7 Steps for Preparing a Long-Distance Move

On average Americans move 12 times in their lifetime. Whether it’s for a new job, starting college or just a change of scenery, moves can create a lot of chaos. After all, you’re basically uprooting your entire existence.

Keep the chaos in check with these seven essential steps for planning a long-distance move.

Start Planning Well in Advance

All moves are easier when you have time to plan everything in advance. Long distance movers like the Allied moving company caution that out of town moves require even more preparation. Their experts note that there are additional requirements when moving furniture and other possessions across state lines. You’ll also have to research service providers, schools, etc. that aren’t familiar.

Start planning at least a month in advance – realistically 2-3 months is much better. This will give you ample time to line up the moving company of your choice, schedule the ideal date and arrange for storage if needed.

Look Into Relocation Assistance

Are you moving because you got another job or promotion? Congratulations! Moving to get the new gig may be a bit of a drag, but at least you can take advantage of tax breaks and possibly relocation assistance.

Many established companies have relocation programs that can help you with moving expenses and finding reputable providers. Check with the HR department to see if such a program exists. Some programs will cover the costs outright while others provide reimbursements or discounts. If nothing else, make sure you hold on to your receipts so you can deduct the moving expenses during tax season.

Check on Pet Requirements

States and cities make their own regulations for pet ownership. A perfect example of this is Hawaii. The state has a very strict pet quarantine policy before dogs and cats are allowed into any of the islands. Hawaii is rabies free, and they intend to keep it that way.

If you own pets, especially exotic animals, you’ll need to check on the state and city requirements to make arrangements as needed. If your new home is in an HOA you’ll need to reference the neighborhood guidelines for addition pet regulations.

Become Familiar With the HOA

Speaking of HOAs, if you live in one it impacts more than the exterior décor of your home. Depending on the HOA rules you may not be able to have the moving truck parked along the street for more than a few hours. Moving pods may be out of the question even if they’re kept in the driveway. RVs and boats may also need to be kept out of sight.

Every HOA should have documentation that lays out the current guidelines and rules. When in doubt, ask the management team for additional information so you don’t get hit with a violation on moving day.

Gather Together Moving Tools

The right moving tools make hauling boxes, furniture and more much easier. They also make the process much safer for everyone involved. A few essential pieces of moving equipment to borrow, buy or rent include:

  • Appliance Dollies
  •  Furniture Pads
  •  Moving Boxes
  •  Packing Paper
  •  Bubble Wrap

Chances are you’ll need way more moving boxes than you think, which can really add to the cost of a move. There are a number of places where you can find free moving boxes, but that requires planning ahead so you have time to gather them as they become available.

Get Your Utilities Set up

It’s pretty hard to move everything in and sleep comfortably the first night if you have no electricity or running water. Arrange to have the utilities set up and running a few days before you move in. If you time it right you’ll be able to end service at your old home the day the new service starts and avoid paying for utilities that aren’t being used.

The main thing is to find out who provides utilities in your new area. They may be provided by the city, a contractor that operates through the city or independent providers.

Update Your Accounts and Mailing Address

One of the biggest inconveniences that come with a move is disrupting your normal routine – especially when you’ve taken the initiative to put as much as possible on autopilot. With a change of address comes a whole lot of account updating. Virtually every bill you receive on a monthly basis will need to be adjusted so a payment isn’t missed or held up.

Here’s a quick list of accounts to update:

  • Utilities
  •  Cable Service
  •  Internet Service
  •  Mobile Phone Service
  •  Credit Cards
  •  Banking Services
  •  Magazine Subscriptions
  •  Philanthropic Donations
  •  Health Insurance
  •  Car Insurance
  •  Home or Renters Insurance
  •  Investment Accounts
  •  Monitored Alarm Service

Even though you’ll be changing the information on your accounts, you’ll also need to update the post office. On USPS.com/move you can fill out an online form to change your mailing address. You can also fill out a paper form and submit it at your local post office. If you’re moving to a temporary address you can use the mail forwarding service for up to 12 months instead. One of these options should be completed at least 1-2 weeks before the move.



  1. We did a long distance move (Los Angeles to Washington DC) ten years ago and it was so hard! This is a great list that helps you remember everything so you don’t get overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing your great tips!

  2. Reesa Lewandowski says

    These are awesome tips! I have never made a really long move but my friends have and these would have helped them a lot.

  3. I did one long distance move across the country. The more organize the better that is for sure. Great tips that people should be aware of before they take a big move.

  4. There is so much involved with a long distance move. Hiring a moving company who can pack up your things would help relieve some of the stress involved.

  5. These are all great tips. We have done a couple of long distance moves with the military. Remembering to change your address with everyone is a chore. Thankfully, the post office has a forwarding option.

  6. These are great tips for long distance moves!! They can be really stressful to go through that’s for sure.

  7. I can never imagine doing a long distance move but hey, you never know. These are wonderful tips and you list a lot of things I would have never even thought of.

  8. These are some great tips! Thankfully, we haven’t had to make a long distance move, but we had to deal with several of these issues during our move across town about 4 years ago. Moving is no fun, but if you plan far enough ahead it can be bearable!

  9. Ugh! Moving long distance is such a stressful event! These were all great tips but I think updating the utilities ahead of time is a SUPER big help. Planning ahead definitely makes the move smoother.

  10. Oh these are definitely some good things to think about. We still haven’t had to make any huge moves with pets.

  11. Great tips! We just did a cross country move this summer. I still have to change my address with USPS. Whoops!

  12. Thank you for the list of important accounts to update. I am sure that I would forget one and that would not be good. Bookmarking this post for when I move in a couple months.

  13. Your HOA tip is very important. I moved into a townhouse 2 years ago. I broke 3 rules in the first 2 weeks. I had no idea about their strict rules regarding moving trucks etc.

  14. Fantastic tips! I moved last year and made sure that I set up all my utility accounts before we moved. I wanted to make sure cable, hydro etc was ready to go one day one.

  15. Moving cross country is such a pain. We have done it 4 times now.

  16. These are all great tips. Moving can be so overwhelming. Sometimes when I moved I waited last minute to do certain things…big mistake!

  17. I cant imagine the stress of having to make a move across the country- but if I had to- this post would be invaluable- such a great checklist and a way to stay on track and organized- thanks for sharing!

  18. Thanks for this useful list.
    I think you make some very helpful points here.

  19. love the tips! We haven’t moved far away before but we’re planning to in a couple years and we’re definitely going to be using your tips! Thanks!

  20. Thanks for the tips! Moving long distance is always overwhelming!

  21. Jessica Chambers says

    We are planning to have a big move in January with kids, thank you for sharing this helpful guide, else moving would be so overwhelming.

  22. Tex Hooper says

    I like your moving tips. I need to move a piano. I’ll have to hire a moving crew.

Speak Your Mind