When our parents moved to a new home, they had to physically drive there or just take a leap of faith that the pictures they saw in the paper were accurate. But now, the Internet has changed everything about the way we move. This includes everything from searching for new homes online to keeping the kids entertained watching Netflix on the iPad during the cross-country drive. You may not think about how it’s changed your process, but let’s take a look at how the Internet has made moving easier, cheaper, and practically stress-free.
House or apartment hunting used to be a time-consuming endeavor. You’d plan to spend your weekends and any spare hours after work traipsing around town to find a suitable new place to live. Cross-country movers used vacation days and took multiple trips to view homes in their preferred areas.
But now you simply hop online and take virtual tours of potential houses or apartments, viewing them from multiple angles. You can even scope out the best school districts, compare crime rates, evaluate local and state taxes, and, of course, get average housing prices, as you narrow down your choices. You’ll still want to see your prospective home in person before you move, but the Internet can streamline the process.
The Internet is a great way to rack up some extra cash or even to save some. Not only are Craigslist and local Facebook groups great places to sell or give away unwanted items, but you may also find free boxes on these sites. Don’t forget all the great tips for a productive move that you’ll find at sites like iMove.
Moving requires a lot of paperwork, from filing your change of address form with the post office to hiring movers or renting a moving truck. You’ll also need to change your billing address with your bank and credit card companies so you don’t miss any statements after you move. All of these forms used to have to be filled out in person, but everything is online now, making it a lot more convenient.
You can rent a moving truck for a do-it-yourself move from major companies like Penske or U-Haul without having to visit their site to leave a deposit, thanks to the Internet. If you’re hiring movers, you can get quotes from multiple companies online, in much the same way you may shop for car insurance.
If you’re staying in state, you may be able to go online to change your driver’s license address. However, if you’re moving to a different state, you’ll have to get a new license, which you have to do in person. Whether you move locally or cross-country, once you have your new license, you can register your vehicle online without a trip to DMV.
Now that you’re up to the “moving” part of your move, you’ll rely on the Internet more than ever. If you’ve taken a vacation in the past few years, you know how the Internet and wireless connections have revolutionized travel. Find the best prices for your hotel stays, plan the most interesting pit stops, and read restaurant reviews to make sure getting there is half the fun.
If you’re reading along the way and you finish the book on your Kindle, hop online and download your next one. Make the trip go faster by streaming Netflix on your tablet for the kids. Whatever you’re doing online along the way, make sure you tap into wireless hotspots so you don’t use all your data in one day.
The Internet offers many benefits once you’ve moved. You can shop for new Internet providers on your phone and quickly make appointments to get your new service set up. Find the best places to eat, shop, relax, and network in your new hometown using apps like Foursquare or Yelp. Of course, once you know where you want to go, Google Maps will help you get there, whether you live in a walking city or a driving town.
One of the best things about moving in the Internet age is that your phone number, email address, and social media accounts all go with you. There are apps out there that can help you meet people in your new city. But don’t neglect Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to stay in touch with friends and family from your old town and to forge connections in your new neighborhood. You might be surprised by how many people in your network have people in their networks who live near you and would be willing to give you the local tour in exchange for a cup of coffee.
The world was never smaller, and moving never easier, than it is with the Internet at our fingertips.
Featured image by Backbone Campaign/Flickr