Moving Out of State

Around six million Americans move to another state each year. Some move for work, some for school, and others move to be closer to family or just for a change of scenery. Regardless of the reason, moving out of state can be challenging.

When you’re relocating, there are many things to keep track of and lots of things to get done, both big and small. Moving to another state can be even tougher because you’re moving to a new and less familiar environment. Having a list of tasks can help make your move go more smoothly and ease the stress.

In this post, we present 20 things you must know when moving out of state. Not every item will apply to every situation, but this list will help you keep your move progressing on track.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Your New Surroundings

Before your interstate move, research your destination as much as possible. If possible, travel to your future home and have a look around. What is the climate like–will you need to get new winter or summer attire? Is it easy to get around without a car? Are there grocery stores nearby? If you have kids, how are the schools? Are there residential laws or restrictions that don’t exist in your present location? 

2. Find a Place to Stay

After you’ve become more familiar with your new location, you’ll need to decide where to live. You might want to live close to work or your children’s school, or you might choose a home in a cozy neighborhood in the suburbs. How big of a home will you need? Is there room for all of your household belongings?

3. Take Stock of Your Belongings

After you know what size home you’re moving to, go through your belongings. This way, you can make sure all of your stuff will fit in your new home. You can also decide what items you won’t need to bring with you. These you can sell, donate or discard. You might even consider holding a garage sale to raise money for your move. Donations to qualified charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army can allow you to claim a tax deduction.

4. Determine Your Budget

There’s no getting around it–moving is expensive. Particularly since the pandemic, a shortage of moving trucks and movers has contributed to rising costs. You’ll need to decide how much you plan to spend on your move. If you’re moving for work, find out whether your employer will subsidize your move.

Hiring a professional moving company is the fastest and most convenient option, and the most expensive. A do-it-yourself move is usually the least expensive, but requires more time and effort on your part. Consider if you will be asking friends or family to help you move.

If you have the time and energy, you might do part of your move yourself. This means fitting some boxes and small appliances in your car, or renting a trailer. 

You’ll want to include in your budget the cost of living in your new state. If you’re moving from a lower cost region to a higher cost area, or from a small town to a big city, chances are your living costs will increase. You’ll also need to figure out how much the taxes are in your new location. 

5. Research Your Moving Options

You’ll want to compare different moving options and decide which best fits your budget and schedule. Different moving companies have widely different rates, and their availability depends on the day of the week and the time of year. Summer is the busiest moving time, so you may have difficulty booking a moving company in June or July and have to pay a premium. 

If you’re doing all or part of the move yourself, you can to look into choices like U-Haul, PODS, and renting a truck, and decide which option best fits your timeline and budget. There are many companies to choose from, so you will want to get quotes from several providers and compare.

6. Decide How to Move Your Car

Many people drive themselves during a move, even a long distance one. It may be the most cost-effective option, but you’ll want to include the costs of gas, meals, lodging, wear and tear on your car, and the effort of driving. If you decide not to drive, a professional auto transport company can ship your car for you.

7. Start Packing Early

After you’ve decided what to bring with you, start packing early. To save money, you can get free or previously used moving boxes. Whether you’re moving yourself or using a moving company, packing early allows you plenty of time to get organized.

8. Set Aside Valuables to Carry by Yourself

Jewelry, valuable musical instruments, important documents, and similar high-value items should be brought with you to prevent them from being lost in transit. Also bring along prescription medications you’ll need during the move.

9. Prepare a Moving Essentials Bag

After you get to your new home, you won’t want to be rummaging through boxes looking for your shower towel, clothes to wear or your toothbrush. Consider carrying these items and a few days’ worth of clothes with you. This will keep you supplied until your household goods can be delivered and unpacked.

10. Give Your Movers Multiple Contact Numbers

Cell phones can lose power or get lost or damaged. If you’re using professional movers, give them multiple phone numbers. Also consider giving them the numbers for friends or relatives who will be able to reach you.

11. Change Addresses and Disconnect Utilities

Notifying companies of your new address and disconnecting the water, electricity and Internet are tedious, but crucial. Arrange to get utilities turned off or out of your name on the day of your move. Notify banks, credit card companies, and insurance providers of your new address. Also go to the Post Office or online and have your mail forwarded. 

While you’re at it, arrange to have utilities set up when you arrive. You don’t want to get to your new home, and only then discover the electricity isn’t turned on.

12. Make Arrangements for Your Pets

If you have a dog, cat or other pets, you’ll need to make arrangements to move them. Remember that moving can be stressful for animals, as they might not know what’s happening and why they are being taken out of their familiar surroundings.

13. Allow for Unforeseen Expenses

When moving long distance, there’s always the possibility of delays or things getting lost. You might have to spend a night in a hotel because your new home isn’t quite ready yet. Your car might need service along the way. You will want to pad your budget a little to allow for these contingencies.

14. Make Arrangements to Meet New People

If you don’t know anyone in your new location, it can seem daunting. When you have downtime during your move, think about how you can meet people. It might be at a book club, a running group, a weekly meeting for people with a common hobby, or even a local church. Asking people about your new town can be a great way to get acquainted.

15. Change Your Car Registration and Driver’s License

Depending on the state, you may need to register your car and apply for a driver’s license within a certain time after arrival. You may need to bring proof of your new address when you apply.

16. Register to Vote

Registering to vote typically requires being a U.S. citizen and a current resident of the county in which you’re registering. You’ll want to be able to vote for the governor, legislators, and city officials in your new state.

17. Register Your Kids in School

You’ll need to check with your local school about getting your children enrolled, or starting the next school year if it’s during the summer. Consider any vaccinations that might be required. Also remember moving can be stressful for kids, so help ease the transition for them.

18. Consider Child Custody Laws

After a divorce, if the parents have been granted joint custody, you generally must get advance permission from the other parent and possibly the court in order to move out of state. You may consider consulting an attorney to ensure you don’t violate any custody laws.

19. Update Your Medicare Coverage

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B, there are no updates needed, because you’re free to see participating providers across the country. But if you’re enrolled in Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to select new Part D coverage. Consult the Social Security Administration for the current policies.

20. Inventory Your Belongings After Arrival

Particularly if you used a moving company, you’ll want to inspect your belongings for loss or damage. If anything is missing or was damaged during transit, you can file a claim with the moving company.

Moving out of state can seem like an overwhelming job, but breaking it down into manageable tasks can make it easier. Good luck with your move!

We hope you found this post, 20 Tips You Must Know When Moving Out of State, useful. Be sure to check out our post Moving Out of State on a Budget for more great information.

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