Long-distance home moves can be logistically challenging so choose the best removal company you can

Moving home is a masterclass in organisation and preparation, but if you are moving from one end of the country to the other, or moving from one side of the country to the other, then there are some key differences to moving just across town.

Long-distance moves can be logistically challenging and you may well arrive at your new home a day or two ahead of the removal company so planning for that eventuality is essential.

Secondly, whilst even moving across town you may end up in an area that feels very different to the one you left, there are likely to be big cultural and even language differences when you move to the other end of the country.

Having made several long-distance moves over the years, including a self-move of over 2000 miles, here are some invaluable tips I have learnt which I hope will help you plan your long-distance home move.

What is considered a Long Distance Move?

A long-distance move is generally regarded as one that is over 100 miles away, although some removal firms will class a 50-mile move as a long distance.

Not all removal companies will carry out long-distance moves, so later in this article, we have dedicated a whole section to how to find a good long-distance removal firm.

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How Does a Long Distance Move Work?

Ferry crossings can add days to your home move, especially to the more remote islands

The key difference between long-distance moves, as opposed to local moves, is that the actual moving process takes place over several days.

A typical long-distance move within the UK mainland might go like this:

Day 1 The packing team come in and pack up your things ready to move. For larger home moves the removal company may schedule 2 days for packing.

Day 2 would be the traditional moving day, where the sale completes, you remove your belongings from the home you have sold, and the keys from your old home are handed over to the new owners.

The removal van would then travel towards your new home, depending upon the distance this may involve travelling all night, a hotel stopover, or a very early start the next day from the depot.

Day 2 or Day 3 would be the arrival at your new home and the unloading of your things take place.

If ferry trips are also required then this could add another day to the schedule.

Also take into account things like the weather, rail strikes (which may lead to increased traffic congestion) and roadworks which could also affect the arrival of your things.

You may also like to read: Things That Could Go Wrong on Moving Day and How to Avoid Them. If you know the kind of things that regularly go wrong on moving day then it is easier to plan for those events. In this guide, we look at common moving day problems, how to avoid them, and how to prepare mentally for a stress-free moving day.

14 Tips for Moving Long Distance

The fewer items you move the cheaper and easier your home move will be

You can never plan or be organised enough for a long-distance home move.

The trick I use is to visualise each stage of the home move, to think ‘what if’ for each stage, and then plan what I need to do or have prepared to stop any event from becoming a show stopper.

So here are my 14 tips to make your long-distance move easier, cheaper, less stressful, and safer.

#1 Declutter

As with any home move, decluttering is a vital part of your home moving plans.

The fewer items you pack and move, the cheaper your moving costs will be.

Because you are moving a greater distance, the amount of stuff you move could be the difference between needing one lorry and crew, to needing two, effectively doubling your removal costs.

So purge all those items that you no longer need or love.

Consider very carefully whether you actually love your furniture enough to want to pay to pack and move it, or whether it would be cheaper to replace once you have moved.

There are numerous free ad websites where you can pick up cheap and even free furniture.

You may also like to read: Where to Get Free Stuff When Moving Home. Many websites advertise free household items, some companies offer home movers discounts and vouchers, and some will send you some free samples. In this guide, we look at where to get free things to help you set up your new home.

Take into consideration your new lifestyle when decluttering.

So although you may not have ridden that push-bike for 5 years you may well now use it when you move to the countryside.

Equally, that wet weather gear that you never wear may become invaluable on the Scottish Coast.

If you are swapping the city for the countryside you may not need 14 pairs of high-heeled shoes or 8 business suits.

So think carefully about what your new life will look like, the essential things you need to take and what you will no longer need.

You may also like to read: How to Declutter for a Home Move. Room by room we suggest the best ways to declutter your home whilst offering advice on how to cope with the emotional attachment you may feel with some of your possessions.

#2 Choose a Good Removal Company

The majority of people moving over long distances choose to hire a removal company.

It makes sense in most cases because of the logistics of moving not only your household items but also pets, children, and cars.

The cost to hire a van doubles if you need to return to collect your car, for example, whilst the time, cost, and inconvenience make it an uneconomical option.

Bear in mind that if you have miscalculated how big a van you need you could also end up doing two trips, a few miles across town is no real problem, but if you are travelling 300 or 400 miles each way that is a big issue.

So choosing a good removal company is vital for a smooth long-distance home move.

