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My Tips on Planning a Cross-Country Move

If you didn’t know, Addison and I have only lived in Colorado for 2 ½ years now. We moved to Denver, Colorado 9 days after our college graduation in May 2018, and had never actually planned or talked about moving to a new state until a random opportunity presented itself. I’m originally from Iowa and he’s originally from Illinois, so even though our move was last minute and kind of a mess, it taught me a lot about what steps need to be or should be taken before moving across the country.

First, I want to give you a little background on our move and why it was such a mess. I had applied for 20+ jobs in Iowa, where we had talked about starting our adult lives, and out of the blue decided to apply for one job in Denver. As you can probably guess, I got an offer for the single Denver job I had applied for, and the offer was pretty good. We were both still in college, only 3 weeks out from graduation, and I remember the day I went over to Addison’s apartment and said, “I got it.” He wasn’t really excited at first, I mean, he had never even been to Denver, and if we decided to move there, we’d have to move sight unseen. Meaning, we would have to sign a lease for an apartment we’ve never seen or visited before. I told him that this was his choice, that I wouldn’t be moving to Colorado without him, and that he had a few days to choose before they were needing my response.

I think that he talked to his mom a lot about it, and she must have been very pro-moving because a few days later, on a night that we were drinking and out with our friends, he pulled me outside onto the porch and said, “Take it. Take the job and let’s move to Denver.” Mind you, this was only 2 weeks before graduation and 3 weeks before we’d have to move. So, we had not been planning for this move, nor were we expecting it, so we were kind of going with the flow and decided to figure it out as we went. Which clearly ended up working out perfectly fine for us, but it wasn’t without quite a few bumps in the road. So through our trial and error, these are a few things I suggest doing and planning before you move across the country.

Save some money – at least double the cost of your rent

Given the fact that we were moving right out of college, we were ba-roke when we moved. After paying for the gas it took to get from Davenport, Iowa to Denver, Colorado, and for our first month’s rent and security deposit, I had $147 to my name. Granted, I was going to start my big-girl job in a few days and start getting a consistent paycheck every two weeks, but moving and only having that much money as padding was… scary. We had a very strict budget for groceries for a solid month, and didn’t really go out to each or do anything fun for the first 3 weeks. Simply because we couldn’t afford it!


So, given our experience, I definitely suggest having a good padding of money saved up ahead of time. Not only will these relieve a lot of stress surrounding money, it will also allow you to get out and explore your new home right away. Which would have been really nice given we didn’t know a single person in Denver! I think twice the amount of rent is a perfect start because it gives you enough spending money to have some fun with, but also has you covered in case something happens and you can’t pay your rent in time one month.

Have a job lined up ahead of time.

This of course isn’t necessary, especially if you have a good chunk of money saved up already. But we felt a lot less stressed about whether or not our move would work out since we both had jobs lined up already, so we knew exactly how much money we would be working with each month. This made it easier to look for apartments, budget for groceries, and plan what we’d be able to do on the weekends. Moving is already stressful enough, so it was nice not having to job search on top of it.

I do have a few suggestions on how to secure a job in a new city before you actually move. First, either take your address off of your resume or add in ‘relocating to ____ in ___ of 2020’ or whatever year you’re looking to move. When I had my first interview with my former job, I told them I was already moving to Denver that month, even though my move was dependent on my job. Also, apply to several jobs that you’d be interested in, even if they’re not 100% your dream job. Having a job is better than no job, and you can always look for a new one after living there for a few months.

Plan a weekend to visit your new city and look at different neighborhoods

As I mentioned before, we had to move to Denver sight unseen, meaning we weren’t able to look at apartments or neighborhoods before we moved. We did get lucky in that area though, because a girl I knew of in high school (who is now my best friend), Nikki, had posted that she was moving to Denver with her then-boyfriend on Facebook. So I instantly messaged her asking her for her advice on the best and safest neighborhoods in Denver. It was insanely helpful talking to someone who had visited Denver prior to signing a lease, as it gave us insights on which neighborhoods to look at and which ones to avoid.

If you don’t know of anyone living in your new city, I highly recommend planning and making a trip out there before you move. You can tour different apartments/homes, walk around each of the neighborhoods you were eyeing, and really get a feel of what the different locations are like. That’s definitely the biggest regret I have about our move, as it made the move feel 8x scarier since we didn’t truly know where our apartment was or what it was like.

Just freaking go for it

Honestly, as hectic as it was, I was glad that we only had a few days to consider whether or not we wanted to move. I’m a serial over-thinker, so I think that if I had been able to ponder it more, I would’ve gone with the safe route of staying in Iowa and building our roots there. But holy moly and a half, am I glad we decided to move! Addison and I had to learn how to set and follow a strict budget, we had to learn how to make friends in a place where we didn’t know anyone, we had to learn how to be there for each other in any and every situation, and we had to learn how to do every single adult-y thing ourselves.

If you’re on the fence about moving to a new state or across the country, do it. It will be tough and it will be scary, but you’ll grow in ways you never imagined that you would. And truthfully, if the universe presents you with an opportunity to move, it’s probably trying to give you some sort of sign. Personally, I know that my fitness page wouldn’t have grown to what it is today if I had stayed in Iowa. The number of opportunities that presented themselves to me just by moving to Denver are insane, and I am the happiest form of myself out here. And it’s all thanks to us saying “yes” to an out of the blue job offer that I almost said “no” to.

So, who knows what could happen if you decide to say “yes”, too.

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