If you’re moving hundreds of miles away to a foreign city or state, you need some solid long-distance moving tips to get your belongings safely transported to your new home. 

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Long-distance relocations are a different type of beast — they’re more challenging than just relocating down the block. These types of moves come with a massive change in scenery and even a possible culture shock if you’re moving to an entirely new state. 

To keep this upcoming long-distance move from turning into a disaster, we have some highly practical tips to help.

Pre-packing phase

When it comes to long-distance moving, you can’t just put everything in your suitcase or back of your car and get driving. The process is much more intricate than that, requiring thoughtful planning ahead of time. Take care of the following before you get ready to do the actual packing.

1. Make a plan

Having a plan is crucial to keep yourself from constantly guessing what to do next. Start by deciding when you will be moving and if you need professional help to get the relocation done. If yes, determine a realistic budget to set aside for hire professional services.

If you decide to handle packing yourself, break it down into smaller tasks. Allocate a few days for decluttering before you begin packing. When creating the packing schedule, assign the rooms in the order of least used to most used. This is so you don’t have to repeatedly reach into packed boxes to look for items you need daily.

2. Stick to the schedule

It can be tempting to delay packing for just another couple of days, but there will be numerous things piled up for the last minute. By sticking to a schedule, you put yourself in the flow of getting little tasks accomplished every day so that you are never overwhelmed but always in control of the process. 

Besides, certain tasks like school enrollment, connecting utilities, and updating driver’s licenses are time-sensitive. Delaying them can have serious repercussions. Setting up alarms on your phone or using schedule apps with auto-reminders are great ways to motivate yourself to stick to the schedule. 

3. Hire a moving company

Most moving-related tasks require a lot of time. If your days are already jam-packed with work and family, it’s likely going to be impossible to force yourself to carve extra hours late into the night to get packing done. The best way to save yourself the headache of taking care of so many things is to hire a reliable moving team. They have the labor and equipment needed to handle all aspects of moving. 

You can ask them to help with certain areas of relocation or contract them to handle the whole process. That way, you have more time to dedicate to other tasks like setting up utilities, finding good schools for your children, etc. 

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4. Update essential documents

Think about all of the different places that have your address in their system — post office, magazine subscription companies, doctor’s office, bank, government agencies, etc. You have to update your address at several institutions to continue receiving correspondence from them. 

Changing addresses can be a quick and straightforward process for the most part, but in certain areas, it can take time. So it’s best to start early. 

5. Purchase moving insurance

If you’re hiring a moving company, they will likely provide you with comprehensive and limited insurance with coverage. If you are sending expensive items in the moving truck, we strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive coverage. This way, if your high-value art, jewelry, or gear gets damaged or misplaced, you will be reimbursed fully.

If handling the relocation yourself, check if your home and auto insurance provider offer any coverage. Or reach out to a third party for moving insurance.

Packing phase

Now that you’ve updated your address, purchased insurance, and created a schedule, it’s time to get to the meat of relocation — getting things packed. Some love this part of the process, while others detest it. Regardless of which camp you fall under, the following tips will make packing slightly more exciting.

1. Create an inventory

Begin by making a list of everything you will be taking. You can create this list on an app or a piece of paper. Having this record ensures that if something goes missing during the interstate move, you can report it to the moving company. 

2. Decide what you will be taking with you

When traveling cross country, most companies will give you a delivery window within which your items will arrive. You will need to have just enough items already in hand to get by till everything gets delivered. Having an ‘Open First’ box will help — this box is meant to be full of items that you absolutely need to survive on a day-to-day basis, along with spare clothes, some pots and pans, and bedding.

Each member of the family should have their own box. If you have young children, pack their favorite toys and blankets in this box, so they feel safe and comforted during this huge transition. 

3. Remember the distance when packing

Since your items will be on the road for days or even weeks, ensure they are fully prepped to take the brunt of a tumultuous travel. Make sure to use high-quality boxes since you need them to stay intact for days. Use extra protection materials for fragile items, and do not leave loose items inside any box.

If you’re taking plants, live fish, or small pets, keep them in your vehicle since moving trucks can get very hot, which would be hazardous to their health.

4. Organize as you pack

How you pack will determine how easy unpacking will go. Instead of stuffing boxes with random items, try grouping similar items together. For example, when packing the contents on your desk, keep them together. Also, designate several boxes for each member of your family so things don’t get chaotic later when your child’s favorite sock goes missing, only to find it buried in one of your boxes later on.

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5. Label the box with your name and contents

There is a chance that your moving company may put your boxes with those of other families. To avoid any confusion, we recommend writing your name in each box, along with what type of content is inside. Doing this will make it easy to figure out which box belongs to whom.

6. Pack the mattress

Leaving the mattress bare inside the truck makes it vulnerable to getting scratched, torn, punctured, and bent during the long haul. It could also catch dust while on the road. Keeping it secured inside a flat box ensures it remains clean and safe throughout the transit.

7. Leave food and liquids behind

While you may be tempted to send dry, non-perishable food, like cereal, crackers, or pasta in the moving truck, know that they can easily get crushed in the long commute. They can also attract creepy-crawlies (like roaches!) into the truck, which you definitely don’t want. 

And liquid, even if secured in an airtight container, can still leak and seep into the box, damaging your items and perhaps other family’s items too. So, leave food and drinks behind or keep them in your vehicle.

8. Save money where you can

Moving is expensive. If you’re working with a tight budget, one way to save money is to handle some parts of the relocation process on your own. DIYing tasks like packing and cleaning can save you hundreds of dollars. Another way to save money is by downsizing your belongings and only taking what you need. This is because a smaller shipment size means a lower bill from the moving company. So, start disposing of, donating, and selling items you don’t need.

Moving phase

Now that packing is done, let’s get moving. Below, you will find some general tips to make your entire long-distance journey cost-efficient and stress-free.

1. Move during the off-season

Many people move during the summer months due to their children being out of school. But this can be expensive since movers are in high demand during these months. Waiting for the rush to dissipate and moving during the fall or even winter months will give you the same service at a much affordable price. The company’s schedule will be light, and they will be more open to working around your schedule.

2. Ship your car early

If you’re moving within the country, you will be able to drive yourself to your new home. But if you have multiple vehicles and a few that needs to be transported, get the shipping done ASAP since it can take weeks or even months to transport cars. Also, make sure the delivery date of your vehicle falls soon after you reach your new place. That way, your vehicle won’t reach your home before you do.

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3. Plan around your delivery window

Depending on where you’re moving, your items may take up to two weeks to arrive. Keep that in mind when making travel arrangements. You want to make sure you are at your new place before the items get delivered. Book hotel rooms if necessary to get through the nights without your furniture and other items.

4. Triple-check your belongings before the movers leave

Remember the inventory you made earlier? Take it out because now you will be using it to check whether or not you’ve received everything on your list safe and sound. Do this before the movers leave so you can immediately notify them if anything has gone missing.

5. Tip your long-distance mover

Tipping your movers is a nice gesture that shows appreciation for all the hard work they’ve put into bringing your belongings right to your doorsteps. Although not mandatory, even a small tip shows the staff you’re happy with the service you have received. You can also offer them snacks, water, and soda to thank them.

We hope the tips above will help you in your long-distance journey. Although it might seem daunting at first, planning and following through with your schedule is key to staying ahead and in control of the process. 

If you or anyone you know needs packing, loading, or transportation help in a long-distance move, contact the Stark Team. Talk to us about your needs and receive a free quote from us. 

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