The Ultimate Cross-Country Move Checklist

Moving across the country can be a fantastic adventure, but it can also be rough if you don’t plan effectively. There’s a ton of planning involved in making a cross-country move, and this helpful guide will outline the most important things to remember. Read on below!

Moving equipment and supplies

When making a cross-country move, it’s worth investing in higher-quality moving supplies to prevent your things from breaking on the way. This category includes essentials like boxes, blankets for padding, and, of course, a moving truck.

  • Moving truck. You won’t get your things anywhere without a moving truck, so it’s important to arrange for one well in advance of your move. You have three main options here: hire a moving company, rent a moving truck, or move with a truck or trailer you own or can borrow.
  • Boxes and tape. Boxing your things up not only makes it easier to move, but it also makes it much easier to find everything when you move into your new place. Be sure to fill boxes to the top so they don’t collapse when stacked, and label them with where they’ll go in your new apartment and whether they’re fragile or heavy.
  • Dolly or hand truck. A moving dolly or hand truck can make moving furniture and large appliances much easier. If you don’t own one, you can rent one from most home improvement stores or a moving truck rental company.
  • Blankets for padding. Over a long cross-country trip, everything in the back of the moving truck tends to jostle around, so make sure you put padding around anything expensive or fragile. You can use blankets you already own or buy dedicated moving blankets that are thick and padded for the best protection.

Personal essentials for the trip

It can also be a good idea to bring some personal essentials with you in an accessible location, especially if your move will take multiple days. Keep these things in the cab of the moving truck, a separate car, or right behind the moving truck door for easy access.

  • Toiletries. At the very minimum, make sure you bring a toothbrush and toothpaste in an easy-to-reach spot, as you probably won’t want to scour the inside of the moving truck to find one on the first night in your new apartment. 
  • Spare clothes. Depending on the length of your trip, you’ll probably want to bring a few sets of clothes with you. Anyone else in the car will thank you!

Anything you’ll want before moving your stuff in

Make a quick list of anything you’ll need to have before you move everything into your new apartment. This category of cross-country moving items could include anything from your new keys to cleaning supplies.

  • Keys. If you already have the keys to your new apartment, make sure you keep them within reach. Otherwise, make sure you arrange to pick them up when you get there.
  • Cleaning supplies and organizational tools. It’s often helpful to have cleaning supplies and organizational tools in your apartment before anything else so you can prepare the area for all of your items.
  • Paperwork. There’s a variety of paperwork involved in moving to a new apartment, so make sure you handle everything before you go. From getting renter’s insurance to changing your mailing address, take care of all your paperwork and filing tasks.


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