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A Guide to Long Distance Relocation

May 3, 2024

Conquering Your Cross-Country Move with Confidence

In the realm of long distance moving, Colonial Van Lines is best known for its reliability and best practices. With over 20 years of moving experience, we've been the trusted partner for countless individuals and families embarking on cross-country journeys. Our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction has solidified our reputation as one of the nation's premier moving companies, offering comprehensive services tailored to meet the unique needs of each client. As pioneers in the moving industry, we understand the complexities and challenges that come with relocating across state lines, and we're dedicated to helping our customers through every step of the process with professionalism and care.

In our guide, we delve into the best practices for planning a long distance relocation. Whether you're moving for a new job opportunity, seeking a change of scenery, or starting a new chapter in life, embarking on a long distance move can be both exhilarating and daunting. With our expertise and insights, we aim to empower you to tackle your cross-country move with confidence, providing valuable tips, strategies, and resources to ensure a smooth and successful transition. From planning and preparation to packing and transportation, we're here to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to conquer your long distance move with ease.

Augusta, Georgia, USA Aerial

6 Months Out

Planning & Prep for a Long Distance Move 

Preparing for a cross country move requires careful planning and attention to detail. In this section, we'll explore the essential steps to take six months out from your move date to ensure a smooth and successful transition to your new home. From setting a realistic budget and timeline to researching your destination city and decluttering your belongings, each aspect of the planning process is crucial in laying the groundwork for a stress free relocation. Let's dive into the key strategies for planning and preparation that will set you on the path to conquering your cross country move with confidence.

Set a Budget & Timeline

As you embark on your long distance move, establishing a clear budget and timeline is paramount to a smooth transition. Start by assessing your financial situation and determining how much you can comfortably allocate to your relocation expenses. Consider factors such as moving costs, transportation, temporary housing, and any unforeseen expenses that may arise along the way. Additionally, create a realistic timeline that outlines key milestones and deadlines leading up to your move date. This will help you stay organized and on track throughout the planning process, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. 

Research Your Destination City

Before making the leap to your new city, take the time to thoroughly research your destination. Explore factors such as the cost of living, housing market trends, job opportunities, and potential neighborhoods that align with your lifestyle and preferences. We here at Colonial Van Lines have built a few City and State moving guides that can provide real estate links and cost of living information. By arming yourself with knowledge about your new city, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions and seamlessly integrate into your new environment upon arrival. NerdWallet has an excellent cost of living calculator

Declutter & Downsize Ruthlessly

Moving long distance presents the perfect opportunity to declutter and streamline your belongings. Take a ruthless approach to downsizing, carefully evaluating each item and determining whether it's worth packing up and carrying with you. Consider organizing donation drives, hosting garage sales, or selling unwanted items online to lighten your load and save on moving costs. By decluttering early in the planning process, you'll not only simplify your move but also start fresh in your new home with a clutter-free space.

Gather Important Documents

In the whirlwind of planning a long distance move, it's easy to overlook the importance of gathering essential documents. Create a comprehensive checklist of documents you'll need for your move, including passports, driver's licenses, medical records, insurance paperwork, and any other relevant documents. Keep these items organized in a secure folder or digital file to ensure easy access when needed during the moving process. By proactively gathering important documents ahead of time, you'll avoid last-minute scrambling and ensure a seamless transition to your new home.

Young couple moving in new house

3 Months Out

Cross-Country Moving Logistics 

As you inch closer to your cross-country move, it's time to dive into the scheduling details that will ensure a smooth transition to your new home. In this section, we'll explore the critical steps to take three months out from your move date, from selecting the right long distance moving company to scheduling essential services and tying up loose ends. With careful planning and attention to detail, you'll be well-prepared to conquer the challenges of your move and embark on your new adventure with confidence. So, let's roll up our sleeves and dive into the logistics of your long distance relocation journey.

Compare & Choose a Long Distance Mover

Selecting the right long distance moving company is a pivotal step in ensuring a seamless relocation experience. As you evaluate your options, consider factors such as experience, licensing, insurance coverage, and reputation within the industry. Colonial Van Lines stands apart as a trusted leader in long distance moving, with a proven track record of excellence spanning decades. Our team of professional movers is fully licensed and insured, and we boast a reputation for reliability, efficiency, and superior customer service. With Colonial Van Lines by your side, you can rest assured that your belongings will be in capable hands every step of the way.

