Preparing for your cross country move
Six months ago I decided to move cross country from Los Angeles to Miami. It was something new to me because I had only moved once in my life and it was only from one city to another city close by. I had no idea what I needed to do to prepare for my cross country move or where to even get started. I obviously learned and did what worked best for me based on my situation which is why I decided to share my tips. If you or anyone you know is planning a big move from one state to another, I hope these tips can help you or them. Note that every person’s situation is different so not every tip will apply to you, but nonetheless, I hope they help.
- Save money so you have a comfortable cushion to live off of. This of course applies if you don’t have a job offer already. You will need a comfortable cushion to live off of because you don’t know how long it will take you to find a job, and well, the expenses don’t pay themselves in the meantime. I suggest anywhere from 3-5 months worth of income saved up to live off of. The more, the better. This of course doesn’t include the costs of actually moving.
- Make a trip to the new city prior to your move. I made a trip to Miami about 2 months prior to my move to check out the cities I had researched online as well as hunt for an apartment. I was here for about 5 days and all we did was apartment hunt. I did my research online prior to the trip so I had a list of apartments to check out. I checked them out along with the area they were located in, and then made a decision. I had signed the lease by the time I left so I had a set date to move in.
- Decide what you’re going to do with your car. Whether you decide to sell it, ship it or drive it to your new destination, do your research and find out what option works best for you. For me, it was easier to ship it. I was originally going to drive it but got to thinking about it and since my car was relatively new, I didn’t want to put so much mileage on it and eventually depreciating the value of it. I did my research and found a company that allowed you to fill the interior of the vehicle (no higher than the window so it’s not visible to the outside) with cargo such as clothes, shoes, etc. without an additional cost. By doing that, I was able to ship most of my stuff in the interior of my vehicle for the cost of only transporting the car. Prior to making business with any company, make sure to check their rating on the Better Business Bureau‘s website since they will be transporting an important part of your life. I checked a few of them prior to making business with them and most of them didn’t even have a rating. That explained the lower cost. That’s how I disregarded companies and chose the one I ultimately did. Also, find out how long it will take to reach your destination and plan accordingly. You don’t want to arrive to your new city and have to wait a week for your car. My vehicle arrived the day after I did.
- Decide what you’re going to do with your personal belongings. My situation was a little different than most people because I still lived at home so I didn’t bring anything with me. I decided to leave everything in my room at home (because I had that option) and only brought a few suitcases and what I shipped in my car. I bought everything to furnish my apartment when I arrived. This is where you have to weigh your options. Is it better to sell your stuff and bring the money to purchase new stuff or is it better cost-wise to ship everything? For me, it was easier to start new, so I did.
- Resign from your job on good terms. I was scheduled to move in the first weekend of November so I decided I was going to end the month of September at work and then have the whole month of October to finish some stuff that I had to do prior to moving, as well as packing. I gave my 2 weeks notice and ended the month of September at work. I provided them with my letter of resignation and advised I was moving to a different state. I left on good terms and they advised the door was always open if I ever decided to return. Also make sure to use all of that year’s benefits if you haven’t already done so prior to leaving. I made all of my appointments and used all of my benefits prior to my last day. You have the benefits so take advantage, especially since you don’t know how long it will be before you obtain insurance at your new job.
- Make a schedule and stick to it. I’m very organized so I had a schedule that I followed regarding my move. I made the trip to Miami in early September to look for an apartment and when I returned to LA, I already had a move-in date so I then worked with that date. I resigned from my job 2 weeks prior to the last day of the month so I would end the month of September. As soon as I got back from Miami and prior to resigning from my job, I made all of my doctor, dentist and optometrist appointments to use my benefits. I used the whole month of October to finish some last minute stuff to prepare for my move and to pack. I flew out of LA and arrived in Miami on November 7th which was a Saturday, my vehicle arrived on Sunday the 8th and I moved in on Monday the 9th into my new apartment. I stayed at a hotel for 2 nights and rented a vehicle for one day. I’m big on organization so making lists and schedules works best for me.
- Notify your financial institution and any other pertinent companies of your move. Provide all of them with your new address so they are aware and can update their files. Also make sure to notify your local Post Office of the change of address so they can forward your mail until you’ve had a chance to notify everyone. You can file this request online if you wish. The request is active for 6 months so it gives you plenty of time to notify all the companies of the change.
- Move and be open to change. Moving to a new city/state will bring about changes in your everyday life. LA life is completely different from Miami life and even though I already knew that prior to my move and it is what prompted my move in the first place, you realize it more and more on a daily basis. You are used to doing things a certain way so moving requires you to be open to change to do things in a different way. In this post I detailed some of the differences I encountered when I moved here.
Are there any other tips you would add to the list? Hope these can help you in your next move!