Our little family

Our little family
Our little family

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tips for moving across the country

We made it! I thought it best to start our new blog off by sharing our adventure in moving from cross country and the tips we learned. I have moved several times as a military brat myself but this was my first move as a wife and with a child, and 2 dogs I might add! We had two VERY packed cars! Let me just jump right into the tips we picked up along our way. I hope that we are able to help anyone who is making that journey, or any move for that matter, to make it a little less stressful.

Tips for moving cross country

1. Lists, Lists, Lists

      I can not stress the importance of lists! Honestly this should be the first thing you do when you find out you are moving. Make lists for everything! What is going with you/ what movers are NOT taking, High value items that movers ARE taking, how many days/nights of clothing each person will need, etc. I can't tell you how helpful it was to have everything written out so when it came time to get the ball rolling and pack I knew just what we needed and didn't. Our son was only 8 months when we left so we needed a lot for him. From clothes, food, toys to extra clothes...we needed a lot. It was so nice having everything written out before hand and made packing a little less stressful, and easier to remember it all. I also had a list of what our 2 dogs needed so I didn't forget them in the craziness.  

2. Get an accordion binder, or some kind of binder

     I used an accordion binder simply because it is easy to open and see everything you need and you don't have to flip through to get to what you need. I used it for movers paperwork, hotel confirmations, gas receipts, just about everything we needed to get from point A to point B. You can find them at Target or Walmart for about $5. This is the one I purchased. Worth every penny! I also purchased a small binder for all of our medical records, marriage license, birth cert. and dog paperwork...do NOT let movers take these types of documents! 

3. Plan ahead!! 

    Book hotels well in advance, like as soon as you know the dates you will travel. Especially if you have pets like we do you need to have hotel accommodations planned out as many hotels have restrictions on pets. There is a site called bringfido.com that we used to book our hotels. I called to book them since we had so many nights of travel I wanted to make sure everything was booked correctly. Their call center is very helpful and very friendly. They are highly recommended. Depending on what time of year you travel you may also need to plan weather accordingly for your travel. Our last day of travel we winded up having to hunt down snow chains due to a snow storm the night before. Be sure to monitor weather patterns a few weeks out so you are prepared for any issues that may come up. 

4. Give yourself plenty of time

     This goes along with number 3, in that you need to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to travel. In winter months you may get snowed in at your hotel an extra night. Don't schedule travel right up to when you need to be in your new location. Give yourself a few days buffer, if possible. 

5. Dog tips

    Since we have 2 large dogs and a small child I knew I needed to be way prepared in advance. I took medium size ziploc bags and measured out our dogs food for each day so that all we had to do was dump it into a bowl when we got to the hotel. I stored all of that in a large rubber made bin along with their bowls, extra leashes, extra food and so on. We also had baggies of treats and small snacks for them for rest stops in the truck. Another tip is to buy a small plastic dish or use a tupperware container for rest stop water breaks for the dog/animal. Make sure to walk them at each rest stop you take, remember they are just as cramped as you if not more and they need to stretch as well.

Dog supplies and food 

6. Communication for multiple vehicles

    My husband and I both drove so we purchased a set of walkie talkies for the trip. We didn't want to constantly be calling on our cell phones and to be honestly that isn't very safe when you are on the road to constantly do that. We found an average set at Bass Pro Shop for around $90, here. I know you can find them cheaper on amazon but we waited too long to purchase them, had to bite that bullet and pay more in store. They worked great, aside from a little interference here and there from big trucks. Obviously the more expensive the set, the better they tend to work. 

7. Small child traveling

     Honestly, this could be a separate blog in itself but I will try to keep to the main points. We got up and left right after he ate each morning, which goes along with right before his morning nap so the first few hours he would normally sleep. we bought a iPad car connection kit (kit that holds the iPad on the headrest) and when he was fussy we would put on a disney movie or whatever kid show we had saved to the iPad. We had a couple to switch between. I also attached a couple stroller toys to the armrests of his seat so he could reach them to play with. Just life I mentioned with the dogs, each rest stop we got him out (unless he was asleep) and walked around with him while the other had the dogs, to get him stretched from being in his carseat.
     As far as food for our little guy, I organized it much like I did the dog food. I purchased the organic squeeze pouches (enough to last until we arrived and a few days extra) and separated them into one large Ziploc for breakfast and one large Ziploc for dinner and labeled them with a sharpie (at the time he was only eating 2 meals a day with his bottles). I also each morning before leaving hotels made sure him bottles had water already measured in them so all we had to do was mix the formula and shake it up. Remember, the more you get ready ahead of time, the less you have to do when you are in a hurry. I used a medium size utility tote from 31 to keep all of his food, formula and bottles together and that went right behind my seat in the car. We also used a tote for diapers and wipes to make car side changes easier, no digging through diaper bags to find what you need. Plus that left the diaper bag fully stocked for when we went into rest areas or restaurants.

 Little man's tote of food/snacks 
8. Moving Company tips

        If you are using a moving company like we did there are a few things you should do in advance to prepare for them. Most of this the movers should tell you, but just in case they don't.
       - Take photos of ALL your high value items they will be moving. We had things like our washer/dryer, treadmill, large TVs...things like that. Also take a photo of the serial number of that item. In case a claim needs to be filed you have proof of what it looked like right before they took it. Can't  argue with proof an item was indeed not damaged before they moved it.
      - keep any and all items that are irreplaceable with you! if you can move it and you know it can't be replaced then by all means, take it with you. Jewelry, an item from a family member...anything you wouldn't want lost forever.
      - We purchased address labels and put our name, phone numbers and the city we were moving to on them and stuck them to EVERY box the movers packed. That way in case a box was misplaced or ended up at someone else's house, they knew where it belonged.
     - The most important thing, DO NOT sign any paperwork until you have read everything and accounted for everything. When you arrive and your movers bring your stuff, don't let them bully you into signing saying you have everything unless you know for sure you do. We had a few boxes missing at the end of the day and along with the movers had to search the house to make sure they were there, turns out one of them was under blankets in the moving truck...so had we signed and not paid attention we would have missed it and not had that box. )which winded up being shelves to one of our bookcases)

Well for now that is all the tips I can think of for moving. Please feel free to add comments with other tips you have picked up along your travels. The more tips the better! We hope you enjoyed visiting our blog and hope you come back to visit and read more blogs we have to share.

Until next time

Amanda S.

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