One of the greatest (and potentially most stressful) adventures in life can be packing up all of your things and moving across the country. Whether for work, school, or just a new start, planning to move to a new region (we’re partial to the great Pacific Northwest) can feel like a huge undertaking.
If you’re travelling across the country to come to the upper-left coast, we’re here to help! Follow our tips, and the move may even seem easy. Here’s what you need to survive the road trip and settle into your new home!
1. Plan your stops and your route. Before packing the car, moving truck, or van, make sure you’ve thoroughly planned out your trip. How many days will it take you? How many times will you need to stop for gas and sleep? If you’ve planned your route in advance, your move will be smooth sailing. This is especially important if you’re moving with children, since you’ll probably need to plan for extra bathroom breaks.
With that in mind, don’t forget to make time for the fun things. How many times will you drive across the country, after all? Allow for the occasional tourist trap or national monument. It’s OK to go out of your way a skosh to create new memories.
2. Check the weather before your leave—for each region you’ll pass through. This goes hand in hand with planning your route. Make sure you’re completely prepared for any eventualities by checking the weather in advance. If you’re travelling through a mountain pass, keep an eye on precipitation levels and have chains for your tires. If extreme weather is a possibility, be sure to have an alternative route planned just in case.
3. Pack an emergency kit. This is critical. Before leaving, make a list of everything you’ll need for an emergency situation and make sure it’s in an easily accessible place. In the event of weather, getting lost, or car troubles, you should have enough food, water, and supplies to keep you dry, warm, and safe for a day or two. We know—Google Maps should be able to get you there safely, but pack an atlas or roadmap just in case. You never know when you’ll lose service or power.
4. Pack an overnight bag. Even though you may be travelling with all of your belongings, most of it will be packed away. Do yourself and your family a favor by packing your necessities separately. When you know where your toiletries and a change of clothes are, it’s much easier to get the rest you’ll need during your stops along the way.
5. Don’t drive in silence. Whether you’re making the trip alone or travelling in a packed car, make sure you’ve got something to listen to. A good playlist can go a long way, and a compelling audiobook or podcast can keep everyone entertained and conversations flowing. Whatever you choose, don’t rely too much on the radio, as you may lose reception over the mountains or driving through a forest.
6. Pack provisions! You’re in for a long haul. And trust us, the Great Plains of the Midwest are beautiful—for a few miles, and then there’s not much else to see. Passengers should take a book, a card game for the kids, their latest knitting project, or anything to help pass the time. Snacks you love make everything better, so have plenty of them at the ready. Bringing your own food ensures you’ll have access to healthy, fresh, and tasty snacks. You don’t want to depend on gas station provisions and fast food for all of your dietary needs.
7. Start your trip well rested. Even if you’re a passenger, being well rested before embarking on a road trip is essential. Get a good night’s sleep the day before, and switch off driving responsibilities. Travelling is exhausting, so make your trip as safe as possible be by getting plenty of rest at the start and before every leg of your journey.
Moving is always difficult, but it’s especially hard when you’re travelling great distances. The great Pacific Northwest is worth it though! Just think of all the craft beer and artisan coffee waiting for you. So, whether you’re just moving down the block or driving from 10 states away, make sure you have a secure spot in Oregon or a safe place in Washington to hold your belongings when you get here.