These aren’t the typical tips, such as taking care of the dogs, cleaning the house, packing your undies and the like. Instead, these tips deal specifically with the physical move and ways to make it easier and less stressful for folks moving hundreds of miles.
First Of All — Sell All That You Can.
Don’t hang onto all the stored clothes, books, old records, etc., just because you might need it someday. Have a humongous yard/garage sale and just get rid of it. Besides freeing you up from household items that you’re children or grandchildren will throw away anyway once you’ve made that final move, eliminating extraneous items will put some road money in your pocket and save you money if you’re hiring a moving company, which charges by weight.
What you can’t sell, give away to a charitable organization. All household items have some sort of value and this value can be deducted from your income for tax purposes. Besides helping less fortunate families, you’ll also cut your tax bill.
If you have grown children, urge them with threats to cut them out of your will, to come get their own stuff and store it in their own basement or closets. You’re their parents, not their personal storage facility.
Fix Your Cars and Vans
A couple weeks before you leave town, get your vehicles in the shop and have them looked over for the coming long trip. Of special interest are the tires, anti-freeze and the water pump. If your tires wouldn’t pass inspection, then change them. Flush your anti-freeze to keep your vehicle operating cooler and have the air conditioner checked if you’re traveling during the hot months. Also, check the water pump. This is the instrument that pumps the coolant through your engine. No water pump, no coolant and, eventually, no engine.
Check out your auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies to make sure you have enough coverage for your trip between houses. On the auto insurance, ask for a road-side assistance rider, if you don’t have it already. Many insurance companies offer this nifty coverage for just a few bucks. If you break down during the trip, they have a 24-hour phone number to call for assistance, and then it’s covered by your provider (depending on your deductible).
Find out from them if you’re covered for damage caused to a rental truck, if you’re moving yourself. If not, find out how you can get such coverage. If your company won’t offer coverage, then get it from the rental company.
Now that your home is going to be on the road a few days, contact the homeowner’s insurance company and let them know you’re traveling with all your earthly belongings. Find out what you need from them to cover you from point A to point B. If the truck runs off the road or gets burglarized during the trip, who is going to pay for the damage to the truck and for the loss?
In preparation for the trip — video tape your valuables and household items for a record of their condition. If you fall into a mishap, you now have evidence to show the insurance company.
If you’re hiring professional movers, ask about their coverage — specifically what is and isn’t covered and what kind of limitations they have on coverage.
Change Utility Services
As you leave the home front, cut off all utilities and transfer them over to the new house. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at your new house with no power — e.g., no lights, no air conditioning or heating, no hot water, etc.
Map Your Trip
You may have driven this road several times, but designate someone as the chief navigator and map out your trip. While online services can help (MapQuest.com or Maps.com) don’t count solely on these services for your directions. Invest in some paper maps — and know where their location once you hit the road. If it’s a long trip, plan some pleasant tangents to ease the stress and give you a break.