A new job is exciting! Add moving cross country for the role, and it might start getting a little overwhelming. To keep all the moving parts straight, follow this relocation checklist.
1. Negotiate relocation benefits
If you are reading this, you’re probably already past this step. If not, know that you can negotiate moving expenses with any company (whether it’s your current employer or a new one). If the company found you and is trying to whisk you away from your current employer, they will probably try to entice you by including relocation benefits into your offer package. But know you can ask your current employer too – even if you just found an opening internally that you would like to apply for.
2. Befriend the benefits coordinator
Many companies who relocate employees regularly will have someone who can help you make plans. Add this person to your contacts list and feel free to contact them with any questions you have. He or she might be able to refer you to moving companies or connect you with other employees who work in the new location and have relocated themselves. Ask away. It is the only way you will know.
3. Get a grip on the financials
Your company may pay for some moving expenses and not others – or it may have a budget you need to stay within. Know exactly what will be covered before you start making plans. If you know you will need out-of-pocket funds, put it aside and make sure you have access to it in the new city. Something often overlooked when moving state to state is how you will bank. Many banks and credit unions are local or regional. Know what banking service you will use in your new area. You do not want to be stuck with no access to your funds!
4. Build a network in your new location
It may make the transition to a new place more comfortable if you can identify some personal or professional contacts in the area before you arrive. If you are working for the same company, it may be a matter of reaching out to contacts you already interact with professionally. If it is a completely new start, you may have to do a little digging into your LinkedIn connections or check out alumni groups – Meetup can be a great resource too. Do not be afraid to mention to friends, family and acquaintances that you are moving and where to – they may be able to make the connection to someone they know in the area.
5. Research your new location
You may receive a salary increase to move cross country for a job, but you need to know the cost of living in the new location to make sure your raise is really a raise. Also, get to know the lifestyle of the new area. If you are a foodie, learn where the hot restaurants are located. If you are a fitness enthusiast, make sure you have access to biking trails or Pilates studios. Going from rural towns to big cities or coastal communities to the middle of the country can be a culture shock. Know what you are getting into before you get there. Then, embrace the adventure.
6. Go house hunting (in person, if possible)
Take a trip to your soon-to-be hometown (employers may even pay for this) and determine where you would like to move. If you can at least narrow it down to a few areas you want, you can continue the home search without being present. Be sure your employer knows your circumstances – whether you need temporary housing until you find a home to purchase or you are looking for an apartment to start renting immediately.
7. Choose a school for your kids
Know what your schooling options are in your new area: public schools, private schools, religious schools, magnet schools, online/virtual schools and charter schools. Start making contact before you arrive so your children are set up to attend as soon as you arrive.
8. Find a moving company
The more comprehensive the moving company, the better. Remember, your benefits coordinator might have suggestions for you, especially if the company is paying for (or contributing to) the cost of your move. Ask the moving company about all the details like how long the move will take if they wrap furniture for you and what kind of insurance they have. You cannot ask too many questions. For those of you with pets, be sure to inquire about pet relocation services as well – particularly if you are moving between countries!
9. Pack it all up
Before you start packing though, get rid of anything you do not want. Have a yard sale or use selling apps (e.g., Letgo or OfferUp) to get rid of stuff you do not need (and make a little extra cash while you are at it). Of course, another great option is to donate to a local non-profit (some will even pick up your big items, like furniture). There is no sense in moving something you don’t need. Now is the time to purge!
10. Forward your mail
You can set up a forward of your mail at usps.com and have it start on a designated date. So, do this as soon as you know your moving date. This should also be a reminder to log into all your accounts that are paperless and report a change of address. It might not be top-of-mind to change these because you do not get physical mail from them, but it is important to update.
11. Consider how YOU will be traveling
If you have a car that needs to be relocated and you have the time, you might want to drive. But flying or via train (some even transport your vehicle) are options too, especially if you are moving from one coast to the other. If you have a spouse, pets and/or kids, you will need to take them into account in making your moving day plan.
12. Keep all your moving documents
Get a file folder and throw everything moving related into it. If you are more of a digital person, snap a picture of the receipts and stick them all in a file on your computer. You may need these for reimbursement from your company or maybe for tax purposes come April. Just be sure you can access them easily should the need arise.
13. Get out!
It might be tempting to stay cooped up for a few weeks to get everything settled. But, you are in a new city, so take advantage of the happenings. If your coworkers are having a happy hour or a weekend picnic, do not decline. It is key to start building relationships and getting integrated into your new community. That box of clothes that has not yet made it in the closet can wait!
Remember to follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition to your new home. Best of luck, and happy moving!