Moving cross-country with the entire family can be an adventure and bonding opportunity. If you have kids, it does not have to be a nightmare—as long as you prepare properly. You can even plan interesting stops if you have time to visit national landmarks and roadside attractions. You can also get your kids involved in taking photos, filming, and planning a mini-documentary of your travel journey. In this post, you'll be guided accordingly on how to prepare your family for a cross-country move.

Preparation Tips: 8 Weeks Before

1. If you’re moving with kids, it's a good idea to spend some time exploring the neighborhood by reading online sources like Street Advisor or Area Vibes. These will help you research nearby schools, attractions, and shopping in the new area—you’ll feel like you already know the place before even arriving! 


2. Decide if you prefer a DIY move or a cross country moving company, like North American Van Lines. Obtain a few quotes from different companies so you can make a price comparison. You can take advantage of lower prices by booking your movers early.


If you decide to move on your own, it is best to prepare early and buy supplies like dollies, floor mats, newspapers, packing tape, and bubble wrap. Make sure to take your vehicle for an overall mechanical checkup, most especially the tires, to ensure that all parts are in good condition.


3. Create a budget list for your moving expenses and related expenses such as food, gas, movers' cash tips, and lodging. Plan for unexpected costs or emergency expenses as it’s best to have a safety cushion in case you run into any issues during the move.


4. Check your work schedule and don't forget to request time off before and the date of the move. You may want to squeeze in as much time as possible at work—but realize that the move will be a big transition for all family members so it might be best to have some downtime to prepare.


5. Set dentist or doctor appointments at the last minute for everyone, and a veterinary appointment for your pets. Do some research, read reviews, and choose your new family doctor before transferring your records.


6. Don't forget to give prior notice if you're renting a house or an apartment. It’s best to give your landlord as much of a heads up as possible so that you can take care of the bond and any necessary maintenance before the move. 


Preparation Tips: 6 Weeks Before

1. Collect free boxes from department stores, grocery stores, and family and friends. If you’re using a moving company, they’ll most likely provide the boxes for you.


2. Keep track of your belongings by creating a list and taking photos of everything. If there’s a good time to get rid of things, that time is now. Sort through old items and determine what will make the move with you.


3. The most costly items to move cross country are heavy items like dining tables, couches, dryers, washers, and bulky furniture pieces. You may consider donating or selling these if they are worn out. Purge your unnecessary things by holding a garage sale. Once you have eliminated old items, you can pack all the details you don't use on every basis, like room décor, pictures, and art pieces.


4. Give plenty of notice to your friends who will be helping you, schedule babysitters if you need help taking care of the kids while you're packing or meeting with movers.


5. Update your address by making a list of subscriptions and services so you can notify the respective parties. Notify your utility companies of the date you'll be leaving your home. Check with the new utility companies at your new residence to ensure that everything will be flowing smoothly and up and running when you arrive.


6. Hold a farewell party or dinner with your closest family and friends in the neighborhood before you move. If you have children, encourage them to become penpals with their friends. Make sure they have the addresses and contact information of everyone they’ll want to stay in touch with.


Preparation Tips: 4 Weeks Before

1. Cancel or transfer any memberships and pay all outstanding balances and fines. Return any library books or borrowed items.


2. Find a new polling place and update your voter's registration.


3. Take care of car-related tasks. If you move out of state, you have 30 days to get a new registration and transfer your car plates. Don't forget to change your car insurance address or find a new insurance company in your new home.


4. For a cross-country drive, mapping out your route and booking hotels is essential at this stage. Plan what items will be in the car with you and your family.


5. Check and follow the cleaning specifications in your lease to get your security deposit back.


Preparation Tips: 1 to 2 Weeks Before

1. Create a checklist and update your bank information and other relevant financial and personal information with your new address. Look into new cell phone providers or ensure that you can stay with your current provider in your new city.


2. Cancel your existing services and set up recycling or trash services at your new home.


3. If you decide to contact and hire a professional mover, be sure to get a confirmation of the final details.


4. Clean your refrigerator and defrost your freezer. Clean appliances and fixtures like the sink, oven, microwave, and toilet. Provide floor protection for furniture items.



Moving cross country can be stressful and overwhelming. However, proper preparation will bring you peace of mind and less hassle. Savor the last few days in your old home. Avoid last minute preparation because it will just aggravate and stress out you and the whole family. Make the last few days more meaningful and unforgettable. Happy moving!

Published by Elena Tahora