childcare services know that you’re moving to another state and begin the enrollment process for their new school. Finally, make any last-minute doctor, vet, or dental appointments before you move. That way, you’ll have more time to find healthcare professionals in your new city before your next check-up.
Involve Your Kids
If you’re moving to a new state with kids, it’s best to include them in every step of the process for a smoother transition. Talk to children about the move early in a positive clear manner, using clear language appropriate for their age. Then listen to their thoughts, give them ample time and space to process emotions, and answer their questions honestly. Reading books about moving, making packing into a game, and including children in decision-making can help give them a sense of control over the situation.
Pack for Moving
If you’re wondering how to pack for a move, you can always start with home decluttering methods and organizing items into piles: keep, donate, sell, and trash. Then, use a packing checklist and detailed packing timeline to efficiently pack boxes with items you’re keeping. Take your time packing over weeks or months, working room by room with help from family and friends to reduce stress. Follow common packing tips like making an itemized list of all valuable items, getting free moving boxes, and labeling boxes for a smoother move. In the final days before your cross-state move, prepare delicate items for transit by removing glass bulbs from lamps, draining oil and gas from equipment like lawnmowers, and bubble wrapping fragile items. And pack an essentials bag with toiletries, snacks, water, chargers, medications, important paperwork, IDs, and other necessities to keep with you during the moving process.
Maintain a Safe Out-of-State Move
Planning and preparation are necessary for a cross-state move, but moving day plans don’t always run smoothly. That’s why you should have a backup plan to reduce stress if obstacles or delays pop up.
Plan a Detailed Travel Route
If you’re driving a moving truck yourself across state lines, make sure to plan a truck-friendly route in advance. That means avoiding roads with tight turns, low-hanging bridges, incline mountain roads, and other obstacles as much as possible. Make note of where you can find a truck gas station along your route, as smaller stations may not be able to fuel up your moving truck. Factor in weigh station delays on interstates or ferry wait times to carry your car across bodies of water. Avoid driving fatigue and its potential safety issues by driving less than nine hours a day and taking a 45-minute break every four to five hours. Otherwise, make regular stops for meals, bathroom breaks, and even short strolls through parks to stretch your legs. Finally, confirm your overnight lodgings can accommodate your moving vehicles.
Compile a Car First Aid Kit & Car Emergency Kit
You hope for the best during an out-of-state move, but anticipating possible health and car troubles can save you time, stress, and money if an emergency does occur on your cross-state move. Pack your car first aid kit with life-saving supplies like gauze, antiseptic solutions, and bandages. In your roadside emergency kit, pack items like jumper cables, a spare tire, flashlights, fire extinguisher, duct tape, extra oil and gas, seatbelt cutter, and window breaker. Select car emergency supplies appropriate for the season, like salt and cat litter to escape winter snow piles and extra water and umbrellas for shade in the summer. It’s also a good idea to bring a safety vest, reflective triangle cones, and flares to improve visibility during mechanical repairs and enforce roadside safety, especially in states without Move Over laws. Not everyone can complete car repairs on the spot, so you may have to stay parked on the interstate shoulder for a while. Fortunately, most rental trucks come with roadside assistance, but your personal vehicles will need a membership for similar 24/7-aide services through companies like AAA.
Take Care of Everyone Involved
During the actual moving process, it’s important to encourage breaks for water, snacks, and downtime to stay cool and rested—especially if you’re moving in the summer. Check in on everyone’s level of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and general well-being. Make a game of check-ins for kids, like rating your mood on a scale of 1-10, or taking turns talking about your personal travel experience. Avoid the “Are we there yet?” questions by packing entertainment and comfort items for kids. Prepare pets for the move by arranging a comfortable area with food, water, favorite toys, and a litter box if necessary. If your pet is an anxious traveler, consider giving them anti-anxiety medication before you take off.
Keep Your Belongings Safe
On moving day, your belongings will be divided into two main categories: fully packed items and valuable items you want within easy reach. Keep important paperwork like house deeds, pictures, an inventory list, and other moving insurance documents organized and near you. Any priceless heirlooms, expensive devices, and other irreplaceable belongings should be kept with you, too. Your fully packed belongings should be arranged strategically and secured within your moving truck to protect them from shifting or toppling over. Strapping down heavy items like furniture helps prevent broken items and uneven weight distributions from tight turns or sudden stops. For DIY moves, it’s better to stay safe and strap only what you need to the top of your vehicle—keep all doors closed and the trunk secure while transporting your items across state. While unloading, always have at least one person stationed at the moving truck to watch over your belongings and help safely pass items from the truck. If you’ve hired a crew, don’t forget to tip your movers well and offer them snacks and waters during the unloading process, too.
