travel

The KnotMagick Guide to Moving Cross Country

  1. Make sure it’s really, really what you want. Because it’s expensive as fuck and a pain in the ass.
  2. Plan your budget ahead of time. Now add at least 50%.
  3. Assume everything will go wrong.
  4. Find a job before you go.
  5. Don’t ship things via Greyhound. It may be cheaper than going through USPS/UPS/FEDEX, but there is a reason for that. It starts with customer service and ends with the mangled condition your boxes will arrive in.
  6. Research all your options. Movers? Uhaul? Trailers? PODs?
  7. Talk to friends who live in the area. Make friends with locals online. Get someone to at least drive past your intended dwelling if you can’t see it in person.
  8. Figure out transit, be it using your own car, or public transit. Where will you park? Is it an extra expense? Can you get where you need to go using the bus alone?
  9. Sell everything. Or give it away. Is there such a thing as a reverse house warming? Throw one. Invite all your friends to come. The condition is they have to leave with something, even if all they do is take it straight to the dumpster or Goodwill.
  10. Be patient.
  11. Acclimate any pets to harnesses, carriers, etc before you go.
  12. Get calming treats if necessary.
  13. Plan your route, and have a back up route in mind.
  14. If you have limited data on your phone, buy extra. You’ll need it for navigation.
  15. Buy an atlas. No, really. One of the paper ones. Because there are surprisingly large swaths of America with no cell service at all. Yes, I know. I was shocked, too. Especially when we went two and a half days with no service—that was fully half our trip.
  16. Make sure whatever you are driving has been tuned up, has a spare tire, and a tool kit in the back.
  17. If you don’t have roadside assistance on your insurance or already have an auto club membership, get one.
  18. Remember that it’s just stuff, and 98% of it can be replaced later if need be.
  19. Try not to panic.
  20. Have moral support ready for when you inevitably do.
  21. If you are on any medications, arrange to get a 90 day supply before you go. Most insurance providers offer this option through mail-order delivery. There is nothing worse than being thousands of miles from your doctor and pharmacy and running out of a pill you need to function.
  22. Give yourself extra time once you arrive. You’re going to need at least a day or two just to hide under the blankets and recover. Or was that just me?

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3 thoughts on “The KnotMagick Guide to Moving Cross Country”

  1. Well said.
    We did most of that on our last move.
    We did our last move ourselves. Never again. If someone else does not pay for it (as in the past, the company I worked for paid everything, including temporary living). By myself I’d rent a truck and only take some necessities, my tools, and electronics, photography gear, and typewriters. I doubt I’d take my books. Way too many and too heavy. Or I’d use PODS and start at least a month early. Balance the cost of a moving company and all the house things could be replaced for less than the cost of the move.
    Two things are lacking travelling across the West; gasoline stations and cell phone towers.

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  2. 16b: Know how to change a tire. My wife, who does not drive, knows how to change a tire. It does wonders for your self-confidence, at a seriously frustrating moment, to know you have the skills to overcome the problem. (Feeling over-prepared, or over-skilled, is annoying… until someone else is in trouble, and you just step in and save the day.)

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    1. True! In theory, I know how to change a tire, but have never actually been able to put it in practice. The one time I needed it, I couldn’t get the tire out of the storage spot and there wasn’t a safe/flat spot for me to jack up the car. I ended up called AAA anyway. 🙂

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