Tips on Long Distance Moving and being in a new state

I’m moving from Los Angeles after a lifetime to Austin, Texas.

Here are my stats and challenges:

Money is an issue. So is time. So is the fact that I have to move kinda suddenly, I have a ton of stuff (kind of a low-level hoarder), and I’m not very good at managing priorities or time or money. I’m kinda paranoid about my genuinely important and valuable things (computers, personal mementos and pictures, etc.), I have two big dogs, I’m female and middle aged and single.

Hey Kids, Let’ s put on a show!

I already know that the actual moving of the ME and my dogs will be, obviously, to drive from LA. I drove to the Four Corners area once, and it was two days. I figure middle of Texas will be three. Is that a good estimate? So I need to budget and plan for a couple of motel nights. (planning important because of the dogs, can’t just flop out any ol’ where…oh man I have to get my car checked and tuned and everything as well…). I actually like driving alone as a general rule…yet still I wonder about that and wonder if i shoudl try and rope a friend into coming with me. Don’t know.

Someone mentioned something called Pods to me, I have yet to check it out, but it’s a “pod” that gets dropped at my house for X time, I can fill it at my leisure, they pick it up and deliver it to my new place in Texas. That sounds fantastic in terms of my energy limitations, and the fact that I just am not capable of packing up my house in a day or two or three, but someone else told me they just aren’t big enough.

I’ve only used movers locally and they were really pricey. Huge money to move 20 minutes apart, for the labor of the pack/unpack.

Also, what are the thoughts about my big items, the cost of packing and moving vs. simply replacing? Is it worth it to get a big enough truck to make sure I can take all my appliances and big stuff and everything I want to, or will the cost of that outstrip replacing it?

Any and every tip, recommendation, etc. that you can share would be so very much appreciated. I have never done this and it’s a pretty enormous undertaking.

Also, now that I think about it… I have no idea what sorts of things I should be thinking about in terms of changing states…I’ve lived in a 25 mile radius my entire 49 years of life. There’s DMV, different tax laws, what else should I make sure to learn about and deal with in a new state? Registering to vote, that’s for damn sure…

The tax laws will be in your favor - no state income tax.

I’ve made big moves twice with households, first from Louisiana to NJ when I got out of grad school, and then from NJ to the Bay Area. I also moved in grad school, but I didn’t have a lot of stuff.

I’ve not used a Pod, but they are all over my neighborhood, and they look to be about a third of the size of a van. I don’t think it is a good idea for you to take appliances, since many houses come with, or have sellers who would be easy to leave them for less than the cost of moving your own. It seems refrigerators are an exception.

Luckily my company paid for both moves, so I’m not sure of the budget, but it cost a lot for a van even 11 years ago. Try to have a yard sale before you start packing - getting money for stuff helps assuage the loss of it.

Reserve some time to handle the paperwork at the new place - not just the drivers license, but turning on the electricity the phone, the gas etc. I suspect it is much easier now than it was before everyone was on the Web. For your license, I’ve been through 5 states, and I’ve never had to take another road test, just the written test. California’s is the hardest of any I’ve done.

Whatever you do, don’t pay movers to unpack, if you use them. In our first move we got unpacking paid for, and it actually added stress, since it isn’t easy to figure out where things go in a new house. Pods have the advantage of reducing the stress, since you can take time to figure out what to do with stuff. Remember to put the things you’ll need first into the Pod last.

Do you have friends in Austin to help you move big stuff. Buy or rent a dolly - it makes things go much faster on both ends. Not having to move appliances around is another reason to leave them.

Hope this helps some.

I recently moved from Texas to New York. I can honestly say that you should clear as much crap out of your home as possible. Donate it to charity, sell it, give it away. Don’t pay to haul unnecessary things. I donated probably 20 13 gallon garbage bags worth of clothes/books/stuffed animals/trinkets/doodads to goodwill and I still ended up bringing stuff with me that I havent used in 7 months.

The next thing to do is start thinking about all the people you know. Try to think of someone who works for a moving company. My mom works for a moving company so I got all of my stuff moved across the country for $1300. It is totally worth seeing if there is someone who can help you with that situation.

And as a former resident of Texas I can tell you right now to make sure your tank is always full because you will drive through some places where there aren’t gas stations available for 50-70 miles or more. And account for more time to drive through half of Texas. It is a huge state and many of the roads in the rural areas are of poor quality and lack sufficient night lighting so you will have to drive slower in those areas.

When I moved from the Chicago area to Boston, I packed three suitcases and got on a plane. But, I’ve made many smaller moves.

I would say that the fist thing to check is whether your new place is going to have appliances already. In many areas, that’s standard–they usually come with the house. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to move yours; you’ll just end up with two sets of everything.

