Whether you’re doing it to seek new business opportunities, reunite with your loved ones abroad, expand your knowledge, or just got a new, better-paying job, moving can be a pain in the neck.
From finding an apartment (or buying a house) to organizing your things and finding a way to get them safely transported miles across the nation to your new home, moving long distance can be as much exhausting as it is stressful.
However, this might not be the case if you plan and enlist a professional mover for the mammoth task that awaits you. If you’re looking forward to a cross-country move, letting the professionals do the work could be the best way to go.
In this article, we shall discuss the challenges of long distance moving, tips, and the cost of moving across the country.
What is Cross Country Move?
Cross-country move involves moving from one state to another. It is moving goods across state lines. Cross-country moves need a special authority to carry out any part of a move between states. This special authority is granted by federal regulators.
The law also requires cross-country moving companies to have specific insurance policies. These regulations are important as they protect the clients and the public in general.
The Challenges Of Cross-Country Moving
Planning a cross-country move can come with several challenges. For instance, it can be an uphill task to find a good place to live in your new destination, let alone find a job in case you don’t already have one. Moreover, you might not know anyone in your destination.
So, it is not unusual to feel isolated and lonely for a little while because it might take time before you make enough new friends to get back to your social life.
Most importantly, the physical and emotional stress of packing up your entire life and starting over in a new place can be overwhelming. This is not to forget the intimidating thoughts of possibly losing some of your belongings or having them sustain damage.
The Importance Of Hiring A Professional Cross-Country Moving Company
One of the best things about hiring a cross-country moving pro is that they will do most of the grunt work for you. They’ll pack, load, and unload your furniture, boxes, and clothes on the move.
These professionals know exactly how and where to store your belongings while they’re in transit to ensure their safety throughout the entire move. They’ll also be in constant communication with you regarding your shipments, so you’ll always have an update on their status and whereabouts.
In a nutshell, here are some convincing reasons to hire a professional mover during a cross-country move.
Professional movers are highly trained and experienced in making long-distance moves. They know how to properly pack and transport your belongings to ensure they arrive safely at the destination.
They will handle all of the logistics for you so you can focus on other important things, like getting settled into your new home.
c) Peace Of Mind
A professional mover can also provide you with peace of mind knowing that, including delicate stuff like dishes, your belongings are in good hands and will arrive safely at your new home.
They can save you time and money by professionally taking care of everything for you, from packing to shipping, unloading, and so forth.
A professional moving company will give you a date and time range that you should expect your belongings at your new home. The pride of many companies is to provide prompt and professional service.
Tips for a Smooth and Affordable Cross-Country Move
Needless to reiterate, cross-country moves can be incredibly painstaking. However, below are a few tips to help make your long-distance move smooth and stress-free:
1. Plan Your Move Early
Failing to plan is a plan for failure, so they say. With this in mind, it is good to start planning your cross-country move as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure you have plenty of time to research different moving options and get quotes from different companies.
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Using a moving checklist will help you save a lot of time and ensure that you don’t forget to do anything. So, it is also important to have a checklist, just to be safe.
Long-distance moves can be incredibly expensive, so you’ll want only the most essential belongings for your new residence. Consider getting rid of any unwanted items at least a few weeks before your intended moving date.
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You can do so by selling or even donating them. Besides helping you save money on moving costs, it can also make the process of packing and unpacking much simpler.
3. Choose A Reputable And Affordable Moving Company
To be honest, not all professional moving companies are the same, especially in terms of their moving rates for cross-country moves.
Thankfully, the internet is home to tons of tips and information about finding cheap long-distance movers within your locality. Moving prices may sometimes differ by tens or even thousands of dollars, so be sure to get quotes from several different companies before making your final decision.
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Do not rely on phone-call or online estimates. Instead, get in-home surveys from cross-country moving companies for a more realistic moving quote.
How to Choose a Cross-Country Moving Company
Moving cross country requires you to get a reputable moving company. However, you may need to make a few considerations before deciding which country movers to work with. Here are a few things to keep in mind;
a) Ensure the company is insured and licensed. You can check the mover’s inspection results, license, and insurance on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.
