Whether you're moving across the street or across the country, moving is a time-consuming event that requires patience, organization and planning. Once you've found your dream home, finalized the paperwork and packed all of your boxes, it's time to start planning your cross-country trek.
The first thing you'll want to consider is how you'll get from place to place. Will you be hiring an interstate moving company or driving a moving truck across the country yourself?
While there are plenty of moving companies that you can pay to drive your belongings across the country, let's assume you will be driving a moving truck yourself. We'll walk you through everything you need to consider and all the things you need to know when driving a moving truck across the country.
Driving a car in rush-hour traffic can be stressful, let alone a 12-foot or 16-foot moving van. But before you psych yourself out, take a deep breath! Driving a moving truck is more similar to driving a car than you may initially think.
First, anyone 18 years or older can rent and drive a moving truck. Second, you won't need a commercial driver's license (CDL) to drive on the roads, in most cases. As long as your normal driver's license is valid, you're good to go. And third, if you know and follow the rules of the road, you'll be eligible and ready to drive a moving truck across the country.
Now that you've determined you're eligible to drive a moving truck across the country, you'll need to decide which company to rent from and how big of a truck you'll need. U-Haul may be the first company that pops into your head since their white and orange trucks are always on the road, but they aren't the only interstate moving company out there.
It's smart to consider and compare your options before renting a moving truck. You'll want to think about things like:
Once you've chosen the company you want to rent from, you'll need to decide what size of moving truck to rent. Choosing the right size of the moving truck is important, not only for your budget but for your safety.
If the truck is too small for everything you'll need to load, it'll weigh too much and likely be packed improperly. If the truck is too large, your belongings will shift around while on the road, which can ruin your things and be distracting if you hear something fall while driving.
The truck you rent will depend on how much furniture and how many boxes you're taking with you. Here's an estimate to help you make your decision:
|Size of Van||Number of Rooms||Floor Space||Load Capacity|
|Cargo Van||~1 room||53 sq. ft.||3,500 lbs.|
|12-foot Van||~1-2 rooms||78 sq. ft.||3,100 lbs.|
|16-foot Van||~2-3 rooms||120 sq. ft.||4,300 lbs.|
|22-foot + Van||~4+ rooms||164 sq. ft.||10,000 lbs.|
While this is a rough guide that'll help guide your decision, it's smart to consult with the experts at the moving company to rent the exact moving truck that's right for you.
You've chosen the moving company and picked the perfect size truck to rent. Now, it's time to start packing your belongings into the truck. Organizing the moving truck is key to a safe move.
Here are a few tips and tricks for packing the moving truck:
Are we there yet? Not quite. Before you hop on the road and play your road trip playlist, there are a few more things to do and things to pack.
While Google Maps helps travelers get from point A to point B, there are times when you'll be out of service on your cross country route and GPS will be unavailable. During those times, it's smart to have a hard copy map on hand.
Before you hit the road, determine your route. Which interstate roads will you take to get to your final destination? By choosing your routes, you'll save time and know exactly how to get there.
While it's not possible to gauge exactly how long it'll take due to traffic, construction or unexpected events, you can roughly estimate how long it'll take to get there.
Driving from coast to coast is roughly 3,000 miles, so give yourself plenty of time and don't rush the trip.
Choosing resting stops and gas breaks before you start your trip is important. It will give you mile marks to aim for, schedule bathroom breaks and rest stops. Driving across the country is exhausting, so you need to plan resting time, as well as driving time.
Picking those rest stops ahead of time ensures you stay on schedule while taking adequate time to rest and recoup.
You'll inevitably need to stop and spend the night somewhere on your cross country move, and you won't want to open up the moving truck to get your overnight bag.
Prepare a small suitcase with your toiletries, a change of clothes and any medication you may need. It'll be nice to have that bag accessible throughout your entire move.
Whether you're in a car or a moving truck, it's smart to have a first-aid kit available. Grab one from the pharmacy and keep it close by. You never know what emergency items you'll need.
You'll be going through multiple regions, time zones and weather patterns. So, you'll need to prepare the truck for any kind of weather you may encounter. Make sure the windshield wipers are intact and the tires are sturdy.
You'll also want to bring an ice scraper, chains, blanket, coat and boots for the truck in case you hit a rain or snow storm.
Driving a moving truck across the country is hard work. By preparing these things before you start your journey, you'll save time, feel less stressed and stay safe on the road.
The rules of the road for cars apply to moving trucks, too. However, moving trucks are much larger and heavier and require additional attention to stay safe on the road.
When driving a moving truck across the country, keep these essential safety tips in mind:
Now that you know all of the basics for driving across the country in a moving truck, you're ready to pack your things and hit the road. Shortly, you'll be settled into your new home and adjusting to your new life.