Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Single Girl's Guide to Moving Cross Country

2016 UPDATE: This post is nearly three years old now I have since moved over to I am a spiritual coach/mentor for women who want to move to a new city so you'll find plenty of helpful advice and insight on my new site.

When I was getting ready to move, I couldn't find the answers and help that I was looking for. So, I have also created a course to teach you EVERYTHING you need to know. From working through your fear, to apartment hunting, the moving logistics, and how to settle into your new city. The course is called Soul-Centered Moving: A Spirited Course in Moving Cross Country Alone. You won't want to miss this. Get all of the details and enroll here.


I know a lot about moving across the country as a single girl and can't say I know many other single girls who've moved across the country as many times as I have (three.) Shoot, if you single girls who've had big moves are out there, come say hi on Instagram! We're a rare breed :)

So, when I say I've moved across the country 3 times, (2016 Update: I've now moved cross country 5 times!) I don't mean I shipped my stuff and flew there. I mean I actually drove. The first time in a car, the second time in a Penske truck with my car on a trailer, and the third time in my new car. And I'm going to be completely honest right now and say that I loved it.

There are few things as fascinating as seeing your country that way. Seeing the change in terrain, the change in culture, in accents, in weather, in food, in landmarks. To be able to drive through those changes. It really makes you think. And... it makes you delirious too :)

Here are my tips for making the move:

1. Do your research on means of transportation:
     +Depending on the time of year [and cost of fuel] it might be cheaper to ship all of your belongings rather than rent a U-Haul or Penske truck. Get quotes. Do the numbers. Sell whatever you can. [I sold my bed, box springs and couches to eliminate all of that space and weight] and ended up having ABF pick up my belongings and drop everything off for me in San Diego. It was THE easiest trip out of all three moves.

For details on each of my moves and how ABF works, sign up for my Soul-Centered Moving eCourse! or get a free download taken straight from the course by signing up here!

2. Map your trip:
     +This might seem like a given but some people don't do it. I didn't map my route mile by mile per day because I know it's smarter to be a little more flexible. One day you might be absolutely exhausted and can't make the last 100 miles of that leg. Look for nearby towns close to your end "goal" city each day. Then, once you're ready to turn in for the night, you'll be able to pull up hotels that are close by. It's not worth it to push yourself when you're tired!

3. Take care of your pets:
     +For those who are curious, yes, Stella made two of the three drives with me. I kept her in her soft carrier the entire trip. Don't chance your cat getting out in the car! When I wasn't driving, I held her carrier on my lap, unzipped the side of it and let her cuddle up to my hand. When we'd stop, I'd take out a little food and water and see if she wanted any. In most cases, she was disinterested until about an hour after settling into the hotel at night. Her litter box was kept in a big bag which made it easy to transport each night.

If you're traveling with pets, is a great resource for pet-friendly accommodations.

4. Find some fun landmarks:
     +We didn't turn the cross-country drive into a long vacation, we made it in 3.5 days, but we did find some fun landmarks to visit while we were on the road. Roadside America is one of the best resources to find funky, unique attractions along your route! We stopped by the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ and Winslow, AZ ["Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona..."] to name a few!

5. Be Flexible:
     +You never know what's going to happen. If you're traveling during certain parts of the year, weather might unexpectedly become an issue. If you're traveling with a moving truck, something might go wrong with it [Example: Driving down a ridiculously steep grade in West Virginia when my Penske truck's brakes went out. That was fun...] Shoot, you might even realize after being cooped up in a small space for 14 hours everyday day that you are actually allergic to your cat. [Yep, that'd be me.]

This is why being awake and alert is so important. You need to be able to address and assess situations as they come.

6. Take advantage of rest stops:
     +Because in areas like the Texas panhandle, you never know when you'll see a bathroom [or signs of life] again. Stretch, splash your face with water, grab a snack or a meal if it's time, snap some shots of the great outdoors. Bet you'd never believe this picture below was taken at a rest stop:

Do the stars give away which state I was in at the time?

7. Bring a travel companion:
     +I know it's possible to make a cross country trip alone, but as a single girl, I highly suggest, for your own safety and sanity, to bring along another human being for the ride. Preferably someone you know ;) Bring a family member who's looking for a road trip or maybe there is a friend you can pick up on the way! During my first move, I drove the first leg and picked up a friend in the next state. And on my second and third moves, my dad was able to help!

8. Sleep and Eat
     +It's easy to force yourself to drive until midnight but just don't do it. On my most recent move to California [and my longest drive of the three] 8:00pm was probably the latest we stopped. Most nights we would stop, settle into our hotel, and then find a restaurant close by to sit down and grab a bite. You need to decompress and find a little time to relax. I'll never forget how we watched a Redskins game in Oklahoma. And then I watched Pretty Little Liars on my laptop until I fell asleep. Standard.

9. Take the scenic route:
     +At least once. At the last minute, we decided to follow the "Scenic Route" sign in Arizona which led us just off the freeway into a little parking area where there were views like these:

10. Enjoy!
     +Just take it all in. Not everyone gets the opportunity [or has the desire] to do this! Take a million pictures. Or at least plan to take a few hundred :) Even if it's just out the car window, take pictures of everything you see. Looking back at those pictures still makes me so happy. I also took about 60 different clips of video which one of these days I'll make into a montage.

Moving cross country is stressful and scary and exhausting but I truly mean it when I say I've had three of the most amazing experiences of my life doing it. Get out there. See our country. Do it the hard way. It's worth it :)

Again, I have moved over to a new space, where you'll get tons of free inspiration and advice on life, moving, and dream conquering.