You can also check with Better Business Bureau if the moving company is accredited before you do business with it. Or you can at least get one with a good rating.
b) Be on the watch for extra costs. It is important to discuss with your movers if you will pay any extra money. This may be due to using the stairs or elevators, passing through high-traffic areas, or on extremely narrow streets. These extra charges are not unreasonable but you need to discuss them in advance.
c) Avoid moving companies that keep switching their names. Some companies operate under various names to avoid being flagged by the Better Business Bureau. So, you may find such businesses using different names.
d) Avoid country movers that ask for a deposit. You may assume that it is fair to pay for a deposit before your moving day to reserve your date. However, it is not standard practice for companies that offer moving services to ask for a deposit. So, consider this a red flag.
4. Consider Packing In Advance
It’s good to make sure all of your belongings are properly packed before the movers arrive. This not only helps to protect your belongings to ensure they arrive safely at your new home, but it may also help make the moving process faster and cheaper. Nonetheless, you’ll want to find out if your chosen mover allows you to do the packing yourself in the first place.
5. Keep Valuables and Necessary Items Close
Although you may trust your movers to be safe and conscientious, you may want to carry your valuables like small antiques, jewelry, and other fragile items separately. You also need to pack your important documents with you. Examples include birth certificates and marriage licenses.
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Also, you will need a suitcase packed with what your family will be using during the move. Such items include toiletries, medications, clothing, baby necessities, trash bags, and any other thing you think you would need.
6. Document the Condition of Your Items
It is important to keep a record of all your belongings before the move. You can do this by taking photos and videos of all the items set to be moved. This way, in case of damages or lost items, you will be able to file a claim and seek compensation for the damaged items.
7. Purchase Moving Insurance
Before settling for a certain moving company, you need to ensure that you are comfortable with its terms. Check your valuation coverage options. Most companies offer free protection which is only basic and covers the minimum.
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If you have delicate items that you’d like to have more protection for, consider getting moving insurance. You can get Full Value Protection. Purchasing third-party moving insurance also ensures comprehensive coverage for your belongings.
8. Set Up New Utilities
Before you move, like two weeks before, contact your utility company and notify them of your plans to move. Ask them to disconnect your utilities and services like internet, gas, phone, cable TV, electricity, and trash among others. Your realtor or landlord should be able to provide you with a list of local utility information.
In addition, call the utility providers in the new location and inform them when you want utilities started there. This ensures that you get your services in time once you settle in your new home.
9. Cancel Old Services
Cancel the services for your old residence. These may include yard and pool care, house cleaning, pest control maintenance, and any other people who come in for regularly scheduled home maintenance.
10. Weigh the Cost of Car Shipping
Cross-country moves can be really challenging when you’re stuck between selling, shipping, or driving your car. If you want to keep your car in the best shape possible even after the move, shipping it is likely the best option. This ensures you avoid putting extra wear and tear on it.
Driving is also an option especially if you love sightseeing. There are lots of things to be seen along the way. You can, later on, decide to sell it or keep it to avoid purchasing a new one.
11. Change Address
The USPS makes it easier to fill out an official change of address form. You may visit their website up to three months before you move to schedule your address change. You can as well change the address right after moving but this is risky as a few pieces of mail could easily get lost.
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There are up to four ways through which you could change your address, including in person, at the nearest USPS office, over the phone, by mail, and online.
12. Be Prepared For Unexpected Expenses
Finally, moving is often associated with certain uncertainties. When budgeting for your move, be sure to set aside some money for unexpected costs that may arise.
Many people fret at the thought of moving, especially if the new residence is hundreds of miles away. However, a cross-country move becomes way much easier if you let the professionals handle it.
13. Have an Unpacking Plan
Packing is frustrating and unpacking can be even worse. However, you have to do it, so have a plan. When you get to your new house, start with the essentials bag. You will also need beds for the night, so you can also work on that immediately.
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Next, focus on the kitchen. A functional kitchen makes you feel more at home. You don’t really need to unpack everything on the same day or within a week. Although to ensure you eventually finish the task, you may consider having a housewarming party so you give yourself a deadline for unpacking everything.
14. Examine the Items
Examine all the items carefully as you unpack. This enables you to know if anything got damaged during transit. Focus on the large and valuables like furniture and antiques.
If any of your household goods got damaged along the way, you can file a claim to get compensated. Consider comparing their condition to the photos you took before the move.