Must read: How to Pick a Good Removal Company. In this guide, we take you step-by-step through the process of choosing a really good removal company. It is invaluable reading if you are hiring a removal team for your home move.

#3 Hire Professional Packers

Moving over long distances your possessions are going to be exposed to more road vibrations, perhaps potholes, speed bumps, and more vehicle manoeuvres, each one of which puts your precious items at additional risk if they have not been packed properly.

Some removal firms will put your stuff in storage for you, this is additional handling and adds an extra risk of damage.

It should also be mentioned that many insurance companies will not insure goods in transit if you have packed them yourself, so speak to your insurance provider to ensure you are covered if you are packing things yourself.

The safest, quickest, and often most cost-effective option is to hire a professional packing team.

Not only will they pack everything quickly and safely, but also more efficiently, saving you money on packing materials and space within the removal lorry.

You may like to read: Professional Packing Services: Are they Worth the Money? We examine whether the cost of hiring a packing team is justified, the benefits of a good packing team, and how professional packers will make your move so much easier.

#4 Use a Home Moving Checklist and Calendar

Even if you hire a good removal company there are still some home-moving tasks that you need to do. To ensure that you do not forget any important task use a home moving checklist.

Must read: Week-By-Week Home Moving Checklist. We have created a comprehensive home moving checklist and calendar for you that details all the home moving tasks that need doing and which is the best order in which to do them.

#5 Ensure you Have a Change of Address Checklist

It is easy to forget to notify someone of your new address.

If you are moving a few miles down the road it is no problem to pop in and collect your mail or even parcels, but it will be very inconvenient for the new residents to have to redirect or refuse deliveries.

You may also like to read: Change of Address Checklist. Here we have created one of the most comprehensive changes of address checklists available which will ensure you remember to tell anyone who needs to know of your new address.

Be sure to use the Royal Mail Redirect service for those unexpected pieces of mail.

#6 Choose a Good Time to Move Home

If you can choose your moving date then most people choose to make a long-distance move in the summer.

This is especially true if you have children because they will need to start a new school, you will have far more time during the school holidays to get your new home organised, and you will also have more time to get to know your new area.

The weather is also likely to be better too, moving in the rain and cold is never fun.

The downside is that summer is the most expensive time of year to move.

Another consideration is the volume of traffic if you are moving to a tourist hotspot.

The summer months may see long traffic queues, or the tourists parking on the road of your new home may make it impossible to unload the removal lorry.

There may also be local carnivals or summer events which will impact the ability of the removal lorry to get outside your new home.

These are often the small details that we forget or don’t think about, especially if the area is totally new to us.

You may also like to read: The Pros and Cons of a Summer Home Move. In this guide, we look at whether moving home in the summer is such a good idea and what the pros and cons of a summer move are.

#7 Organise Utilities

It may be the case that your current utility providers do not operate in the area you are moving to so you will need to organise the termination of your current contracts and take out new contracts.

The vendors should be able to recommend the best providers in your new area.

You may also like to read: All You Need to Know About Moving Home and Broadband. If you have questions or concerns about which are the best internet providers, which parts of the country have the fastest connection, or just how you switch your broadband to a new area or provider, then this article has some invaluable information for you.

#8 Arrange Insurance

There are plenty of things that could go wrong during the home moving process which can be inconvenient at best and very expensive at worst.

For the very little it costs, it pays to have comprehensive insurance in place.

Most good removal firms will offer insurance on cancellation, delays with getting keys, and comprehensive damage cover for example. But be sure to check such policies very very carefully.

Also check with your home insurance provider to see what, if anything, your existing home insurance policy covers.

Must read: Home Moving Insurance: Do I Need It? In this guide, we look at all the different types of insurance coverage that are available to cover every eventuality during your home move and whether they are worth the cost.

#9 Get the Car Serviced

These are the last people you want to have to call on moving day so ensure your car is ready for your long-distance move

Even moving across town, your car breaking down on moving day would be a nightmare, it would be an absolute disaster if you were moving hundreds of miles away.

So a few weeks before moving day get your car serviced. Then, if any repairs need to be done there are still a few weeks to get parts etc before moving day.

Inevitably your car will be heavily loaded, perhaps with things that the removal company are not allowed to put on the removal van for health and safety reasons, you will have your moving day essentials, and maybe a carload of people.

For that reason, ensure that you have good tyres that are properly inflated and that your garage checks your suspension very carefully.

