Cross-country moving advice

Hey all, the family and I are looking to move out of AL (for obvious reasons) to Colorado Springs. We are in the initial planning phase and I was looking for advice, gotchas, etc that other folks may have run into when moving across the country.

A little background - we want to move next summer (so about a year from now). Planning to buy a house. We have 5 pets (4 cats and a dog, blended pet family haha) and I have two kiddos ages going on 5 and 8.

Any advice on how to move all of us and our stuff, how to pitch the idea to the kids, and how to make sure we don't go insane and/or bankrupt would be appreciated.

Thanks!

1) Hire movers. Seriously, don't plan to do it by yourselves, life is just too short.
2) To get the kids excited, make one or more trips out there before the move to show them around. Show them fun stuff, talk up the area but don't rush the "and we're going to move here".
3) Do you currently own a house? Can you buy a house in Colorado Springs without selling your house? If not, sell first, then buy so you don't get stuck in contingency hell.
4) Move at the beginning of the summer/end of school year. This gives you time and takes off a LOT of pressure.
5) If you can swing it, get an employer to pay for the move.
6) You can itemize certain moving expenses on your taxes, so keep all the receipts, including for "house hunting " trips.

EDIT: Between the years of 2005 and 2014, we moved from New York City to Colorado; Colorado to San Mateo, CA; San Mateo, CA to Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

Tach wrote:

1) Hire movers. Seriously, don't plan to do it by yourselves, life is just too short.

If you can afford it this a million times over. I recently drove U-Hauls biggest truck with a car hauler attached from Tucson,AZ to Pinckney, MI. I can attest that this was the most miserable 3.5 days off my life.

That's great advice, thank you. I'm looking into the options to rent/sell a house right now. Not sure I want the hassle of renting out but I also have a really good interest rate so I have to do the due diligence haha.

FridgeGremlin wrote:

We have 5 pets (4 cats and a dog, blended pet family haha) and I have two kiddos ages going on 5 and 8.

Long-distance travel tends to be extremely traumatizing for most cats so unless yours have had prior experience I recommend setting up an appointment with your vet to prescribe a sedative for travel a month or two in advance. It’s typically a mild sedative- it just gets them high rather than unconscious and makes all-day or multi-day travel much easier for both them and you.

ruhk wrote:
FridgeGremlin wrote:

We have 5 pets (4 cats and a dog, blended pet family haha) and I have two kiddos ages going on 5 and 8.

Long-distance travel tends to be extremely traumatizing for most cats so unless yours have had prior experience I recommend setting up an appointment with your vet to prescribe a sedative for travel a month or two in advance. It’s typically a mild sedative- it just gets them high rather than unconscious and makes all-day or multi-day travel much easier for both them and you.

Thank you for the advice. I'm sure these fur babies will need it. I swear we attract the most anxious animals lol.

If you have the money/time, I’d make the road trip a bit of an adventure. The times I had to move cross country in the military they barely gave me enough time to get from Ky to Cali. It was expected you were just going to drive 12+ hours straight each day.

Coming home out of the military I spent some more time sightseeing and it made all the difference.

Long post coming, I hope it is helpful.

Like Tach, I have moved cross-country multiple times. With two younger kids I STRONGLY recommend the hire movers part. I don't know how many cars you have, but you will probably want to ship one or all of them too, the movers can do this for you (sometimes even on the same truck as your stuff). With two kids plus five pets plus two adults, maybe you want to rent a van or similar for the drive so you can all be together, and you will have some stuff you don't want the movers to take like medicines, computers, photo albums, suitcases, etc. It will be more stuff than you think now. Or you can drive two vehicles and let people and pets split between them depending on who is grumpy or needs some quiet between break times, but that can be a little more stressful trying to stay together for the drive and makes both adults fatigued. It is a long way from Alabama to Colorado.

Pods is another option for moving and gives you more flexibility on timing as they can store the pod for a while if you want to load up in stages. The downside is it can be more expensive and if you are trying for a quick turnaround for example load and then three days later unload, they might not be able to do that.

Start going through your stuff now, or at least six months before the move. Do a serious clean out and get rid of stuff that is not worth moving. Figure out where you are going to live at the destination and how / what furniture is going to fit. No reason to move a bunch of stuff you just end up getting rid of at the other end. Especially with kids you probably have a bunch of stuff they have outgrown.

Let your kids have ownership of some of the process, it can be traumatic for them. They can help pack, decide what to keep, plan how to arrange things in their new room, etc. Let them pick out a few special things they want to take with them in the car / suitcase, even if you don't see any reason why the movers can't take it. There are some good articles if you google like "long distance moves with kids".

I don't know how your kids are on long road trips, but between them and the pets you will probably have lots of stops. Like every 2-3 hours. Make a plan for when and where you are going to stop. Don't plan on 14 hours of driving a day, kids probably can't handle that and you will all be miserable. Get hotels at night and try to make it a nice adventure and find things to keep them engaged on the trip. Lots of iPad for a few days to save everyone's sanity is ok...

You will need a litter box for your cats in the car. When we moved we kept it in one of the backseat floorboards, but we didn't have two kids that need the space. Not sure of your vehicle situation but just one of those things you'll need a plan for.

If you are planning to have at least a couple of flights out there for some or all of your family, if you don't have one already it is probably worth finding a nice travel credit card that has a good signup bonus and getting that so you can score some free plane tickets. Like Southwest has a decent one that has a good companion pass benefit, but I don't know what airlines travel out of the two airports. Amex Delta is decent as well if you fly Delta.

If you decide movers aren't for you, I can give some tips on self-moves from my experience over the years.

Infernarl wrote:

I'm also planning a move, from Texas to Oregon, with my family of four and our dog. We're looking to buy a house too and want to keep moving costs low. I found out that moving from October to April can be cheaper.

Where in Oregon?

ruhk wrote:
Infernarl wrote:

I'm also planning a move, from Texas to Oregon, with my family of four and our dog. We're looking to buy a house too and want to keep moving costs low. I found out that moving from October to April can be cheaper.

Where in Oregon?

Oregon is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Infernarl wrote:
ruhk wrote:
Infernarl wrote:

I'm also planning a move, from Texas to Oregon, with my family of four and our dog. We're looking to buy a house too and want to keep moving costs low. I found out that moving from October to April can be cheaper.

Where in Oregon?

Oregon is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

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Yeah obvious spammer is obvious. Too bad his account was taken over.