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Moving to a new city is challenging, but a long-distance move across state lines can feel downright impossible!

Are you overwhelmed with packing your belongings and settling into a new, far-away location? If so, don’t worry.

We know exactly what it takes to execute a successful long-distance move, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. This comprehensive guide is a result of years of experience and expertise, aimed at addressing all your concerns and ensuring you're well-prepared for the adventure ahead.

Set Your Budget

When embarking on a long-distance move, the first step is financial planning. Consider these factors when setting your budget:

  • Transportation: Estimate the cost of hiring a moving company or renting a truck, including fuel and tolls.

  • Packing Materials: Budget for boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and other supplies you'll need.

  • Travel Expenses: If you're relocating yourself, calculate travel costs, accommodations, and meals.

  • Insurance: Explore insurance options for your belongings during transit.

  • Miscellaneous Costs: Account for unexpected expenses that may arise.

Create A Schedule

Create a Move Timeline 

With our 30 years of experience moving long-distance, one thing we can say for sure: starting early is a game-changer. As soon as you know you’re moving, get to work and create a schedule. 

Start by figuring out when you need to be in your new location. Do you need to be there on a particular day to start a new job or ensure your kids are present on the first day of school?

Once you know when you need to arrive, work backward and calculate how much time you have to plan, travel, and get settled.

Drawing from our experience on cross-country moves, a good schedule is to start planning 3 months before your long-distance move. 

Here’s our suggested timeline:

  • 8-12 Weeks Before: Begin researching moving companies and collecting estimates.

  • 6-8 Weeks Before: Sort through your belongings, deciding what to keep, donate, or discard.

  • 4-6 Weeks Before: Secure your moving date with your chosen moving company.

  • 2-4 Weeks Before: Start packing non-essential items and notify relevant parties about your move.

  • 1-2 Weeks Before: Pack the essentials and confirm all arrangements.

  • Moving Day: Have a plan for the movers and keep important documents on hand.

Trust us, starting early and following a well-planned timeline not only ensures a smoother transition but also potentially reduces costs. 

Hire a Reputable Moving Company

Our experience has taught us the importance of choosing a trustworthy moving company. When you partner with a long-distance professional moving company, they assign a dedicated project manager who guides you throughout the moving process.

A team of full-service movers can help pack, load the truck, transport items, and unpack them. They may even offer storage services and real-time tracking updates to keep you informed about the status of your belongings.

The first step to hiring a moving company is doing research. To ensure a good choice, read reviews, check licenses, and verify the insurance options of potential moving companies.

An important part of this stage is getting multiple estimates, so try to obtain quotes from several movers to ensure a fair price. Pro tip: Invite the moving companies to your home for a precise estimate. Also, ask about their experience, equipment, and how they handle long-distance moves.

When finding a suitable moving company, be sure to make a clear agreement by reviewing the contract carefully and ensuring all services and costs are outlined.

Contract Moving Insurance 

Losses, damage, and theft can affect anyone, regardless of the distance they’re moving. However, a long-distance moving experience presents even more opportunities for your belongings to get lost, damaged, or stolen.

Investing in long-distance moving insurance will save you a lot of money and headaches. It’ll also give you peace of mind knowing that the moving company will reimburse you in the event of a mishap. 

Declutter and Downsize 

Years in the moving business have shown us that decluttering lightens the load, both physically and mentally.

Before start packing anything, go room-by-room deciding what to keep, donate, or discard. We recommend dedicating a week or two to purging, decluttering, and donating so you have time to clear out and minimize your belongings.

Certain items aren’t worth taking with you when interstate moving or making a big cross-country move. Here are some belongings you should consider selling at a garage sale or donating instead of taking with you when you move:

  • Old clothing: If you haven’t worn it in months or years, and it’s not a sentimental piece, don’t bring it with you.

  • Old furniture: Furniture is bulky, heavy, and hard to move. If you don’t love it, don’t bring it.

  • Appliances: Similar to furniture, appliances are bulky, heavy, and hard to move.

Consider sorting through your books and Blu-rays, too. Paring down your collection and getting rid of media you no longer enjoy will lighten your load and make a long-distance move more manageable.

If you have old or unwanted items to dispose of, consider using Oz Moving's junk removal service.

Also, remember to consume or donate perishable goods to avoid wastage.

