How to Pull off a Cross-Country Family Move

How to pull off a cross-country family move?

cross-country family move
photo: Pexels

Whether it’s for work or simply a fresh start in life, a cross-country move can be fraught with difficulties for your family. There are many things to consider – should you fly or drive? Does it make sense to sell most of your stuff and just replace them when you arrive at your new place? Should you bring this and that? The questions can be overwhelming. To help you execute a smooth transition, here are seven tips on how to pull off a cross-country family move.

Lock down a new place

You should already have a home at your new location before you move your family cross country. This doesn’t mean you have to sign a lease or buy a property right away. You can stay with relatives or friends until you find a new place. 

The important thing is to have a physical address that you can use to forward your mail from your existing address. The shipping or moving company will also need an address to send your possessions to.

Decide on mode of transportation

This will depend on your budget, any timelines you’re working with, and preference. If you only have a weekend to move your entire family to the opposite side of the country, flying is a more practical mode of transportation compared to driving. 

If you do have time and you want to take in the splendors of the country, driving is definitely the way to go. Cost-wise, both options will cost you around $1,200 in airfare or for fuel, lodging, and food for a six-day trip for a family of four.

Only bring essentials

Whether you’ve decided to drive or fly, only bring essential items with you; the rest of your personal belongings should be shipped. Essentials include personal hygiene items, first aid kit, legal documents, food and water, and cash. Driving across the country means you’ll have to refuel and buy food and supplies along the way. Cash is a much safer option over debit/credit cards as some gas stations do not accept either payment methods. 

Traveling light is key to staying safe and mobile. You don’t want to bring electronics and high-end fashion accessories with you as they do not offer any utility on the road and are likely to attract the wrong attention.

Plan the route

If you’re driving, planning a route in advance is crucial for smooth and safe travel. Find out about weather patterns, road closures, signal dead spots, and even places notoriously dangerous for tourists and travelers. Book hotels in advance in states that you plan on stopping at. If you are bringing a pet, make sure to notify said hotels by email or phone.

Ship your car

If you’re flying to your new location, you’ll have to ship your car across the country. Car shipping costs vary between trucking companies and are usually a per-mile charge. Thus, the farther the move is, the more expensive the service is. Cross-state transports will range from $500 to $1,500. You can pack your car with other personal belongings as long as it adheres to the trucking company’s weight limits. 

Shipping a car and belongings together should lower your moving costs. Items, such as kitchenware, bulky clothes, and books are some of the types of items you can ship with your car. That being said, do not pack valuables in a car that is about to be shipped since there is a high risk of theft as truckers make frequent stops rather than driving straight from point A to point B.

Establish a routine

It can take up to a week to drive cross country, depending on where you’re trying to move to. Having a routine on the road keeps you sane and safe. Depending on your route, establish drive hours and distance. Have scheduled food and potty breaks.

Give your kids something to do

Although it’s fun for the first few hours on the road, your kids will eventually get restless. Before long, they’ll start to complain. Keep everyone in a good mood by giving every family member a task or at least something to entertain them while on the road.

A cross-country move shouldn’t feel like a hassle. Preparing well in advance and using the aforementioned tips can turn it into a joyous road trip for the whole family.

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