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What is a Long-Distance Move?

What's in this article?
  1. Defining Long-Distance Moves
  2. Why People Relocate Long Distances
  3. Challenges Of Long-Distance Moves
  4. Logistics
  5. Costs
  6. Leaving Friends And Family
  7. Getting To Know New Location
  8. Finding New Housing
  9. Transferring Records
  10. Preparing For A Seamless Long-Distance Relocation
  11. Create Detailed Timeline
  12. Research Moving Companies Thoroughly
  13. Consider The Pros And Cons Of Diy Move
  14. Purge And Declutter
  15. Transfer Important Accounts
  16. Secure Housing
  17. Say Goodbyes
  18. Settling Into Your New Home After A Long-Distance Move
  19. Explore The New Community
  20. Set Up Services
  21. Obtain New Documents
  22. Meet Neighbors
  23. Find Favorite Spots
  24. Deal With Emotions
  25. Making Long-Distance Moves As Smooth As Possible
What is a Long-Distance Move?

Moving to a new home in the same town or city can be stressful enough, but relocating more than 100 miles away becomes an actual long-distance move full of extra challenges.

Whether crossing state lines or moving halfway across the country, long-distance moves require additional planning, effort, and costs compared to local activities.

Long-distance relocations can be daunting, from packing up all your belongings to traversing hundreds of miles in a rental truck. But you can make the process go smoothly with strategic preparation and organization.

Read on to learn what constitutes a long-distance move, reasons people make faraway moves, logistical challenges to expect, top tips for preparing, and how to settle into your new home after an out-of-state or cross-country relocation.


Defining Long-Distance Moves

Most people consider moves of more than 100 miles or crossing state lines long-distance relocations.

For example, if you currently live in Houston, TX, and get a new job offer in Austin, TX, that would require packing up your life and moving over 150 miles away.

Any relocation outside your current geographic region and community is typically considered a long-distance move. You'll face new logistics, costs, and planning compared to moving within the same metropolitan area.

Why People Relocate Long Distances

Families and individuals pack up their lives and move long distances for many reasons. Some of the most common motivations include:

  • Career Opportunities - A new job, transfer, or promotion that requires relocating to an entirely new region is one of the main reasons people make long treks. For example, after working in New York, an accountant takes a senior manager role at a firm's California office.
  • Family - Moving closer to family members who live far away or having a relative relocate and wanting to be near them again are common family-related reasons for long-distance moves. Grandparents moving closer to their grandkids or vice versa are some examples.
  • Significant Other's Job - If your spouse, partner, or significant other takes a new job in a different state, you may undertake a long-distance move to stay together. One partner accepting a position in a new city can uproot the entire household.
  • Change of Scenery - Sometimes, people want a fresh start or to experience a new part of the country. An example is moving from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest for its scenery and lifestyle.
  • Retirement Relocation - Many people choose to move upon retirement to their dream destination or a place with lower living costs and taxes. For instance, snowbirds move from Michigan to Arizona.
  • Military Orders - Members of the armed forces frequently have to relocate to new bases and stations across the U.S. or abroad, resulting in frequent long-distance moves.
  • Higher Education - When a student chooses a college or university more than 100 miles from home, they must complete a long-distance move to campus.

Challenges of Long-Distance Moves

From logistics to costs to emotion, long-distance relocations present unique challenges compared to local moves.


The logistics of moving all your belongings hundreds or thousands of miles is a significant undertaking. You must thoroughly research, vet, and hire a long-distance moving company if you don't want to rent trucks and push yourself.

You also have to meticulously inventory, pack, and load all possessions without anything getting lost or damaged along the way. Unloading and unpacking on the other end also takes time and organization.


Long-distance moves are expensive between hiring movers, renting trucks, paying for gas, hotels along the way, and real estate fees and deposits. The average interstate move costs $5,630, according to International activities can cost thousands more.

Leaving Friends and Family

Leaving behind the family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community you're used to having around takes an emotional toll. Major geographic distance makes it much harder to see those people regularly.

Getting to Know New Location

You'll have to take significant time getting oriented in your new long-distance destination, learning your way around, finding places to eat and shop, establishing doctors, understanding local laws and processes, and more. You're starting fresh.

