Step-By-Step Guide for a Seamless Long-Distance Move

Moving cross country is an exciting adventure, but the logistical challenges can be overwhelming. Choosing United Van Lines paves the way for a hassle-free experience, backed by decades of expertise, seamless service and a nationwide network. Let us handle the heavy lifting, making your long-distance relocation as smooth as possible.

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Why Choose United Van Lines?

When you opt for America’s #1 Mover®, you benefit from:  

  • Nearly 100 Years of Residential Moving Experience: With a rich history spanning almost a century, United Van Lines brings unparalleled expertise to every aspect of your long-distance move 
  • Seamless White-Glove Service: Our commitment to providing seamless, white-glove service ensures that your belongings are handled with the utmost care and attention, minimizing any potential stress associated with your move 
  • Over One Million Satisfied Customers in the Last Decade Alone: Join the ranks of more than one million satisfied customers who have experienced the exceptional service that sets United Van Lines apart 
  • Services From Movers Within the Largest Nationwide Network: As part of the largest nationwide network, our services are supported by a vast infrastructure, ensuring reliability and efficiency throughout the entire moving process 

Our standard long-distance moving package includes a personal move coordinator, full-value protection, loading, transporting, unloading, standard transport of appliances, standard furniture placement, qualified drivers and professional equipment.  

Beyond these essentials, we offer additional services such as storage solutions, packing/unpacking and debris removal. Whether it’s fine art, a kayak or a motorcycle, United Van Lines has the expertise to handle it all.

In this guide, you’ll learn the step-by-step process involved in planning and executing a seamless move with United — no matter how far away your new home is.

Long-Distance Moving Process With United Van Lines

Preparing for the Move

Step 1: Request a Quote 

Illustration of a moving quote - Long distance moving process - United Van LinesGet a no-obligation moving quote by calling our toll-free number 877-740-3040 or by using our online quote tool. 

  • Comprehensive Belongings Survey: To ensure accuracy in planning your move, we’ll conduct a thorough survey of your belongings 
  • Flexible Survey Options: Choose between an In-Person Survey conducted at your home or a Virtual Survey, whichever you prefer 

Find added details about your home survey options in the FAQs below. 

Step 2: Prepare for Your Home Survey 

Illustration of a living room - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

A home survey is an essential and mandatory step in the moving process. It involves surveying your belongings, so we can provide a precise quote. It’s performed at no cost to you. Your satisfaction is our priority, and transparency in the quoting process is fundamental to our service. 

Here are some tips for a successful home survey: 

  • Be ready to show all the rooms in your home, including storage areas, closets, crawl spaces, the garage, the shed, the attic and the yard 
  • Let us know exactly which items will need to be loaded onto the moving truck and which items do not 
  • Disclose any items valued at $100 per pound or more, such as antiques, fine china artwork or designer apparel so they can be properly noted on your inventory list 
  • Indicate any fragile items that may require special packing and handling 
  • Show the outside area of your home so we can see its accessibility to the moving truck 

Note that being informed about your rights and responsibilities helps prevent unwelcome surprises before, during and after your move.  

If you can’t be at the house during your In-Home Survey, you may apoint an authorized individual 18 years or older to be present in your place. We’ll guide you through the process and will answer any questions you have. 

Step 3: Select Additional Services

Illustration of a packer - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

During the survey, your moving specialist will determine your overall needs to help decide which added services could make your move easier. At United, we offer customizable moving services that include packing, storage, car shipping and more to fit every moving need.

Step 4: Receive an Accurate Quote and Accept Quote via E-Acceptance

Illustration of Accepted Quote - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

After the home survey, we provide a complete, custom moving quote for your review. This final, binding quote for your move will detail all costs involved, including transportation, packing supplies and any added services. You can adjust your moving plan as your needs evolve. 

Next, you sign the quote electronically via e-acceptance. This locks in your move-out date and confirms your plan. 

