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How To Move to Another State

Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 03/11/2024

Moving to another state can be an exciting yet daunting experience. You’ll have a lot to consider as you plan your move, especially if you’re relocating a far distance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share essential tips on how to move to another state and provide advice to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible, whether you’re planning a DIY move or looking to hire professional movers.

How To Prepare for Your Move to Another State

Relocating to a new state requires careful preparation. You need to create a moving budget, hire movers, pack, and more. The information below will help you navigate the planning phase with ease.

Research the New State

Here’s what to keep in mind as you research your new state:

Cost of living: The cost of living varies from state to state. Research the costs of housing, transportation, food, and other necessities in your new area to understand how they compare to your current locale. A cost-of-living calculator like the one offered by BestPlaces will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Climate: The weather patterns in your new state can impact your daily life. Research the average temperature, rainfall, and other climate factors to prepare for seasonal changes or weather-related challenges. Find out if your new city is prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or wildfires.
Job market: Unless you’re moving for work and already have stable employment, consider the job market in your new state. Check out the unemployment rate, industry trends, and job opportunities to get a sense of the job market in your area. Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to research any licenses or certifications required to work in your new state.
Housing: Research housing options through Zillow and similar sites to learn about rental prices and real estate market trends. Compare neighborhoods to find the best fit for your needs and budget and try to visit the neighborhoods in person to get a feel for their communities.  
Taxes: Taxes can vary significantly from state to state, so take a moment to research the tax laws in your new state. Consider the state income tax rate, sales tax rate, and any other taxes that may affect you.
Health care: Understanding health care coverage in your new area is vital, especially if you have ongoing medical needs. Look into healthcare providers and facilities and find out whether your existing health insurance will be accepted in your new area.

In addition to the aforementioned factors, you may want to research crime rates, school ratings, public transportation, and average commute times.

Budget for Your Move

By creating a detailed moving budget, you can estimate your total moving expenses and ensure you have enough money set aside to cover all your costs. Here are some key factors to consider when budgeting for your move:

  • Moving expenses: Moving expenses will depend on whether you rent a truck and move yourself, hire full-service movers, or use a company such as PODS to ship your belongings. The total cost will also depend on the distance of your move, the number of belongings you have, and the services you require.
  • Storage expenses: If you need to store your belongings temporarily, factor in storage facility costs. These will depend on the size of the storage unit, the location of the facility, and whether you need long- or short-term storage. Many long-distance moving companies offer their own climate-controlled storage units.
  • Travel expenses: Besides planning transport for your belongings, you need to figure out how you and your family will get to your new home. If you decide to drive to your new state, factor in the cost of gas, food, and lodging. If you fly, you will need to budget for the cost of airfare, baggage fees, and transportation to and from the airport.
  • Miscellaneous expenses: Miscellaneous expenses include new furniture or appliances, cleaning supplies, and any unexpected costs that might arise during your move.

Hire a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company can make moving to a different state less stressful. If you decide to go this route, follow these steps to find the right movers:

  • Research moving companies: Look for interstate moving companies that are properly licensed and insured that have positive reviews. You can use websites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot, to find reputable moving companies in your area. You should also check each company’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration profile and United States Department of Transportation number to review safety scores and critical identifiers to help you decide which company to hire.
  • Obtain moving quotes: Before hiring a moving company, obtain quotes from at least three different companies. Ask for a detailed breakdown of the moving costs, including any additional fees or charges that might apply. Then, compare prices and services, identify the cheapest moving companies, and find the provider that best fits your needs and budget.
  • Purchase moving insurance: When you hire a moving company, your belongings are typically covered by basic liability coverage, but it’s rarely enough to cover the full value of your items. Consider purchasing additional moving insurance to protect your belongings during the move. Most moving companies offer additional insurance options, or you can purchase it through a third-party provider.
  • Read the contract carefully: Read your moving contract thoroughly and ask any questions you may have before signing. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the agreement, including the company’s policies on damages, delays, and cancellations. Additionally, confirm the company’s availability on your desired moving date and make your reservation well in advance.

Declutter and Downsize

Because the size and weight of your belongings have a huge impact on your overall moving costs, decluttering and downsizing before you move can help you save money. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few steps to follow:

  • Sort and organize: Start by sorting through your belongings and organizing them into four categories: keep, donate, sell, and discard. This can help you get a better idea of what you need to pack and what you can get rid of.
  • Sell or donate unwanted items: Consider selling or donating any items that you no longer need or want. You can hold a garage sale, post items for sale online, or donate items to a local charity or thrift store. Not only will this reduce the number of belongings you need to move, but it can also be a great way to get some extra cash or give back to your community.
  • Dispose of hazardous materials: Movers are typically prohibited from moving hazardous materials such as batteries, cleaning supplies, paint, and propane tanks. Ask your moving company for a list of items they won’t move and dispose of them before moving day.

