We drove coast to coast in six days.
With a moving truck, van, dog, and three kids under 10. So…I have a few coast to coast moving tips for you – you’re welcome. 😉
Moving is always a big ordeal. Moving out of state is a much bigger one. And moving from the east coast, to the west coast is just madness! (you can read why we moved HERE.)
But in all honesty, it’s definitely doable. And for the most part, we actually had lots of fun. Oh and I almost forgot, we did this with ZERO screen time for the kids in the car!
So here’s my list of 10 Coast to Coast Moving Tips:
- Keep driving to 7hrs a day max. When you’re driving for a week or more, you gotta prioritize rest and sanity. Especially with kids. Plan for more breaks then you think you’ll need, and time for rest in the evening out of the car.
- Stay in hotels. This is the least frugal option, I know, but hear me out. You are gonna be dog tired at the end of the day…you will not be wanting to set up a campsite each day after driving 500 plus miles. Plus we stayed at hotels that had indoor pools so we took the kids to swim most nights which was a great reward for them to look forward to after being in the car all day. And let’s not forget the breakfast bar in the morning, that was super great not to have to worry about each morning.
- Another tip for hotels – book them one day ahead. When you check into your hotel, get settled, and then plan/overview your route for the next day. You may want to make changes on stops and how many miles you actually want to travel the next day, this is the time to do that and then decide on your hotel. You’ll make more realistic and doable plans this way.
- Bring healthy snacks and all of your food. You don’t want to be stopping for food all the time, and having some fun and healthy snacks on hand for the kids is a really helpful thing. Plus, if you happen to be driving through Colorado and they don’t have a place to stop to eat or pee for 200 miles…well, we were really grateful we had packed picnic lunches for the drive.
- Find a great audiobook series and download Libby app. This where the magic is my friends. We drove 2904 miles and there was not an ipad or electronic device in sight. All because we had a great book series that we all loved. I don’t own an ipad or a portable dvd player, and I didn’t want to spend the money on that for this trip – nor did I want my kids eyeballs buried in a screen for 7 hours a day for 6 days. I wanted them to take in the beautiful country we were driving through! So, I downloaded the Libby App onto my phone for free, it connects to your library card, and you can use it to download ebooks and AUDIOBOOKS. I borrowed a bunch more audio books then we would need so I had options on the road. I connected my phone to our van’s speakers, and voila! We listened to the Sisters Grimm series, it is great for kids and parents (a must!), and the narrator was fantastic (also a must for kids!). Another great option is Harry Potter, which I listened to on car rides when I was a kid! You can use the Libby App to search for audio books for kids and listen to some samples and find some great stuff for your drive.
- Use plastic bins to organize the car. Admittedly I didn’t use this tip as well as I wanted to, I underestimated the number of bins I would need! But, it was really helpful to have a bin of coloring books and car games for the kids, as well as a bin with snacks up front for me to pass out to the kids in the back. It just helps to know where things are and to keep things from getting too cluttered and crazy in the car. You’re practically living in it for days, so keeping it tidy helps the mood and stress levels.
- Bring your oils and a car diffuser. This was a huge help y’all. I bought this car diffuser and it worked so well, the kids really liked having this running on the drive. I used a blend of oils called CitrusBliss most of the drive – to help me with energy, and to help everyone stay happy and calm. My 4 year old specifically would ask for me to turn this on if I had forgotten! Plus, it was a way to make the drive just more comfortable and feel more like home because again, we practically lived in the car for 6 days!
- Bring a yoga mat. Weird, I know, but my neck and upper back were really killing me after day two of driving. So I bought a cheap Walmart yoga mat and did yoga in the hotels at night. It helped tremendously. It even fit in my suitcase! Totally worth it, and I’ll always be traveling with a yoga mat from not on. Because who wants to do yoga directly on the hotel floor…ew. This is a the yoga routine I used most nights at the hotels.
- Wear Comfy clothes. This probably goes without saying, but driving is really uncomfortable for long distances day after day, so wearing comfy clothes is essential. But if you’re like me and don’t really feel like yourself if you’re wearing pj’s all day everyday…I give you the jegging and loose fitting top! Also, maxi dresses are amazing too. These were my roadtrip uniforms. They kept me ultra comfy and feeling like a put together grown up. Because again, I’m all about keeping things feeling as normal as possible on this trip to reduce stress and overwhelm.
- Pack tools near the back of the moving truck. This is essential. We had our car serviced before we left but we still had a check engine light come on in the middle of our trip. And my husband had the device to read what was wrong and he had tools necessary to fix things. This was a big relief to us both. Because when you’re driving 100’s of miles in the middle of nowhere…having car knowledge and tools is kind of a big deal. So he packed all that stuff right at the back of the truck were he could reach it super fast.
- Use BP app for gas. This was not only very convenient, but it gave us peace of mind. We drove two vehicles 2900 miles in 6 days. I don’t even know how many times we stopped to fill up for gas. We have had our cards skimmed before and we knew that the chances would go up for that possibility on this trip just because of the number of times we were filling up. So to avoid that whole mess in the middle of a cross country move…my husband got the BP app and used it to pay for gas. It worked really well and we highly recommend it.
- Bonus: If you can, take the time to make one sight seeing stop each day. We did not have the time to do this on this trip, but we did make 2-3 stops and I’m so glad we did. It was a great way to break up the monotony of driving so much, and made it feel more like a vacation then just a long long drive.
Have you moved across the country before? What moving tips would you add to this list??