When moving from one state to another, start early and put together a master to-do list (at least two months in advance.) Get a calendar, a notebook and a pen – or just your laptop, and write down a menu of all the things you need to do to complete your relocation.

The main duties you should include on your list are:

1. Research about your new state, particularly about your new city:

  • What’s the true cost of living there?
  • How is the real state market in my new city?
  • What type of climate?
  • What’s the job market like?
  • What are the good and bad neighborhoods?
  • How do the school systems operate?

2. Create a master spreadsheet of all of your moving-related expenses, such as: moving company expenses, self-moving expenses, vehicle transportation costs, gas, hotel, meals and insurance costs, immediate post-move and unexpected expenses.

3. Check if your employer offers a relocation package, and make sure you know exactly what it entails.

4. Research on the Internet for houses or apartments by area, price, type of dwelling and amenities (among other criteria). Know what your price range is, what you're looking for, how many bedrooms you need, how far you are willing to commute.

Consider renting for at least six months before buying a new house or signing a 12-month lease.

5. Find professional movers in your area; ask for a quote and compare prices. But besides prices, there are other factors that you should consider when hiring a cross state moving company:

  • Find out if the company is licensed with your state's Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Look for a moving company that is licensed for interstate transport.
  • Ask if a moving company and its workers are bonded and insured.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau to check up on the company.

6. Decide how to transport your pets to guarantee their safety. In case you cannot move your dog, cat or other animals by yourself, consider a professional pet service. They specialize in booking travel for pets no matter your destination. First, start by searching for an IPATA pet shipping expert to help move your beloved animals.

If you are flying to your new home, ask your airline for pet transportation options and policies.

7. Determine how to move your plants. Most moving companies do not transport plants at all, while some other companies do, but only if the whole moving trip is shorter than 8 hours. We recommend taking cuttings from each of the plants that you want to keep, and propagate them in your new location. Give the mother plants to someone you know who will appreciate them.

Please remember that many states have restrictions on the types of plants that can enter their borders.

8. Look for reputable auto transporters in case you are not driving your vehicles to your new destination. They will help you to get your car or motorcycle ready for the relocation trip, and they will deliver the vehicle at your door or at a convenient point.

9. Create a detailed home inventory.  Make a list of the items you want to keep and start eliminating all unwanted items. It doesn’t make much sense to pay for the transportation of items that you are not using now (let alone in the future.) Other people can benefit from these articles, if you donate them to the charity or if you offer them to relatives, neighbors or friends.

You can also organize a garage sale to cut household clutter.

10. Obtain the required documents and certificates such as:

  • Records from your family physician and veterinarian.
  • Children’s school records.

11. Keep important documents with you, including: birth certificates, passports, financial documents and Social Security cards.

12. Use a secure container to keep your valuable possessions like jewelry, and other irreplaceable items. They should also travel with you.

13. Before the moving day, cancel your current subscriptions to utility providers and arrange for the disconnection of the main utilities such as water, electricity, gas, Internet, etc.

14. Submit a request to forward your mail two weeks before you move. You can even do so up to three months before you actually move. Visit the official website of the United State Postal Service to change your address. Mail is sent piece by piece to your new home.

15. Notify your financial institutions and everyone who sends you mail about your move. Make sure to contact your bank and credit card company to let them know you will be traveling, and you will be making purchases across several states.

Change your address as soon as possible, in order to receive your banking or credit card updates and statements.

16. If you are driving to your new destination, check if your roadside assistance plan is available across state lines. This is very important in case you experience car troubles.

17. Compile all the receipts and documents that you can use later for references, and possible moving tax deductions.

18. When you finally arrive to your new house or apartment, get in touch right away with your electricity, power, gas, phone and Internet providers to schedule the connection of these services.

19. Don't forget to change your car insurance to the new state, and get a new driver's license and a new license plate. In some states you can register to vote when you get your new driver's license.

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. One of the things we have learnt over the years is that you should start the process right away, and create a master plan to ensure that your next move goes as smoothly as possible.

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