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8 Essential Tips for Moving Out of State for the First Time

8 Essential Tips for Moving Out of State for the First Time
March 7, 2023

Congratulations on making the decision to move out of state for the first time — it’s a big step! It doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge, though. Luckily, what you may lack right now in long-distance or out-of-state moving experience or knowledge, you can easily research if you know where to look at what to do. It’s with that in mind that we offer up this blog post.

In this post, we hope to provide you with all the essential moving tips we wish our customers knew when they moved out of state for the first time! From forwarding your mail to tallying up moving costs to figuring out who to get your moving truck rental from, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to read our top 8 tips for moving out of state for the first time? Let’s dive right in…

1. Take a Step Back & Ask Yourself “Why Am I Moving?”

This may not be applicable to everyone, but it can really help those currently going through their moving decision-making process. Assess why you want to move.

  •  Is it because you’ve reached a certain age and feel you should be further on in life?
  •  Is it because you’ve spent your whole life in one area, are feeling stuck, and want to experience someplace new?
  •  Is it because you’re looking for a bigger city with more opportunities or a better social scene?
  •  Do you want to be somewhere that’s a better cultural fit or in a city that’s more welcoming? 

Maybe you’re moving for a relationship. Maybe you’re moving for a job. Maybe you’re moving just to move.

There are no right or wrong answers here, but recognizing and calling out why you’re moving is a preliminary step that can help you decide not only if now is the right time to move, but also help you to narrow down your options for where you want to live, what kind of lifestyle you want,  and more. 

2. Do Your Research

While this step encompasses some of the later steps we’ll mention, we want to highlight the importance of research during the moving process. After all, not everyone is analytical, and everyone makes decisions differently. 

We might not have to tell you this — maybe you already have an Excel spreadsheet going with pros and cons and action items — but on the other hand, maybe you just have a vague idea of wanting to move. If that’s the case, be sure you’re researching everything thoroughly! 

Moving can be a huge commitment, both emotionally and financially…add on top of that potential distance from family and friends, so you’ll want to be sure you’re not leaving anything to chance. (But don’t worry, you’ve got this – and we’re here to help!) That said, let’s dig a little deeper into some specific things you should do…

3. Calculate Your Cost to Move 

Moving can be expensive in general. Moving to a new state costs even more.

According to RocketMortage, it currently costs around $2,000-$8,000 on average to move across the country. If you’re moving from coast-to-coast, it could cost up to around $15,000 to move! Make sure you honestly assess your financial resources and options – talking to a financial advisor could help. That said, the moving company you choose has a huge impact on your final moving costs.

It’s always a good idea to get a quote from a variety of movers to compute costs. But don’t stop there…check out moving company reviews in order to assess what you’re getting for your money. The cheapest service likely isn’t the best, but the most expensive may be an inefficient use of your hard-earned money.

4. Line Up a Job or Develop a Job Search Plan

Since moving is so expensive, in a perfect world, you’d accept a job offer before moving. (By all means, we highly recommend waiting to move until after you’ve found a job if you can). If, however, you’re lucky enough to have a remote job, this will obviously not apply! 

If for some reason life circumstances necessitate moving but you don’t have a job lined up, we recommend putting together a strategic job search plan. Doing so will ensure that financially, you’ll be in good standing long after move-in day.

5. Lean on an Apartment Locator or Realtor

Unless you’re moving in with out-of-state family or friends,  or couch surfing, chances are you will need to find a place to call home in your new home state. This will require either finding an apartment that’s within your budget and in a good location (close to work, in a good neighborhood, etc), or, if you’re lucky enough, locating a house that’s in your budget.

It’s likely that if you’re moving to a new state, you’re mostly unfamiliar with the area. There’s a lot to consider, such as average rent if you’re looking to lease, the current state of the housing market, and interest rates if you’re buying. 

Then there’s the specific flavor of different areas in your would-be city. Do you want to live in the arts district or in suburbia near the grocery store and shopping mall? A good apartment locator or real estate agent can help address all these questions in a way that works for you.

Consider Getting a Roommate

The above section assumes you’re looking to make your next move solo. Another option is to find a roommate. There are many services available to help you find one, from official ones to unofficial groups on social networking sites like Facebook. 

We recommend doing some research to find a roommate ahead of time if you’re considering this option! It can save you thousands over the years, and could be a short-term lifestyle sacrifice that helps move you closer to a longer-term goal (i.e. saving for homeownership).

8 Essential Tips for Moving Out of State for the First Time

6. Figure Out What You’ll Move vs. What You’ll Buy

When it comes to moving, will all of your stuff come along with you? Don’t just assume the answer will (or should) be yes. That childhood bedroom set may be better off sold; that college hand-me-down futon? You might be better off donating it. 

On the other hand, there’s a lot that you will need to get that you likely won’t already have, from a good vacuum to pots and pans and bed linens – especially if this will be your first time living on your own.

7. Get All Your Paperwork in Order & Create a To-Do-List

As experts Meredith Hert and Samanta Allen note in their helpful article “How to Move Out of State: Checklist and Tips”, there’s a lot of paperwork that’s associated with moving. The first thing you’ll likely need to do is set up mail forwarding online or at your local USPS office.

You’ll also need to update your address on file with your employer, contact your credit card companies, set up your electricity account (if applicable), change your preferred delivery addresses on online retail accounts, and more. 

While some of this can be done after moving, you’ll want to get started before you move and give yourself a checklist of action items and can’t-forget-steps to be sure you don’t miss anything in the process of the move.

8. Pack & Visit

The final step in the moving process is to pack! 

While there’s no right or wrong way to pack your stuff, there are certainly some hacks and tips you can pick up from people you know who may have moved, like waiting to pack essential items last and keeping a suitcase of daily necessities separate, using your towels to pack breakables to save on packing materials, or keeping clothing on the hanger to save time. 

So ask around… or check out this RealSimple guide with several handy moving and packing tips

Finally, if you’re able to, visit the area you’re looking to move to so you can get a feel for it. You might even consider renting a short-term place there for a week or two to really feel out the vibes.

In Conclusion

There’s so much to consider when moving, let alone moving out of state. But armed with the right tips and resources, moving out of state doesn’t have to be daunting – in fact, dare we say it can be relatively easy! We hope this blog helps you prepare for your next big move, whatever and wherever it is.

Don’t forget that as one of America’s most-trusted long-distance moving companies, we here at Colonial Van Lines are ready to help on moving day by getting your stuff to where it needs to be, safely and securely. If you’d like to learn more, just request a callback or get a free moving quote.

About Colonial Van Lines
Colonial is a national moving company brand headquartered in Pompano Beach, FL. For over two decades, The company has focused on interstate, long-distance moving services primarily to residential, commercial, and corporate relocation markets. With additional locations in New York, Texas, California, and North Carolina, Colonial is one of the perennial top long-distance moving companies. You can reach Colonial at (800) 356-1855.