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How to Move Across the Country in Three and a Half Weeks

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I made a crazy (but well-thought out) decision to move across the country from Boston to San Francisco. The scariest part? Between when I made the decision and when I started working at my new job, I had three and a half weeks to completely move.

So you’ve made the decision to move across the country—now what?

Your stuff

You have three options with all your stuff: sell, ship, or move. Different options appeal to different people based on how far you’re going, what you currently own, and how fast you have to be there. Price out different options and see what works best for your needs.

I ended up selling most of my bigger furniture and then will eventually ship the rest of my stuff. Selling furniture can be difficult (especially mattresses) and you may have to discount it more than you had hoped. If you can’t sell something, just put it on Craigslist for free. People will pick up most things.

Start packing as soon as you can. You’re going to want to spend your last days seeing people and doing fun things, not packing up your stuff.

Where you’ll live

This was by far the most complicated and scariest part to figure out in such a short time. If you want to, and can afford to, live alone, using resources like Apartments, Craigslist, and if you can, a realtor, make the finding of a place much easier.

If you’re just starting out your career or want to live with others, Craigslist is likely the easiest way to find a room in another apartment which you can join. Also, reach out to everyone you might know via every way possible (social networks, old and new co-workers, friends, family, etc.) to see who might know someone who needs a roommate.

Another solution is to try to find a short-term option, such as a sublease or Airbnb, to get you to your destination, but not stuck in a long-term lease. Luck ended up coming through for me—a friend of my Boston roommate’s was taking six weeks to come home, so I ended up taking her room in San Francisco. You never know who might be of help!

You may also have to figure out how to get out of your current lease. This will differ for every situation, but try to be as helpful as possible in the process. If you live with roommates, compile the images and write the copy for the ad they’ll use to show your room. When they are setting up appointments and picking the roommate, try to be as helpful as possible in the process, especially if you’re making a quick move.

Your new job

Determine what the cost of living will be like in your new location and adjust your salary requirements based on what you know. Depending on the position, consider asking for relocation benefits if salary isn’t quite where you want it to be.

Learn what you can about your new job ahead of time, especially where people live or what your commute will be like from different areas. Also, find out what the dress code is. This will help determine what gets packed and brought with you right away. You don’t want to only pack jeans and t-shirts to have with you right away when you have to dress in business formal for work.

If you have any upcoming vacations, try to mention those as early as possible in the offer conversation, in case you don’t qualify for PTO for a few months. Many companies are understanding and will allow you to take unpaid vacation time if it doesn’t follow within their guidelines, but it is always best to ask.

Your new life

Building connections and a new group of friends in your new location is the most nerve wracking, but also the most exciting part of a big move. Some of the resources that have been really helpful for me:

  • See if there’s a Local Levo chapter where you’re going
  • Use Facebook’s Graph Search to see who you know that lives in the area
  • Post on Facebook to see if anyone you know knows people there. Often friends of friends are people similar with whom you would enjoy spending time
  • See if there is any alumni activity from your alma mater in your new area for networking or other events you could attend
  • Consider meetups, sports clubs, or other leisure activities to meet new people

Other details

Do you have any upcoming plans you have to change? I had flights booked for a vacation in a few months that needed to be changed and concert tickets to sell to someone else.

As with any move, remember to change your magazine and Birchbox subscriptions, and forward your mail. Try to see your doctors if you can; no one wants to take time off after just starting a new gig to go to lots of appointments.

Do you have any other tips for making a quick move? Share them with us in the comments!

Ask Levo Mentor Rachel Millner, Director of Public Relations for Wired Magazine, her tips for making the move across the country!


Networking #Tips #Advice #Moving Lifestyle
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Wow! Moving across the country, to me, would be one of the scariest yet most exciting experiences ever. Sarah had wonderful advice for anyone gearing up or even thinking about moving for their work. The last part about concert tickets, vacations, and doctor appointments are things I probably wouldn't even think of in the midst of the chaotic move. What a great article!

This is the ultimate checklist, for moving anywhere really! I think the advice to start packing immediately is so important because it gives you and idea of how much stuff you actually have and might end up changing the way you move.

This is really relevant to my life! I'm moving from Houston to Atlanta in two weeks and I am kiiiinda panicking about everything I have to do. These are definitely helpful ideas!

You can do it Kate! Good luck and have fun!

So true, Alexandra. Once I realized I wasn't taking a lot of my furniture, it totally changed how I looked at the move. And added more to the list- I had to sell my stuff!

Thanks Briana! It was really scary! Haha

Katelyn deDiego
Katelyn deDiego

This is such great advice, Sarah! I used Facebook graph search before I moved to San Francisco and reached out to a few friends. Now we're all in a book club together. It's amazing how easy it is to start and maintain relationships these days.

I actually made a similar move last year when I decided to move to further my figure skating career, and ended up having to pack up a week later! I am glad to see these well thought out tips here on Levo - certainly helpful!

I move across the country at least twice a year (I'm in college). Moving your life back and forth is never easy but this is a great checklist for those doing it for the first, or 50th time!

Thanks Lauri! Sounds like your move was super quick! Do you have any other tips to share?

This is so unbelievably helpful and timely! I recently made the decision to relocate from the DC area to San Francisco by the end of the summer! I've found that finding housing is the hardest piece of the puzzle yet the most important. I think I will probably go the AirBnb route because most Craigslisters want in person interviews. Anyway, these are very helpful tips!

Whoo! I just moved across the country. DC->NY->SF within 3 months is not an easy task. It is quite an adjustment but well worth the experience and adventure!

Megan, totally feeling your pain with that one! Housing in SF is the most difficult part of moving here. I've found that Craigslist is the best way to go, however, I just signed up for Roomidex and met some great girls through that. I'm also utilizing the Local Levo network here in the Bay Area as well as my sorority connections and it is really making this city feel smaller.

Virgini Movers
Virgini Movers

Very useful advice!

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