Having had a leaf spring snap in the middle of nowhere moving to a new home and then waiting six hours for recovery, I would recommend that you keep the weight in your car to a minimum and that you have comprehensive breakdown cover.

You may also like to read: How to Pack a Car when Moving Home. In this guide, you will discover how to safely load a car and also how to pack an emergency kit for long-distance moves.

#10 Arrange Overnight Accommodation

If the journey to your new home involves an overnight stay mid-way then book your accommodation early, hotels on popular routes get booked quickly, especially if you are moving in the summer months.

#11 Plan Your Route

It is often a good idea to plot two routes to your new home, just in case you need an alternative route due to traffic conditions.

Plot your route with plenty of breaks, especially if you are travelling with children or pets.

Note where the fuel stations are which is especially important if you have an electric car and the charging stations are few and far between.

It is worth keeping an eye on traffic reports and the AA or RAC websites which will show you where new roadworks have sprung up or are scheduled to be around your moving date.

Also, be mindful of the security of your car if it is being parked overnight on the way to your new home.

You will likely be taking a few boxes of irreplaceable or valuable items in the car so you want to ensure that anywhere you park the car has excellent security. The best idea is to move those items out of the car and into your hotel room.

And whilst planning your route also plan on some games or fun activities to keep the kids amused on the long journey.

It is also a good idea to take some of your favourite CDs just in case you lose the radio signal along the way.

You may also like to read: Moving Home by Car – Safety, Packing, Games and More. In the second article about moving home using a car, this time we concentrate on making the journey to your home more fun and entertaining, an essential read if you are moving with kids and pets.

#12 Pack an Essentials Bag

The importance of packing a moving day essentials bag cannot be emphasised enough, especially for a long-distance home move.

Whether you choose to have a bag for each member of the family or not is your choice, but they typically contain any essential medication, food and drink, important paperwork, irreplaceable items and jewellery.

If you are having to make an overnight stop on the journey to your new home then the items you need easy access to on moving day and the first night could be packed in your overnight bag.

You may like to read: How to Pack an Open Me First Box. In this guide, we offer some suggestions for the type of things you may want to consider packing in your moving day essentials box.

#13 Get to Know Your New Place

Moving to another part of the country is both exciting and daunting, every aspect of your life will change.

Weather, accents, schools, jobs, friends, and neighbours will all change, even the supermarkets may be specific to that part of the country.

It is no wonder then that many people moving long-distance experience relocation depression, have doubts about whether making the move was the right decision, and often have buyer’s remorse.

These emotions are perfectly natural, after all, you have just turned your life upside down.

But one of the most effective ways of preventing these emotions from becoming overwhelming is to get to know your new area.

You can start this process before you even move.

If it is not possible to visit a few times before you move then use the internet to become familiar with your new surroundings.

Street View is especially useful and most places have a dedicated website or social media page.

Make lists of all the things you want to see, the museums to visit, and places of interest to explore.

Find out what local clubs or organisations there are that you may like to get involved in.

You may also like to investigate whether there are any slang words or phrases that are unique to your new area.

Just listening to podcasts of the local accent will help you become familiar with it so that everything does not seem so strange and disorientating to you when you arrive.

The more familiar you become with your new area and the more you immerse yourself in the local community, the quicker you will settle into your new area.

You may also like to read: How to Avoid Culture Shock When Moving Home. In this guide, we look at what is culture shock, the different stages of culture shock, how to manage culture shock, and more importantly, how to avoid culture shock in the first place.

#14 Have an Unpacking Plan

One way to stave off relocation depression is to surround yourself with things that are familiar and comforting, which may be a favourite armchair or piece of wall art.

Have an unpacking strategy so that you get a good night’s sleep, so that you can shower, and so that you can get a few key objects unpacked so that you have some familiar objects around you.

If you need to do renovations or are unable to organise the home quickly for example then try to have at least one room that offers a degree of comfort and respite from the chaos in the rest of the home.

The sooner you can make your new place feel like home the sooner you will settle in and start making new memories.

You may also like to read: How to Not Get Overwhelmed Unpacking After a Home Move. Unpacking can be just as daunting as packing when moving home. Here we offer some proven strategies to make the unpacking of your moving boxes so much easier.

Packing Tips for Moving Long Distance

Hiring professional packers is money well spent

As we said earlier, the majority of people choose to have professional packers when moving long distances.

There may however be some irreplaceable or particularly expensive items that you wish to pack yourself and take with you in the car.

