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Relocating Across the Country? Here’s Your Comprehensive Out-of-State Moving Checklist

Moving Out of State - MoverTron

Starting a move to another state? It could be going back to where you grew up or moving to a new city for a job, to meet new people, and start a new life. Either way, you're in for a busy time full of different feelings. You might be moving to live with family again or with new roommates, facing new challenges that come with big changes like a new job, going to school, or other big life events.

You're not just moving; you're moving to a whole new state, which is exciting but also a bit chaotic. You'll be busy packing, getting rid of stuff you don't need, and dealing with how you feel about leaving your current home. There's a lot to do.

We can't change why you're moving or how you feel, but we can help make your move smoother with a complete checklist. Whether it's making a budget for your move or turning off your utilities, the further you move, the more you need to plan.

Our guide offers tips and a checklist to help you manage the big job of moving to another state. We want to help you keep everything in check – your money, your plans, and how you're feeling – as you start this big change.

Out-of-State Moving Checklist

Check Out Your Future Home City Before Relocating

It's a great idea to visit the city you're planning to move to in another state before you actually move. This trip will help you understand what the place is like and see the different areas up close. Take a guidebook along, or visit the local visitor center to grab some brochures, maps, and tips on where to go. If you're staying at a hotel, the concierge can also give you some good suggestions. Don't just stick to the well-known spots; try to find some local favorites and places that aren't on every tourist's radar.

Set Up Your Relocation Budget

Moving isn't cheap, but you can find ways to cut costs. It's important to figure out early how much you're willing to spend. This helps you make wise choices about everything, from hiring movers to buying boxes.

Remember, there are extra costs too, like turning on utilities, getting internet and TV set up, paying for gas or plane tickets, shipping your car if you're not driving, and covering hotel stays and food if the move takes several days. These expenses can add up fast, so it's smart to plan for them in advance.

Secure Work and a Place to Live

Getting a clear picture of your costs becomes simpler after you've found a job and a place to stay. Whether you should look for a job first or start with finding a home depends on your circumstances. If you're retired or have plenty of savings, you might want to concentrate on finding the right house first. But if you're moving mainly for work, you might prefer to wait for a job offer before deciding exactly where to live.

Select a Reliable Moving Company

Start by getting estimates from a few different moving companies to see how their prices, services, and customer feedback stack up. It's required by law for movers handling cross-country trips to offer insurance that covers the full value of your belongings in their initial quote. But if you prefer, you can opt out and stick with the basic coverage, which compensates you only up to 60 cents for each pound of your items. For more protection, you might consider insurance from an outside provider.

Ensure the mover you choose has the right credentials. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps a list of authorized moving companies and brokers. You can use the FMCSA's website to steer clear of moving scams, know your rights as a customer, and get ready for your move.

Set a Moving Date

When planning your out-of-state move, it's crucial to consider several factors before setting a date. Evaluate the availability of moving companies, your work obligations, family considerations, and the weather conditions. The cost of your move is also influenced by the timing. Opting for a move during weekends, holidays, or the peak summer season could lead to higher costs due to increased demand and limited availability of movers. Conversely, scheduling your move on a weekday when it's not the busy season can often result in lower moving expenses. It's time to pick a date for your move!

Organize Your Documents for the Move

Organizing your paperwork might not be exciting, but it's essential when moving to a new state. You'll need to think about updating your billing addresses, canceling or transferring memberships, and visiting the DMV, among other tasks. Some tasks can be tackled before you move, while others must wait until you're officially a resident of your new state. Here's a brief rundown of what to keep in mind:

•⁠  ⁠Credit cards

•⁠  ⁠Insurance policies

•⁠  ⁠Utility accounts

•⁠  ⁠Voter registration

•⁠  ⁠Driver's license

•⁠  ⁠Internet service

•⁠  ⁠Cable service

•⁠  ⁠Gym memberships

Secure Temporary or Permanent Housing

Securing a place to live, even if just temporarily for the first few weeks, is crucial and sometimes complicated when you're moving to another state. The challenge often lies in not being able to visit potential homes in person. However, the real estate industry has adapted, especially during the pandemic, with many agents offering virtual tours of properties.

If you're hesitant to commit to a place without seeing it in person, plan a move-in date for your permanent home and opt for temporary accommodations like Airbnb, VRBO, or a hotel in the meantime. This strategy allows you to take your time finding the perfect place to call home.

Plan Your Daily Commute

Understanding your daily commute is key to a good life in your new location, affecting everything from your daily mood to your health. Try out the commute you'll be doing every day, whether it’s driving, walking, cycling, or using public transit. It’s best to do this test during the hours you’ll be traveling to and from work to get a realistic sense of timing. Think about your daily habits – is there a place to pick up coffee or breakfast on the way? What about getting groceries or dinner on your way home? Pay attention to potential delays like heavy traffic, numerous traffic lights, school zones, or crowded buses and trains during peak hours. Knowing these details helps you adjust your schedule, ensuring you’re not late on your first day and setting realistic expectations for your daily routine.

