Tips for Planning National Park Visits During Your Move

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As America’s #1 Mover®, United Van Lines is here to help streamline and simplify your move. As a trusted advisor, we tackle the heavy lifting, while guiding you throughout the journey. Why? Because it’s not just business to us — we care.

Moving is a new beginning and you need to attend to your wellbeing, whether it’s managing moving stress or turning your home into a tranquil oasis.

Since a long-distance drive often accompanies a long-distance move, our national park guide series was designed to set the tone for the adventure ahead. A celebration of the country’s untouched beauty, they’re full of ways to stretch your legs — and settle your mind — between points A and B.

And once you settle into your new abode? Our national park guides are ready and waiting to help you explore natural resources nearby. Interactive, downloadable and shareable, you can pass them along to your outdoorsy family, friends and neighbors, too.

Ready to fit some national park hikes into your long-distance move? And be comfortable while you do? Read on.

National Parks to Visit During Your Move

Are you prone to restless legs? Do your kids sing a chorus of “are we there yets?” There’s no better way to work out the jitters during an hours-long drive than a walk in the woods, amid mountains, along the ocean or across plains — especially when it’s at the country’s greatest national treasures, national parks.

Here are our guides intended to spark ideas, soothe your soul and make memories en route to your new home — not to mention once your boxes are unpacked.

General Tips for Visiting National Park

These helpful tips, considerations and advice will help you make the most of a visit to National Park Service-managed lands. Remote, unpopulated and vast, they have a way of overwhelming — even intimidating — the casual tourist. But don’t worry, rangers and fellow hikers are happy to help. Our national park guides will help, too.

  • Get an annual national park pass
  • Buy a park passport — and stamp it at each visitor’s center
  • Book early — nearby accommodations fill up well in advance
  • Bring proper gear — and prepare for weather changes
  • Dress in layers and bring a daypack
  • Drink water — and lots of it
  • Slather on sunscreen, regardless of the weather
  • Pack a picnic, as dining options are limited-to-non-existent
  • Stop by the gift shop — they tend to be great
  • Gas up the night before — hours vary, and options are few and far between
  • Combine camping with a stay in a historic lodge or Airbnb
  • Befriend park rangers for insider information
  • Download park, weather and GPS apps in advance
  • Check the park website for time entry requirements
  • Leave no trace

Layer Clothing at National Parks

Naturally, you need clothes for a road trip of any kind. Depending on where you’re moving, you may experience a variety of climates — even unpredictable weather — throughout the journey. That’s almost a guarantee if you pause at national parks along the way. So, packing, and dressing in, layers is wise, especially when navigating varying terrain, extreme elevations and temperamental climactic conditions.

Keep these things handy (and separate from your packed boxes for movers):

  • Layers of breathable clothes
  • Hiking boots or sneakers with traction
  • Extra underwear and socks
  • A flashlight
  • A rain poncho
  • Bug spray
  • Sunblock
  • Bear spray, depending on the park

Consider Comfort During Your Drive

Not sure what to keep in your car during a long-distance move? Our blog has advice on car-packing like pro. Necessities aside, no road trip is complete without a few creature comforts. Be selective about what you bring , but do consider adding items like these:

  • Your favorite pillow
  • A light blanket
  • A sleep mask
  • Music
  • Audio books
  • Road trip games
  • Travel-friendly toys
  • A hand-held gaming system
  • A tablet for streaming shows and movies
  • Cords for charging your gear
  • Portable power banks

About Visiting National Parks with Pets

Are you traveling with furry friends? You need to keep them comfortable and safe, too.

Remember that not all state and national parks allow pets on trails. However, most do allow pets on paved areas, such as sidewalks and parking lots.

Most parks also allow pets in your vehicle during scenic drives — some of which bring you through national parks from end to end. But don’t ever leave your pets in the car — even for a short while — as unsafe conditions can quickly occur.

Here are some added tips for moving with pets.

General Car Packing Advice

When making a move, you’ll need some things sooner than others. Carefully pack first night moving bags or boxes, allowing space for them in your car — or above it.

If you plan on packing luggage or equipment on the top of your vehicle, ensure it is securely tied down. It helps to use a specially designed cargo compartment — such as an adjustable, waterproof, soft-sided cargo carrier — that can be secured to the top of a roof rack. Never pack valuables on the exterior of your car since they could be damaged or stolen.

As for heavier items, they should go inside — not on top of — your vehicle. Take care to pack them below lighter items that could get damaged or crushed.

Transparent plastic bins let you see what’s inside, providing easier access to necessities during your drive. Flexible, soft-sided bins are better for items you’re less likely to need.

Most of All, Have Fun

Whatever you’re headed during your long-distance move, be sure to have fun. Taking a hike, having a picnic and exploring your surroundings is a great way to make memories as your new chapter in life begins.

Looking for more ways to streamline and simplify your long-distance move? Visit our blog for expert tips and tricks.

And while you’re at it, use our Spotify channel for a bit of musical inspiration on the open road.

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