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Moving To A New Residence: Know Your Options
by Ruby Bayan

Moving to a new home The United States' total land area is more than 3.7 million square miles -- home to about 300 million people. The intricate weave of well-maintained interstate highways and State roads contribute not only to the efficiency of transporting goods and services to the growing population, but also to the ease of relocating residents from one State to another. And with thousands of moving service companies all over the country, moving from one end of the continent to the other is simply a matter of choosing which way you want to go -- literally.

Start Here

Whether you're moving a few boxes, your piano, your car, your household, or your business, within the United States or abroad, the first thing to do is to explore your options. Where do your start to look? The phone book is always a reliable source of who can do what for you, but this day and age, the internet should be your first reference.

Not only does the internet list hundreds of movers for every type of move, it offers interactive access to how to calculate the volume of items you wish to transport, how much you need to budget for the relocation, how long it will take, plus information on mortgages, salaries, apartments, and crime rates in all the major cities and locations. Moving and packing tips, checklists, and other information have become standard lists in most of the movers websites.

But before you get carried away and immersed in the flood of information online, here's a quick rundown of what to do, expect, and maybe look out for in determining how you want to go about "beaming" yourself to another location.

Friends Unlimited

Moving with friends Imagine if you can just say "I want to move to the West Coast" and you snap your fingers and you're there, with all your stuff, settled and comfortable. Well, you can, in effect, but it will cost you! So, is there even a cheap way to relocate? Yes. Tap the energy of your good old friends.

If you're new to America, you may not have the adequate network of "buddies" to haul the contents of your apartment from the east to the west coast. But with the help of friends of friends, short-distance moves, like across town or within an hour's drive, will not be too difficult to manage. You'll have to do this on a weekend or a holiday when everyone can be available. Hopefully, you know someone who owns a pick-up truck, so you won't have to rent.

Moving can prove to be an enjoyable, bonding experience among friends, and all you'll be expected to do is pitch in for the gas, and treat everyone to a good lunch. Of course, when it's their turn to relocate, they'll expect you to lend a hand, too.

You Haul

The most common moving option is the truck rental. Leading truck rentals like U-Haul, Ryder, Budget, and Penske, have branches in almost all the major cities. If you need to move from Florida to North Carolina, you can rent their truck in Florida, and return it back to them at their branch in North Carolina. But you will have to do all the packing, loading, hauling, unloading and unpacking. Maybe friends can help you pack and load.

If you are at least 18 years old, with a valid driver's license, and willing to drive the distance, you can rent a truck for a day, a week, or a month, to transport your household items and tow your car. Truck sizes range from 10-ft (about 400 cu. ft., for 1 to 2 rooms), to 25-ft (1350 cu. ft., for 6 to 8 rooms). Open and closed trailers, as well as auto transports, are also available for rent. Prices for trucks rental ranges from $20 to $45 a day depending on the type of truck and available amenities. There are additional charges for liability protection, cargo insurance, personal accident insurance, and the limited damage waiver.

Truck rental is ideal for short-distance moves involving not too many items. Remember to make reservations a week or two before your moving date.

Self-service Move

Moving the contents of a 3-room apartment from Florida to California on a rental truck may be somewhat cost-effective, but imagine driving for three days straight, then you'll still have to unload and unpack everything! There has to be an easier, yet still reasonably-priced way to execute long-distance moves. There is.

Self-service movers offer a hybrid moving service: they rent you not a truck, but space in a moving truck. You pay only for the exact floor area your stuff uses up in their 28-ft. commercial trailer. You load your items into their truck, they haul to your destination over a specified length of time (usually 5-7 days), and you wait for them at the new location for you to personally unload your items. You, of course, had conveniently flown in.

Some of the leading self-service movers are Movex, Help-U-Move, DynamicMoves, and ABF U-Pack -- all of them with online presence to help you in estimating moving costs between specified destinations, floor area required by so many items, delivery schedules, and extraneous fees. They provide quotes and answer questions online. For an estimated cargo of 2000 lbs., taking up about 300 cu. ft. of floor space (contents of a typical 1-room apartment), moving from Orlando to San Francisco, the cost range will be from $1000 to $1500.

And in case friends are not available to help you load and unload, you can get in touch with local movers for manpower specifically for this purpose.

Hands-free Move

And finally, the last and most expensive type of move is the one where you call a professional mover to pack and crate all your items, load them into a truck, deliver them to your new location, unload the items, and even unpack them for you. The only effort on your part is the energy to sign a check.

Professional movers are found in the phone book and on the internet -- most of them have been in the business for many years. Armed with commercial trailers (some even climate-controlled) and an expert crew, these movers can transport households, offices, and delicate items and equipment. The more popular professional movers and van lines are Allied, United, North American, and US Movers.

This may be the costliest way to move, with rates depending on the scope of service you require, but the companies guarantee delivery, integrity, and professional handling of your prized possessions. And you won't have to lift a finger. It's the next best thing to "beaming" out to your new location.

It's Your Move

Remember that moving can be as stressful to you and your family as you allow it to be. Planning for a move weeks, if not months, in advance, is your best precaution against the ensuing stress. Aside from the actual transporting of your possessions, there are details you need to attend to (mail forwarding, utilities, school, dentist, doctor, new home, new job, etc.), so scheduling and sorting out these activities will avoid having to deal with everything at the last minute.

Remember, too, that moving requires a lot of energy, from you and all the members of the family. Be sure no one will have a tendency to fall sick on the big day. And if you have a choice, relocate during spring or fall. Summer will be too hot, and winter is out of the question (unless you're in Florida). Weekends are best if you're asking friends to help, but otherwise, moving services are available 7 days a week.

Relocating is a regular occurrence in America -- employees get reassigned, young adults move out from their parental homes, families buy new houses, people move to a warmer climate. And to accommodate all this action, the American way of life has created many options for the type of move any particular resident wishes to take -- so, which way do you want to go?

[First published at, 2000]


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