Long-distance moving guide: 5 steps to a successful cross-country move

So you’ve decided to uproot your life and move to a new city. In fact, this isn’t a regional move, it’s a long-distance relocation. You likely have a mix of emotions, as making a cross-country trek isn’t an easy thing to do.

According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost to move in state is $1,170. When residents decide to move beyond state lines, the total increases dramatically to $5,360. Both figures were calculated based on a weight of 7,100 lbs, U.S. News and World Report said.

Depending on the type of move, the timeframe you have to complete it and the distance you have to travel, planning a relocation is a big process. Here are five simple tips to help you plan for and successfully complete a move:

Step one: Establish a budget

Certainly, the cost of a move may vary depending on how many belongings you take with, as well as the distance and if you decide to hire a mover or not. There are few fixed variables in establishing a budget prior to a move, but it’s important you add up all of the potential costs before you pack the van and go. Obviously, the costs of a mover, truck rental and boxes are necessities for a long-distance move.

There are also hidden costs to a move that you must consider. For instance, storage units are a typical but often overlooked aspect of moving, especially if a closing date doesn’t align with a move-in date. What’s more, unexpected things can happen during a long-distance move. A flat tire during a long road trip is a distinct possibility, while fluctuating gas prices can add to or lessen your overall expenditure by a few dollars. Depending on how fiscally responsible you want to be prior to your move, it’s simply best practice to expect the unexpected.

Step two: Learn to let go

Part of the moving process is learning to move on from the past and start on your new beginning. On a more micro level, it’s also critical that you learn to let go of some of your belongings. It may be painful to toss that vintage jean jacket you used to wear while you sat on the hood of your Camaro while smoking Marlboro mediums in ’83, but those days are long gone. It’s time to move on. The same can be said for a lot of aged items and belongings. It’s understandable that vintage things have an inherent sentimental value, but you have to decide which items you can get rid of and which ones are coming with you to your new home.

Since a lot of moving services charge by weight, a thorough de-clutter effort can have a positive impact on your wallet, too. Plus, moving less stuff means you don’t have to pack, or unpack, as much on either end. Give your back a break and toss the things you can bear to part ways with. Or, donate them so some other lucky individual can benefit from your act of charity. For all you know someone else may share the same affinity you have for Grand Funk Railroad vinyl records. Wouldn’t that be some kind of wonderful?

Step three: Do your homework

In today’s digitally driven world, researching just about anything – like, how much you can get for three Grand Funk Railroad vinyl records in decent condition – is relatively effortless. Similarly, after comparing mover costs and quotes, you should look into what’s around your new neighborhood before you set foot there. For instance, you’ll likely need insurance if your provider isn’t a national company, you’ll need a new barber, dentist, doctor and maybe even a new bank. It may be a good idea to sit down for an hour or two, give your knees and back a rest while packing, and figure out what type of amenities, local businesses and recreational opportunities are available in your new place of residence.

Another aspect of moving some people don’t realize is that long-distance treks are eligible for tax exemption. If you’re moving for a new job, you can write some of the costs off and put it on Uncle Sam’s tab. While meals aren’t deductible, things like costs for packing and shipping goods to your new property and travel and lodging costs can be written off. Even if you’re seeking work in a new city and haven’t yet landed a job, look at the Internal Revenue Service’s website and see what you’re eligible for.

Step four: Become the DIY type

It takes an able-bodied individual to move everything alone, but it can save you a lot of money if you become the do-it-yourself type. It’s not that movers are unreasonably expensive, but moving some of the items yourself will not only save you some cash, it can actually be pretty gratifying. Similarly, there are companies out there who allow people to drive themselves in a rented truck or big rig.

If you can’t find that option, you can also look to hire a driver directly and just move all of your belongings yourself. There are great ways to seek out a driver who has his or her own truck. For example, third-party digital marketplaces like uShip are designed to connect you with the best shipping options out there. Its website allows you to list your items on its platform and have interested movers and truck owners bid on your stuff, creating a cheaper option for you.

Step five: Just relax, man

We’re not going to deny the fact that a cross-country move is stressful. There are a lot of things you must do, loose ends you need to tie up and expenses that have to be paid before you begin your journey. But the moral of the story is this: Moving to a new place shouldn’t be overly stressful; in fact, it should be exciting. You’re about to embark on a new chapter in your life, so feel free to treat it as such. Take a deep breath, go with the flow, and if you’ve done your homework and can buckle down and do some moving yourself, the relocation won’t be all that bad.

Leaning on family and friends during a move can also help the process. Spending time with those you love before you go can lessen the stress even further, which may help at the end of the day. Certainly, headaches will occur during a move, but overall, just remember to relax and have some fun with it.