The key to preparing for a long-distance move is planning far ahead of time. You’ll need to figure out what you’re taking with you, what’s getting left behind, organize utilities, pack, and a load of other things – not to mention decide if you’re going to hire professional movers or do a DIY move.
If you plan on making a long-distance move on your own or with long distance movers, then it’s essential to use the following guide that will help prepare you for every aspect of your upcoming long distance move.
What is a Long-Distance Move?
Most professionals consider a long-distance move to be anything longer than 100 miles. Sometimes called a long-haul move, these types of moves can be to or from anywhere in the world but are most commonly associated with interstate and cross-country moves.
How Do I Prepare for a Long Distance Move?
Prepping for a long-distance move will require a high level of commitment and organization. These tips will ensure that you have minimal stress and that your long-distance move goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Choose Moving Services
Preparing for a long-distance move starts with choosing the moving services you’ll need to help you complete the moving process. To understand what services you may or may not need, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much stuff do I have?
- Is my stuff mostly packed into boxes, or will it require special moving equipment to move safely?
- Do I need any additional labor beyond what standard movers provide (for example, help with packing, special service for oversized items like pianos or pool tables, etc.)?
- Do I want to hire a moving container or truck and do a DIY move?
- Are there any special items that need additional protection (is most of my stuff fragile, antique, or irreplaceable)?
- Do I want to store any of my stuff during the moving process (if I’m waiting to complete my new home setup before bringing it inside)?
The answers to these questions will determine the best moving services for your long distance move. If you don’t want to do any of the moving work, you’ll likely need the full services of long-distance movers, including loading, unloading, and transportation.
Alternatively, if you have friends or family that can help with the heavy lifting, you may only require moving services to handle the transportation of your items.
Additionally, if you want to take your time packing and loading, you may decide to store your items in a moving container or pod before having it transported to your new location.
If you want to DIY your long distance move, you’ll still need to consider rental trucks, moving equipment, and any logistics related to dismantling furniture for safe transport.
2. Organize Necessary Items in Advance
From packing supplies to rental trucks and moving services, it is imperative that you organize everything you need for your long distance move well in advance.
Unfortunately, peak moving season between April and October often means that last-minute moving services are harder to find and more expensive. Additionally, finding packing supplies during this time may also be more difficult.
Long-distance moving companies usually need several weeks of advance notice to guarantee availability, which is why it’s vital to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Shopping around for quotes and availability at least three months in advance will give you a better chance of finding an affordable, specific moving date and time that works for your schedule.
If you are planning on a DIY move, you’ll also want to book your rental truck, moving equipment, and source packing supplies early. Doing so will mean that you’ll have more time to pack and potentially find the necessary moving labor should the task become overwhelming at any point in the process.
3. Packing Logistics
To ensure that everything makes it to your new location in one piece, it’s important to follow these tips for packing your belongings:
- Label and color code boxes and furniture pieces with removable stickers or colored tape. This will help you and the movers keep track of where everything needs to go.
- Pack items that should stay together in one container (toys with toys, kitchenware with kitchenware). This will make sorting at the final destination much easier.
- Take apart furniture pieces that can be easily dismantled (beds, desks, tables) for more efficient transportation.
- Use wardrobe boxes for hanging clothes to avoid creasing.
Because moving services usually charge by the weight of your total items, it’s a good idea to get rid of any belongings that don’t need to go with you to the new location. This could include old clothes, unused furniture or appliances, and even books you don’t need. Downsizing will not only save you on costs for movers, but it will also save an enormous amount of time during the packing process.
4. Transportation Logistics
If using full-service movers to transport your belongings long distance, transport details should already be covered. However, you may need to figure out whether (and how long) oversized moving trucks can be parked in your old and new location.
Some cities don’t allow for parking of oversize vehicles due to space limitations, in which case you may need to look into alternative storage solutions or local movers in the area who can assist with the final leg of transportation using smaller vehicles.
If you are planning on a DIY long distance move, then you’ll need to prepare for all of your own transport logistics, including stops, overnight accommodation, snacks, and of course, a moving truck.
Moving trucks can be rented for several days at a time days through many large truck rental companies. Make sure to get quotes from multiple companies so you can choose one that best suits your needs in terms of price, capacity, equipment availability, and features like extra mileage and insurance coverage.
If your long-distance move includes moving pods, be sure you organize and confirm the pickup and delivery date to ensure that your belongings aren’t left on the street for extended periods of time.
5. The Final Destination
Once your items reach your final destination, it’s essential to ensure that you have the means to unload them into your new place or storage facility. This may mean paying extra for movers to unload your belongings.
Be sure to inform the moving company of any potential obstacles such as stairs or tight spaces that would make maneuvering heavy objects difficult, as this will factor into their overall costs.
If completing a DIY move, be sure that your rental truck can reach your final destination and that you have access to all necessary supplies for unloading.
If using a moving pod, be sure it will fit in the area where you would like it to be placed. Pod storage facilities should provide this information upon request, so plan ahead and get all the information you need before arriving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest way to move long distance?
Ultimately, renting your own truck and performing the physical labor on your own or with the help of friends and family will be the cheapest way to move long distance. That being said, while you may save on moving labor costs, you might ultimately increase the time and energy needed to ensure that the move is successful – and time is money!
What’s the best time of year for a long distance move?
The best time of year for a long distance move is usually during the late spring throughout the summer. During this time, the weather conditions for packing, loading, transporting, and unloading are favorable.
How should I pack breakable dishes and glassware?
Delicate, breakable items should be wrapped in bubble wrap and packed in sturdy boxes. It is important to pack dishes upright so they won’t be displaced or topple over during transit.
Planning is the Key to Preparing for a Successful Long Distance Move
Executing a successful long-distance move takes more than hard work. It will require months of planning, organization, and prep work to ensure a hassle-free experience. By researching your moving service options, getting all of your supplies together, and planning the logistics of packing, transportation, and unloading, you will be ready to transition smoothly into your new location.