Moving Across The Country With Three Kids: A Survival Guide

moving across the country with kids

Moving across the country with three kids is not for the faint of heart, you guys. I should get some kind of medal for most moves with kids in an extremely short period of time. We (as a family) have officially moved FOUR times in two years. We won’t even talk about how many times I have moved in my life as an individual. This last one, though, was a doozie.

Once again, we moved coast to coast. After our brief stint in California, we decided it was time to go back to Georgia. Obviously, the most daunting part of this would be the move. It’s not cheap, it takes a LOT of planning, and the leg work of packing, organizing and moving is intense. This time around, we didn’t have a lot of time from when we found out we would be moving to the actual move date (just a couple of weeks), so we had to hustle. (Here’s an old post on planning that may help, too.)

These are the steps I took from I found out we were moving across the country with three kids.

moving across the country with kids

1 | Give notice to necessary places.

This can be a number of things, including your employers! In my case, that was: our apartment complex, Grayson’s school and Charlie’s school. Also, cancel any appointments that may be made.

2 | Look for a home in your new location.

The first thing I needed to figure out is obviously WHERE we would be landing once we got there.

3 | Change address with USPS

As soon as you have a forwarding address, schedule the address change on the USPS website. It costs $1 to do it that way.

4 | Book your moving company.

I had used Upack twice already, so I was hoping they would still be competitive in pricing, and they were! They are historically the most affordable for long distance moves, and I have always been extremely happy with their customer service. When I booked, I needed to estimate what would be most economical (they have a few different options) AND how much space I needed. Their customer service people are always enthusiastic and professional at helping me figure out how many feet of space I need based on the inventory of my house. Every time I have moved with them, they have spent time on the phone with me to help me figure out what would save me the most money. Upselling is not their priority.

I have moved with them using their relocubes AND their shipping container. Both were great, it just depends on your needs. Whatever you choose, they will drop it off at your home on your desired date and pick it up when you are ready. This last time, we were in an apartment complex that didn’t have allowable parking space for a shipping container, so we had to do something a little different that Upack offers…

We did a terminal to door move.

This means that we loaded up a moving truck on our own through another company and drove our stuff to the closest terminal to load onto the shipping container. We didn’t really have a choice in that instance, but that option DOES save a lot of money, which is why some people choose to do it that way. The shipping container actually left the Upack terminal that night, and arrived at our house in Georgia one week later. As soon as we unloaded, I went online and chose the option reflecting that we were unpacked- and they came and got the shipping container the next morning. Super easy! (I know I got wordy on that one, but I love this company and highly recommend them.)

moving across the country with kids

5 | PACK.

This is so chaotic for me with three kids. It takes weeks to pack everyone’s everything. Accept any help you are offered and pack a little bit every day. I found boxes through posting “ISO” type things in my local Facebook groups, and asking local retailers what days they put their boxes out. (Here’s a post I did on packing.)

6 | Figure out how everyone is getting to point B.

For us, it involved booking plane tickets for me and the babies, and mapping a road trip map for Tyler and Grayson. (This comes with a whole new set of instructions like how to keep a baby/toddler happy on a plane and how to buy every snack known to man in an attempt to keep an eight year old happy on a 36 hour road trip…)

7 | Prepare the necessary things at the final destination.

Set up utilities, arrange to have help unloading, register for new schools, make new patient appointments for all the kids to establish care, etc.

8 | MOVE.

It’s moving day! You should have everything sorted and ready to go. Don’t forget to book Upack for the best possible experience in getting your home from A to B.

moving across the country with kids

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  • Reply
    Jordan Blake
    April 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Do you recommend a website or other moving companies also? Preferably that they transport both house-hold and vehicle move.

  • Reply
    Amanda Noble
    April 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Love your guide! Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    Mike White
    April 27, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Moving with kids is very problematically work. Kids are do not give packing work while moving. Your blog is really helpful for moving work. There are so many developers working on this part but this is one of the best innovative post ever. Thanks for such post.

  • Reply
    John Parker
    June 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    You have my respects. Is it not easy planning a move with 3 kids. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Keep in mind, depending on the time of year you may want to book your moving company as soon as you have a destination and date! Summer for example, can be weeks before there is availability!

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