A yard sale before you go is a great idea. As you’ve acknowledged you have some clutter, this is a good time to get rid of a lot of that. Use this big stressful move to your advantage. When my boyfriend’s parents moved from NY to TX, they left stuff along thier curb for people to come take. But, money was not an issue for them.

Out of curiousity, is this a situation where your job is relocating? If so, then your company may be obligated to pay you as much as 10,000 to move.
My Aunt moved to Phoenix from IL (~1,700 miles) about a month ago; it took her two days to make the drive. It really just depends on your tolerance for diving and whether or not you bring someone with you. Depending on money, you can always fly the friend back to CA.

I not familiar with Pods but I have used U-Pack , which is more or less the same idea. If you’re worried about size they also have an option were they park a truck in front of your house, and you are charged for each linear foot that you use. But the cubes actually do fit a lot of stuff when you stack it all up, and IIRC they can deliver more than one cube to your house. Anyhow, I had a good experience with them – their staff was very helpful, they just don’t lift boxes.

If you pay a mover remember that they charge by weight. Get rid of a bunch of stuff before you move. (Our cross country move from Ohio to LA ran about $3000 just for the movers)

If you have things that you don’t want the movers taking, take them with you. Maybe not as practical if you’ll have two dogs with you but what we did was pack our computers and things like that in the trunk.

For a drive like that, I would suggest taking someone with you if at all possible. That way you can switch drivers as needed, have someone else to help with the dogs, a second person to help you remember to stop for food and sleep as needed and so forth. There’s the website for and their advice on moving to the state, it should help you some.

Good luck to you!

That’s a good idea after your sale. We did a major garage cleaning a few weeks ago, and left a lot of stuff out (it wasn’t enough for a yard sale) and it disappeared very quickly.Consider it recycling and feel proud of yourself.

I’ve done two long-distance moves with pets.

I had good experiences with U-Pack as well, calling the local version of Starving Students or Two Men and a Truck to hire a couple lumpers to do the actual loading and unloading. I did all the packing and unpacking myself, having heard way too many horror stories from people who let someone else do it.

HIGHLY recommend taking nothing that you can easily replace. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of an amazing amount of stuff you don’t really need, and you’ll be surprised how much you find to get rid of. I’ve always looked on a move as an opportunity to unburden.

Driving with multiple cats ended up being a lot less hassle than I thought. At the advice of some people on the Best Friends boards, I started putting Rescue Remedy in their water a few days before the move and continued until about a week afterwards, and they were all very mellow and got used to the new houses far more quickly than they had for cross-town moves. it also helped that I put them on harnesses and leashes instead of in carriers. They all found places to relax and didn’t make much noise at all during the drive.

I’ve made the drive from LA to Austin with a dog. As I recall, we did LA to El Paso the first day (about a 10 or 11 hour drive), and then El Paso to Austin (about 8 hours). There were two of us, but we didn’t really split up the driving. We did stop every couple of hours for the dog to walk around and do his business (and for us to do the same), but it wasn’t bad.

I’ve also done long drives by myself, and the hardest part is road hypnotism. So I’d recommend finding a friend to do the drive with you, if possible, so it’ll be easier to stay awake.

As for hotels, as I recall Best Western allows pets, and most of the other chains do as well. They have a limited number of “pet” rooms – rooms that you and your pet can stay in – so it does make sense to call ahead. If you book online, also call the hotel and tell them you have dogs. They can confirm that it’s okay and make sure you won’t get turned away because someone else with a dog showed up. We actually didn’t book ahead, because we weren’t sure we’d be able to make it all the way to El Paso in a day. But we didn’t have any problem getting a room.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an interstate move (intrastate moves are governed by different rules), but I believe the movers I used for the last one ran about $3-4K.

One quick thing about moving to Texas: You don’t have to take a written test to get your driver’s license, but it is a “in the mail” state. So, try to schedule a time when you’re not going to need a picture ID for a while. Or, get a passport.

You can expect the physical license in the mail in about 2-3 weeks.

Here is PODs LA. Point noted on the size but they can move up to three of them at once - so I don’t think space will be that much of an issue. I know several people who have used the franchise on this coast and been happy.

Good for you on this - it takes guts to do what you are doing.

I want to echo the “get rid of everything you can before you leave” advice. I am at least a mid-level hoarder and know how hard it is to think about (not to mention to do) but you just have to be ruthless. I’ve done two cross-country moves and honestly you don’t need anything more than can fit in your car.

If you have a whole empty house waiting for you then you might want to bring along any high-quality, good investment pieces of furniture you may have. Since you say money is an issue, and movers are expensive, you will probably be better off going with nothing and getting by on minimal, second-hand furniture for the first several months. Then you have the great opportunity to buy new pieces that fit your new space.