A Checklist for a Cross Country Move

If you’re like a lot of Americans, you might move a long way from home at some point in your life. In fact, approximately 63% of Americans have moved to a new community at least once in their lifetime. A long-distance move is no easy feat. You’re going to have a big to-do list, and oftentimes something gets overlooked. Here’s a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything before you go.

Book Movers

One of your first steps for a long-distance move should be booking movers. Moving companies can get busy at certain times of the year and a cross-country move could require several days. Start your search for the right movers early and book them to ensure you have help on the days you need it. Decide whether you will need packers, multiple movers, trucks, or packing materials in advance. Make sure to evaluate moving companies carefully: check online reviews, call and ask questions, and review the contract thoroughly. You want trustworthy people to handle your belongings.

Schedule a Move-In

If you will be renting a home or apartment, be sure to schedule your move-in in advance. You don’t want to show up and have no way to get inside. Moving companies typically charge for extra time, so you don’t want to make them sit around and wait once you reach your destination. Arrange a time to meet with the landlord or get the keys in advance.

Make Travel Arrangements

You should make travel arrangements for yourself and your family to ensure that you will arrive before the movers. If you plan to fly, book your flight at least a month in advance. If you are driving, look at the route ahead of time and book hotels if needed in advance. It might even be a good idea to plan some extra time for your road trip if you want to make a few sightseeing stops. Just keep in mind that you will want to beat the movers to your new home.


Now is the perfect time to purge your home of belongings that you no longer use or need. Moving companies might charge by weight, so you’ll end up spending more money if you move items you don’t even want anymore. Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity before you move. If you start purging early enough, you could even have a moving sale or post items for sale online.

Change Your Address

If you want to make sure that there won’t be any delays receiving your mail, change your address with the post office at least a few weeks before you move. You should also cancel, transfer, or set up utilities and services, such as electricity, water, gas, cable or satellite television, internet, trash removal, and phone service. It’s also a good idea to notify your banks and credit card companies of your new address in advance to avoid any interruptions.

Time to Pack

If you don’t have a moving company to pack up your home, you may want to enlist the help of family or friends. Pack your valuables and daily essentials separately—you may even want to take these with you rather than putting them on the moving truck. It can also be a good idea to separate your clothes by season. That way, you can unpack a little more leisurely. Clearly label or mark your boxes so that you know what’s inside without having to rip them open again. Lastly, pack a travel bag with several changes of clothes, money, phones and chargers, medications, and any personal items you will need for the trip.

Moving Day

On moving day, have a list of important instructions and your contact information to give to the movers. Make sure to get their contact information, as well. It’s also not a bad idea to snap a few pictures of furniture or other valuable items in case something is damaged during the move. It’s common practice to tip your movers, so show them your appreciation at the end of the move if they’ve done a good job. Be sure to inspect your items after they’re delivered, and report any damage.

Moving a long distance can be difficult for anyone. However, with just a little planning and patience, you can have a smoother move.

11 thoughts on “A Checklist for a Cross Country Move”

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