Planning A Cross-Country Move With Kids (Or Pets)? Make It A Success

Whether you're moving to be closer to family, relocating due to a job change or promotion, or simply want to experience life in another part of the country for a while, you might be wondering about ways to make your move as simple and easy as possible. And if you have pets and/or young children, you may be concerned about the logistics of transporting an entire household full of belongings along with yourself and your smaller family members for thousands of miles. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to make this process as pain-free and streamlined as you can. 

Consider renting a shipping container

If hiring household movers isn't in your budget, one option may be to rent a portable shipping container to house and move your belongings. These shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and are built to accommodate the contents of nearly any home. When you rent one of these shipping containers, it will be delivered to your old home to begin a specified rental period (usually two to four weeks). When you're ready to ship the container and its contents, you'll contact the company, which will send a truck to pick up the container and place it on a cargo plane. The shipping container is then trucked to and dropped off at your new home, where you're free to unpack (or hire movers to do this for you). 

Renting a shipping container can allow you to move items at your leisure, leaving the essentials to be packed last. You'll also be able to focus on getting yourself and your family from Point A to Point B without worrying about driving a moving truck or parking a vehicle containing the entire contents of your household outside a questionable motel. 

One advantage to a shipping container is its lower cost -- even if you rent it for weeks and use movers to pack (and unpack) your belongings, you avoid the costs of paying household moving workers to truck your items across the country, as well as the hassle of trying to line up your departure and arrival times to coordinate with those of the movers. 

Keep some familiar items behind

Both children and animals thrive on routine and regularity. Because it's often difficult for them to understand the hustle and bustle with which adults go about their daily lives, or the factors that go into decisions, predictability is important -- and ensuring that some parts of your child's (or pet's) life remains static during the moving process can go a long way toward easing the transition. 

For children, you'll want to start this process well before moving day. You might check out some books from the library that deal with moving (at your child's age level), or look at pictures of your new home and ask your child what color he or she thinks the walls should be painted, or how the furniture should be arranged. You might also buy your child a small "moving notebook" so that he or she can collect addresses and other contact information from friends.

For pets, you'll want to keep their "base area" as stable and constant as possible. This means that if your pet is traveling in a pet carrier, you may want to include blankets and favorite toys that will remind him or her of home, or even a dirty article of clothing worn by you or another family member. Both pets and children tend to feed off the emotions of those around them, so remaining calm and handling unexpected issues with as much grace as you can will go a long way toward minimizing conflict or "acting out" behavior.