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Checklist For How To Move Out Of State – Forbes Advisor

How To Move Out Of State: Checklist And Tips

Moving is never easy, whether it’s down the hall, across town or across the country. But generally speaking, the farther you move, the more details you have to worry about. Before you move out of state, make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row, from building a moving budget to turning off your electricity.

Check out this checklist and tips to learn how to move out of state (and hopefully keep your sanity intact).

Create A Moving Budget

There are definitely ways to save money while moving, but it’s still going to be a significant financial commitment. Plan ahead of time how much money you are able / want to spend on your move so you can make smart decisions along the way, from the movers you choose to the supplies you buy.

Using a moving cost calculator can help you estimate the average price. When moving out of state and covering more distance, you’re likely to pay anywhere from $800 to $2,150 for a one-bedroom home.

And don’t forget about the other fees: setting up new utilities, WiFi and cable, gas or airfare for yourself, shipping your car if you’re not driving it, hotels and meals (if your travel takes more than one day), etc. It all adds up quickly, so planning ahead is advised.

Pick A Suitable Moving Company

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Everyone’s moving needs are different; some people are able and willing to do it on their own, others want a full-service experience where movers even do the packing for you. Examine your priorities and pick the best movers for your situation—and if your new destination is very far, note that some companies do specialize in long-distance moves.

If you are going the DIY route, read up on the best methods for moving and/or shipping your items, and ensuring your bulky items like furniture are prepped correctly.

Visit Your Destination

In the ideal situation, you would be able to scope out your future home to get the full rundown on everything from your new neighborhood grocery store and the best place to walk your dog to the favorite local taco shop. But traveling out of state can be expensive and time-consuming and this isn’t always possible. If it fits into your moving budget, a trip is a great idea.

If you’re unable to physically scope out your destination, there are plenty of digital resources to do so. Your town or city may have its own social media accounts (or at least a website), but if not, you can look for local businesses that do. Google “things to do in xx.” Read Yelp reviews. Check out local real estate. Take a Google Maps satellite view tour. Look up celebrities born in your new state. You’ll feel more comfortable moving if you have an idea of the place where you’re ending up.

Figure Out Your Job Situation

If you’re moving for a new job, congratulations! If not, there are some extra considerations to make.

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If you’re staying with your current employer, make sure you know their policy on switching offices (if they have one where you’re going), working remotely (if you plan to do so) and if they help cover any relocation costs. If you’re moving without a job lined up, it’s never too early to start looking into new options—even before you arrive.

Come up with a timeline so you can stay on track and check in with yourself on the job hunt so you don’t get distracted by all the sights and sounds in your new location.

Get Your Paperwork In Order

This isn’t the most fun part of relocating to a new state, but it’s a very important one. You have to consider any billing addresses that needs to be updated, memberships to cancel or transfer, going to the DMV, etc. Some of these things can be done prior to the move, some need to be completed once you’re a resident of your new state.

A non-exhaustive list:

  • Credit cards
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Voting registration
  • Driver’s license
  • WiFi
  • Cable
  • Pet registration
  • Gym membership
  • Mail forwarding

Find A Place To Live / Stay

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can get especially tricky when moving out of state because you’re not always able to see new residences in person. Fortunately, real estate became even more innovative during the pandemic, so many realtors are able to do virtual walk-throughs.

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If you’re not ready to put down a deposit before seeing something IRL, set up a timeline for when you want to be moved in permanently and stay somewhere short-term (Airbnb, VRBO, hotel, etc.) until then.

Go Through Your Things

It never makes sense to move with anything you don’t want, but moving out of state with unnecessary belongings is a big no. Marie Kondo your closet, your bookshelf, your garage—if it doesn’t spark joy, it’s gone. Donate instead of tossing anything that is still in good condition.


Do not underestimate the time and effort that goes into packing. You do not want your moving day to arrive when you’re still scrambling around trying to properly pack your clothes and dishes.

The prep is almost as important as the packing itself. Make sure you have the correct (number and size) boxes, packing tape, padding for fragile items, etc. And make sure the essentials for your trip and immediate arrival are available so you’re not digging through everything to find your toothbrush.

Make Plans To Socialize

Moving to a new place where you might not know anyone can be intimidating. Think about how you’re going to meet new people in advance so you feel more confident when the time comes. Any place has the potential to be a meeting place if you’re comfortable speaking up—and asking a question about your new town is a great way to break the ice.

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