Schedule Moving Services

With your long distance moving company chosen, it's time to lock in your moving dates and schedule essential services. Be sure to book packing, loading, and transportation services well in advance, especially if you're moving during peak moving seasons when availability may be limited. Colonial Van Lines offers comprehensive moving services tailored to meet your needs, from expert packing and handling to secure transportation of your belongings to your new home. By scheduling your moving services early, you'll avoid last-minute stress and ensure a smooth and efficient relocation process.

Vehicle Transport

If you want to transport a vehicle cross country, now is the time to explore your options and make arrangements accordingly. Alternatively, if you're considering selling your vehicle before the move, research local market trends and explore selling options to maximize your return on investment.

Transfer Utilities & Update Accounts

As your moving date gets closer, it's crucial to tie up loose ends and ensure a seamless transition to your new home. Create a checklist for transferring utilities, notifying cable providers, internet companies, and other service providers of your move, and updating your accounts with your new address. Colonial Van Lines can provide valuable resources and guidance to help streamline this process, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home with ease.

morning sunrise ove blue ridge parkway mountains

2 Months Out

Packing Strategies & Essentials 

As you prepare for your cross country move, making sure that your belongings are packed safely and efficiently is crucial to a successful relocation. In this section, we'll dive into the ins and outs of packing for a long distance move, offering expert tips and strategies to help you conquer this important aspect of your journey. From investing in quality packing materials to labeling boxes with precision and packing room by room, we'll guide you through the process step by step. So, grab your packing tape and let's get started on ensuring that your cross-country move is a smooth and stress-free experience from start to finish.

Invest in Quality Packing Materials

When it comes to long distance moving, investing in high-quality packing materials is essential to safeguarding your belongings throughout the journey. We recommend opting for sturdy boxes in various sizes to accommodate items of all shapes and sizes. Ensure you have plenty of packing tape to secure your boxes, as well as bubble wrap and packing peanuts to provide cushioning and protection against bumps and jostles during transit. At Colonial Van Lines, we understand the importance of using top-notch packing materials, which is why we offer a wide range of packing supplies to meet your needs and ensure the safety of your belongings every step of the way. For more information about how to plan for boxes, read our page here. Also, Colonial understands that sustainable moving options are important, please know that we can support you. Read more here


Clear and detailed labeling is the key to a smooth and organized moving process. As you pack your belongings, be sure to label each box with its contents and the destination room in your new home. This will not only make it easier to unpack and locate items upon arrival but also help our movers efficiently place boxes in the appropriate rooms. From our experience, we emphasize the importance of labeling and provide guidance on best practices to ensure that your belongings are handled with care and precision throughout the moving process. Here are some of our best advice on labeling: 

  1. Clearly label each box with its contents, specifying the items inside. For example, instead of simply writing "Kitchen," specify "Pots and Pans" or "Utensils."

  2. Label by Room: In addition to listing the contents, indicate the room where the box should be placed in your new home. Feel free to use abbreviations such as "LR" for living room, "BR" for bedroom, and "KT" for kitchen.

  3. Prioritize essentials: Designate a separate box or boxes for essential items that you'll need immediately upon arrival, such as toiletries, medications, and a change of clothes. Clearly label these boxes as "Essentials" or "Open First."

  4. Handle with care: Clearly mark boxes containing fragile items with "Fragile" or "Handle with Care" stickers. This alerts movers to exercise caution when handling these boxes and helps prevent damage to delicate items.

Packing Room by Room

To streamline the packing process and maintain organization, we recommend tackling one room at a time. Begin with less frequently used areas, such as storage rooms or guest bedrooms, and work your way through each room systematically. As you pack, create an inventory list of items in each box to keep track of your belongings and facilitate unpacking at your new home. This methodical approach will help minimize stress and ensure that nothing gets overlooked during the packing process.You can grab Colonial Van Lines’ own packing guide, here. (Downloadable is at bottom of the page)

Essentials Box

As you pack for your long distance move, don't forget to set aside a separate box with essentials needed for the first few days in your new home. Include items such as clothes, toiletries, medications, important documents, and any other necessities you'll need immediate access to upon arrival. Label this box clearly as "Essentials" and keep it with you during the move to ensure easy access. At Colonial Van Lines, we understand the importance of having essential items on hand during the transition period, which is why we provide guidance on packing essentials and offer solutions to streamline your moving experience. Grab your FREE downloadable guide, here

Moving Day 

As moving day approaches and you prepare to embark on your cross country journey, it's essential to be armed with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate the final stages of your relocation with confidence. In this section, we'll explore the critical steps to take on moving day and beyond, ensuring that your transition to your new home is as smooth and seamless as possible. So, let's dive in and ensure that moving day and beyond are met with confidence and clarity.