There is a whole library of packing tips in our home moving blog which you will find invaluable for protecting your precious belongings.

However, there is another layer of protection that you may wish to add to your packed boxes to ensure they are given the best protection possible during the long journey to your new home.

That is the double boxing packing method.

It is simple in the fact that you follow the instructions as per our packing guides, but that box is then placed inside another padded box.

Just line a box which is slightly bigger than the packed box with bubble wrap. packing peanuts, or towels to create a nest for the packed box to sit in.

Then fill all the gaps around the inner box so that it cannot move about inside the outer box. Add a layer of protection on the top before sealing the box and labelling it.

Ensure the box is well-filled so that it will not crush if other items are placed on top.

Obviously, this will add to your packing costs and the time you spend packing, but it will offer the contents of your moving boxes the ultimate protection.

You may also like to read: How to Pack Items Your Removal Company Can’t. For health and safety reasons there are certain items that your removal company will not be able to pack and move. In this guide, we look at what those items are and how you can safely pack them if you decide to take them to your new home yourself.

Tips for Moving Long Distance with Pets

A pet crate is the safest way to transport your pet to your new home

Usually, the advice is to board pets during a home move so that they are kept out of harm’s way and it is less stressful for them.

However, that is unlikely to be an option when moving long distances so another strategy is required.

If your pet is not used to being in a pet crate or travelling in the car then spend a few weeks before the move getting them used to it.

Read on to discover 8 tips for moving pets long distances.

#1 Whilst your removal lorry is being loaded you could take your dog on a long walk, returning when the lorry is loaded.

#2 In the home you are moving out of and into, set aside a room where the pet can be safely kept. Lock the door or ensure a prominent sign warns everyone not to open the door because there are pets in the room. Ensure there is plenty of food and water for your pet and check on them regularly.

Keep your pet in a cat box or dog crate so that even if the door to the room is opened they cannot escape.

#3 Arrange for a friend to look after the pets for a couple of hours and then collect them as you leave for your new home.

#4 Plan the route to your new home with plenty of opportunities to exercise your dog.

#5 Shade your pet from the heat of the sun if moving in hot weather.

#6 Ensure any overnight accommodation you book is pet-friendly.

#7 Never allow pets to travel long distances in the back of the removal van as they are not air-conditioned and are dark which will scare your pet.

#8 Pets should always be secure within the car and someone with them to reassure them and keep an eye on them.

#9 Take the pets out for a walk whilst the removal men unload the lorry.

You may also like to read: Tips on How to Move Home With Cats and Tips for Moving With Pets which offer more comprehensive tips on how to safely move home with your pets.

Tips for Moving Long Distances with Plants

Plant cuttings are the easiest way to transport your favourite plants to your new home

Some removal firms will take plants in the removal lorry, some will not, so you need to check with the removal company you have hired.

For very special plants it is best to keep them in your car where you can regulate the temperature, especially if you are moving in hot weather.

The key to ensuring your plants survive their long-distance relocation is that they will need to be well prepared:

#1 Remove any dead leaves or flowers

#2 Ensure the soil around your plants is moist rather than soaking wet

#3 Transfer the plants to plastic pots which are not only lighter to move but are less likely to get broken during the move

#4 Multiple small pots can be transported in cardboard boxes with bubble wrap between the pots to help prevent them from getting broken or moving about within the box

You may like to read How to Move a Garden to a New Home. In this guide, we offer some comprehensive instructions on how to move plants and items commonly found in the garden to your new home.

How to Find Long-Distance Removal Companies

The key to a stress-free long-distance move is to hire a good removal company, but not all removal companies do long-distance moves.

To save ringing around numerous companies only to be told that they do not deliver to your new region or that they are fully booked on the date you wish to move, you can get up to 4 quotes from removal firms who can carry out your move by filling out the no-obligation quote form.

On this site you will also find reviews for removal companies that service your exact moving route, you can read reviews from people who have made the same move as you are about to.

You can filter the results by the moving route, for example, London to Edinburgh or Bournemouth to Manchester or by companies that specialise in long-distance moves.

You may also like to read: What to Know When Hiring a Removal Company for the First Time. If this is your first long-distance home move and have never hired a removal company before then you will find the information within this guide invaluable. From what a removal company does to how to prepare for their arrival to avoiding moving scams this is essential reading.

Good luck with your home move. Plan and prepare thoroughly, have a positive state of mind, and enjoy the experience of reaching your new home and new life.

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