Moving Long Distance? Some Things to Do for a Successful Move

So, you’ve gotten that job transfer out-of-town, or have just decided the time’s ripe for you to have that change of scenery or fresh start. And the place for that just happens to be far, say over 200 miles, from where you are living now.

This means a long distance move. And things to consider.

You may already know where you want to move to. But even if you’ve visited the area many times at different times of the year, it is still best to plan an extended visit, of at least two weeks, with the idea of living there. The greater the differences of all kinds between the new area and where you live now, the more this is important!

And it is also important that you make your visit during that time that you may find it most difficult to cope!

And differences in climate can be one of the biggest factors determining whether or not you will really like the area you want to move to.

I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have, too, stories of people from areas with cold, snowy weather, who went to Florida or southern Arizona for the Christmas holidays. They found the 70 degree days just beautiful and decided on the spot to move there. Then summer arrives with 90+ degree temps and great humidity in Florida, or 110+ degrees in Phoenix, and boy, they can’t stand it!

Also, even if temperatures and humidity don’t bother you much, can you cope with seasonal extremes such as droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, or flooding?

What about earthquakes, wildfires, and landslides? Earthquakes, while not weather related, are a fact of life in California and Alaska in particular. And much of the west is subject to wildfires in summer and early fall. Any hilly area can experience landslides and can be especially treacherous in snowy or icy conditions.

I moved from southern California to the Portland area in 2004. I dislike heat and that was one of my reasons for leaving. So, I planned a two-week trip to Portland, not in summer, but in the dead of winter. I knew that if I could stand a Los Angeles summer, I could certainly stand a Portland summer. But winter was another matter. While not as cold as back east, a Portland winter is still much colder than a Los Angeles winter. While two weeks does not add up to a whole winter, I did get a good taste of what I would have to deal with yearly, and helped me make a much more informed decision as to whether I should move to the Portland area. So, if climate is a big concern and the new area has a different or more extreme climate than your current area, try to go when the new area’s climate is most disagreeable to you.

Also consider cost of living and taxes. If you’re moving from a small town in Kansas to New York City or Los Angeles, be prepared for major sticker shock!  That one-bedroom apartment you’re in now that you rent for $500 could be $1500 in Los Angeles and $2,500 in New York City! And this can apply even if you’re moving from Bakersfield, California to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Cost of living can vary even within the same county in some cases. In Los Angeles County, an apartment in Palmdale will rent for less than a similar apartment in the city of Los Angeles.

Population is another thing to consider. Can you handle the big city crowds? Will you feel like you’re living in a ghost town in that small town you want to live in? Are the neighbors too close? Or too far away?

Culture can be related to this. You want to live in the French Quarter of New Orleans? That means a huge party at your front door every year at Mardi Gras time. If you’re not sure about this, be sure to visit during Mardi Gras. You may like it or you may not.

Layout of the new area. Yes, this is also important! When I made my preliminary two-week trip to Portland, I discovered that an apartment complex that had looked promising to me on the internet, was located in an area that had only one main route into downtown, and was often crowded with traffic. I found the other side of town better laid out and traffic and crowd friendly. No amount of internet research would have told me this, which is why a personal and extended preliminary visit is really essential.

What is the local economy like? If you are moving due to a job transfer, then you won’t have to worry right away about finding a job, as you’ll already have one, but it’s still a good idea to find out what the local economy is like, just in case you get laid off unexpectedly. You can get an idea even before you take your preliminary trip. is a good start. You’re able to select from a large number of locations. Check out what jobs, and how many, you find in the new area you’re moving to. And you can also browse the forums as well. You can also get an idea of rents and housing prices as well. It’s a good area to start your research.

And of course, finding a new place to live is important. My first post is titled  “How to Find a Better Apartment: What I Did“, which I published in November, 2012. In it, I tell how to find a better apartment, what to consider, etc. Much of what I talk about in that post can also be applied to buying a house or condo as well.

Lastly, there’s the problem of moving your belongings. You can hire a moving company which can do it in one trip, but it can cost you and you do have to make sure you’re dealing with reputable people. Or you can do it yourself, which may involve several long distance trips or renting a truck. Then, if you have pets, they may require special treatment or arrangements. there are companies that specialize in transporting pets, but again, you need to do your research.

So, you can see that there are lots of things to consider for this type of move. Again, the best thing you can do to make it successful is to make sure you really want to do it, and the best thing to help you decide is to take that preliminary trip to the area you want to move to. And, if this is the result of a job transfer, and especially if the company offers to pay for a preliminary trip, take that trip!

So, best of luck with your move!

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