Double-Check Your Move Plan

As moving day arrives, it's crucial to ensure that everything is in order before the movers arrive. Take the time to double-check that all furniture is properly disassembled and prepared for transport, and conduct a thorough sweep of your home to ensure that nothing is left behind. This final check will help prevent any last-minute surprises and ensure a smooth transition as you embark on your cross-country journey.

Moving Paperwork

Before the moving trucks roll in, it's essential to have all necessary paperwork and documentation readily available for the movers. This includes the moving contract, which outlines the terms and conditions of your move, as well as the bill of lading, which serves as a receipt for your belongings and a contract for their transportation. Having these documents on hand will help streamline the moving process and provide peace of mind knowing that everything is properly accounted for.

Settling into Your New Home

Once you've arrived at your new home, it's time to focus on settling in and making it feel like your own. Start by unpacking efficiently, tackling one room at a time and prioritizing essential items that you'll need right away. As you unpack, take the opportunity to organize your belongings and create a sense of order in your new space. Additionally, take the time to explore your new surroundings, get to know your neighbors, and familiarize yourself with local amenities and attractions. By taking proactive steps to acclimate to your new environment, you'll feel more at home in no time. Here are some of our best advice tips when unpacking. 

  1. Prioritize essential items: Begin by unpacking the boxes labeled as "Essentials" or "Open First." These boxes contain items you'll need immediately upon arrival, such as toiletries, medications, and a change of clothes. By unpacking these essentials first, you'll ensure that you have everything you need to settle in comfortably.

  2. Unpack room by room: Rather than tackling all the boxes at once, focus on unpacking one room at a time. Start with the most important rooms, such as the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, and work your way through each space methodically. This approach helps maintain organization and prevents overwhelm.

  3. Follow the labeled boxes: Use the labels on each box to guide your unpacking process. Place boxes in their designated rooms and unpack them accordingly. This not only streamlines the process but also ensures that items end up where they belong in your new home.

  4. Dispose of packing materials: As you unpack, set aside packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts for recycling or disposal. Clearing away these materials as you go will help keep your new home clutter-free and make it easier to navigate the unpacking process.

  5. Break down boxes as you go: Once you've unpacked a box, break it down and flatten it to save space and make it easier to dispose of or recycle. This keeps your new home tidy and minimizes clutter as you progress through the unpacking process.

  6. Take breaks: Unpacking can be physically and mentally exhausting, especially after a long-distance move. Take regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and recharge, and don't hesitate to ask for help from friends or family members if needed.

Change of Address & Update Records

As you settle into your new home, don't forget to update your address with the post office, banks, credit card companies, and other relevant institutions. This will ensure that important mail and correspondence are forwarded to your new address and that your records are up to date. Additionally, consider notifying friends, family members, and other contacts of your change of address to avoid any communication disruptions. By staying organized and proactive, you'll ensure a smooth transition as you settle into your new home and embrace the next chapter of your life.

Macon, Georgia, USA downtown skyline.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, embarking on a long distance move is both an exciting adventure and a significant undertaking. By following the comprehensive guide outlined in this article, you've equipped yourself with the knowledge and strategies needed to conquer your cross-country relocation with confidence. From meticulous planning and preparation to seamless execution on moving day and beyond, every step of the journey has been carefully considered to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

At Colonial Van Lines, we understand the complexities and challenges of long distance moving, and we're here to support you every step of the way. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, we strive to make your relocation experience as stress-free and seamless as possible. Whether you're moving across state lines or across the country, you can trust our team of professional movers to handle your belongings with care and precision, ensuring a smooth and successful transition to your new home.

As you embark on this new chapter of your life, we invite you to reach out to Colonial Van Lines for a free moving quote and personalized assistance with your relocation needs. Our dedicated team is here to answer any questions you may have and provide expert guidance to ensure that your long distance move is a success. Contact us today and let us help you make your cross country move with confidence.