March 31, 2011

Moving Cross Country

Posted in Moving Cross Country tagged , , , , , at 4:17 pm by movingcrosscountry

Cross Country Moving

Moving across country

can be intimidating, especially if you are organizing the effort on your own. Hiring a moving company may put your mind at ease, but long distance moving companies are often very expensive so be sure to read some moving company reviews. You can save a lot of money by coordinating the move and renting the moving truck yourself. Use these steps to help keep your cross country moving budget in tact:

1 Get rid of belongings.

 Donate excess belongings before you move across country. Not only can the big move be deducted on your tax return (that means more money for your cross country budget!), so can the items you donate to charity. Be sure to find a reputable charity to donate to and get a receipt.

2 Determine what to move.

 Determine how much stuff you have to move. If you are renting a moving truck and driving across country yourself, talk to the truck rental agent about how many rooms will fit in the space allotted and give them a general list of the items you are taking with you. They can help you determine what size moving truck you will need and how to fit it in your budget.

3 Decide on a moving truck rental company.

 Decide on a company to rent the moving truck from and get moving company quotes. By sharing the list of items you want to take with you, rental truck companies can give you a moving quote on how much each size moving truck would cost to rent. Price doesn’t have to be the deciding factor on determining which truck rental company to go with – you’ll want to consider the condition of the moving truck as well. Getting stuck in rural Texas 1/2 way through your trip will not be fun if your moving truck breaks down. I recommend going with Penske Truck Rental even if the moving quote is a bit more expensive or a little over your budget. They have great customer service and rent well-maintained moving trucks, especially for when you’re moving across country.

4 Purchase moving supplies.

 Purchase moving boxes and other moving supplies. You’ll need a lot of packaging tape, bubble wrap and moving blankets to pad your belongings.

5 Decide on a moving day.

 Determine your moving day and start to plan your cross country moving route. More times than not, if you schedule your moving day farther out with Penske (say, 6 months in advance), you can get a better moving quote than deciding to move within 30 days, and it won’t break your budget. Plus this gives you plenty of time to pack boxes and determine the exact route to take. I found that late fall and early spring are the best times to move across country – it’s not too hot outside and the weather is generally good. A lot of people move in the summer and truck rental rates are generally higher during that time. AAA has restaurant and rest stop guides you can take with you on your move so be sure to take advantage of those services while moving across country.

When planning your cross-country route, make sure you have the 1-800 phone numbers of major hotels chains along the way. If you don’t quite make it to the exact location you thought you would each day, hotel agents can schedule a last minute reservation and give you precise directions on how to get there from wherever you are.

Or you can stay with friends along the way. When we moved across country, we were lucky to stay with friends in our destinations. That saved a ton on hotel fees.

6 Enlist moving help.

 Start to enlist movers (family and friends) to help you move boxes and furniture on moving day. Also be sure to travel across country with a partner or two – it’s much safer. While most cross-country trips are smooth and uneventful, you never know what kind of crazy people or events you’ll encounter along the way. You’ll need to prepare for the unexpected and have someone with you at all times.

Plan on the truck packing day being stressful. Cross-country moving isn’t a small undertaking and you’ll certainly want to do it right the first time. Everyone will have their opinion on how to move boxes and pack the moving truck, so be prepared to diffuse any frustrations that arise. Generally you’ll get more stuff into the truck if you pack all the boxes in first, then appliances, then furniture, then leftover bulky/awkward stuff (bikes etc). Also be sure to use plenty of moving blankets to pad your furniture. I’ve included a link to Moving Tips here.

Before you start the trip, inspect the moving truck for any damage (you’ll pay for it later and go over your budget if you don’t) and be sure to inform family and friends of your planned route. You also might want to go to the local grocery store and stock up on snacks and drinks that will last 3-4 days.

Don’t forget to put your map somewhere where it can easily be accessed!

7 Stay in touch.

 Once you get moving in the truck, make sure you periodically call family members and friends to let them know your location. We moved across country three times. It took three days to finish the trip each time (day 1: VA Beach to Vicksburg MS, day 2: Vicksburg MS to El Paso TX, day 3: El Paso to L.A.), but that’s by driving from 7am to 11pm each day. You may want to spread the cross-country trip over another day or so, depending on how long you can stand sitting in the moving truck.

There are lots of little, inexpensive diners scattered across the country, so it shouldn’t be hard to find quick and easy stops for food (stops that won’t break your budget). For bathroom stops, be sure to take your partner with you, especially if the place you end up stopping has bathrooms ‘around the other side of the building’. Carrying some type of self defense mechanism might help for those rural or shady-looking stops – there are some scary characters out there. Don’t trust the locations or people that look ‘safe’ either. When you stop, make it quick and get back on the road as soon as you can.

8 Inspect the truck.

 Once you move across country and get to your final destination, inspect the moving truck again for any new damage before you turn it back in. Any unintentional damages can eat up your budget in a hurry. Most moving companies will charge you for any damage you incurred along the way, but sometimes they will let it slide if the damage is not that significant.


1 Comment »

  1. […] are hundreds of moving brokers throughout the U.S. and they come in all sizes, some are multi million dollar business with hundreds of employees and […]

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