15. Get a Driver’s License
You will definitely need a driver’s license once you move. You can go to your local DMV to collect all the necessary paperwork. Don’t forget to bring your existing driver’s license, proof of your social security number, proof of residency, and any additional form of identification documents.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cross-Country Moving
When moving across the country, you will need to be careful with how you handle and protect your belongings and also how to get reliable cross-country movers. For that reason, we shall take you through the do’s and don’ts of cross-country moving. This will help you know mistakes to avoid when moving.
a) Take Inventory
One of the most important things to do when moving across the country is to take inventory. Whether your belongings are packed by the movers or you do it yourself, taking inventory of everything matters.
b) Lael boxes with identifying information.
Pack the boxes and label each one with the necessary information that will help you know what is where when unpacking.
c) Choose an insured moving company
You need to hire a moving company that is insured. Professional movers should carry certain types of insurance. However, some companies may not offer all the coverage you need.
Ask for proof of insurance before you hire cross-country movers. This is just for you to be sure.
d) Ask the movers how they deal with fragile goods
Different companies have different policies on how they deal with fragile items. Ask your selected company how they deal with such items and whether or not they insure the items.
An example is that some companies do not insure against damage for items that were packed by someone else.
a) Do not pack your valuable items to be moved by the cross-country movers.
Do not load them into the truck to ensure they get there safely. You can trust a cross-country moving company once you confirm its legitimacy, however, a lot can happen during the transit.
So, to minimize the risks, keep your valuables with you. Even the moving company may advise you to do so.
B) Do not hire movers based on price alone.
Moving cross-country will require you to get moving quotes from different movers before you finally settle for one. However, price alone should not be your mode of selection.
You may be tempted to use the cheapest movers who may not do the job well for you. Consider the company’s reputation to ensure you select the right people for the job at hand.
c) Don’t use new packing boxes
Do not use new packing boxes and other supplies when moving. Using brand-new supplies is costly and they still end up in the recycling after all. You can try to find slightly used boxes from an online marketplace or through moving companies.
d) Do not wait till the last minute
Do not wait till the last minute to do what you need to do. This includes buying packing supplies, packing, and even hiring movers. If you leave everything to be done at the last minute, your move will probably be stressful. You can avoid all that by starting sooner.
Cross-Country Moving Costs
When moving across the country, you are likely to use about $2,000-$8,000, depending on the moving company you chose and the transportation method. However, a coast-to-coast move may be even more expensive and can get to an average of $2,200-$15,000.
Movers will generally provide you with a cross-country moving quote. However, this may be just an estimate with more charges to be added later. Though moving costs tend to exceed the estimations, they should not move too far from the general price range that you map for your move.
To make it easier for you to get the cross-country moving quote, you may need to do your inventory accurately and track the items that will be going. This will be even easier if you could get the individual size and weight of the specific items, and how you plan to pack them.
Factors Affecting Cross-Country Moving Costs
Besides moving distance, other factors affect the cost of moving cross country. They include;
a) Moving Distance
How long is the distance between your current state and where you want to relocate? The distance to be covered is the main determinant when calculating cross-country moving costs.
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b) Household Size
How large is your luggage? Traditional movers estimate the cost of your luggage based on its weight, which varies from the estimate to the final cost. If you opt for a portable container or rental truck, the pricing will be based on the size of the container or truck.
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c) Moving Supplies
You will need essential moving supplies to smoothen your moving experience. Some of these include moving blankets, and packing materials like boxes, among others. The total cost of this equipment can range from $100-$125 for a studio or $175 and above for a 2-3 bedroom house.
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When working on the total cost, traditional movers include shrink wrap and moving blankets in their quotes. However, if you decide to do the packing yourself, you will have to buy the supplies.
Movers normally increase their rates between May to August. This is their business time, so if you plan to spend the minimum amount possible, consider moving outside these months. When the cross-country movers are not as busy, the prices slightly go down.
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The timing also matters. Therefore, consider moving on a weekday rather than during the weekends. This way, you are more likely to get better deals.
If you are using a renting truck, be sure that you will have to add the cost of fuel to the total moving cost, especially if you’re moving a long distance of about 2,800 across the country. Also, don’t forget about the fuel surcharge penalty if you fail to turn it in with a full tank.
However, for portable containers or traditional movers, you will not have to pay any extra charges as the cist of fuel is included in the total quote.
If you’re moving across the country, you may need storage services. This is usually because you may need to land in a temporary home as you get to know your new residence. Portable containers help a lot when such times come.
