In general, moving from one place to another is a significant undertaking. Add in the distance of moving across the country, and the process instantly becomes more challenging and more expensive.

With proper planning in place, moving across the country doesn’t have to be a significantly stressful life event that haunts one’s dreams for the rest of time. Here are some helpful tips for moving across the country.

Ship Your Vehicle

Unless the idea of planning a cross-country road trip while stressing about all of your belongings appeals to you, plan on shipping your vehicle and flying. Nationwide moving companies often have an option for having someone drive your belongings, so you don’t have to. Saying goodbye to your stuff and boarding a plane will be a lot less stressful than spending time on the road.

If you decide to make the trek, shipping your vehicle is still worthwhile as you save mileage and damage to your car. If you have multiple vehicles, this can also make things easier by putting you and your significant other in one car to drive in shifts, making the trip quicker and more efficient.

Downsize Beforehand

Think long and hard about what items you need to take with you. Don’t think about moving as a reason to throw things away; look at it as an opportunity to declutter and even make a bit of extra cash. Start looking at things that will add value to your new home and consider what items are just taking up space.

Most people have far more stuff than they need. Whether you opt to make your belongings fit into a smaller area or KonMari your entire house, try to sell or donate what you can before resorting to the trash bin. This will not only help yourself and someone else, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint as you make this journey.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

As soon as you know when you’re moving, start planning the steps that need to be taken to make it possible and stick to the plan. This is especially important if you plan on driving your belongings across the country.

Making a plan doesn’t mean that you have to drive straight to your destination without seeing anything along the way; you just incorporate your extra journey into the plan. When you plan on detouring, you can account for the extra time and determine who will watch your belongings while you explore.

Make an Inventory List

Create an exhaustive list of everything you’re packing, preferably after you purge a good portion of your belongings. This list serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, you’ll be able to quickly identify if something is missing. Otherwise, it might be months down the road before you notice. Second, the inventory list will ensure that you don’t leave anything behind.

In addition to keeping track of your items, an inventory list serves another important purpose: insurance. If you need to submit a claim, your organization will help expedite the process. When moving across the country, having an insurance policy is a must.

Move During Fringe Days and Seasons

If possible, plan your move around heavy traffic times. This might mean avoiding highways near major cities during rush hour or holiday destinations on the weekends. People tend to be on the roads more during the summer holidays, as opposed to the fall when everyone is back in school and vacations are over. By planning your trip for these time periods, you avoid frustrating traffic jams.

When it comes to moving across the country, there are two key components for success: careful planning and outsourcing to the experts. By focusing on these two areas, you can turn your momentous task into an adventure.