While a local move is exhausting, long-distance moving is another animal altogether. If you have a long-distance move coming up in your future, we’ve compiled a guide to help make the process a bit smoother.

Choosing Your Mover

With long-distance moving, it’s crucial that you select a great mover, but this can be tough, so here’s a quick list of tips that will help.

1. Check The Insurance – You should never select a mover that isn’t insured or won’t provide you with their insurance information. However, with long-distance moving, you also need to make sure the company is insured for interstate moves and insured in the starting point and ending point of the move. Also, be sure to select a company with an interstate moving license.

2. Get Multiple Quotes – It’s a good rule of thumb to ask for estimates from at least three moving companies. Ask for recommendations from your friends, co-workers or family members, or perhaps from a trusted real estate agent.

3. Meet With Representatives In Person – There’s just no way to truly judge the cost of a long-distance move until a moving company rep actually visits your home and takes a look at the scope of the move. If a company just wants to quote you over the phone, this is a bad sign. You could end up paying more than your estimate simply because the moving company didn’t fully understand every aspect of the move.

You also need to discuss the move-in location with your rep, including discussion of the layout of the new home, such as the exact number of stairs or perhaps any parking issues or allowable moving hours, etc. The more information you can share, the more accurate your estimate will be. 

4. Get Everything In Writing – You should receive a detailed estimate for the cost of the move. Read this contract carefully, and ensure that includes everything that you need moved and all of the services that you are paying for.

5. Don’t Pay Upfront – While a long-distance moving company might ask you for a small deposit; don’t pay 100% of the costs upfront or even a huge deposit. You shouldn’t pay until everything is off the truck at the new place. Also, don’t pay with cash, use a credit card and keep your contract with you at all times. If the mover at the new location tries to add on more fees, you can refer to the contract.

Reducing Moving Costs

Long-distance moving is expensive, and it’s definitely going to cost thousands of dollars to complete this move, even if you are just moving out of a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment.

Long-distance moving companies must pay for labor as well as transportation costs. The fuel alone needed for a long-distance move is a huge expense, which is one reason why these types of moves are so pricey. But there are a few ways to reduce your costs, including:

1. Book Early – Start looking for moving companies as soon as you know you are going to move, even if you aren’t 100% sure about the destination address. You will know the general vicinity and that’s enough to start getting quotes. It’s always cheaper to book early and you also will have more control over moving dates and times.

2. Book Off-Season – Summer is the peak season for moving, and that’s typically because families don’t really want to move during the school year. However, if you are able to move after Labor Day or before Memorial Day weekend, you probably will qualify for some reduced rates. Keep in mind that wintertime moves could be subject to delays due to inclement weather, but those trucks are pretty tough.

3. Consider Flexible Move-Out & Move-In Dates – It’s always cheaper to move midweek than on the weekend. After all, everyone wants to move on the weekend, it’s just more convenient and you don’t have to miss work. However, if you can move on a Tuesday instead of a Friday or Saturday, you probably will save some cash, perhaps even several hundred dollars. Also, if you can move in to your new place midweek, this can reduce your costs further.

4. Reduce The Load – With long-distance moves, part of the cost is determined by weight. If you can avoid moving heavy items, by all means, do so. For instance, if your new place has a washer and dryer, sell your current models. Not only will you earn some extra cash, these heavy items won’t have to be moved, which can lower your moving costs.

5. Grab The Freebies – Packing materials are not cheap, but people often give them away for free after a move. When you see someone on social media offering free boxes or packing supplies, grab them up ASAP. You also can get free boxes from local stores, that don’t want to have to bother breaking them down and throwing them away. Boxes are expensive, but there are many places where you can get free ones, so start collecting them early and ask your friends and neighbors to save their newspapers to use for packing materials.

Reduce The Stress

1. Get Packing – As soon as you know you are moving, start packing. You can start by packing all your non-essentials, such as books, DVDs, knickknacks, off-season clothing and other items that you don’t need on a day-to-day basis and gradually work up to the more essential items. Make it a habit to pack a little bit each day so that you aren’t scrambling around at the last minute.

2. Keep Boxes Organized – Every box should be labeled. It should briefly list the contents and list where the box should be placed in the new home, i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, etc.

3. Be Colorful – We also highly recommend that you color code your boxes. You can use markers and colored packing tape. For kitchen items, you might use blue ink and blue packing tape, while the master bedroom items might be packed in boxes marked with red ink and red tape.

When you get to the new home, you can tape a sign up on each door that displays the color of the boxes that are meant for that room. Even if the movers accidentally place a red box in the room designated for blue-marked boxes, you will be able to easily identify this box just by looking around the room.

4. Number Your Boxes – With long-distance moving, it’s quite possible that a box or two might go missing. This is because sometimes your items are taken off of the first truck, stored for a time and then placed onto another truck. If you number each of your boxes, you will be able to tell precisely which box is missing and what’s inside of the box.

If you really want to get organized, we highly recommend that you create a spreadsheet listing each box and its specific contents. Yes, this does take a bit of extra time, but this extra level of organization can be helpful when unpacking or when searching for something important.

5. Opt For Packing Services – Of course, you also might want to hire your long-distance moving company to pack your belongings for you, and this definitely can reduce stress but it also can be expensive. However, if cost isn’t really an issue, you could leave all or some of the packing to the pros.

6. Pack Your Own Valuables – While a broken plate or a missing blanket might not spell disaster, if your grandmother’s priceless pearl necklace or your 14th century crematory urn is broken or missing, you are going to be upset. It’s a good idea for you to transport all of your own jewelry or any really precious or valuable items yourself.

Obviously, if you will be flying to your final destination, you might have to make some tough choices about these items, but jewelry definitely should be packed in your purse or in carry-on luggage only.

If you are driving, these valuable items are easier to tote, and if you need a bit more room, you can rent a small travel trailer or perhaps an overhead storage bin for your car so that you can carry certain valuables yourself.

7. Purge Your Belongings – Earlier, we talked about how purging big and heavy items can reduce your costs, but purging your belongings also can reduce your stress. Anything you don’t pack won’t have to be unpacked, so start giving away items to charity stores or hold a garage sale. This is the perfect time to reduce your clutter. Just grab some boxes and bins and label them “Give Away,” and start tossing stuff in.

8. Make A Huge To-Do List – With so much to do, it’s easy to forget a few items. Create a list that includes all of the utilities that need to be shut off or turned on, as well as all of the addresses you need to change. You also might need to order medical records, school records or change prescriptions to another pharmacy.

You can organize this list by category or by due date, and make sure you keep your list with all of your other moving-related documents. Grab a file folder or expanding file and keep this in your kitchen so that you can access it at any time.

While long-distance moving can be difficult and stressful, the team at Move 4 Less will do all we can to make it as easy as possible. We are licensed for local and long-distance moves, so whether you need to move to Reno, Los Angeles or clear across the country, we can help.