How to Prepare to Relocate Across the Country

So you landed your dream job. Congratulations! Only problem: It’s located in another state—or maybe even on the other side of the country.


Moving is never easy (or fun), but a big cross-country move can be especially tricky. Unlike moving across town, you can’t just throw things into boxes and garbage bags last minute and borrow your friend’s truck to haul your stuff in multiple loads over to the new place. You’ve got to think ahead and take care of the details to make sure everything goes smoothly on moving day. This quick guide on how to relocate across the country will show you how to plan for your big move.

1. Decide what to take with you

With a cross-country move, you have to carefully consider what items to bring to your new home. You don’t want to hire or rent a big moving truck, only to throw out half of what you lugged to a new state. The first step before embarking on a move is to go through all of your things and sell or donate what you don’t need, use, or plan to use soon.

2. DIY vs. professional movers

A DIY move is definitely an adventure—you pack everything up yourself, buy or rent all the supplies you need, rent a moving truck, and drive your stuff all the way to your new location.


For some people, the savings and new experience make the extra work and planning worth it. When else are you going to have an excuse to drive across the country? For others, the convenience of hiring professional movers to pack, move, and unload everything is a priority. Your new employer may offer some sort of moving assistance or benefit, so if you are leaning towards hiring professional movers, definitely look into that.

3. Track down supplies

If you’ve decided to go the DIY route for your move, start making a list and gathering supplies that you might need. These supplies might include:


  • Boxes, including heavy-weight, picture, and wardrobe boxes

  • Packing tape

  • Wrapping paper

  • Markers

  • Furniture covers

  • Moving truck and dolly rental

It would be a good idea to have an in-depth moving checklist that can help you stay organized while preparing for the move.

4. Set a date

As soon as you can, set an official moving date. Make sure you give yourself some time after your current job, internship, or classwork wraps up, and allow at least a week or two before you have to begin your new job—especially if you have to factor in a cross-country drive.


As the date gets closer, you might be tempted to push it back. With all the packing and preparations to do and goodbyes to say, you’ll get overwhelmed. But everything will go better if you pick one date and stick to it. Lock it in by scheduling your movers or a moving van rental. Get your truck or movers scheduled far in advance to ensure they will be available for your move.

5. Prepare to leave

In the weeks before your moving date, there are a few things you need to take care of for a smooth departure from your current home or apartment. Be sure to include these important tasks on your to-do list:


  • Notify all utilities—phone, gas, electric, water, garbage, cable, etc—that you will be moving, and give them a date for termination of services (generally your moving day)

  • Notify the post office of your change of address and set up mail forwarding

  • Change your address with any magazine or newspaper subscriptions

  • Notify banks, credit cards, and relevant lenders of your change of address

  • If you are going to drive over several days, determine your route and make hotel reservations.


Also pack a “first days” box, including everything for your first few days so you don’t have to rummage around your boxes trying to find what you need. Include toiletries, a few basic kitchen supplies, clothes, and chargers for your phone and laptop.

6. Hit the Road!

When moving day arrives, take a deep breath. You are about to embark on a new adventure. Sure there may be delays and mishaps along the way, but that’s part of the journey. Provide drinks and snacks to whoever is helping you move, whether friends and family or professional movers. When the time comes, say goodbye to your old life and hit the road!


Relocating for a new job can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve got a long way to go. However, after reviewing our guide for how to relocate across the country, you’re off to a great start when it comes to planning and preparing for moving day. What tips and tricks do you have for getting ready for a big cross-country move? Let us know in the comments, and share this article with a friend.