15 Long Distance Moving Tips for a Stress-Free Relocation

long distance moving

Moving can be overwhelming at the best of times, but a long-distance move provides extra opportunity for things to go wrong. Whether you’re moving across town or cross-country, moving for a new job or to be closer to family, or just for a change of scenery, this guide will offer essential long-distance moving tips to make the transition efficient and incident-free.

1. Plan Meticulously

Even the daily commute tests our ability to think up workarounds when unexpected obstacles arise, but moving to a different location naturally involves unfamiliar routes with nuances that may not be immediately clear.

A successful long-distance move therefore starts with thorough planning and preparation. Give yourself ample time to organize everything, even a matter of months if it’s a cross-country move. Here’s what to consider:

  • Moving Date: Determine your ideal moving date and work backward to create a timeline.
  • Moving Budget: Estimate costs, including moving services, packing supplies, travel-related expenses, and temporary storage if needed.
  • Research Your Destination: Learn about the cost of living, neighborhoods, schools, and other essential aspects of your new city.

2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Items

The less you take with you on a long-distance move, the easier and less expensive it will be. Declutter ruthlessly!

Go through your possessions room by room, sorting them into piles suitable for keeping, donating, selling, or throwing out.

Items in good condition that you haven’t used for a long time are ideal for selling, maybe in a garage sale, or donating. Most cities have organizations or charities that accept good-quality clothes, toys, and household items like white goods.

3. Find a Reputable Long Distance Moving Company

Professional movers ease the burden considerably. Follow these tips to decide which company suits your needs:

  • Get Referrals: Ask friends, family and contacts such as your realtor for recommendations to ensure that you choose a reputable long-distance moving company.
  • Multiple Quotes: Get estimates from at least three different moving companies to compare costs and services.
  • Check Licenses and Reviews: Ensure your chosen moving company is licensed and insured. Verify their reputation through online reviews and the Better Business Bureau.

4. Pack Strategically

Whether you’re packing yourself or using a professional service, these packing tips are key:

  • Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing. You may need to repeat the process to arrange the items in different ways and make best use of the available space. Hasty packing decisions can lead to items moving in transit and could easily cause damage.
  • Use Quality Materials: Invest in proper packing supplies, including sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper.
  • Label Clearly: Label boxes with their contents and the room they will occupy at your new home.
  • Create an Inventory: How do you know if you have unloaded the full complement of boxes at your destination? Keep a detailed inventory of the number of boxes and what’s in each one of them, for easy reference upon arrival. This also helps you plan the appropriate room for each item.
  • Essentials Box: Single out one box for items you’ll need immediately, like toiletries, a change of clothes, and basic tools. Make sure it’s accessible during transit.

5. Consider Professional Packing Services

While the packing tips in Point 4 contribute significantly to peace of mind and minimize problems, they also require practice, extra thought, resources and time. A reputable moving company with professional movers more than likely has extensive experience of the packing process, and can take that burden off your hands.

If you’re short on time, overwhelmed by the prospect of packing or concerned about fragile and valuable items, their expert knowledge of packing tips can help you save money and time in the long run.

6. Share Your New Address

During and immediately after the move you are likely to be absorbed in the process, and getting used to the new environment. A good way to recharge your mental batteries is to sit down and consider which relevant parties need to know your new address.

Word usually spreads fast among friends and family, but don’t forget these important everyday entities:

  • Utility Companies: Set up disconnection dates for your current home and connection dates for your new place.
  • Subscriptions: Notify magazines, newspapers, and other subscription services of your new address.
  • Service Institutions: Notify your bank, insurance companies, doctors, schools, and any other relevant institutions.

It’s also worth submitting a change of address form with the postal service so that they can set up mail forwarding. This should take care of any contacts you forgot to notify.

7. How Many Vehicles Are You Relocating?

If you are hiring a moving company for this process, you will most likely be driving your own vehicle to its new home. But if you hire a moving truck and drive it yourself you may have difficulty finding a friend or relation who is willing to drive your car, especially if the journey is a matter of hours or days.

