Making a long-distance move can be one of the more stressful things a person or family can undergo. Amidst the excitement and fervor of a new beginning comes the arduous process of getting everything and everyone to your new home. I speak from a wealth of experience when I tell you that the months preceding this move are going to be some of the most taxing days you will endure. By now you are no stranger to the two main types of responses you have been getting when discussing your endeavor with others. (Budding wander-lusters and adventurous hearts take note. You, too, will be hearing these things should you decide to proceed.)
"You're crazy! Good luck with that!"
Not very helpful, is it? Never mind that you are surely at your own wits end with packing, housing arrangements, truck rentals, budgeting, and all the other details that are screaming for your attention. The best response I ever found to this was an authentically tired laugh and resounding agreement. After all, it's no lie that towards the tail end of the last few weeks I would often arrive home from work to moving boxes crowding my living room, two cats insistent upon chewing said cardboard, and a sad little dinner of whatever I was trying to clear out of the freezer as to not waste food. "We're all mad here!" Lewis Carroll's pink and purple cat would echo in my head. Sure, maybe you are a little bit crazy, but should that ever stop you?
"Oh, wow! Well, just make sure you're prepared!"
While this tidbit of advice was arguably more.... advice-like, I couldn't help but feel that it was rather empty. Make sure I'm prepared? Well yes, naturally, but prepared forwhat? The most anyone could elaborate on was that it was going to be stressful. It was at that moment I realized that everyone I knew had bypassed Captain and gone straight on to ranking Admiral Obvious.
In a gallant effort to trail blaze for the downtrodden, allow me to share with you my experiences, what I wish I'd done differently, and the tricks that saved my hide and the hides of my pets over the course of our residential transplanting. (I expect a bronze statue erected of me in which I am standing triumphantly atop a Penske Rental truck after this; just putting that out there.)
Plan Your Route
I see that you are not amused. I am well aware that this sounds exceptionally rudimentary, but dig a little deeper with me here.
Plan the route and how you intend to traverse it. This initially becomes important when you begin collecting quotes on moving trucks. Many of these will quote by a given mileage based upon the starting and ending zip codes you apply. You want to make sure that the actual route you have plotted does not exceed this mileage; otherwise you should be prepared to pay an extra fee. My personal move was the better side of 3,000 miles, so it was a better deal for me to go with a company that rented for a specific number of days rather than miles driven. This also allowed me to utilize the truck for additional logistics leading up to the move without fear of adding too much to the odometer. Be sure to quote multiple companies and the respective insurance options they offer. If you are driving with others, consider adding them as insured drivers for added protection and the ability to drive in shifts if need be.
Truck rentals or freight companies will be the first and broadest route-related details you will need to suss out, but they are far from the last. Even if you are making the move with only the items that will fit in your personal vehicle, you still need to factor up your fuel costs.
While there are a few websites that can estimate the average costs of fuel by taking note of where you will be traveling through, how far you are traveling, and the gas mileage of your vehicle's make and model, there are ways to maximize your fuel efficiency by plotting along the course of least resistance.
While I am keenly aware that the revered Robert Frost himself tells us it is both majestic and poetic to take the road less traveled by, I assure you he was not driving for three days with two cats in the back of a Honda Accord. Trust me on this one.
Try to choose the straightest and (perhaps even more important) flattest route that is within reasonable time. It is also beneficial to choose routes with long stretches on a single highway or interstate. The fewer hills you are going up and down and fewer times you are required to accelerate (i.e. merging onto different roads, traffic lights, intersections,) the better mileage you will get for your vehicle. It is also rather wise to watch your RPM's during this drive. Keeping this gauge under 2,500 will also add up to saving you money by requiring less pit-stops along the way. Figure out how many days the drive is estimated to take and add one. You'll thank me later.
Check back net week when we talk about what happens when reality sets in.
To be continued…