Pack Strategically

Packing strategically will make unpacking much easier. Here are some tips to help you pack efficiently and effectively:

  • Obtain essential packing supplies: Before you start packing, ensure you have all the necessary supplies. This includes sturdy boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and packing paper. You may also want to consider purchasing specialized boxes for fragile items such as dishware or electronics.
  • Pack efficiently: Pack heavier items at the bottom of boxes and lighter items on top to keep the boxes balanced and the smaller items from getting crushed. Use packing paper or bubble wrap to cushion fragile items and prevent them from shifting during the move. Alternatively, use towels or clothing as padding.
  • Label boxes: Labeling each box with its contents and the room in which it belongs will make unpacking much easier. Make sure labels are clear and legible and include a list of contents outside the box. This can help you locate items quickly once you arrive at your new home.
  • Organize your boxes: After packing your belongings, consider grouping the boxes by room or weight. Place heavier boxes at the bottom of stacks to prevent damage. You may also want to pack a box of essentials, such as toiletries and basic kitchen items, that you can access on your first night in your new house.

Notify Relevant Parties

Notifying relevant parties of your move is an important step in the relocation process. We’ve listed a few examples below.

  • Update your address: Update your address with your bank, insurance company, credit card companies, and any other financial institutions you use. Remember to update your address with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and file a change of address to set up mail forwarding.
  • Transfer utilities: Contact your utility providers, including your gas, electric, water, and internet providers, to transfer or cancel your service. This will ensure you are not responsible for any bills or services at your old address after your move out.
  • Cancel subscriptions: Cancel any subscriptions or services that you will no longer need or won’t be able to use at your new address. This can include newspaper delivery, pest control, lawn care, or fitness memberships.

Moving day can be stressful, but with planning and preparation, you can streamline the process and have a more positive experience. After moving to a new state, you‘ll need to take some time to settle in and get acclimated to your new surroundings. Here are some important moving day and post-move tips to keep in mind:

Making Final Preparations

Before you leave your old home, do a final walk-through. You could also hire a professional cleaning service to deep-clean your old home before you leave—especially if you have a security deposit on the line.

Loading the Moving Truck

If you arrange a truck rental for your move across state lines, you will be responsible for loading and transporting your belongings. Organize boxes by weight and room, and use furniture pads or blankets to protect large, unboxed items, such as furniture. Secure all items using ropes or ratchet straps to prevent shifting.

You are also responsible for loading and unloading when renting portable moving containers from a company like PODS or 1-800-PACK-RAT. If you hire full-service interstate movers, a team of professionals will handle the heavy lifting.

Unpacking and Settling In

When you arrive at your new location, unpack the essentials first, such as bedding, toiletries, and kitchen items. This will help you feel more comfortable and settled in your new space. As you unpack, organize your belongings by room and storage needs, and get rid of or store packing materials and boxes as soon as possible.

Updating Your Information

As you get settled, update your information with relevant parties. This may include transferring your vehicle registration, getting a new driver’s license, and registering to vote—all of which can be done at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Check the requirements for your new state and complete these tasks as soon as possible to avoid any potential fines or penalties.

Our Conclusion

Moving to another state is a huge transition, but there are things you can do to make the process easier. Researching your new state will help you make informed decisions while budgeting for your move, and hiring a reputable moving company will keep the process efficient. Decluttering and downsizing, packing strategically, and notifying relevant parties are also important steps in preparing for your move.

On your moving day, make sure to do a final walk-through and load your items efficiently. Finally, after your move, take time to unpack and settle in, get acclimated to your new state, and update your information as needed.

FAQ About Moving to Another State

What is the average cost of moving to another state?

According to Moving APT, the average cost of moving to another state is $4,500. However, your cost could be significantly higher or lower depending on factors such as the type of moving service you use, the size of your home, and the distance to your new location.

How do I research my new state's job market?

You can research your new state’s job market with the following resources:

When should I start packing for my move?

You should start packing for your move several weeks before your moving day. Starting early will give you enough time to sort through your belongings, declutter, and organize. Depending on the size of your home, you may want to start packing as early as a month before your move.

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