You may need to consider a vehicle shipping company. Prices, availability and speed of service may vary, and may also be influenced by the size and value of your vehicle. So, once again, it pays to get quotes from several providers.

8. Consider Pets and Children

Moving long distance with pets and kids adds an extra layer of complexity, particularly if the journey requires stop-overs. Children could interfere with packing, loading and unloading, and could be exposed to accidents.

So consider arranging alternative transport or childcare measures for your kids, research pet-friendly hotels along your route and allow time to make the necessary reservations. This is another reason for planning ahead, and pets are another item to potentially include in point 6 – you may need to give them new name tags with your updated contact details.

9. Take Care of Yourself

Long journeys can be physically and emotionally draining, and tiredness can lead to mistakes or accidents, so it pays to prioritize your well-being during the moving process.

  • Stay Hydrated and Fuel your body: Have adequate liquids on hand and pack high-calorie foods to maintain your energy levels .
  • Get Enough Rest: Sleep well the night before the move and allow for breaks during the journey, especially if it’s a cross-country move. Being well-rested will help you stay alert and maximize your mental resources for dealing with unexpected situations.

10. Don’t Skimp on Insurance

We all have stories of items being lost or broken during a move, and insurance companies are aware of this, often providing policies that cover household belongings in exactly this situation. It’s also common for long-distance moving companies to provide basic coverage, but if you are packing items of significant worth or great sentimental value it could be wise to take out a more specific policy.

11. Final Goodbye to Your Old Home

Having sorted your belongings, thrown some out and packed the rest for the trip, moving day is a golden opportunity to ensure that your old home is ready for handover or for selling.

In an empty home it’s easier to pick up on any minor repairs or touch-ups that could add value to the property; and easier to perform a deep clean too, which is a courtesy to the next occupants but also helps the property stand out during the selling process.

Don’t forget to do a final walk-through to ensure nothing is left behind.

12. Ready Your New Home

You probably visited the new home before purchasing, and if not, it’s likely that you’ll have access to internal photos or even a virtual tour. Either way, you have the opportunity to plan furniture placement in advance, which is particularly useful if it saves having to rearrange heavy furniture.

If you visit prior to the move, you may be able to stock your new home with essentials such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper and non-perishable foods or snacks. A prior visit is also a good time to ensure that utilities can be connected. These can probably be activated a day or so before the move by calling or emailing the relevant companies.

13. Pack an Overnight Bag

Whether your long-distance move is a single or multi-day concern, be sure to pack an overnight bag for each person, to be ready for any contingencies or changes of plan. Each bag should include:

  • Change of Clothes: You’re going to soil your clothes during packing, loading and unloading.
  • Toiletries: Pack essential hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and skincare.
  • Medications: Include any prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relief, if needed.
  • Chargers: Keep phone and laptop chargers with you.
  • Important Documents: Carry valuable documents, such as passports and birth certificates, for security.

14. Communication is Essential

If you’ve arranged assistance from family or friends, communication is a given. But if you’ve hired a moving company, communication may not come so naturally. They won’t have spent as much time as you studying the new property or planning what will go into the moving truck. So be sure to have the moving company’s contact details, including those of the driver or foreman.

  • Confirm key points: Double-check your moving dates, times, and route with the movers.
  • Stay Accessible: Keep your phone charged and handy on moving day.
  • Be Present: Be available at both your old and new home during loading and unloading, for questions and instructions.

15. Be Flexible and Patient

Even with meticulous planning, unexpected situations are likely to arise during long-distance moves.

  • Expect Delays: Traffic, weather, or mechanical issues can cause delays. Remind yourself to remain patient.
  • Roll with the Changes: Be flexible and adaptable. Accept that things might not always go according to plan. Some changes, such as new routes, could even be beneficial.
  • Celebrate the Arrival: Once you’ve settled in, take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishment and start exploring your new surroundings!

Wrapping Up

Long-distance moving can seem daunting, but by following these long-distance moving tips, you can streamline the process and minimize stress. If it’s still too much, Armstrong could be the partner you’re looking for.

Either way, organization is key – utilize checklists, stay focused on the task at hand, and with a little preparation, you’ll soon be settled into your new home.