How to Prepare for a Cross Country Move

How to Prepare for a Cross Country Move

Moving can be extremely stressful, whether it is down the block or across the country. If you have received your PCS ticket you want to make sure you understand how to minimize your moving costs. Since some items are only partially reimbursed the lower you can keep your costs the more affordable the move can be. If you aren’t sure what is and isn’t covered in a PCS move don’t worry, that post is coming soon. 

Understand How Rental Truck Companies Work/Price.

If you have a whole lot of stuff to move, you have multiple options for how to do it. It depends on how hands on you want to be with your stuff. If you would prefer someone else move it, a POD is your best bet. They even cater to military members. They drop off a POD (they come in various sizes) in your driveway, you pack it full and it will meet you at your destination.

If you plan on driving your things yourself, a rental truck is one of your only options. The first name that most people think of is U-haul, but you would be wise to look elsewhere. A little online research reveals that U-Haul has the absolute WORST reviews of any moving truck company for price, truck maintenance and general service.

This company can make money simply because they’re the first name you think of.

Rental truck companies are a little bit like airlines in how they price. There are times of the year that are more expensive (like the summer when everyone moves) but they also determine rates based on where they need more trucks to end up. Theoretically any of the major moving companies might have the best price at any one time because one needs to get trucks from Oregon to New York in July and the others are more worried about moving trucks West. This means you need to check with multiple companies because there’s no way of knowing if your dates/destinations will be what the company needs. Better alternatives to U-Haul are Budget and Penske. Both offer military discounts and maintain a quality fleet of vehicles far superior to U-Haul. 

Be Equal Parts Prepared And Flexible.

A cross country move never goes quite how you expect. Even if you are a meticulous planner, the plan often goes awry. Being prepared is half the battle but the other more important half is flexibility. These are a few of the ways you’ll need to be flexible:

  • Trucks don’t fit in and out of normal restaurants, gas stations and hotels the way cars do. Each stop will mean driving past, examining the exit strategy and figuring out how to make it work.
  • If you are towing a car behind your rental truck, forget about backing up. Make sure you can get out of any place you pull into.
  • Driving while you’re tired is extremely dangerous, so have back up strategies for when you’re too tired to make it to what you hoped was your next stop.
  • You’ll  need to think 100-200 miles ahead in terms of both fatigue and where you’ll be able to stop/sleep/eat.
  • Remember to ask for military discounts wherever you go, especially if you haven’t

You Should Take All Safety Measures Available.

An obvious safety measure when you’re driving across the country is insurance. You can purchase additional insurance through a rental company and if you don’t have AAA, consider getting it. Not only does it give you a rental truck discount, it also is one more safety measure for the unpredictable moments on the road.

Another way to be safe is by mapping out potential truck stops and doing diligence on reading reviews and determining where it’s safe to park, sleep and eat on your trip. Truck stops will be your easiest rest areas because they’re made for large vehicles. 

 If you want to know exactly where you’ll be stopping check out the app Trucker Path. It lists all Truck stops, how many spaces they have what to expect in terms of food and gas stations and how easy or complicated they are to get in and out of! Talk about a helpful tool. It is a must have if you are driving yourself. 

What are your packing or moving tips and tricks? Any experiences folks would like to share about rental trucks or other moving companies? Please enlighten us, we’d love to know!


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