Organize and Pack for Long Distance

It’s easy to feel daunted when you start packing for a long-distance move. It takes much more planning than a local move. However, packing efficiently can make all the difference.

After decluttering and downsizing, organize and prioritize packing your remaining belongings. Look over your remaining belongings and decide which ones can be packed now and which ones you’ll need to keep using until the day you move.

For example, if you’re moving in the summer, you can pack your winter coat and snow boots now. However, keep warm-weather clothes readily accessible so you stay comfortable leading up to your move.

When start packing, clearly label all the boxes with their contents and designated rooms. This will help you understand the order to load the trucks and make the unpacking easier, as you can already unload the boxes to the right room in your new home. 

Some items require special care, so keep these tips in mind: 

Fragile Items

Use proper packing materials and label fragile boxes prominently. In general, it’s better to over-prepare when packing fragile items.

In other words, adding an extra layer of bubble wrap isn’t going to hurt. Label boxes that contain fragile or valuable items, too. Adding this label serves as a reminder to you and your movers to treat the box with extra care. 

Clothing

Utilize vacuum-sealed bags for clothes and opt for specific wardrobe boxes. Follow these extra tips to ensure your clothes will arrive at your new home clean and in good condition:

  • Do laundry first; Don’t bring a bunch of dirty, smelly clothes while moving cross-country

  • Pack shoes separately from clothes to avoid getting them dirty

  • Place the heaviest items at the bottom of the box

  • Use trash bags to protect hanging clothes

  • Label every box 

It’s also a good idea to pack a separate “first-week” box or suitcase and keep it with you during the move. Fill the box or suitcase with in-season clothes so you don’t have to scramble to find clean items as soon as you arrive.

Organize Your Packing

Furniture

Moving furniture long distances requires careful planning to ensure the safety of your items and a smooth transition.

  • Disassemble When Possible: Whenever feasible, disassemble larger furniture items. This reduces the risk of damage during transit and makes it easier to navigate tight spaces.

  • Protective Packing Materials: Wrap your furniture with protective materials such as bubble wrap, furniture blankets, or foam padding to prevent scratches, dents, and other damage.

  • Use Proper Packing Techniques: When wrapping furniture, ensure that corners, edges, and fragile parts are well-padded and secured. Use packing tape or stretch wrap to hold protective materials in place.

  • Electronics: Pack electronics as televisors on their original boxes – you can get them in stores. Also, take photos of cable setups for easy reassembly at your new home.

See also: What to pack first when moving.

Prepare For Travel

Once you feel more confident about your packing process, it’s time to think about travel logistics. You likely won’t make it to your new destination in one trip. To ensure you’re safe and comfortable and have a chance to recharge throughout your journey, follow these travel preparation tips.

You can trust that your movers will get your belongings safely to your new home. Now, you need to start making plans to ensure you, your family members, and your pets arrive safely as well. Give yourself plenty of time to make travel arrangements. Are you going to drive? Fly?

If you’re driving, research the fastest route and identify hotels or Airbnb's where you can stay along the way.

If you’re moving with pets, ensure each hotel or Airbnb is pet-friendly. Invest in travel crates or harnesses for your pets, too, so they stay comfortable. 

For those who are flying to their new home, search online to find the most affordable plane tickets. Consider options for flying your pets as well, especially if they’re not small enough to sit in the cabin with you.

Extra Tips for Moving Long Distance

Ways to Save Money 

One of the best ways to save money when moving long-distance is to start early. The more time you give yourself to plan, the easier it is to get multiple quotes and find the best prices.

If you want to cut costs, take a DIY approach as much as possible. For example, pack by yourself or make home repairs yourself instead of hiring professionals.

Keep in mind, though, that saving money typically requires spending more time. Ensure you leave room in your schedule to handle critical tasks before moving.

We've also found that strategically planning your long-distance move during the off-season can be a game-changer for your budget. Many of our clients already took this advice to heart and opted to schedule their move between October and April – as this is considered the off-season moving period. Not only did they enjoy significant savings, but also marveled at the level of personalized attention our team provided. 

We can attest that choosing the right timing can turn a potentially stressful experience into a seamless and budget-friendly transition.

Update Your Mail, Utilities, And Important Records

Few things are more frustrating than moving to a new place and not having access to essential documents because you forgot to update your address (or updated your address too late). It’s easier to handle these tasks while you’re still in your current home rather than waiting until you’ve already moved. 

