A young couple taking cardboard boxes out of the bed of a pickup truck parked in front of their new home

Everything You Need To Know About Moving Out of State

Long-Distance Moves

by Shannon Jacobs Posted on February 28, 2024

Whether your dream job is calling or you’re just ready for a new chapter, moving out of state can be an exciting change. But it’s not always an easy transition. Even if you’re just hopping over the border to a neighboring state, there’s a lot to do to get ready. So we’ve compiled a list of tips for moving out of state — to help you plan, make the move, and hit the ground running when you get there.

A car drives through an American suburb, scouting out the neighborhood and looking for a perfect home

1. First Things First: Find the Right Neighborhood.

Finding a new home in an unfamiliar city or state can feel overwhelming. But it’s a great opportunity to reevaluate your lifestyle and think about how you want to live in your new state — a fresh start is always exciting! If you’ve always been drawn to the ‘burbs, maybe this is a chance to try urban living. Or maybe you’re ready for a garden and some room to roam in the country. 

After you’ve determined the kind of neighborhood you want, start doing some research to find a good match. If you already have a job lined up, you may want to reality-check potential commute times to the workplace from the areas you like. If you’re a parent, researching local schools will be an essential part of your decision. And it’s never a bad idea to take a look at crime rates in your potential neighborhoods

Sometimes the best way to figure out where to live is to just do it — move into temporary housing or stay with friends or relatives for a bit to get a feel for the new city. Once you have your location narrowed down, you can focus your search on finding the home or apartment that meets your priorities for space, budget, and amenities. But for now, your goal is to play tourist and get to know everything you can about your new city.

2. Research Moving and Storage Solutions: Are You Really Prepared To DIY? 

How you make your move depends on a lot of factors — your budget, for starters: The average cost for moving out of state starts at about $2,000, depending on what kind of move you choose. Other things to consider include timing, how much stuff you have, and whether you’ll need temporary storage. The costs involved in moving to another state can quickly get out of hand, so it’s important to research all options. The key is to understand what type of moving solution fits your needs and make sure your estimates cover all the details, with no surprise costs popping up down the road. 

If you’ve got a generous relocation budget but you’re short on time, a traditional moving company that packs, loads, drives, unloads, and unpacks all your belongings may be for you. The cost can be prohibitive, but with the right funding — including help from your employer, if possible — this may be the way to go when you’re relocating to another state. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the total DIY move, where you rent a truck or trailer, load up all your stuff, and take the wheel headed for your new state. If you go this route, make sure to select a truck that’s the right size to hold all your belongings — and don’t forget insurance.

Maybe you’d like to find something in between a full-service company and a self-service move. In that case, a moving and storage container service like PODS may be the right option. Portable storage and moving containers reduce the stress involved with all the things to consider when moving out of state: You don’t have to rent a truck, which means you don’t have to worry about driving, gas prices, extra insurance, and all the other details of being on the road. And you’ll have plenty of flexibility with PODS for moving out of state, because the container will be parked just outside your door.

And if you’re opting for temporary housing and need storage, it’s a no-brainer. Keep your belongings in a PODS secure storage facility until you’re ready to have everything delivered to your permanent address — there’s no need for unloading and reloading twice! You can also go à la carte on other services like packing, loading, and unloading by hiring only the help you need.

Q: How do I start over in another state?
A new beginning — how exciting! But it can also be daunting, if you’re leaving behind extended family, a beloved group of coworkers, or a longtime community of friends. Once you’re settled in the new house with your belongings unpacked and all the details of moving to a different state completed, it’s time to venture out. Look for clubs and organizations aligned with your interests, from recreation (hiking, maybe?) to volunteer opportunities and hobby groups. And be sure to check out your local library — a great place to find monthly meetings of all kinds of community collectives.

3. Make a Moving Out of State Checklist — and Check It Twice!

Moving to another state involves a logistical challenge that can feel akin to planning a trip to Mars. There’s timing, distance, budgets, cargo limits, weather, and a gazillion moving parts. Having fun yet? 

To keep it all in check, you need a plan. Our moving checklist gives you a solid place to start and provides many details that you might otherwise not think of. When you’re mapping out your plan, just remember that even with the best preparation, there are bound to be some hiccups. 

Pro Tip: If possible, build in some extra time on either end of your move to allow for the unexpected. Leaving some room for error will help keep the stress at a manageable level. This way, if something goes wrong, it (hopefully) won’t be catastrophic.

Family loading the car for moving with suitcases and duffel bags

When you’re moving out of state, keep important documents with you rather than stowing them away in a moving truck.

