Originally from Atlanta I recently moved from “Tha A” to North Carolina, now I’m living in Phoenix, Arizona. Here are some tips I have if you plan to move across the country.
1. Get your credit score up.
When I moved to North Carolina in 2015 it was similar to living in Georgia. I was able to get an apartment easily and rent a car to get me there. But moving to Arizona aka the West coast it was sooooo different. Maybe the South went easy on me but the West doesn’t play. So before you make the big move, get your credit up and it will make that apartment application process a breeze.
2. Clean up your rental history.
Same as above, West coast is strict. Getting any type of rental property in Arizona they check your credit and your rental history. If either of those have a snag be prepared to explain or lose the application fee. You can get a copy of your rental history from your current leasing office.
3. Sell EVERYTHING
Or as much as you can. Regardless if you drive across the country or ship your belongings over, the less the better. So work on selling as much as you can, that way you can have less things to haul and have some extra cash. I sold a lot of my furniture on Facebook Marketplace and a lot of my clothes on Poshmark. Also gave a lot away to friends and the Goodwill. My budge was tight. If it didn’t fit in my car, I couldn’t take it to Phoenix. Instead of throwing things out try to give yourself enough time to put some stuff up for sale. Whatever state you move has a Walmart so you can buy some things when you get to your destination.
4. The drive is HELL but amazing.
If you drive across country from East coast to West coast in any capacity be prepared for a LONG journey with a side of adventure. It was long but so exciting to drive through all the states. I’ll do a separate blog with more specifics but driving through Texas is THE WORST. So on your overnight stay in Dallas make sure you have enough music (AND GAS) to get you through 9 hours of nothing but desert. From Dallas to El Paso you see nothing. No joke. But take lots of pictures and make many memories because you may never take that drive AGAIN.
5. Ride the bus.
When you get to your new city, take the public transit. At the time it wasn’t fun riding the bus in Wilmington, NC because my car broke down before I could move there. I got a rental and never looked back. But that rental got expensive so the bus it was. But riding the bus gave me a view of the city I never would have seen from my car. I learned the main roads, the back roads, saw all the different neighborhoods and community centers. So once I got my car I knew exactly what roads to take and how to get around town.
6. Uber everywhere.
When you’re tired of the bus, use Uber or Lyft. I can’t tell you the amount of people I met in NC and AZ just from riding in Uber. I learned a lot about what the cities have to offer, spots I should check out and met some dope regular people who we are now Facebook friends and plan to hang soon (we better!). Moving to a new city it’s hard to meet people, taking Uber it’s a new person every ride.
7. Get used to being alone.
If you hate being alone or going out by yourself moving across the country is going to be hard. Unless you have family or friends in your new state you will be spending a lot of time on your own. So venture out and find a handful of spots that you like and go to them often when you want to get out the house. Find a spot that’s close to home (mine was Applebees) these franchise places are all the same so a familiar location might feel comfortable.
8. Don’t date right away.
The two times I moved to a new state I immediately met someone and got in a relationship. This sounds good but…don’t do it! I will admit it was beneficial to date someone and learn the area but I would encourage you to learn the area on your own first. Develop your own new identity in your new state before you get into a relationship. That way if things don’t work out you are not in a new state, with no family or friends nearby and hurt feelings. Moving across the country you kind of long to have a companion but a relationship gone bad could taint your new state/new life experience. Just trust me on this.
9. Research, research, research!
Moving across the country doesn’t leave much room for a “woops…bad idea let me turn around” most cases you’ve secured a new job or apartment already. Make sure you research all you can about the city/state you’re moving to. If you’re into food research food, politics look up the politicians and the state laws. Sounds like a lot but this is going to be your new home and it’s not easy to just go backwards so learn as much as you can about where you’re going. That way when you move you will know what’s going on locally.
10. Have fun!
You have made it through the stressful move and the first few days of your new job. Kick your feet up and realize NO ONE KNOWS YOU. Take full advantage of going to Wal-mart in flip-flops with your hair in a bun. You won’t see anyone you know in there. Do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. For me that was go out and dance like no one is watching. Sure I’ve danced around my house like I want to but it was such an amazing experience to go out, drink in hand and just dance like I was at home…but in public. Maybe someone judged me, maybe not. I wasn’t going to run into anyone I knew, that’s for sure.
Regardless of your reasons why you moved, you are here and you can start a life that you want. Don’t let anyone get in the way of you living your best life. Don’t let anyone get in the way of you doing what you want to do, when you want to do it.
These 10 tips are just a guideline, moving across the country is stressful but hopefully these 10 tips give you some insight on things you may not have thought of. Wish someone would have told me!
Here are some random photos from my cross country move from North Carolina to Arizona. Extra tip: have a riding buddy because Texas is HELL and you should not try that drive alone.