One of the most difficult parts of moving cross country is coordinating the timing. Unless you have a large home, it’s likely that your goods will share space with other shipments.
Don’t worry; movers take thorough inventories both loading and unloading, so things don’t get mixed up. What that does mean, though, is that because the moving truck has to make numerous stops and because semi trucks go slower than cars anyway, there will likely be a lag time between when you arrive at your new home and when the movers do. Yes, that will be an inconvenience, but one that will soon be forgotten and if you do it right, you can create some memories.
What you should pack will obviously depend on the amount of room you have in your car. If you are flying, you’ll obviously pack even less. If you are staying in a hotel room (generally recommended), you won’t need as many items as you would if you stay in your new home. Here are some packing ideas. Be sure to customize them to your situation.
1. Clothing – This one is obvious. Unless you have access to laundry, add a few days worth of clothing to the mover’s time estimate. It may not be the mover’s fault, but things do happen that delay shipments.
2. Toiletries – Again, this is obvious. If you are short on space, you can purchase soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc. at your destination. I recommend bringing at least daytime makeup, however and a moisturizer. If you are moving to a dryer climate, bring lotion and lip balm.
3. Toys – There’s nothing worse than bored kids. Family games are a great way to pass the time, as is family reading time. Find the library in your new town. You probably won’t have a TV, but you will likely have smartphones and tablets, if the kids have them, are highly recommended. As far as actual toys, allow your kids their very favorite (if it’s small enough) but more than that can be too much.
4. Electronics – Smaller is better. Bring whatever you need for work and phones and tablets.
5. Pets – Bring your animals’ bowls and a couple of small toys for them. Don’t forget their leashes and collars. It’s also a good idea to travel with their veterinary records. I recommend crates for each of your pets along with their favorite beds.
6. Jewelry – Take all valuable jewelry with you, without exception.
7. Paperwork – Ditto on irreplaceable or difficult to replace paperwork. Bring everyone’s medical records, birth certificates, passports, car titles, etc.
8. Cleaning supplies – I don’t recommend moving your cleaning supplies unless you have a lot of room. They are generally too easy to replace. If you are staying in your new house, however, you might want to bring a vacuum.
9. Folding lawn furniture and inflatable beds – Again, for if you are staying in your new house.
10. Sleeping bags.
If you fear running out of room, the post office can be a great way to get some things to you faster.