4. Channel Your Inner Packing Guru.

Your belongings are about to hit the road, and it might be a while before you see them again. First, make it easier on yourself and your budget by lightening the load. The less you take with you, the less you have to pack — and the easier it’ll be to find the important things on the other end. 

Now is the time to declutter. Before you even open the packing tape, clean out those junk drawers, get rid of that beat-up Ikea dining set from 10 years ago, and take a hard look at your wardrobe. Go through all your stuff and decide what’s worth keeping — and then sell or donate the furniture, clothing, and knickknacks that aren’t sparking joy anymore.

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Once you start packing, remember to label everything. When you’re moving out of state, be kind to your future self by staying as organized as possible. Put essential items together and label them for priority unpacking. Group stuff you won’t need right away separately, labeling those boxes to open later. And it’s not enough to label one side of a box. Think 3D: Mark every side so you can see the label no matter which side the box is facing.

And while you’re organizing and packing up all your stuff, make sure to keep important documents and valuables with you, rather than stowing them away in a moving truck. This includes things like your birth certificate, social security card, proof of car insurance, and passport. The same is true for medication — which you should always keep within easy reach — and family heirlooms, jewelry, cameras, and computers.

Stacks of moving boxes labeled with rooms and contents

Be kind to your future self by clearly labeling your boxes on every side — so you can see the label no matter which side of the box faces.

5. Make Your New Home Move-In Ready.

Whether you’re renting or buying, make sure to get your utilities set up and turned on before you arrive. The last thing you need after the disruption of moving to a new state is to arrive in the dark! It’s also a good idea to take essentials with you, like toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a few bath and hand towels. A shower curtain and rings might come in handy, as well, because being on the road can get grimy. And nobody wants to have to hunt through boxes in a frenzy after days of travel.

As for the rest of the house, getting fully organized will take time. But starting with the kitchen is always a wise move — coffee in the morning, anyone? It’s also a good idea to have a few healthy snacks and drinks on hand — breakfast bars, a few bottles of water or Gatorade, trail mix — to tide you over until a grocery store run is feasible. 

6. Update Everything — From the DMV to the IRS.

Besides the logistics of moving your stuff, there’s also some paperwork involved when you move to a new state. One of the most important steps is to change your address on all your important accounts — car insurance, banking, and credit cards, for instance. Also arrange to get your mail forwarded to your new home — it’s easy to do online with the USPS — just in case there are stray accounts you forgot to notify that you’re relocating out of state. 

Once you’ve established residency, you’ll need to go to the local DMV to get an updated driver’s license. If you own a car, be sure to get your new registration and tag within the required time limit. It’s always wise to research these details online, including what kind of identification and other documentation you’ll need, before making a trip to the office. Many DMV offices also offer online appointment scheduling so you don’t get stuck waiting for hours. 

And keep in mind that when you move to another state, your taxes for that year will be split between the two states. That means you’ll probably have to file two different state tax returns, unless you’re moving to or from one of the nine states without a state income tax. As with everything involved in relocating to another state, do your research. 

Q: How do I officially move to another state?
Establishing residency is the key to being “official” in your new home. While the details may vary from state to state, you’ll definitely need to get a driver’s license and transfer your car title and registration — both tasks accomplished at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. And finally, register to vote — and be sure to check into the details, because the requirements have changed in many states in recent years.

A group of friends gather at a restaurant table, drinking tea and talking

Make time to say goodbye to friends and family before you make the big move to a new state.

7. Take Time To Enjoy the Moving Adventure.

With all the stress of planning a move, it’s also important to make the most of the experience. After all, relocating to a different state is a significant life change. So take time out once in a while during the hustle and bustle to acknowledge and celebrate the move you’re making. And that includes enjoying where you’re living now before moving to a different state. Reward your hard work by taking time to enjoy friends and family. Savor every moment at your favorite spots, from the neighborhood park to the restaurant where the owner knows your name.

Moving out of state isn’t always a walk in the park, but some smart planning and organizing will go a long way toward smoothing your path. Start saving to cover those moving costs, come up with a timeline as far in advance as you can, and make a detailed moving plan — and you’ll be enjoying life in your new state in no time.

Shannon Jacobs is a Tampa-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. She has lived in Atlanta, the Berkshires, and Nashville, but always returns to the warmth of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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When moving out of state, which state taxes do you pay for the pod charges (origin delivery, origin pickup, rent, freight, dest. delivery and pick up)? The one you're moving from or the one you're moving to?
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Moving from Charleston SC to Boise ID on dec 27. 1 bed room
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I would love to move to West Virginia with my family and find out how to get on that program to get started
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