Moving across the country? I feel your pain. It’s one of those tasks that requires mental agility, physical stamina, and defensive driving. It almost qualifies as an olympic sport.

So what do you need to know to make the move with grace and all your nerves intact? Let’s take a look at the top five tips you’ll want to use for your next move, whether it’s across country or across state.

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Get Rid of Stuff

You’re moving across the country, not across the galaxy. No matter where you are in the US, you’re within a 30-minute drive of a big box store. That means you can get rid of a lot of stuff now, and then buy your essentials once you relocate to your new home. If not, Amazon can handle the rest.

Moving gives you the perfect opportunity to get rid of all of the stuff that’s weighing you down and cluttering your home. If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably won’t. Chuck it.

Or, better yet, sell it and make some traveling cash.

The average yard sale nets $200 in profit. Plus, you’ll probably save way more by not having to haul that extra weight.

Think about it. By minimizing how much you’ll pack and take with you, you can rent a smaller truck. Not only will the lighter load mean less money to dish out for your truck rental, it can also favorably affect how much you’ll pay in gas prices.

After your yard sale, don’t bring in any item that fails to sell. Instead, donate it. You may be able to deduct your charitable donation from taxes owed. Giving for a good cause while also reducing your taxes due? Win-win!

Ship or Haul Yourself


Image Courtesy of Keegan Berry, Flickr

Whether you’re moving across country or across town, you’ll have to face the inevitable question of how to schlep your stuff. The only difference with a move across the country is that you’ll only want to make that trip once, instead of borrowing your friend’s truck to make multiple hauls.

So, what options are available to you?

For a cross country move, you have three major options. Let’s take a look at each below:

Drive Yourself

The major contenders here are U-Haul, Penske, and Budget.

Driving yourself can be a fun and unique experience, especially if you’re sharing the drive with another person. It’s comforting to know where your belongings are at all times, and you’ll also have immediate access once you arrive.

But that said, driving across the country is a major task for anyone. Add to that the prospect of driving in a truck. A truck can be intimidating if you’ve never driven one before.


  • You have complete control over your stuff. It’ll never leave your care.
  • Your stuff arrives when you do.


  • These trucks are super uncomfortable for a quick trip across town, and the very definition of agony when traveling across multiple states.
  • Gas guzzlers. You can expect around 10 miles per gallon (sometimes much less), depending on the vehicle you rent.

Pack, But Don’t Drive, a Truck

ABF’s slogan is, “You Pack, We Drive, You Save.” Sounds great to me! With services like ABF U-Pack, Pods, or United Mayflower, you simply order and pack the truck (or cube), and then call when you’re ready for pick up. Alternately, you can go to the service center and pack up there. Easy, right?

You have two options for delivery. Either items are delivered directly to your front door (door to door service), or they’re dropped off at a service center (terminal to terminal). One’s more convenient, the other’s more affordable.

Packing a pod is similar to the above option. The Pods service will deliver an empty container to you. You pack and then they’ll transport the container to your designed destination.

Here’s a video on how to load a pod.


  • You don’t have to pay for gas. Eying the gas gauge can definitely raise your blood pressure.
  • Load on the ground level. No ramp required.


  • Your belongings will arrive after you get there. You’ll need to buy or bring along an emergency kit with you.
  • It can be expensive.

Plan Out Your Trip


Image Courtesy of UPack

If you’re traveling more than two hours away, you’ll need to think strategically about your trip. Don’t punish yourself by driving straight through. Break up your trip into manageable chunks.

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Make it a point to schedule frequent stops (once every two hours). Good news is, this may coincide perfectly with necessary gas and bathroom breaks, especially if you’re driving a moving truck.

But don’t limit yourself to just the gas station on your drive. If you have the opportunity to see Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, or Niagara Falls during your trek across the country, why not take it? When’s the next time you’ll have immediate access to these national treasures?

Use this time as your opportunity to see America like most people never do. Plot out a course that hits the landmarks you’ve always wanted to see up close. It’s road trip time!

Your move across the country can do double duty, especially if you travel with someone else.

Remember to get enough sleep. Use sites like Hotels.com or Expedia to discover cheap hotels along your journey. Set a budget (you’ll be surprised how far $100 can take you) and look for a well-reviewed hotel.

Keep security in mind. If you’re traveling with all of your worldly possessions in the back of a U-haul truck, definitely opt for safety over budget. (By the way, be sure to see if your rental agreement covers theft. Your homeowner’s insurance may provide coverage also.)

Moving with Kids

Are we there yet? If you have kids, get ready for this chorus, set on repeat.

You can minimize a lot of their angst and frustration by planning out your trip thoughtfully. Keep them entertained by framing your trip as one big adventure.

When you’re not making pit stops, you can distract kids for long periods of time by rotating toys, coloring books, dvd movies, audio books, and snacks. Yes, plenty of snacks!

Bringing Fido?


When you’re moving with beloved pet, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. The first, and the perhaps the most important, is to give your pet frequent breaks. He or she needs to move around just like you do. Don’t let too many rest stops pass without giving your pet a chance to stretch his or her legs.

Also, if your pet isn’t accustomed to car travel, start preparing him or her for the big day as soon as possible. Get your pet acclimated to car travel by taking short trips across town.

Bring your kennel or pet carrier. This can be used in the vehicle and also in hotel rooms.

It may be a good idea to ask your veterinarian for a sedative, also.

Be sure to attach your pet’s identification tag to his or her collar. Cats need collars with identification tags, too. Also, don’t forget to attach a rabies tag.

Additionally, keep a recent photo of your pet with you, in case you lose him.

Last, but not least, bring your pet’s health certificate with you.

Check out BringFido.com for a huge library of information on pet-friendly hotels, attractions, and restaurants.

Final Thoughts

The idea of moving across the country can be intimidating, but use these tips to make the move more manageable. Don’t forget to plan ahead for activities and shelter. Treat it like a road trip and you won’t dread it nearly as much. After all, it is a once in a lifetime adventure—hopefully.

[content_upgrade cu_id=”3819″]Would you like a list of moving apps to aid you on your cross country trek? Check this out![content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]