How to Move to Another State: The Ultimate Checklist

Moving to another state is exciting. It is an opportunity to start anew, meet new people and enjoy a different environment. However, the process itself can be daunting. If you are reading this article, you are on the right path. Here, you will find a guide filled with essential reminders as you plan on relocating to another state.

Things No One Will Tell You When You Move to Another State

A friend of mine moving from Atlanta to California once described the experience as “horrific.” This doesn’t mean you have no choice but to expect the same. Nevertheless, I have moved several times, and I can tell you that I wish I knew what I know now. Here are five lessons to learn when preparing for a move.

You are highly likely to go over budget.

You have budgeted for a while, made payments in advance, and planned out every cent. This is great! However, hidden costs are likely to sneak up on you. While allocating finances, it is advisable to set aside a substantial amount as a financial cushion. Going over your contract ten times may not help you spot all the additional costs, but intentional research should. The following are some of the costs you may have to deal with if you haven’t already:


Moving insurance saves you a lot of money if your valuables are damaged or lost. Insurance may be part of the moving company’s package, but you can never be sure, so verify it with the company in advance. You may have to acquire separate insurance coverage for items like expensive jewelry. Moving insurance coverage could cost you around $200 to $1000.


Most moving companies charge extra to pack and store your things. As obvious as this may sound, it is essential to note that there are different types of packaging and storage options. If you want to cut these costs altogether, it would be wise to pack your things yourself, arrange for storage (perhaps at a friend’s house), and let the moving company handle the lifting and logistics.

Cleaning services

This is another expense people often overlook. The moving company may offer to clean after loading the truck but at an extra cost. If the contract does not include cleaning services, you can organize this service in advance or negotiate for it with your moving company.

Disconnection and connection of utilities

This is another cost you may have to negotiate into your moving package. As an interstate mover, the cost will be higher for you as you will probably have to change your utility company entirely. Giving your new providers a call beforehand saves you the stress of dealing with it when you arrive.

Personal moving day expenses

On moving day, you will have to eat, drink, travel to your new location, and potentially find a temporary place to stay before everything is loaded into the new house. It gets even more expensive if you have children and pets as you also need to cater for their transportation.

Lower your expectations—it won’t be easy.

Even if you can afford to pay for every service, the moving process is not forgiving to anyone, especially if you are moving interstate. Generally, you should always plan for the worst. If you need to, don’t be afraid to seek professional help from a psychiatrist to smoothen your transition. Overall, remain open to a couple of disappointments from service providers for your mental stability.

Forgetting things is normal.

Aside from the usual key misplacements and lost chargers, you may forget many details. Creating a separate list of items you cannot afford to forget is vital. Compiling the list days before your moving date gives you plenty of time to add important items. You can review the list before you leave to ensure you don’t forget anything essential.

If it is not in the contract, do not assume!

A contract is an official agreement between you and the moving company. Therefore, your service providers are not liable for anything not written into the contract. For example, if you are not sure whether your moving company insures valuable items, you should address your question with them well before the moving date.

You will need social support.

You will be moving away from what you are used to; thus, it is time to keep your circle tight for moral, emotional, and social support. Keeping in touch with loved ones helps you to stay sane and possibly acquire help with the move if needed.

The Ultimate Checklist for Moving to a New State

Packing up all your belongings is just one thing you must deal with during a move. Migrating to a different state often means different rules, systems, and, sometimes, culture shock. Even the simplest things will differ from what you are used to. Therefore, it only makes sense that you make strides early on to make your transition as seamless as possible.

Here are eight things you should do to make your move to another state successful.

1. Do Proper Research on Your New City

Whether you are moving for work or need a drastic change in your life, you must discover as much information as possible about where you are relocating. If you can, visit the state as often as possible before your move and explore different areas. This can give you a feel for your new area’s different neighborhoods and amenities. If you have children, this is the ideal time to check out school districts and familiarize yourself with different routes.

Additionally, it would be wise to find more information on natural disasters and risks specific to your new state. For example, if you are moving to Miami, you must stay informed on Florida’s hurricane risk management measures and consider getting your property insured. Getting temporary accommodation in the state may also be helpful before and after the move as you work on settling in your place.

2. Compare the Costs of Living

If you are moving from Mississippi to California, you may be shocked by the differences in the two states’ respective costs of living. A cost of living calculator can help you get ahead in your finances regarding housing, food, transportation, and other important bills. While at it, find out which taxes you will have to pay, especially if you are hoping to start a business in your new state.

3. Transfer Your Professional Licenses in Advance

Professionals such as medical practitioners and attorneys require licenses to practice in different states. These licenses are essential in ensuring professionals meet all the requirements to effectively deliver their mandate.

4. Set Up Your Utilities in Advance

Imagine going for days without power or water. Seems unthinkable, right? Have your utilities powered up in your new home at least a week before the move-in date to avoid any potential inconveniences. If you cannot do this on your own, get help from your realtor before closing on the house to ensure your home is move-in ready.

5. Book an Early Appointment with the DMV

If public transport is not an option for you, arrange a date with the respective state’s Department of Motor Vehicles even before your car is shipped in. You may need to create a new DMV account.  Additionally, changing your driver’s license and vehicle registration details could take anywhere from 10 to 30 days. Luckily, most systems are going digital; therefore, a good search on the internet should give you adequate information on where or how to get started in your state.

6. Update Your Address

You have a huge task ahead concerning changing your address information on important documents such as financial statements and auto insurance policies. It is not only required to do so, but it could save you a lot of trouble. For example, if you have the wrong address on an auto insurance policy, you may be required to pay more, depending on where you move.

7. Set Aside an Emergency Fund

Generally, moving comes with a lot of uncertainties. Setting aside extra cash will help you find solid ground for a while as you try to figure things out. Your emergency fund should cover at least three months of your household’s basic needs to ensure you are not sinking if things take a turn for the worse. An emergency fund also comes in handy if you spend more than you budgeted for.

8. Stay Organized

How you prepare yourself will certainly impact your moving experience. Proper organization starts with packing as early as possible, keeping an inventory of all your belongings, finding storage options, getting the right movers for the job, hiring the right realtor and so on. Determine which order of execution works best for you. No matter how you choose to do it, having a planner or a detailed work plan could save you a bunch of stress.

Despite everything you have ahead of you, remember to enjoy the process. When all is said and done, what matters most is being able to enjoy your new place and remain open to the endless possibilities that come with it. As you keep the excitement going, get the right team to help. Hiring professional movers with a reputable record is not only reassuring but also the best way to begin preparing for your move.

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