Common Questions About Planning a Long-Distance Move

Planning a long-distance move takes time and patience.  Oftentimes, we receive phone calls asking us where should a person start when they have the task of planning a long-distance move. Below we have included some of the most common questions that we get along with our response, but keep in mind every individual situation is different. This is just a simple guide to help you organize your long-distance move whether it be to the beautiful Tucson, Arizona, upstate New York, or Seattle, Washington.

What is the best time of year to move to your new home?

In a perfect world, we would get to choose the time of year that we are moving across the country.   We know that opportunities present themselves at inconvenient times, however, if you have the time, planning your move for the best weather would be optimal. For instance, here in Tucson, Arizona, it stays quite warm year-round. That being said, we do have a monsoon season that can throw a wrench into your moving plans. Whether it be heavy winds, pouring rain that results in flash flooding, or sandstorms, all of these events can seriously derail a moving timeline.  Again, we know that it is a pipe dream to think you can control what time of year you will be moving, but you should consider all of the different weather systems you will be traveling through depending on where you are coming from and where you are headed.

Self Service vs. Full Service

When moving across the country to Tucson, Arizona, or elsewhere, one of the first things you will need to figure out is if when hiring a moving company, you will want self-service or full service.  Self-service implies that you will be renting a moving truck and taking on the task of packing, loading, and driving the truck to your new home, as well as unpacking and returning the truck yourself. While this option is certainly going to be less expensive, it can also come with more hiccups along the way. If you are planning on a self-service move it is important that you make preparations as early as possible to mitigate any issues you may come across while moving long-distance. Full service will require more preparation upfront, but ultimately you have one person that is your point of contact at the moving company who will be able to walk you through the entire process. The moving company can come in with a team of movers and pack your entire house for you, in which case you can be as involved as you should choose. Once they have packed all of your belongings using safety protocols that are in place with proper packing materials as well as moving equipment, they will load the truck in the most efficient way. Once they have begun their journey to your new home, they will take care of your belongings freeing you up to travel to your new home knowing that professional movers are being as careful as possible with your belongings.  You also need to be realistic in your timeline.  While it may only take you a couple of days in a car to drive to your new home, the truck will be heavier and take longer to arrive.

Moving Insurance

Another important item that you should add to your budget, is moving insurance. Typically, moving companies will offer some sort of moving insurance to protect your valuables should anything happen during transport or packing. However, you should also contact your homeowners’ insurance to see what their rates are as well as what they will cover. To protect your belongings it will be important to let professionals pack those items because they will know the safest way to transport all of these items, and they will also set them aside so that they do not get crushed in the moving truck. If you have the time, it is worth collecting all of your fragile valuables in one area documenting them which may entail taking pictures of their condition before being packed and also going over the items with your point of contact person from the moving company. In the case of moving insurance, the goal is to not have to use it, and with proper preparation and good communication with your moving team, you stand the best chance of all of your precious belongings arriving at your new home in good condition.

Will a moving company transport your animals?

We often are asked if we will transport animals and plants. Unfortunately, most companies will not transport these items. With fragile living things, it is best if you keep them with you for the entire journey. For animals, there are travel kennels available,  just be sure to make frequent stops to let your animal out to get some water, take a bathroom break and eat. With pets, in particular, it is important that you do not leave them in the vehicle as pets can succumb to heat stroke in a matter of minutes.  


When you are transporting plants, they are typically in pots which can be awkward to move. If you have access to milk crates they are excellent for transporting plants in pots. Rather than having to hold a giant pot that likely does not have handles, a milk crate will provide a sturdy square base as well as handles that can help you move your plants in and out of your vehicle or if you need to shift them around to make more room. 

What happens in the event of the truck breaking down?

 While most moving companies keep their trucks and vans in excellent condition, there is always the chance that something could go wrong.  Whether the transmission goes out or they run over a nail that blows out a tire, there should always be a contingency plan in place. You should ask the moving company what protocol is in place in the event of a truck breaking down.  Will they be sending out an alternate truck to pick up your belongings or will they be having it towed to a shop with your belongings in it?  Either way, make sure you have some provisions packed with you for your journey in case the truck is delayed a few days.