Last updated on May 30th, 2023 at 04:15 pm
Planning a move across the country with kids requires careful preparation and budgeting. Moving can be stressful for anyone, but adding kids to the mix can make it even more challenging. That’s why, as a parent, you need to approach the move with a positive attitude and a clear plan. This guide should help you get started.
The Challenges of Moving Cross Country with Kids
Moving with kids is always challenging because it means uprooting their lives and routines. Children need a stable environment to feel secure, and moving can disrupt that.
Of course, moving can be difficult for parents too, and that anxiety is often felt by the children. That’s why it’s so important to manage your feelings about the move and provide emotional support to your children.
Planning and Budgeting
Planning is crucial when it comes to moving, especially when you’re on a budget. By planning ahead, you can be sure you’re making the most of your resources and avoiding any unexpected costs.
Careful planning can also help you stay organized, help ensure everything runs smoothly, and reduce stress.
Before you start packing, there are a few initial preparations you should make.
Set a Realistic Budget
Moving across the country is expensive, so start your planning by setting a realistic budget.
You’ll need to factor in the cost of packing supplies, a moving truck, gas, and temporary housing, among other expenses. By setting a budget, you can make sure you have all of your costs covered. (You will also want to plan for a small contingency fund just in case things don’t go exactly according to plan.)
Evaluate the Timing of Your Move
Did you know that the timing of your move can affect your budget? Moving during peak season can be more expensive, so consider moving during off-peak months if possible.
You should also factor in the time it will take to pack and move, as this can affect your work schedule and your children’s school schedule.
Determine the Most Affordable Way to Transport Your Belongings
There are a few options when it comes to transporting your belongings across the country. You can rent a moving truck and pack them yourself, hire professional cross-country movers, or use a portable moving container.
Each option has its pros and cons, so you’ll need to evaluate which one is best for you based on your budget and time constraints.
Sorting and Packing
Sorting and packing can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the move, but it’s also one of the most important.
Declutter Your Home
Before you start packing, it’s important to declutter your home. Get rid of anything you don’t need or want to take with you.
This will not only make packing easier, but it will also save you money on moving expenses.
Organize and Label Your Belongings
Once you’ve decluttered, it’s time to organize and label your belongings. This will make unpacking easier and ensure that everything is in its proper place.
Label each box with the room it belongs in, along with a brief description of its contents. Believe me, this is a tip that will pay off when you reach your new home!
Use Alternative Packing Materials
The cost of packing supplies can add up quickly, so you’ll want to find ways to save money.
Consider using alternative packing materials like towels, blankets, and clothing to wrap fragile items. You can also use newspaper, shredded paper, or old plastic or paper grocery bags as packing material.
Shop Amazon or the dollar store for all of those rolls of packing tape you’ll need.
Finding the Right Accommodations
Finding the right accommodations is crucial when moving with kids. You’ll need to find a place to stay temporarily and then eventually a long-term home.
Research Neighborhoods and Schools
Researching neighborhoods and schools is important when choosing a place to live. Look for neighborhoods with good schools, low crime rates, and affordable housing.
Research the schools in the area to make sure they meet your children’s needs, and look for neighborhood amenities that are important to your family. If you’ll be commuting to a new job, that will be a consideration too.
Look for Temporary Housing
Temporary housing is often necessary when moving across the country. Consider staying in a hotel or vacation rental while you look for a long-term home. You might also consider staying with family or friends if that’s an option.
This is also a good way to get a feel for the city and its various neighborhoods. You’ll be able to make a better-informed decision about your longer-term housing options.
Consider Your Long-Term Housing Options
When considering long-term housing options, think about your budget, commute time, and family’s needs. Look for affordable housing that’s close to schools, work, and amenities like grocery stores and parks.
Preparing the Children
Preparing your children for the move is vital to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Talk to Your Kids About the Move
Talk to your children well in advance about the move and the reasons for it. Explain to them what they can expect and answer any questions they may have.
Help Your Children Say Goodbye to Their Friends and Community
Saying goodbye to friends and community can be difficult for kids. Help them say goodbye by organizing a going-away party, creating a memory book, or planning a special outing.