Reach out to the post office and arrange to have your mail forwarded to your future address. You can usually do this online and pick the day you want to start receiving mail at the new place. 

Contact utility companies and get your house or apartment’s utilities transferred to your name. Updating utility information ensures you don’t arrive at a freezing house or an apartment without an internet connection.

Plan For Your Delivery Window

Plan around your moving company’s delivery window. Make sure that, if the movers don’t arrive for a week or two after you do, you can still get by without having to buy a bunch of extra stuff. 

First, decide what to take with you and what to load on the moving truck or transport using van lines. 

Then, pack all your must-haves in the car or luggage to keep with you. Must-haves might include a few sets of clothes, your moving-related paperwork, personal records like birth certificates and pet health documents, and toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.

You might also want to pack a few air mattresses to have a place to sleep while waiting for your furniture to be delivered.

Check your Belongings Before the Movers Leave

One crucial aspect often overlooked is the importance of thoroughly checking your belongings before the movers depart.

Having successfully navigated countless long-distance moves, we understand that the journey doesn't end when the last box is unloaded at your new home. In fact, one of the post-move essentials we stress to our clients is the importance of checking your belongings before our team wraps up the process and bids you farewell. We've seen that this final step is crucial in ensuring a complete and satisfactory relocation.

Now that the move is behind you, take the time to conduct a thorough inspection of your items as the movers prepare to depart. Unpack systematically and cross-reference your inventory list to account for each item. Occasionally, during transit, items may shift or encounter minor wear and tear. By promptly addressing any concerns or discrepancies with the movers before they leave, you can resolve issues in real-time and initiate the necessary follow-up actions.

Tip your long-distance movers

When embarking on a long-distance move, the journey is not only physical but also an emotional and logistical endeavor. At Oz Moving, we've been accompanying families and individuals on these journeys for 30 years, and we hold a piece of advice: don't forget to show appreciation to your long-distance movers. 

Tipping your movers may seem like a small gesture, but it speaks volumes about the recognition of hard work and dedication, significantly impacting the morale of a dedicated moving team.

It creates a positive atmosphere and fosters a sense of teamwork, turning a potentially stressful experience into a collaborative effort where everyone is invested in the success of your move. So, as you plan your long-distance move, remember that a little appreciation goes a long way in ensuring a positive and memorable moving experience for both you and the moving team.

Long Distance Moving Checklist

A detailed moving checklist can make even the longest, most complex moves feel more manageable. Here are some easy-to-reference checklists to help you stay on track as you prepare to move long-distance:

3 Months Out

  • Choose a move date

  • Consult your landlord and let them know you’re moving

  • Organize financial documents to share with your new landlord or mortgage lender

  • Create a moving budget

  • Look for a new place to live

  • Assess your home and create “pack” and “do not pack” inventory list

  • Research and get moving estimates from multiple companies

2 Months Out

  • Finalize new rental or home sale

  • Give notice at children’s schools

  • Check-in with children’s new school

  • Book movers

  • Pick up packing supplies

  • Update address

  • Research driver’s license renewal in your new state

  • Update home/auto/health insurance information with providers

  • Start packing

  • Hire painters and cleaners

  • Donate, sell, or dispose of unwanted items

  • Update utility information

1 Month Out

  • Check-in with the moving company

  • Pack non-essentials

  • Decide what’s coming with you vs. being transported by movers

  • Take the car to the mechanic to ensure it’s in good shape for the drive

  • Finalize repairs to your current home/apartment

  • Pack day-of bags/boxes

  • Prepare your car

  • Dispose of unwanted leftover items

  • Coordinate with the new landlord or your realtor to ensure your new home is ready for you to move in

Prepare For Your Long-Distance Move Today

Long-distance moving is time-consuming and stressful. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you, though.

With careful planning and preparation, you can set yourself and your loved ones up for a (mostly) stress-free moving experience.

Start by hiring long-distance movers to (literally) do the heavy lifting for you. At Oz Moving & Storage, we connect you with trained, skilled movers who will help you through every stage of your move. Our team performs 15,000 moves yearly and treats every customer as the most important one.

Want to see what we can do for you? Contact us online and get a quote today, or reach us at our New York City headquarters at this phone number: (212) 452-6683.

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