When we moved out to Colorado, I traveled here a few weeks before Mac came home to buy our house. I also shipped our household goods and my car to arrive while I was out here (we drove Mac’s car out here). Our car carrier allowed me to have stuff in the car, so I included the vacuum cleaner, the carpet steam cleaner, cleaning supplies, and a few random things that I forgot to have the movers pack. We’re preparing to move again this summer, so I’m getting things in order for another cross-country move.
I really believe in using the space in your cars if you are driving. You can take stuff that you may need sooner than your household goods. If you have to drive two cars, you can pack one full of living things and travel supplies and the other with stuff you’ll need at your destination. Obviously, use common sense and awareness when traveling with valuable items on overnight trips.
IDs (CAC, dependent ID cards, driver’s licenses, passports, SS cards)
Orders, DEERS enrollment
Marriage license and birth certificates
Flight, hotel, and car rental reservations
Whatever you need en route or as soon as you get to your new home should go with you. We like to use manila folders to separate out the documents. We also have copies of confirmations and orders in case we run in to any issues.
Stuff for you
Clothes and underwear (days of trip + one week)
Outerwear (jackets, tennis shoes or boots)
It sounds grand that your moving company will deliver your stuff in three days. Packing a week of extra clothes may seem excessive, but you have some cushion if your goods are delayed (which happens more than you think). I also like to pack for a mix of temperatures regardless of the season.
Snacks and shelf-stable food
Bottled water and drinks
Napkins and wet wipes
Grocery bags for trash
I am all about efficiency on pit stops. Having snacks and drinks in the car can reduce non-gas and potty stops, and it saves a lot of money. You can get a package of bottled water from a grocery store for the cost of two bottles at a gas station.
Household cleaners & paper towels
Vacuum cleaner & carpet steam cleaner
Bath and hand towels
A lot of moving companies don’t pack chemicals. Instead of leaving or pitching them, throw them in a plastic tote and use them to clean your old house on the way out and your new house on the way in. Even if you stay in a hotel, having your own towels can make sure you have enough and provide a little feeling of home (this from a person who has lived in hotels and temporary lodgings for weeks).
Expensive, small digital items (laptops, cameras, etc.)
It sucks, but pricey items like this can be and have been stolen during moves. If it’s really expensive or really meaningful, consider finding space for it in your car.
Car emergency kit
Spare tire and tire iron
Flares and other roadside items
These are pretty straightforward. Obviously, you should have a car tune-up before you head out on a 1,500 mile journey, but I have found steps like that aren’t always as important and prioritized as they should be. These can save a trip and help you get to the next town or city with a mechanic.
What are your must-have items when moving?