Locate Essential Shops and Supermarkets

To avoid the hassle of searching for a grocery store to stock up your fridge right after you move, take some time to look up supermarkets near your new home before you arrive. This prep work also applies to other shopping needs – whether it's for cleaning products, tools, or home decor. Knowing where to find these essentials in advance will make settling into your new place much smoother and less stressful.

Arrange Healthcare and Pharmacy Needs

Before you move, start looking for new healthcare providers and pharmacies in your new location for yourself, your children, and pets. It's wise to schedule any necessary medical or dental check-ups in your current area before leaving, as setting up new appointments could take a while. Make sure all prescriptions are filled in advance to avoid running out during the transition. Transferring medical records and finding new doctors or vets will require some effort and time. Consider a final visit to your current vet for a health check or prescription refill for your pet, especially if they have ongoing health issues or might not be up-to-date on vaccinations. Checking reviews for veterinarians near your new home can also help you make an informed decision.

Develop a Smart Packing Strategy

Start by planning your packing process with a clear timeline. Packing in an organized way can significantly ease the process of setting up your new place. Begin by boxing up items you won't need immediately, such as books, decorative pieces, and electronics – these are your non-essentials. Leave the essentials – like kitchenware, plates, and bathroom supplies – for last. Simplify your move by giving away things you don't want to take with you. Look for charities that offer free pickup services for donations, such as the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, or Goodwill. This step not only lightens your load but also helps those in need.

Arrange Your Long-Distance Travel

For a long-distance move, organizing your travel is crucial. It's important to sort out your travel details early on. This could mean buying plane tickets, reserving a rental car, or booking hotels for any overnight stays required during the move. Since moving companies may take a week or more to transport your items, you should also plan for where you'll stay temporarily.

Plan for Your Car's Transportation

If you're not driving your car to your new place, you'll need to look into options for shipping it. You can send your car on Amtrak's Auto Train, hire someone to drive it for you, or use a car shipping company. If you go with a shipping company, you'll have to decide between an open-air carrier, which is less expensive and carries several cars at once, or an enclosed carrier, which offers more protection but at a higher cost. The open-air option is generally the most commonly chosen for its affordability.

Double-Check Your Move Date and Time

Make sure to double-check the date and time your movers are supposed to arrive, doing so a few days before your move. It's likely that your moving company will reach out to you to confirm these details about a week before the move happens. Still, it's a good idea to call them yourself that week to make sure they have the right address and date. This step can help you feel more at ease and reduce stress related to the move.

Set Up Your Utilities at Your New Home

Make a call to your utility providers before you move to inform them of your change in address. This includes services like your internet and cable, water and sewer, gas, electricity, satellite, and any home security systems you might have. If you know your new address, you can arrange for these utilities to be transferred or set up a new installation date right away.

Redirect Your Mail

Redirecting your mail is a straightforward process and can be organized in advance. Simply visit and select the date from which you want to start having your mail forwarded to your new address. 

Inform Everyone About Your Move

Make sure to tell your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers about your move. It might be hard to find the time to meet everyone face-to-face to share the news. A quick solution is to send an email that includes your new address and any other details you want to share about your move.

Update Your Driver’s License for Your New State

If you plan on driving in your new state, getting an updated driver's license is essential. Different states have various deadlines for new residents to get their new license, so check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for specific rules. Generally, you'll need to provide your current driver's license, proof that you live in the state, your social security number, and another form of ID.

Long Distance Moving - MoverTron

Key Factors to Keep in Mind for an Interstate Move

1.⁠ ⁠Climate Considerations

Understanding the climate of your new state is crucial. Look into temperature ranges, humidity, and what kind of weather to expect across seasons. It’s also wise to research any natural disaster risks like hurricanes or wildfires to see how they might affect you.

2.⁠ ⁠Local Amenities

Knowing what amenities are nearby is important for your comfort and convenience. Find out where the nearest hospitals, police stations, and fire departments are for safety. Also, check out local grocery stores, shopping centers, and dining options to ensure they meet your needs. Don’t forget to look for places that match your recreational interests, such as parks, gyms, or trails.

3.⁠ ⁠Cost of Living

The cost of living is a big factor in any move. Start by comparing housing costs, including rent, mortgages, and taxes, to see if they fit your budget. Then, estimate other expenses like utilities, transportation, groceries, and healthcare to get a full picture of your financial situation in the new state.

4.⁠ ⁠Culture & Lifestyle

The culture and lifestyle of your new location can significantly impact your happiness. Research social scenes, entertainment options, cultural events, and the community’s diversity and inclusivity to ensure it’s a good fit for you.

5.⁠ ⁠Job & Housing Markets

Look into the job market for potential employment opportunities and career growth in your field. At the same time, explore the housing market to find a place that’s affordable and conveniently located near your job or other important places.

By considering these factors carefully, you can make a more informed decision about your out-of-state move and set yourself up for a successful transition.

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If you have any questions about moving or would like to get an estimate for your upcoming move, MoverTron moving experts are happy to assist you. Give us a call, email or submit a form - whatever works better for you!


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