9 Must-Haves for a Cross-Country Move

Moving across the country is different from moving across town. Yes, the basics are the same but a cross-country move has more logistics to consider. If you’re flying to your destination, you only need a plane ticket and a suitcase of clothes to get you through until your things reach your new home. Driving is a little trickier. You can take more of your possessions with you, but you also need to consider routes, hotel rooms, and stops for bathroom breaks and food.

If you’re making the drive, these nine items will make your long-distance move more comfortable and a little less stressful.

1. Road Map

Technology makes finding your way a lot easier these days, but even technology fails sometimes. If your phone battery dies or you are in the middle of Kansas with no phone reception, a road atlas can help you find your way. You can also bring a Sharpie to keep track of your route. Doing this will help you and your family see how far you have traveled and how far you have left to go. Once you reach your new home, you’ll have the map with the Sharpied route as a keepsake.

2. Audio Books

If you get motion sick reading in the car, but still want to get through your new novel, audio books are a great alternative. As a bonus, the driver can stay entertained, too. You can purchase audiobooks from places like Audible, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Your local library might have audiobooks, but make sure they’re virtual downloads, as it’d be hard to return them once you’ve moved. Cracker Barrel offers an audio book rental program – if you buy a book at one location and return it in another, you get most of your money back. They charge a $3.50 per week rental fee and have a pretty great selection of books to choose from.

3. Snacks

Pack plenty of your favorite snacks and maybe try a few new healthy ones, like cheesy kale chips or popcorn trail mix. Any snack that’s not too delicate and doesn’t need refrigeration should work well. If it’s summertime, avoid treats that could melt and make a mess in the car.


4. Pillows

Whether you want to take a quick nap or you plan to snooze for hours, a good pillow can be a lifesaver while traveling. Both Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond have a variety of travel pillows. Determine your car sleeping style to decide if you want a neck pillow, memory foam pillow, or even your normal bed pillow.

5. Apps

A number of apps help specifically with travel, and it might be a good idea to find some that will take care of your entertainment needs, too. A few to consider:

  • A travel organizing app like TripIt will keep all your travel details in one place.
  • Gogobot can help you discover fun activities along your route.
  • When it’s time to fill up the tank, GasBuddy will help you score the best price.
  • Tired of driving and need a hotel? Hotel Tonight will help you find a discounted room.
  • If you’ve ever wanted to see the world’s largest ball of yarn or a weird statue, Roadside America can help.

6. A Good Cup

Staying hydrated is essential while moving across the country. Most drivers will need a caffeine jolt at some point too, so a good travel mug will keep hot things hot and cold things cold. Mugs that get good ratings include the Contigo Autoseal West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug and the Thermos Stainless Steel King 16-ounceTravel Tumbler.

7. Sticky Pads

Never hunt for your fallen phone or sunglasses in the car again, thanks to a dashboard sticky pad. Just stick it to the dashboard and stick your smaller items to it, keeping them in sight around tight curves or during long rest stops.


8. Binoculars

Sightseeing is one of the perks of a long drive, but not every sight will be nearby. A sturdy pair of binoculars allow you to check out far-away wildlife, an interesting mountain range, or an odd-looking tree.

9. A Flexible Plan

You won’t find this one in any store, but it’s crucial – you need a flexible plan when you’re completing a cross-country move. Maybe you’ll be too tired to make it to one of your intended stops or you’ll see a fun detour you need to take. You need a plan, but remember you don’t always need to stick to that plan – after all, you’ll probably only move across the country once, so enjoy every moment of it!

If you’re all ready to make the big move, but still need to find the perfect house, check out How to Buy a Home Long-Distance for some invaluable tips.

Image by Chovee/Flickr

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