Common Long-Distance Moving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Relocating to another city or state is a significant undertaking, and anytime you’re juggling several responsibilities at once, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Moving is stressful enough without making it more difficult than it needs to be. As expert long-distance movers, we can help you anticipate potential problems and avoid some of the most common long-distance moving blunders.

Waiting Until the Last Minute

The most common mistake people make when facing a long-distance move is procrastinating. Time waits for no one, and neither does your scheduled move day. As soon as you know when you’re moving, it’s time to start contacting cross-country movers for quotes.

Going with a large, well-established moving company like Suddath increases the possibility that you’ll get the date you want. Plus, our partnership with Atlas Van Lines gives us access to a vast network of moving resources virtually every day of the year. Still, it’s always best to request desired dates as far in advance as possible.

Underestimating How Long It Will Take to Pack

Another common moving blunder is setting an unrealistic timeline for yourself. Theoretically, you could pack up an entire home in a few days to a week, depending on the size, but you probably won’t have time to pack all day every day.

Chances are good that you’ll have other responsibilities to attend to during the weeks leading up to your move. So, either spread out the process over several weeks or relax and take advantage of professional packing services offered by long-distance movers such as Suddath.

Partial or complete packing services are optional, of course, but in some cases, having the moving team box everything up is the best choice. If you plan to pack most of your items yourself, divide up the task over the weeks you have left and plan to get it done a few days before the moving truck arrives.

Allowing yourself sufficient time to pack will prevent unnecessary stress. Start by boxing up items you rarely use, and as moving day approaches, pack the rest of it up systematically, room by room. One of the benefits of beginning at least a month in advance is that you’ll have time to make decisions about what to take with you. Even if you decide to let the movers do the packing, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity to downsize and declutter before a move.

Not Keeping Enough Items at Hand

Another mistake some people make when making a long-distance move is thinking that all they need to keep with them is their wallet, phone, keys, and enough changes of clothing for however many nights they may stay in a hotel. They assume everything else should go on the moving truck, when in reality, there are a few other things you might need before, during, and after the move. Be prepared for unexpected delays by packing a bit more than you think you’ll need in a bag or bags you’ll keep with you as you travel.

Since you may be living out of this bag for several days, calling it a carry-on bag might be more accurate than referring to it as an overnight bag. Packing this personal bag early on will prevent you from accidentally boxing things up that you wanted to keep with you during the move.

The contents of your “overnight” kit will be unique to you. Just be sure it includes items to keep you comfortable until you unpack, paperwork you may need during the move, and any small articles you’re worried about misplacing.

Each family member should have a bag of some sort, and kids’ backpacks can include comfort items such as special blankets and stuffed animals as well as toys or games to keep them busy. Here are some suggestions for what to pack in your own bag in addition to your purse/wallet, phone, and keys:

  • Toiletries and medication
  • A few changes of clothing
  • Folder with moving paperwork
  • Notepad and pen
  • Important documents
  • Valuables
  • Laptop
  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • Pet items

By keeping these essentials with you, you’ll feel more comfortable and relaxed during that unknown length of time between packing and completely unpacking.

Not Having an Organized Plan

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the key to a smooth long-distance move is organization. Following a moving checklist and adapting it to fit your situation can help you break down the tasks leading up to the big move, such as purchasing boxes and packing supplies. Keep this to-do list with you in your moving folder or carry-on bag and do your best to closely adhere to a timeline so that moving day doesn’t creep up on you.

Resistance to Hiring Long-Distance Movers

Sometimes people get overconfident in their ability to move alone, or they assume that friends will be available to help. Even with a local move, there’s heavy furniture and the risk of moving injuries, but a long-distance move presents additional challenges. Most likely, everything needs to be loaded on a specific day since a cross-country move is more of a one-shot deal, and then who’s going to drive the moving truck or the family car?

Your friends have their own lives, and a cross-country move requires a more specific time commitment than making a few trips back and forth in the same town over a weekend. Hiring professional movers is almost always the best solution for a long-distance move due to the complicated logistics involved. Not just that, but professional long-distance movers can expertly wrap and pad your belongings and safely move them with the right equipment.

Leaving the loading and unloading and maybe even the packing to the moving team will free you up to drive your personal vehicle and devote those precious last few weeks to other important aspects of the move, such as finding a new job or saying goodbye to friends and family.

Not Thinking About Storage

With a long-distance relocation, sometimes unexpected hiccups make it impossible to move from the old house to the new one seamlessly. For example, an escrow might be delayed if you’re selling, buying, or both, which is why it’s vital to select a moving company that offers flexible storage solutions such as storage-in-transit.

Keep in mind that there’s already a built-in cushion because the moving truck will take longer to get to the destination than you will. Still, for whatever reason, you may end up needing the movers to store your belongings for a few days or longer.

If storage is a possible concern for you, be sure to ask questions about storage services when getting moving estimates. If you go with Suddath, a dedicated move coordinator assigned to your relocation will be in contact with you every step of the way to help iron out these critical details.

Hiring Unreliable Movers

One of the worst mistakes consumers make during a long-distance move is hiring disreputable movers. Unreliable or fraudulent long-distance moving companies often lure people in by quoting low prices that sound too good to be true. Then they hold your belongings hostage until you pay a lot more than they originally quoted.

Therefore, it’s vital to choose cross-country movers carefully. Look for a solid online presence, including positive reviews on consumer sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Angi (formerly Angie’s List). It’s also a good idea to select a company that has extensive experience with long-distance relocations.

Suddath is a top-rated moving company with more than 100 years of experience as long-distance movers. For more information about the full suite of moving services we offer, contact us today at 888-799-5033, or get a free online quote on your move. In addition, take a look at our helpful long-distance moving guide.