Moving Out of State: 12 Steps For a Great Transition

Moving Out of State: 12 Steps For a Great Transition

Woman sitting in boxes packing for out of state move

It’s easy to see moving out of state as a daunting task compared to a shorter distance move. And while it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, you’d be correct in assuming that there’s much more to keep track of when you’re moving out of state. But never fear! We’ve put together the ultimate printable moving out-of-state checklist to cover the broad sweeps of just about any to-do list. Here are some of our best moving out-of-state tips.

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1. Hire Movers

Unlike a local move, moving out of state will more likely than not require some level of professional movers. Therefore this is the first point on your moving out of state checklist. However, you do have options.

Full-service movers: These companies will load and transport your belongings in their own fleet of vehicles, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
Labor-only movers: As the name implies, these movers do not provide trucks or supplies. But they will do the heavy lifting for you so all you’ll have to do is drive.
Moving truck rentals: Complimentary to labor-only movers, moving truck rentals are also an option. With this, you can keep your move largely independent if you’re more of a DIY-er, and the only thing you’ll be outsourcing is the actual vehicle(s).

2. Spread Out Packing

When you’re moving this far, you’re taking everything. Usually in one trip too. You will want to start the packing process early on. This will give you enough time to make packing decisions and coordinate how you will be moving your belongings.

If you have belongings you rarely use or don’t anticipate using in the next few months, why not relieve some impending stress and pack them now? When you start early, you give yourself the freedom to space out your packing little by little so it feels less overwhelming. Slow and steady wins the race!

3. Keep a Binder

For something as big as an out-of-state move, a simple checklist might not be enough to keep track of everything. That’s why we recommend a whole binder!

Here, you can have multiple checklists, budgets, and timelines, as well as space to keep track of important documents. Here’s a great resource on how to construct one of these binders. A moving binder will help you stay organized and on track!

4. Cancel or Transfer Location-Based Memberships

Not everyone thinks of this one! If you have any subscriptions to local services or memberships with local businesses, be sure to cancel them before you move unless you want to be paying for a gym 500 miles away.

5. Visit Doctors Before You Go + Research New Ones

There are two parts to this step: first, schedule appointments with any doctors you think you’ll need to see before you go. If you’re nearing yearly checkups or periodic vaccinations, it’s a good idea to get those out of the way so you won’t be overdue.

Before you move out of state, you’ll want to have researched health professionals in the area according to your needs. Finding new doctors can be tricky. So, it’s smart to get ahead of the curve and already have something set up (or at least have some options) before you move and are thrown into the chaos of settling in. The medical world is smaller than you think. Asking your current providers if they know anyone in the area might be worth your while!

6. Ship Your Car

If you’re traveling to your new home via plane and you have a vehicle you want to keep, you’ll need to hire a company to ship your car cross-country.

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7. Visit Your New Area

This may or may not be within your budget, but if you’re able, visiting the area you’re moving to well in advance is a great way to feel prepared going into your move. You could use the opportunity to pick out houses or apartments, or simply canvas the area if you already have one in mind.

Get a good sense of community. This might feel more abstract than simply looking at houses, but being familiar with the culture you’ll be moving into is a great way to ease you into the new environment. Social media, reviews, and local news are great outlets to do this.

If you can’t visit in person, worry not! There are plenty of ways to research remotely. You might even find a Facebook group for residents in the area. The internet and news outlets are also excellent resources to help you get a feel for an area.

8. Work New Home Expenses Into Your Budget

Of course, making a moving budget is a no-brainer. But what you’ll also want to consider is what it will cost to get started in your new home! Factoring this into your overall expenses can save you a lot of stress post-moving.

For example, when you move to a different state sales taxes will differ. Grocery stores might be more or less expensive. You might be paying for a bus or train pass when you didn’t before. Research all these things and set aside some money to settle into your new area.

9. Evaluate Any Changes in Lifestyle

To piggyback off of my last point, you’ll have to consider and prepare for any anticipated changes in your lifestyle. As I said, grocery stores (and stores in general) could have different prices. But how far is that store to begin with? Maybe you’re able to walk or maybe you have to drive. Find out if it’ll be different than what you’re used to.

You’ll also need to look at this regarding the larger area. If you have children, for example, you should research a decent amount about the school system in the area. Know if it’s a walkable city or not. Also, consider the weather. Will you need to invest in a new wardrobe? Things will likely be pretty different depending on where you’re moving to, so do your research and be prepared for change.

10. Register to Vote

If you plan on living in your new home long-term, you’ll have to register to vote in that state.

11. Change Your Address

You’d have to do this anyway, but when you move out of state you’ll have to update your address information to all the necessary parties. This will also involve getting your mail forwarded to your new place. Depending on the length of your residency, you may have to look into a domicile in your new state.

12. Update Your Information

If you’re going to be a permanent resident of your new state, it might be worth looking into changing your cell phone number so you have a local area code. Of course, this isn’t a required step, but it’s a small thing many people think makes them feel more at home.

If you use a local bank, you might have to look into a new bank. Whatever the case, you’ll have to update your information and address with them, but you’ll be able to keep the same accounts.

Finally, you’ll need a new driver’s license. When you arrive, find your local DMV and make an appointment with them to get your new license.


As I said before, this moving out-of-state checklist covers some broad strokes so you can feel more ready for your next big step. Bottom line: research and prepare! Nothing has to be too overwhelming and as long as you stay on track, you’re in for a great move.

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Samantha attends the University of Northern Colorado as a double major in English and Theatre with minors in Writing and Japanese. In her free time she enjoys creative writing, art, and making music.

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