Communicate with Your Caravan
When you move yourself, you’ll likely need to split up the family to transport all your vehicles. Drive personal cars behind your moving truck to help watch for flat tires, unlatched doors, dislodged belongings, and any other trip-stopping road issues. While on the road, maintain communication between vehicles regardless of cell service with walkie-talkies. Consistently check in with other members of your caravan to coordinate pitstops, announce car troubles, discuss everyone’s wellbeing, navigate route changes or traffic jams, and more.
Settle Into Your New City
Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself for successfully moving to another state! Now is the most important part: adjusting to your new city, state, and home at your own pace to finish this huge life transition strong.
Inspect & Protect Your New Space
First, complete a walkthrough to locate important utility access points like the fuse box or water valve and inspect your new home or apartment for potential damages. Then, document those issues before making any repairs, so you’re not liable if renting. Test smoke alarms, change the locks on your house to prevent previous residents from entering, and consider setting up additional home security measures for your safety. Then, deep clean your home while it’s empty to kill any dust mites or germs.
Unpack & Set Up Your New Home
Wondering how to unpack after your move? Review your new home’s layout to decide where the furniture will go, and put moving boxes in their corresponding rooms. First, unpack boxes in your most-used rooms like your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. Focus on making your household functional, then aesthetically pleasing—you could even consider waiting a month before decorating to get a better sense of your new home’s vibe. Once you’ve unpacked boxes, you can break them down and sell, donate, or repurpose the packing materials.
After a move out of state, you’ll need to update your information and change your address. Start with the U.S. Postal Service and pay less than $2 to forward mail to your new address for up to six months. Make sure to fill out a form for each person in your family to ensure all your mail is forwarded. Then, grab a few pieces of mail sent to your new address and head to your local DMV to update your driver’s license and fill out a voter’s registration change of address form. Inform loan providers and insurance companies like health, dental, car, life, renters, and home insurers of your move. Remember to notify your bank and credit card companies of your change in address, as well.
Find New Providers
After moving to a different state, you’ll need to find new service providers for everything from healthcare to haircare. You can ask your previous doctor for referrals to a primary care provider in your new state, look up in-network providers through your insurance website, or use online tools like Doctorfinder or Find a Doctor. Consider factors like the office location, the size of the practice, and what kind of doctor you’re most comfortable working with. Similarly, ask your dentist for a referral, use your insurance provider’s website, or use tools like Find-A-Dentist to locate your next dental hygienist. The best way to find other service providers—like hair stylists, mechanics, veterinarians, pet groomers, and babysitters—is often through word-of-mouth recommendations or online reviews on Google Maps, Yelp, and more. Meanwhile, settling on new favorite grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations may involve a few weeks of shopping around for the best fit.
Help Kids Adjust
Letting children decorate their new rooms can make for an easier interstate move for the whole family. Depending on the time of year you move, you may have a chance to acclimate your child to the community before school starts. You can take kids to the park, arrange a playdate with neighbors, or participate in local activities so they can make new friends early on. If school has already started, ask administrators about touring the facilities to let your young student meet their classmates and teachers. In co-parenting situations, be sure to agree on custody and child support arrangements as soon as possible to give kids a consistent plan for visitations and split custody schedules. Establishing a consistent daily schedule will help with any transition, whether that be a new school or home life arrangement.
Meet Your Community
Getting connected to local events and groups is a great way to meet new people and build up your social life after moving to a different state. Check out opportunities on apps like Meetup for social gatherings, LinkedIn for professional connections, and even Facebook for neighborhood activities. To find friends with similar interests to your own, join local clubs and organizations. Wondering how to introduce yourself in a new neighborhood? Start by taking a walk around the block and chatting with local shopkeepers, people walking their dogs, regulars at coffee shops, and more. Once you get to know your neighbors better, invite them over for a housewarming party to grow your friendships. Or consider visiting local pubs and coffee shops for events like film festivals, street fairs, trivia nights, farmers markets, and neighborhood activities. No matter how you meet new people, don’t forget to stay in touch with friends and family back home and fill them in on your cross-state adventures!
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