Talk to them about how they’ll be able to stay in touch after the move. Will you call, video chat, write letters, or plan in-person visits? Let your child know they will be able to continue their relationships, just in a different way.
Providing Emotional Support During the Move
Moving is stressful for kids, so it’s essential to provide lots of emotional support. Encourge your child to share their concerns and then provide reassurance. Let them know that it’s normal to feel sad or anxious about the move.
Managing the Logistics
Of course, managing the logistics of the move is necessary to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Change Your Address and Notify Important Contacts
Make sure you change your address and notify important contacts like banks, credit card companies, and utility companies. This will ensure that your bills and important mail are sent to the right address.
Register Your Kids for School
If you’re moving during the school year, make sure you register your children for school in their new district. Contact the school ahead of time to find out what documentation you’ll need to bring.
Hire Professional Movers or DIY
Decide whether you want to hire professional movers or handle the move yourself.
Professional movers can be expensive, but they can also make the move much easier. DIY moving can save you money, but it can also be time-consuming and stressful.
Budget-Friendly Moving Tips
Moving can be expensive, but there are ways to save money.
Pack and Load Your Belongings on Your Own
Packing and loading your belongings on your own can save you money. If you have some help, you can pack rent a moving truck, pack it up, and manage the move yourself.
Use Low-Cost Moving Supplies
Use low-cost moving supplies like newspapers, towels, and clothing to wrap fragile items.
Use Free Moving Boxes
Finding free moving boxes can save you money. Check with local grocery stores and liquor stores, as they often have extra boxes. You can ask friends and family to save theirs for you too.
Traveling with Kids
Traveling with kids can be challenging, but with proper planning, it can also be fun.
Plan the Best Route
Plan the best route for your trip. Take into consideration the rest stops and activities along the way. Allow time for your children to get out of the car and burn off some energy.
Prepare for the Journey
Preparing for the journey is important to make sure your kids are comfortable and safe.
Pack plenty of snacks, drinks, and entertainment. Make sure your car is in good condition and have any necessary repairs done before you leave.
Entertain the Kids During the Trip
Making sure your children have things to do during a long car ride is the key to making it more enjoyable for everyone.
Bring along games, books, and movies to keep them occupied. Make frequent stops to use the bathroom, stretch, eat, and just let the kids run around a bit.
Settling into your new home can take time, but with a little planning, it can be a smoother transition.
Unpack and Organize
Unpacking and organizing can be overwhelming, but don’t put it off for too long.
Start with the essentials like kitchen supplies and bedding, and work your way through each room. It’s easier to settle in to a new home when you’re not living among stacks of boxes.
Get to Know Your New Community
Getting to know your new community can help it feel more like home. Explore the area, visit local parks and attractions, and attend community events. Find your new favorite grocery store, take-out place, and local park.
Adjust to a New Home and Lifestyle
Adjusting to a new home, new city or town, and new lifestyle can take time. Be patient and allow yourself and your family to adjust at their own pace. Incorporate old routines, but think about creating new traditions that will make your new house feel like home.
How can I reduce the cost of moving?
There are several ways to reduce the cost of moving, including decluttering your home, using alternative packing materials, and finding free moving boxes.
How do I choose the right moving company?
When choosing a moving company, make sure to research their reputation and read reviews. Get multiple quotes and ask for references.
What are the most important things to consider when moving with kids?
The most important things to consider when moving with kids are their emotional needs, finding the right accommodations, and preparing them for the move.
How can I help my children adjust to a new home and community?
You can help your kids adjust to a new home and community by providing emotional support, helping them say goodbye to their old community, and getting involved in your new community.
How far in advance should I start planning my move?
It’s a good idea to start planning your move at least three months in advance. This will give you time to research neighborhoods and schools, declutter your home, and find the right moving company.
Moving cross country with kids, especially when you’re on a budget, can be challenging, but with the right planning and organization, it can also be an adventure.
By setting a realistic budget, decluttering your home, finding the right accommodations, and preparing your children, you can make the transition as smooth as possible. Remember to take your time, be patient, and enjoy the journey.
Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe to MomsWhoSave’s newsletter.