Step 5: Track Your Move in MyUnited Move Portal

After your move is booked, you’ll receive a unique link to MyUnited Move Portal, a handy online tool that lets you seamlessly manage your moving experience, payments, contacts and timeline, all in one place.  

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Prepare for Packing

Illustration of movers moving a couch - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

The more organized and efficient you are, the more manageable your move will be. Before you start wrapping and boxing your belongings, make sure you understand what items are allowed — and restricted — in the moving truck. Read this list of non-allowables for help.  

Start packing early. Begin packing one room or category at a time well in advance of your move date for a more organized and efficient process. 

Pack an essentials box. Pack a first-night essentials box containing necessary items like toiletries, pajamas and snacks for easy access at your new home. 

Trust United movers to handle furniture and large appliances. Our professional movers have the proper equipment and training to move heavy items. Learn more about how to prepare furniture and appliances for transport. 

Want more moving tips? Explore our library of moving and packing tips to help plan your move. 

Are you using United’s packing services instead? Confirm the details with your move coordinator.  

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Other Planning Prior to Your Move-Out Day

Illustration of a woman researching for moving companies online - Long distance moving process with United Van Lines

Having helped millions of families move over the years, we know there’s so much to plan and organize besides packing. Consider these key details for a smooth and stress-free move day. 

Inform loved ones early. Share your move plans with parents, siblings and close friends well in advance so they have time to process the news and offer support. 

Declutter your home. Use this opportunity to declutter your home or donate perfectly good items that you no longer need, as it will streamline the moving process, reduce costs and set you up for a well-organized move. 

Carefully plan travel. Unless you plan to fly to your new home, you’ll need to plan the drive there. Since you’ll need to stretch your legs along the way, consider turning it into an adventure. Our national park guides are filled with outdoorsy ideas for the way there — and once you settle into your new home. 

Prep your home for move-out day. Maintain a running list of tasks that need attention before moving out to avoid last-minute oversights.  

Get a good night’s rest. Go to bed early the night before your move day — you’ll have the focus and energy to tackle last-minute details. 

For more helpful information as you prepare for your move day, check out our moving tips and week-by-week moving checklists. 

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Moving Day

Illustration of 2 movers moving boxes - Long Distance Moving Process with United Van Lines

When your moving day arrives, plan on being there during the loading process to provide oversight and assistance while our professional movers handle your belongings with care.  

We’ll also need you to sign the necessary paperwork, including the inventory list, High-Value Inventory form and Bill of Lading/Freight Bill.  

Once your belongings have been loaded on the truck, do a final walkthrough to ensure nothing is overlooked. Make sure that all the lights have been turned off and all doors are securely locked. 

Can’t be at your current residence on the move-out day? You may appoint an authorized individual 18 years or older (“releasing agent”) to be present in your place. Note that this must be arranged in advance with your move coordinator and updated in MovePortal before your move day arrives.

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Delivery Day

Illustration of movers unloading items from moving truck - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

During the drive to your new home, you can rest easy knowing United Van Lines has professionally trained drivers who are fully equipped to transport your possessions.  

Our van operator or crew expects to see you at your new address so be prepared to welcome our team. If you can’t be there, pre-authorize an adult to accept delivery and manage moving charges on your behalf.  

If you or an authorized individual cannot accept delivery of your belongings within the free two-hour window, you may request more waiting time (for an added cost) until the delivery can be made. 

When your crew unloads your belongings at your new place, they’ll place items as directed, including rugs, beds and appliances. They can also assemble any furniture that was disassembled for the move.  

Check your household goods as they are unloaded. Sign the inventory list once unloading is complete. Note and address any discrepancies with your move specialist.  

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After You Move

Unpacking Assistance and Debris Pickup

Illustration of a mover unpacking moving box - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

Now that you’ve arrived, it’s time to start unpacking. We suggest starting with the essentials, such as setting up your bed and unpacking linens and towels. Then, unpack room by room.  