 I'd be honored to have you join the community of other women moving to new cities when you register for the Soul-Centered Moving eCourse. Because, truly, there is so much more to teach you about moving and making this next chapter of your life the best one yet. The course offers guided visualizations, workbooks, checklists, budgeting worksheets, vision board making, and so much more. If you're not ready to register yet, get a free download from the course, by signing up here.

I'll see you there!



Chelsea said...

I've always wanted to do this!!I know when I move down south I defiantly won't be flying :)

The Pink Growl said...

I wish I had the guts to do this!

Ashleigh said...

I'm planning on moving from Michigan to South Carolina and even though I'm not a single girl these tips were awesome!

BossNurse said...

How cool! I also did a "moving" post. We also used Upack (ABF) and had a great experience. I've probably moved at least 20 times in my life, as short as across town, and as far as from the lower 48 to Alaska. Really enjoyed your post :)

Katie Did What said...

Great tips!! Zack and I have been talking about doing a cross-country road trip sometime soon (aka before babies!) and I will def be consulting you for some help in our planning! ;)
I love that you've done this 3 times! damnnn girl!

Anonymous said...

This is great! And very timely, for me. I'm moving to Colorado from Georgia in August and definitely a little apprehensive about it all!

Jenn @ West Sac Honey said...

Ooh Chelsea! So much to tell you! I may be moving across the country here soon so this was perfect to read! I'm totally going to bombard you with questions when it comes closer.

ashleigh said...

this is awesome, i have only moved across props to you!

Becky Conroy said...

Fantastic story. Love road trips. Impressed you have done this three times. I am soon to be moving kind of cross country but living in the uk that's only 4 hours haha. Not really the same. Xx

Ashley said...

You go, single girl Chels! I can't get enough of your super inspiring cross country move. I just love that you went for it... and that you're loving it! Xo

Casey said...

I loved this post so much, I included it in my series, Lots of Link Love! I'd love if you came by and checked it out, and maybe shared with your readers!


miracle said...

Is very beautiful. I think I fell in love with this life.

cheap nba jerseys

Becca Moss said...

I absolutely LOVE this! & seriously, you're gorgeous!

Fahad Naseer said...

Which Car you want..? Here is a best list of Cars and Vehicles, Hot Vehicles, Strange Cars, Super Cars Model, Funny Cars, Car Latest Models, Cars with Girls, Cars like helicopter and Most Speed and Expensive Cars

Whitney said...

I would love to drive across country at least once. We do have the opportunity to drive from Kentucky to Colorado, but we are flying instead.

My hubby has move across country. He is originally from Los Angeles and then moved to DC and then later moved to Kentucky.

David Johnson said...

Wow Chelsea, you are a trooper! I have moved across country twice on my own and it is not easy to do. I don't know why but once I get driving on the open road, lost in my thoughts I tend to start to nod off after awhile...scary! Good to hear you made the trip safe, fun, and enjoyable. I live in AZ and it truly is beautiful here in this state. Great pics btw!

For anyone wanting to know more about ways to save money and lower moving costs, please visit my full guide here: Cheap Ways To Move Across Country

Thanks again for sharing your awesome cross-country moving experience Chelsea. Cheers!

Candace said...

This is awesome. Thanks for the post. I'm movie from NY to LA in September. First time being on my own except for a brief stint in North Carolina when I was 20. This reassured me that not only can I do it but I'm making the right decision! said...

I'm about to do this for the second time. I moved from NC to Cali for a year… took a train and shipped my stuff on it too! It was daunting but amazing when I got there. Then I came back… been here 10 years, graduated, many life lessons… and now fresh and released upon the world once again … driving across country to seattle at the end of september… nervous as hell, as I really know only two people out there. But I visited and loved it and want to give it a shot. I have a living situation set up, so that is a relief. But the packing … dang… and saying goodbye to friends. It is sooo hard. Thanks for your inspiring blog post, really need to see more of this published by women who've done it. Cheers to you!

rachelle shanrock said...

At 19 I moved from Phoenix to Boise, at 21 I moved from Boise to Portland, at 22 I moved from Portland to Des Moines, and now at 26 I'm moving from Des Moines to Denver!! Thanks for the tips! : )

Radbourne barak said...

How To Find perfect One :- The Single Girl's Handbook

Denyale Brown said...

Wow! This was really helpful!! I plan to move from IL to CA some time this year.....and yes, all by myself!!!

Narasiman Ramachandran said...

This is awesome. Thanks for posting up your notes. This will be very helpful
Penske truck

Jade Graham said...

There was more good news was that my trip north took me through the first weather front to see parting skies.

Neissah Rene said...

Great tips! I have one too: when i moved across Canada I used and they helped me design my new home and they delivered and set up all the furniture for me. So it was one less thing to think about when moving my entire life!! Its worth checking their website. They also deliver to USA if anyone needs it

Cindy Kistler said...

While marketing can be tricky, it is the content that makes the site important. If you provide informative content that serves the needs of your visitors, word will spread.
usps change of address form

Change Our Address said...

It might sound obvious but making sure that you have packed everything prior to moving and US post office change of address is a good idea.

Pricing Van Lines said...

If you are searching for the Cheapest movers cross country. Pricing Van Lines is one of the best company that provides the best services to their clients with full satisfaction and their needs.

StevenHWicker said...

Interesting Article. Hoping that you will continue posting an article having a useful information. Car shipping for military personnel