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Moving Out of State Checklist

Moving can be a daunting task no matter the circumstances. When you’re moving across state lines (especially to a state that's new to you), it can be even more challenging. The good news is, with a little planning, a long distance move to a new state can be a smooth and rewarding experience.

It's worth noting that U-Haul helped 1.4 million families move to a new state in 2022. So, moving out of state is not only possible, it's also fairly common. However, just because it's possible doesn't mean you should rush into it. Before you buy a one-way ticket, it's important to review our checklist for moving out of state to ensure that you have a plan in place and that your move goes smoothly.

Research Your New City

When buying a new car, you probably wouldn’t go into it without knowing what’s out there and for what price. Similarly, moving to a new place, especially when it's a long distance away, requires research, albeit on a larger scale. Step one in moving is conducting research.

Comparing the cost of living in your current city to the new location is a good starting point. This will help you plan for housing, work, and family needs. If you have children, researching schools in the area should also be a priority. Additionally, researching neighborhoods will provide insight into which ones offer a better quality of life.

If you plan to look for a new job after moving, consider where professionals in your field tend to live and work. Are there good job opportunities in the new area? Gathering this information will help you better understand your new home and plan your new life.

Visit Your New City If Possible

We strongly recommend visiting your new hometown well before your move, if possible. Going back to the new car analogy – you probably wouldn’t buy a vehicle without taking a test drive (or least viewing some images). So, think of this as taking your new town for a test drive.

Take a tour of your preferred neighborhood and explore the area. Check out the local grocery store, drive by schools, hospitals, and other necessities, and plan your commute to get a feel for life in the area. If you haven't chosen a neighborhood yet, take the opportunity to visit multiple areas and see which best fits your lifestyle.

If you're moving a long distance, visiting may not be feasible. In that case, try to find information online. Google Street View can give you a virtual tour of your potential new home or street. Websites like Zillow and can also provide useful information on housing options and neighborhood details.

Make a Budget For Moving

Figuring out your moving budget is a crucial part of the planning phase. Your budget will determine what moving arrangements you can make. For instance, do you have the funds for a full-service move, or would a DIY move be more appropriate? The cost difference between the two can be significant, so it's essential to get quotes and determine which option is best for your needs.

Need something with more flexible pricing?

Consider a portable storage container. This option allows you to pack your belongings on your schedule and have them shipped to your destination so you can avoid driving them yourself or paying the exorbitant price of a full service move. It’s perfect for long distance moving on a budget. Get a U-Box® container quote today.

Don’t forget to include moving supplies in your budget. You’ll need plenty of boxes, tape, and other essentials. Use a moving supply calculator to figure out how many moving boxes are recommend for the job and to get a price quote.

Your budget should also include other potential expenses like food and travel accommodations, plane tickets, rental and utility deposits and activation fees, gas, and other moving necessities.

Find a Place to Live

If you already know where you’re going to live, that's great! You can move on to the next step. However, if you're still unsure, you have some work to do. Hopefully, you at least have a neighborhood in mind. At that point, you can start doing virtual tours to find your dream home.

Pro tip: Whether you plan to buy or rent, consider starting off with a short-term lease (maybe six months) just in case the area you move to isn’t what you thought it would be. That way, you won’t be locked into a new home or part of town that you don’t absolutely love.

Plan Your Move

With your neighborhood and home picked out and your budget outlined, you can start to plan your move. Long distance moving can be done in several ways:

  • DIY – Involves renting a moving truck, packing it up, and driving to your destination. This is often the most inexpensive option, but it requires the most effort on your end.
  • Van line – By far the most expensive option. This involves paying a company to carry out your move from start to finish, including packing, loading, transporting, and unloading.
  • Portable Containers – The most flexible option; it varies in price. Load your belongings in a secure container on your time then have it shipped to your destination. Portable moving and storage containers are perfect for moving and storage, with plenty of popular uses.

Get quotes to decide which option might be best for you. Remember that van line moves come with movers, while DIY and portable container moves typically do not. So, consider whether you’ll be needing moving labor, and remember that hiring movers from a provider like Moving Help® is an added cost, so be sure to include that in your budget.

If you’re moving to a new a state for work, don’t forget to ask your company about relocation reimbursement or if they cover the moving expenses in some capacity.

Update Your Information

Once you have your new address, you can start updating your personal information. Start by filling out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service. This will make sure your mail is forwarded to your new address when it goes through the post office. You should also consider transferring utilities/activating new services at your new address. This can typically be done online, and many providers allow you to set a date in the future for service activation. Just be aware there may be a deposit for activating new service. There’s plenty more “updating and activating” to care of. Here are some of the most common services that need updating:

  • Utilities
  • Driver’s license
  • Voter registration
  • Local memberships
  • Subscriptions
  • Schools
  • Mailing address on applicable accounts
  • Banking info
  • Insurance policies

These are just the tip of the iceberg! There are likely other accounts that will need updating. Make a list of yours and check them off one by one as you make progress.

Downsize if Possible

As you prepare to pack, take a moment to assess your belongings and identify any items that could be considered "clutter." It's not practical to transport unnecessary items long distance, so it's wise to downsize wherever possible. Many people find it helpful to sort clutter into three categories: 1) items to discard, 2) items to donate, and 3) items to sell.

But don't limit yourself to just decluttering. Consider your new living situation and how it will affect the belongings you currently possess. For instance, if you're moving from a house to an apartment, you probably won't need large kitchen appliances anymore. Or, if you're moving from a larger space to a smaller one, downsizing considerably before packing might be the best course of action.

Not ready to part with your extra items?

Portable storage containers are great for temporarily keeping things on your property or at a nearby storage facility while you decide the best course of action. Alternatively, traditional self-storage is a convenient option as well.

Pack Your Stuff

Packing is one of the last significant steps in the moving process. However, if you've downsized efficiently, acquired the proper packing materials, and planned your move accordingly, the process shouldn't be too challenging. In fact, we've compiled some of our top tips to assist you in getting started:

For More Information on Packing For a Move


Packing Tips for Moving: A Complete Guide to Packing Your Home

Looking for the best packing tips? This packing guide will tell you how to pack for a move, including recommended packing supplies and general moving tips.


If the thought of packing up all your possessions feels a bit daunting, it might be worth considering hiring some extra help. Moving Help offers more than just loading and unloading your truck or storage container. Local movers can also help you pack your boxes and even clean your old space if required.

If you’re planning on taking advantage of the benefits presented by a portable storage container, packing will require a bit more planning. Use this guide to learn more about loading a moving and storage container the right way.

Get Moving

Congratulations, you've made it through the difficult part. Now, it's time to focus on settling into your new state. If you have furry friends, make sure to read our tips for moving with pets. Additionally, if you plan on driving yourself, take a look at our 11 helpful tips for driving a moving truck. However, the most important thing is to enjoy this exciting opportunity, get out and socialize, and make the most of it.

When you’re ready to start planning your out-of-state move, U-Haul has everything you need. Find quotes for portable storage containers, shop for moving supplies, and much more today!