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The Best 10 Tips for a Cross Country Move

The Best 10 Tips for a Cross Country Move

by Jonathan Printers

2 years ago

Packing up everything in your house is never fun, especially when you have to drive it thousands of miles across the United States. My wife and I first did it when we packed up my jeep and tripped across country to northern Alaska! Safe to say that the trip wouldn't be made better without a plan. We would like to help take some stress out of your cross country move by giving some tips that we have used over the years. Check out this article written by Patrick Newell. 



1. Check to see if your company will help with relocation costs.

We all know that cross country moves can be expensive, so any extra money to help out along the way will be a huge blessing. I have worked for the same company for a few years now and they have helped us tremendously by reimbursing us for relocation costs for both the moves from Boston to Phoenix and from Phoenix back to Boston. Not all companies will be willing to cover thousands of dollars worth of relocation fees but anything will help. It does not hurt to ask!


Relocation costs from company


2. Make a spreadsheet with different costs in order to know what the move will cost before making the trip.

I like to use an excel spreadsheet every time I am moving, going on vacation, or just trying to figure out expenses. For moving, I like to break out each cost to know exactly what it will cost so we can stick to a budget along the way. I like to include costs for moving materials, such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, moving blankets, etc. Some other costs that need to be thought of are rental truck costs, gas to get across the country, meals, lodging, spending money, shipping a vehicle, etc. These costs add up very quickly! Renting your own moving truck and driving across the country is much cheaper than getting movers but can be very stressful if not done properly.


Stick to a budget when moving across the country


3. Take your time when driving across the country.

The people that hate cross country moves the most are the people that try and drive 15 hours per day to get there as quickly as possible. I highly suggest taking a week or more to make the move across the country. Enjoy your trip. Travel through states that you have never been to. Visit national parks and major cities along the way. You need to take your time in order to make it a more enjoyable trip. When we start our second cross country move tomorrow, we will be spending a week to drive 2700 miles, which is still quick but we will be stopping at some fun places. We are going to White Sands National Park in New Mexico. We are also going to stay in some major cities along the way including Austin, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C.


White Sands National Park


4. Stay with family or friends along the way.

This is one of the best tips that can save the most amount of money when moving across the country. On our move from Boston to Phoenix and on our move back from Phoenix to Boston, we stayed with a few friends and a few family members along the way. This saves a lot of money if you can do this a few times because you will not need to pay for hotels. Hotels are one of the most expensive portions of the move, if not the most expensive part. It is also nice to see family and friends that you may not get to see all that often.


5. Sell everything that you do not need.

Getting rid of as much as possible before your cross country move is extremely important. Get rid of the extra clothes that have been sitting in the back of your closet for 2 years. Get rid of things in your storage that never get used year after year. The biggest tip for getting rid of your things is to sell anything that will get you enough or almost enough money to re-buy it when you are in your new place. One example of this would be our patio set. We sold our patio set for $125 and already plan on buying a new one in our new place for $125. We do not have to lug this bulky set across the country and it will save us space in the moving truck. The money we got will pay for the entire new patio set in our new place. The extra money from selling these items will also minimize your moving costs.


Sell your items before moving


6. Do not buy all of your moving supplies.

This is a great way to save money from the start of your move. Get as many boxes from friends, family, co-workers, stores, etc. These are all free and will save you a lot of money over time. We have not spent a single dollar on boxes because we were able to get them all from work, stores, or friends. You can check websites, check your local grocery store, liquor store, or any other places and ask them for left over boxes. Most places are willing to give them away for free so they do not have to pay for a recycling company to come and take them away. When it comes to your glassware, dishes, etc., make sure you are saving the newspaper that comes in the mail every week. Doing this will save you money as well and keep your fragile items much safer. 


7. Make a "First Day Box".

First Day Box? What does that even mean? The first day box is one of the most important things to pack because this includes most of the things you will need right when you move in. We all know every box will not be unpacked right away so having a first day box is crucial. Our first day box typically includes paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic cups, paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, etc. You could also include a coffee maker, coffee cups, towels, or anything you think you would need right away. Remember to also label this as "First Day Box."


First Day Box for moving


8. Label every single one of your boxes.

I know that this may seem like an obvious thing to do but making sure that this is done right will save so much time and headache in the end. When labeling your boxes, make sure that you include each room name that the box should be in so you do not have to make these boxes multiple times. You've already moved across the country so why move boxes multiple times in your new house or apartment? Writing a brief list of what is inside each box will also help narrow down the exact location in your new place but will also help when packing the truck up before your cross country move.


Label all of your moving boxes


9. Pack a cooler.

There are a few purposes for packing a cooler when moving across the country. The first and most important reason is to save money. Eating out every single day for three meals a day gets very expensive, very quickly. If you pack a cooler, you can pack sandwiches, snacks, and drinks, which could also prevent a ton of lost time on the road as well. The other reason why this is great is to save money when getting to your new place. Condiments, frozen fruit, frozen meats, and frozen veggies can be brought with you instead of spending $100 the first week you get there to restock everything. 


10. Don't stress.

If you need any help in looking for idea or want to ask a question, please feel free to leave a comment, shoot us an email or use our Contact Us page. We are willing to answer any questions you may have about packing, traveling, and moving across the country. Do not be afraid to ask for help from friends or family when packing up either. Best of luck, and remember, don't stress!


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