Moving Road Trip Planner: 6 Tips for the Long Drive

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Moving Road Trip Planner: 6 Tips and Tricks for an Enjoyable Long Drive

Planning a long-distance move? Make your road trip stress-free with our expert moving road trip planner. Leveraging our decades of moving more than 1 million families across the country, we’ve compiled this article full of tips from the pros for those driving long distances as part of their move. Discover valuable tips and tricks for a smooth journey from start to finish.

Preparing Your Vehicle for a Long Distance Move

cross country roadtrip when moving long distance - United Van Lines

A vehicle check-up is crucial – focus on oil, brakes, battery, tires, and lights. Timely repairs are essential, preventing unexpected breakdowns during your move. Before hitting the road, ensure your vehicle is ready.

Get a vehicle check-up: You must get your car checked out by a certified mechanic before moving day. A quick check-up can help you avoid unexpected problems on the road and give you peace of mind that everything is in working order. 

Key aspects to check: Focus on oil, brakes, battery, tires and lights. These are just a few items that can cause a big headache if they fail unexpectedly on the journey. You can prevent stress later by taking care of these now. 

Timely repairs: A breakdown in the middle of nowhere presents many issues. If your check-up reveals mechanical issues or regular maintenance needs, ensure everything is handled before your moving date.  

While United Van Lines takes care of your belongings, your car’s preparedness is still essential to your move. 

What If Your Car Isn’t Up for the Drive?

Some vehicles such as older cars may not be ideal for long-distance drives. Or if your family has multiple cars, traveling to the new home in separate vehicles may not be practical. If unsure, opt for car-shipping services as part of your move package for a worry-free moving journey.

Essential Items to Keep Accessible

If you plan on driving, you’ll need to arrange for extra room to pack certain items you’ll need to keep with you on the drive. Not everything can go on the moving truck. Items to keep handy include:

Documents: Keep all important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, driver’s licenses, car registrations and moving contracts within easy reach. As you need these documents for so many vital functions and can’t afford to lose them, you should keep them with you. 

First aid kit: You never know what you might encounter during your trip. Preparing for the worst but expecting the best is a good idea. Always carry a basic first aid kit to manage minor injuries and conditions like headaches. 

First night box: Along with all the important things listed above, you’re going to want to keep a first night box filled with the items you’ll need immediately upon arriving at your new home, including food or snacks, changes of clothes, cleaning supplies, toiletries and tools. This ensures that you and your family can function immediately without beginning the unpacking process. 

Driving With Young Children

Plan for your children’s comfort and entertainment. Pack UV window shades, blankets, toys, snacks, and devices for a pleasant trip. For more tips on how to move with children, check out our moving with kids guide.

Route Planning and Sightseeing

Turn your drive into an exciting road trip. Plan your route, covering no more than 500 miles daily. Identify exciting places to visit along the way and use navigation apps to avoid traffic.

Need some inspiration for locations to visit? United Van Lines has many guides covering many must-see state and city attractions, national parks and more. Check out our city guides and comprehensive national park guide for more information. 

Emergency Preparedness

Be prepared for emergencies. Consider roadside assistance services, walkie-talkies, and set aside extra funds for unexpected delays.

Entertainment and Comfort

Make the journey enjoyable with entertainment options. Bring audiobooks, podcasts, playlists, and pre-packed snacks. Ensure comfort with pillows and blankets for a relaxing drive.

FAQs for Your Moving Road Trip

Is It Cheaper to Drive or Fly When You Move?

Driving is often cost-effective and offers greater flexibility in travel plans.

How Often Should I Change Drivers When Moving?

Changing drivers every 2-3 hours is recommended to minimize fatigue for drivers and to keep everyone else well-rested too.

How Many Hours a Day Should I Drive?

It is suggested to limit driving to 8-10 hours per day to ensure driver alertness.

Do I Have to Drive Straight to My Destination?

Doing the whole drive in a straight shot is not recommended. Break up the trip with short breaks for stretching and refueling at gas stations and bathroom breaks at rest stops.

Is It Safe to Sleep in My Car During the Road Trip?

While technically possible, sleeping in your car can present safety and legal issues. It’s best to plan overnight stays at reputable accommodations. This allows you to access funds immediately, should you need them.

Should I Have Cash on Hand for Tolls?

While many toll facilities accept cards or mobile payments, having cash as a backup is good.

What’s the Best Way to Handle Meal Times While on the Road?

Pre-packing meals and planning routes around dining options save time and money.

How do I Secure Larger Items I Want to Bring in My Car?

Consider using cargo nets or ratchet straps to secure for large or heavy items safely during the journey. 

You’re Ready to Hit the Road for Your Long Distance Move!

Plan, pack, and make memories. United Van Lines is here to assist with decades of moving expertise. If you’re looking for a long-distance moving company that has your back, look no further.

Get a free no-obligation moving quote from us today,

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