The United States is a massive county —spanning nearly 3,000 miles from coast to coast— so if you’re planning a cross-country move, you have a fair reason to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Perhaps it’s the laidback sunshiny lifestyle that draws you to Southern California, or perhaps it’s the hustle and bustle of New York City— whatever it is that’s got you moving from one state to another, embrace it every step of the way. Such a monumental move can feel discouraging or scary at times, but with the right preparation, you can tackle your relocation without a hitch. 

It’s important to hash out your plan before making any serious leaps forward.  From your budget to transportation, there are plenty of factors to consider. Let’s walk through what you need to know to make your cross-country move as easy and painless as possible. Let’s dive in.

Tip #1: Decide on the way you plan on moving

When it comes to moving across the country, you have two choices: renting a truck and packing up everything you own, or starting with a clean slate and purchasing new items at your final relocation destination. Depending on which option you choose, the manner in which you move depends entirely on this decision.

4 Tips for Moving Cross Country

For those planning on starting fresh, buying a plane ticket is your only requirement— a checked bag and carry-on may be enough to carry your essentials, like a laptop, documents, etc. For those planning on moving furniture, clothing, and other belongings, you have a few different modes of transport. 

Here are a few of the most common methods, as well as the amounts you can expect to pay along the way.

Option #1: Professional movers: This is the easiest but most costly option. Whether you need long distance movers in San Diego or in Boston, odds are likely that you’ll enjoy the convenience of professional help, but endure the high costs that might set your budget back.

  • Cost: Anywhere between $2000 to $5000 for small homes and apartments or to closer to $10,000 for a large house.

Option #2: Rent a truck: Truck rental service providers offer large moving trucks that can be used to transport your belongings from state to state at more affordable costs. 

  • Cost: Rates can start as low as $20 a day but can become more expensive depending on the distance you need to drive.

Option #3: Pack up the family car: This is by far the cheapest option, and simplest if you’re able to fit everything you own into your personal vehicle. Do keep in mind, however, that you’ll likely have to leave behind any large furniture, like a sofa, dining table, and bookshelf, due to the limited space inside of your car. 

  • Cost: Varies by car, journey length, and gas price.

Tip #2: Create a budget

Moving can be expensive— which is why creating a budget is such a crucial part of the process. Moving can be costly. You’ll need to save enough money to purchase everything from bins and boxes to truck rentals and hotel stays (if you’re driving cross country). Creating a budget can make your move run seamlessly without any unforeseen costs surprising you along the way. Bear the following costs in mind:

  • Boxes, containers, tape, markers, scissors, packing materials
  • Cleaning costs
  • Rental truck costs
  • Cost of professional movers
  • Gas
  • Lodging
  • Cost of shipping

Tip #3: Sell what you can

Before you trash all your possessions, try your hand at selling items that might actually put more money into your pockets. Apps and sites like OfferUp, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace make it easy to create a listing for your sofa, old computer, or oversized plants, and sell to interested buyers. You’ll be surprised to find just how much of a market they may be for your used goods and wares.

Tip #4: Ensure your new place is ready for you4 Tips for Moving Cross Country

More importantly than any other part of your move is ensuring that your new space is ready for your arrival. There is nothing more frustrating and time-wasting than going through all of the motions of a move only to find that old tenants are still present in your new hole, or the finishing touches on a house are not yet complete. Triple-check that you’re good to go to gain the peace of mind you deserve as you move.

Do you have any cross-country move experiences? Any tips we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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