If you used traditional movers, ensure you ask about the conditions and costs. If you rent a truck, you’ll have to pay for another truck rental and self-storage.
If you decide to use a professional moving company, the movers will load and unload all your belongings. However, if you also want them to pack and unpack for you, you will have to pay for that.
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On the other hand, with portable containers and rental trucks, you can hire and pay movers only for the services you need.
When moving, your items could be at risk. Therefore, you may need insurance either from the moving company or another insurance company. You may also need additional insurance for your high-value items like art, jewelry, and artwork.
Even if your mover offers liability coverage, it is essential to know what it covers and what it doesn’t cover. This is because the company’s free protection covers only the bare minimum.
You can pay for the Full Value Protection which holds the movers responsible for the actual value of all items. However, you should understand that this will cost you a lot more.
Sometimes we get into situations that we cannot get out of. Such circumstances may make you reschedule your moving dates, which will impact the charges. Traditional movers can charge up to $500 for rescheduling. Truck rentals are slightly easier to change dates, but they also charge late fees.
j) Transportation Method
The method of transportation is highly affected by where you’re moving to. For example, you may choose truck rentals which are typically less expensive than shipping your belongings on a plane or transporting them in containers loaded onto ships.
Cross-Country Moving with Pets
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If you plan to move across the country with a pet or pets, you have a lot to do to ensure you all get there safely. Some of the things to do before you move across the country with your pets include the following;
1. Pay the Vet a Visit
You should ensure your pet is in good health before leaving. You may ask the vet for a few tips on how to keep the pet content. Also, deworm them to minimize the chances of having a lower immune system which is already compromised by the stress of moving.
2. Create a Pet Travel Kit
It can be more than just frustrating to rummage through your things looking for pet stuff. So to avoid all that stress, you can pack the pet’s items separately. The most important things include a first aid kit, plenty of their regular food, two favorite toys, veterinary reports, and bowls designed for traveling.
3. Pet Identification
In case your pet goes missing, you want to maximize the chances of getting them back. You need to update the tag with your cellphone number and the new address. Ensure that they have collars and leashes on throughout.
4. Feeding Times
Feeding your pets at the times they are used to reduces their stress levels by making them feel that nothing has changed. Even if you are traveling through different time zones, you can get the exact time by calculating the time, rather than using your watch.
5. Make Frequent Stops
Stopping frequently gives your pets time to rest and play a little. It is one way of turning a long journey into a fun experience.
6. Book Hotels Earlier
Some hotels are not pet friendly and you may have a hard time if you do not find one that can accommodate you and your pet. Research earlier and ensure you plan your routes according to the distance you can cover daily. Once you get pet-friendly hotels, reserve rooms in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cross-Country Moving
1. How long does a cross-country move take?
Since cross-country moving involves moving across state lines, the distance involved could be quite a lot. So, it may take between a couple of days to a few weeks. However, if you are moving to a neighboring state, it could only take a couple of days. But generally, it all depends on your situation and your movers.
2. How much does it cost to move cross country?
Cross-country moving costs vary depending on various factors including the company involved, the distance to be covered, and the weight of the items to be transported. So, to get a reasonable cost estimate, get quotes from at least three moving companies. This gives you the chance to select what works best for you.
3. How can I prepare to move across the country?
Moving across the country requires a lot of preparations on your side. You need a few cross-country moving tips to make the process as smooth as possible. You can;
- Plan carefully and start earlier
- Pack essentials separately
- Vet your movers
- Label the boxes
4. How can I move cross country cheaply?
Moving is expensive and it is understandable if you want to minimize the costs as much as possible. Some of the ways to move across the country cheaply include;
- DIY more
- Selecting cheaper moving dates
- Ship your items
- Find free moving supplies and boxes
- Ask for help from friends and family
- Get multiple moving quotes
- Look for discounts
5. Can I leave clothes in drawers when moving?
No, it is not advisable to leave any of your belongings in the drawers when moving. They tend to shift around as the truck moves and this can cause unwanted damages.
6. What do you pack clothes with when moving?
Cardboard boxes are the best for packing folded clothes. You can also use duffel bags and suitcases to pack your clothes after folding.
7. What is the 20-20 decluttering rule?
This is a rule that you can use when you can’t decide what to keep and what to let go. It states that you should consider letting an item go if replacing it will cost less than $20 and 20 minutes.