Packing your bags to go traveling interstate is an exciting adventure and you are bound to meet interesting people and have incredible experiences along the way.
To help make sure the fun times aren’t overshadowed by any major mishaps, we’ve compiled a list of seven things you should spend time thinking about and taking care of.
The Big Plan
Some people are naturally more organized than others. If you are someone who prefers to ‘go with the flow’ at least put time into the most important aspects of your traveling. You will be glad you did.
Some of the things you should plan out include:
From securing accommodation to buying coffee for fellow travelers, there are numerous big and small purchases that you will have to make to sustain yourself during your adventures.
While many of these expenses will be impossible to predict, you should calculate as many as you can and add a generous margin to cover anything else. You will also need to check the cost of living in different states and cities. A dollar may not stretch as far as you’re used to in some cities. There are online calculators to help with this but you should still check out a selection of real prices online and do the math yourself.
Are you going to use a removal company to move your possessions from state to state, lug suitcases on public transport or drive yourself. This decision will have a big impact on your budget and on the logistics of your trip.
What are you hoping to get out of your experiences? Further your career? Gain life experience? Or simply meet new people and have a great time? Whatever your goals, set a few objectives to keep you on course.
If you are traveling for work purposes you will need to plan out your job-hunting in fine detail. Unless you have already been guaranteed a job, make sure you understand the labor market in your chosen state and city including, where relevant, which seasonal work is on offer and when.
You’re not going to be able to take all of your possessions with you so this is an ideal time to simplify your life a bit.
In the lead up to your departure date, get into the ‘travel light’ mindset by paring down your possessions. Separate your worldly goods into what you intend to bring with you, what you can safely leave behind, what you can sell or donate and what needs to be recycled or thrown out.
Take a trip to the rubbish dump and visit your favorite charity stores. Finally, arrange a yard sale or use an online auction site to sell those remaining valuable items.
However you intend to get from A to B, you should pack an emergency bag which never leaves your side. This should include essentials such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, underwear, change of clothes, emergency snacks, drinks, medical kit and other essentials.
The Moving People
There are a few aspects of interstate moving that you should know about if you intend to use a moving company to transport your belongings across state lines.
First, your chosen company has to be FMCSA compliant. Requirements include vehicle insurance, liability insurance, workers’ compensation, a current registration (renewable every two years) and either a Department of Transport or unique ID number.
This information should be available on the company’s website but if in doubt, contact the FMCSA directly to check them out.
Second, you will get a delivery spread rather than a specific date as multiple companies will work together to complete the job. This could mean that you are living out of library carts for a while as you wait for your furniture to arrive. Your spread will depend on various factors such as location, time of year and the size of your load (a bigger load usually means a shorter spread).
Make sure you invest in quality cardboard moving boxes since your possessions are likely to be handled more than once during an interstate journey.
A Place to Stay
Securing a roof over your head, no matter how temporary, is one of the first things you need to do to stay safe and comfortable while traveling.
Here are some ideas for landing a place to stay:
- Real estate agents.
This may not be fashionable in the internet age but real estate agents are still the property experts in any area.
Again, this may be old-fashioned but some great rental properties never make the World Wide Web.
- Returning travelers.
A great source of knowledge and you might even be able to move in to replace them.
Flexible but can be a bit on the pricy side. Online alternatives are worth looking into.
These are ideal for short-term stays.
- Trailer park.
If you want more control over where you stay and for how long, consider hiring a motorhome or travel trailer.
- Guest Houses and Hotels.
These will usually be a last resort due to the expense but can be fun for a night or two, especially when exploring one of the big cities.
In the Information Age, it has never been quicker or easier to research another state’s transport network in depth. The more information you can get ahead of time on bus, metro and train routes, prices and ticket options the more time you can spend enjoying the view rather than poring over timetables.
When you do arrive at your destination, it is worth talking to locals and fellow travelers about their public transport experiences. Are the buses jam-packed or do you get plenty of space to yourself? Which trains run on time and which show up late – or not at all? Are there any metro stations you should avoid after dark?
Many public transport firms offer big savings on monthly or yearly passes so be sure to ask about the options available.
A common mistake, especially from those who are used to a high school or college environment, is assuming that friends will be easy to make. When traveling, you are going to have to get used to interacting with people who will already have their own social lives and daily routines. It can take real effort to break into that.
If you are struggling to make contacts, consider reaching out to bloggers who write about the area you are visiting. Meetups are also a great place to find people with a similar interest as are courses or classes. Even social media can be useful for finding new local contacts. Make sure you always meet new people in a safe public place.
It is important to take care of your internal preparations as much as your external ones. How do you intend to cope with the stress when things go wrong (as they inevitably will)? How will you cope with loneliness if it takes a long time to meet new friends? If you have a tendency to get anxious, try to learn some techniques for managing your feelings (meditation, positive affirmations, etc.)
Finally, make sure you schedule quality time for reconnecting with friends and family back at home. They will want to hear about your adventures but you should also give them space to talk about their lives.
Thinking about the above may seem a chore when all you want to do is pack up and go but taking care of these important essentials will help ensure your happy and fulfilling experiences outweigh the more challenging ones.