Finding New Housing

Searching for a home to rent or buy sight unseen in an unfamiliar location you've never stepped foot in is difficult. You can't visualize the neighborhoods or get an authentic feel for commute times and amenities.

Transferring Records

You must officially transfer a laundry list of accounts, records, licenses, and memberships to your new address and region. This includes medical records, bank accounts, vehicle registration, permits, etc.


Preparing for a Seamless Long-Distance Relocation

Giving yourself adequate time to prepare and using organizational tools can help maximize the chances your long-distance move goes smoothly.

Create Detailed Timeline

Develop a comprehensive timeline of everything that needs to happen leading up to moving day, from giving notice at work to changing your address. Include deadlines for handing in paperwork, canceling/transferring accounts, charitable donations, and goodbyes.

Research Moving Companies Thoroughly

Spend time reading reviews and comparing bids from long-distance moving companies. Get itemized quotes for mileage, weight/size limits, insurance, packing, and timing.

Consider the Pros and Cons of DIY Move

Do a thorough cost-benefit analysis to decide if you should rent trucks and move yourself vs. hiring movers: factor time, physical effort, costs, and risk of damage.

Purge and Declutter

Be ruthless about decluttering belongings before a long-distance move. Have garage sales and donate items you won't need or that won't be worth moving. The less you have to pack and transport, the better.

Transfer Important Accounts

Give yourself time to transfer medical, dental, insurance, banking, retirement fund, and investment accounts to new providers in your destination state or region.

Secure Housing

Start your housing search early so you can view virtual tours and lock down a rental or purchase in advance, lining up utilities, internet, and essential services to activate on move-in day.

Say Goodbyes

Please don't underestimate the time it will take to correctly say goodbye to all the special people in your life. Schedule heartfelt meetups and gatherings before you go—exchange contact info to stay connected.

Settling Into Your New Home After a Long-Distance Move

Once you've traversed the country with a moving truck full of possessions and handed over the keys to your old home, the real work begins - establishing your new normal in an unfamiliar place. Here are some tips for getting situated:

Explore the New Community

Wander around your new neighborhood, downtown area, and surrounding region to get your bearings. Look for grocery stores, parks, gyms, restaurants, and other places you'll frequent.

Set Up Services

Contact all the local service providers like utilities, cable, and internet to set up new accounts. Forward your mail and update your address everywhere.

Obtain New Documents

Get a new driver's license, update vehicle registration, file state taxes, register to vote, and transfer any other necessary legal documents in your new state of residence.


Meet Neighbors

Don't be shy about introducing yourself to neighbors. They can give you the inside scoop on the area and local events. Attend community functions and join local Facebook groups to expand your network.

Find Favorite Spots

It may take some time, but explore until you discover the go-to restaurants, cafes, shops, recreation spots, and other haunts that make you feel at home.

Deal With Emotions

Recognize that grieving your old home and community while adjusting to so much newness is natural and takes time to fully process emotionally. Be patient with yourself.

Making Long-Distance Moves as Smooth as Possible

Long-distance relocations require extensive planning, effort, and sacrifice. But embracing all the exciting opportunities a new home across the country offers can make it worthwhile.

The key is giving yourself ample time to prepare thoughtfully, use organizational tools, thoroughly research your new destination, and say goodbye to your old community.

With strategic preparation, careful packing and cross-country transport of your items, and an open mind to embrace your new surroundings, you can settle into your new home smoothly after a long-distance move.

Trust A1 Auto Transport's long-distance movers to make your long-distance move easier. Our team of expert movers can help you get your stuff to your new home easily and without delay. We can move your car, household goods, or just about anything else to over 190 countries worldwide and to all 50 states.

Get a free quote for your long-distance move.

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Tony Taylor's journey in the auto transport industry began with a simple but powerful belief: he could do it better. Purchasing his first tow truck, he laid the cornerstone for what would become A-1 Auto Transport. With over two decades of hands-on experience, Tony has grown to be an industry veteran, an invaluable resource to whom other companies in this field often turn for advice.

Through hard work and dedication from Tony and his team, A-1 Auto Transport is now one of the largest United States based global auto transport companies. With offices and storage facilities scattered across major U.S. cities and throughout many countries abroad, Tony ensures that a dedicated staff of experienced professionals stands ready to provide unbeatable service at highly competitive prices.

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