Remember you can still add additional services, such as mattress unpacking or appliance installation. Just contact your move coordinator. We also offer debris pickup services within 30 days of delivery — it’s a quick, convenient way to dispose of leftover boxes and packing materials.  

Follow-Up and Feedback

Illustration of couple moving boxes - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

After settling into your new home, take a moment to unwind, but don’t forget to fill out our customer satisfaction survey. Your feedback is invaluable — it helps us improve and enhance our services while ensuring we continue to meet the highest standards.  

In the rare event of loss or damage to belongings, our simple online claims process resolves things quickly. Before starting a claim, make sure you have an image or description of the item(s) in question, along with your order number. 

Settle Into Your New Home

Illustration of a woman checking off the move-in list - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

Once the unpacking is complete, move on to decorating and making the place feel like home. Hang artwork, arrange knickknacks and consider rearranging your furniture to complement your home’s new layout. 

Want some tips on decorating and settling in? Our blog offers helpful post-move tips and tricks. 

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Additional Moving Resources

FAQs About Long-Distance Moving

Illustration of a packer for moving - Long distance moving process - United Van Lines

How does the long-distance move work if my belongings are in a storage unit? 

If you couple our full moving service with our storage solution, you can choose to store items at either the origin or destination for up to six months and work with your move specialist if more time is needed. 

If you want to move your belongings from your storage unit, contact your move specialist. A visual survey of the storage unit needs to be done. That way, we can build an accurate estimate and ensure an appropriately sized truck is used. 

How will you transport my belongings if they need to be delivered to multiple locations? 

Let your move coordinator know if your belongings need to be picked up or delivered to more than one location so proper arrangements can be made.  

What do I do if there is a change in my planned move? 

Notify your move coordinator if you have added or subtracted items from your planned move, as well as if there’s a change to your move dates. 

How does the move work if I’m managing a move for a family member, such as my parents? 

Our move specialist needs to know there is a designated “releasing agent” in advance. Please also confirm all contact information is correct and up to date. Once authorized, you can work with the move specialist directly. 
What is an In-Home Survey? And how does it work? 

During an In-Home Survey, a representative will visit your home, estimate the weight and size of your belongings, and discuss details such as dates, packing services and storage. This personalized survey lets us provide a moving estimate that’s tailored to your specific needs.  

Begin by setting up your In-Home Survey appointment at a convenient time. You’ll receive a confirmation email with all the appointment details. Our estimator will then visit your home, conduct a detailed survey and provide a comprehensive moving estimate. 

What is a Virtual Survey? And how does it work? 

If you choose to do a Virtual Survey, our representative will survey your home and estimate the weight and size of your belongings over a video chat using your phone or tablet. This option offers convenience and accuracy without the need for an in-person visit.  

Once you schedule your Virtual Survey, you’ll receive a confirmation message with your appointment details. On the appointment day, you’ll receive a link via text or email so you can connect with your United estimator through your mobile device. 

Before your Virtual Survey: 

  • Ensure you have access to a supported device with a camera, such as a phone or tablet  
  • Make sure your browser supports our Virtual Survey experience 
  • Make sure your device is fully charged and you have a strong Wi-Fi connection 
  • Turn on lights in all the rooms you’re showing your estimator 
  • Keep a tape measure on hand in case your estimator asks you to measure an item for accuracy 
  • If items being moved are found at an off-site location, be prepared to provide a picture/video or list of the items to the estimator 

Have more questions? Our comprehensive list of Moving FAQs can help. 

Moving Tips and Tricks

With nearly 100 years of moving expertise under our belts, you can count on the professional movers at United Van Lines to get you where you need to go.  

We’re also here to help guide you throughout the moving process. When you need more help and advice, turn to our blog for a wealth of information, including moving tips, state guides and city guides to simplify the moving process and help you acclimate to your new surroundings. 

United Van Lines is dedicated to ensuring your long-distance move is not just a change of address but a smooth transition to a new chapter in your life. Trust our expertise to make your journey smooth, streamlined and stress-free. Get a no-obligation quote today!

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