Moving across the country--what am I forgetting?
January 14, 2022 9:25 AM   Subscribe

In a few months I'll be moving from the east coast to the west coast (Boston to Portland OR) What do I need to think about?

It's been a long time since I've moved states and I'm doing a big one in a few months. Only recently was I reminded that I need to think about changing my medical insurance once I get there since the one I'm on is MA local. Car registration will also need changing...what other logistical/administrative things are state-specific (or even Portland specific!) that I might not be thinking about?

We're also doing a cross-country road trip to get ourselves out there--any random tips on that are also appreciated :)
posted by Calicatt to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total)
If you're keeping the same job make sure your work's payroll updates your state tax properly. Such a headache when this isn't done right.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]

Does your current bank have local branches in your destination?

New library card.
posted by praemunire at 9:36 AM on January 14

Oh, and switching any current medications to a local pharmacy (if you don't use mail order).

Pet license (if applicable).
posted by praemunire at 9:37 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]

Voter registration.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]

This may be more existential than you were looking for but: prepare yourself for the sense of dislocation that can come with moving and don't mistake it for having made and mistake/thinking everything will always feel this way. I now put an X three months out from a move on my calendar and tell myself that I'm not allowed to fully believe any dire feelings up until that point and that I need to be extra patient with myself because big moves are exciting but HARD. Wishing you all the best!
posted by jeszac at 10:00 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]

Oregon voter registration is automatic when you update your Driver’s License so that’s an easy one.
posted by janell at 10:09 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

If you are taking I-80 to get there, stop at the Archway in Kearney, Nebraska! It’s a museum in the shape of an actual arch across the interstate, and its subject is the history of American westward migration, starting with the Oregon Trail and ending up with the creation of I-80 itself. It’s quite fascinating and inspiring, and since it’s right on the interstate, it’s not at all out of your way.
posted by ejs at 10:18 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Go to the post office website & get your mail forwarded.
posted by bleep at 10:20 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]

Take the state highways through the West instead of the interstates. Routes 20 / 16 through Wyoming are beautiful.
posted by TDIpod at 10:28 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

If you're of the Oregon Trail generation, that would make a fun theme for landmarks to hit. (You're literally starting in Boston and ending in the Willamette Valley, for goodness' sake.)
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 11:34 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Depending on the reasons for the move and if you need to job hunt, consider changing your phone number to one with a local area code. People will rarely pick out an out of state random call unless they have a connection to that place.

(Reason to not do it- I know that almost all phone calls from NJ that aren’t in my address book are spam!)
posted by raccoon409 at 11:54 AM on January 14

Remember to send all your utility provides with notice, so you’ll stop paying water/sewer/gas/electricity/cable etc.
Reverse all that when you get where you’re going.
In addition to having your mail forwarded, start notifying regular billers of your new adress, so it doesn’t take forever to get to you.
Depending on where you currently bank, you may want to change banks as well - which I find a huuuge PITA.
posted by dbmcd at 12:22 PM on January 14

Am in midst of relocating.....these are the tasks I have been dealing with:

**changing car insurance, then license, in that order.
**new home insurance.
**new health insurance--that means figuring out new docs, hospitals, etc.
**Changing all accounts to new address--which has been tricky. Retirement accounts, etc. eventually need your new address, even if you do all your stuff online.
**Closing out all the junk from old home--canceling insurances, utilities, returning cable pieces, forwarding mail. That was pretty easy.
**Mass EZ pass doesn't work with every state, even when it was supposedly acceptable, we got charged via License plate, which cost more, so ended up opting for cash tolls rather than the automatic ones.
**Ensuring electric and other utilities are at new location are set up in your name.
**New cable company and internet, believe it or not, we miss Comcast!
**Library card! Need proof of residency, hence the need to get a license in the new state. Although, they will accept other docs.

For me, moving has been a big freaking pile of bureaucratic work. I have triaged what needs to happen and what can wait, which has helped. And, worse comes to worse, it all gets sorted out....

Good luck!
posted by rhonzo at 12:28 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Major snowstorms are not unheard of in the Mountain West in April & May (if that's what you mean by "a few months" from now.) Keep an eye on the weather and build an extra day or two into your travel plans if you can.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:52 PM on January 14

Portland, OR?

If your new place doesn't have air conditioning, consider shopping for fans or a portable AC unit now. The PNW almost always gets 1-2 weeks of really hot weather, and our architecture doesn't account for that. Last year, we had REALLY hot weather.

That's when also people scramble, and invariably get their fans/AC units when the heat event ends.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:58 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]

Also buy an air purifier, in case of (unfortunately) wildfire smoke. And find a place with good airtightness, like a newer building with good windows, if possible.
posted by pinochiette at 3:00 PM on January 14 [6 favorites]

Car registration and excise tax and other MA state fees are partially refundable, depending on how far into the year you are. Get your $$ back once you are settled in OR.

Be careful on all the sites that have saved your MA address (amazon and others), so you don’t actually ship to your old place.

We have managed with no local bank branches for about five months now after a transcontinental move, but eventually you’ll run into something.

If you can, get refills on all your meds to last for a while so you don’t have to scramble to find new doctor right away. I also got some refills for my infection prone cats for similar reason.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:52 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Homeowner's/renter's insurance tends to be location-specific, and you'll generally need to set up an entirely new policy (even if it's with the same company) at a new place.

If you have an Amazon wishlist or similar that people use to send you things, don't forget to change your mailing address there. I moved in June, forgot that one detail, and many of the packages my family sent me in December ended up at my old address. Luckily that's just a few blocks away for me and I just had to have some awkward conversations with my former landlord to retrieve them, but it would be a bit harder for you across the country!

Other places you might forget to update your address that will have consequences even if you set up mail forwarding:
- Kickstarter orders
- Things that have been backordered for months due to supply chain issues
- Preorders you placed months ago and forgot about
- Your job (if you're keeping the same one)

Heavy plus-one to getting what you need for heat waves and fire season as soon as you move, and not waiting until those things happen.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:21 PM on January 14

Bring your rain coat. The drought may be over.
posted by Cranberry at 1:08 AM on January 15

Folks have provided excellent advice already but here is a few more if you already have your place in Oregon squared away then:

1) Pack your immediate stuff with the assumption of living out of a suitcase for a week or two, including traveler size amounts of laundry detergent;

2) Get a professional cleaner into your new place, if possible so you come to a spotless place, including the refrigerator. This would also be the time to bring in pest control, too;

3) Have a list of what you need at the shops immediately on arrival. Is your furniture coming with you or are the movers coming later? If you arrive without a bed then pack sleeping bags and other gear to get you through before the rest of your stuff arrives. My movers were very late arriving for an interstate delivery so I speak from harsh experience;

4) Another +1 on going through Wyoming and if you can swing Montana that would be sweet, too. One of my favorite national parks is Theodore Roosevelt which is dark skies and a very underrated park.
posted by jadepearl at 3:52 PM on January 16

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