Moving can be drudgery, so take your fun where you can. If you’re going from here to there, put some fun in your trip—even if your moving budget is limited.
Look for free and low-cost natural wonders and man-made attractions; they’re located throughout the entire United States. If you did your research early, as suggested in previous sections, you know what is between here and there, you know what route you will be taking, and you know how long you have to get there. Even if you are driving a rental truck with your car on a trailer behind, you can find a few fun things to do.
If your drive is more than a couple hours, break it into manageable segments, remembering that adults, as well as children, travel more comfortably with frequent stops for stretching and exercising.
When you reach your new city, take the time to do at least a short sightseeing expedition before tackling the move into the house. Again, as with a move within a city, give the kids time to explore the house, yard, and neighborhood.
You have to stop anyway, so why not do so at scenic overlooks and historic markers. Most are right on the highway and offer adequate parking for trucks. Many rest areas have maps and information about local attractions.
Also check out visitor centers. Usually they are located on a main route through town. You can learn about local sights, lodging, and restaurants—and you might find discount certificates for some. On one move, for example, we found a wonderful clock museum in Spillville, Iowa.
Don’t pass up small museums. They can be some of the most interesting, offering a vivid look at local history. No matter where you are traveling, you can find something interesting, fun, and educational. It can be free, low-cost, or expensive. To find these fun spots, you just need a sense of adventure and a little time to investigate.
If your trip is lengthy, stop often. This tactic might add an extra hour or even a day to the trip, but you will be more rested. Stop at a local market and pick up picnic items, and then stop at a rest area or city park for lunch or dinner. Carry a cooler with fruits, cut-up vegetables, granola bars, juice, pretzels and other easy, nutritious foods for breakfast and lunch. Then stop for dinner at a restaurant.
As you stop, stretch, walk, do a few exercises, and change drivers if possible. Make sure the kids (if any) get out, too. Urge them to run and play for a few minutes. Take the dog or cat (if any) out for a walk.
You can enhance a long trip and the resulting memories by using a section of your Smart Moving Notebook as a travel journal. Each evening record what you did during the day: what you saw, how far you traveled, where you ate. Keep a record of all your expenses (remember, some are tax deductible) and save the receipts.
Also write down your feelings about what you did during the day, how you feel about leaving the old home, and how you feel about approaching the new home. One family member can serve as scribe for the entire trip, you can take turns each day, or everyone can write a brief account each day.
Depending on your children’s ages, they might like to have diaries of their own. In a few years it will be fun to re-read your journal and remember the trip and your feelings about moving.
If you’re pulling a trailer or driving a moving truck, be sure the cargo door is always locked with your own padlock. Also lock the car or truck when you leave for even a brief time. Close windows all the way unless you have pets inside.
Whenever you stop at night, back your truck or trailer up to a wall so that the cargo door is not accessible. Also, remember to check the cargo inside the truck or trailer periodically to make sure nothing has shifted. Shifting cargo means unsafe driving as well as damaged goods. Also check oil and water levels in your vehicle(s), makes sure any hitches are secure, and check tire pressure.
If you’re on the road for very long, keep in touch with the folks and/or the movers. How? By phone. If you have a cell phone, make sure folks have your number in case of emergency. You may be able to track your moving truck along its route. Or you can use the cell phone to make reservations at motels in upcoming towns. Or you can help other travelers handle emergencies.
Even if you don’t have a cell phone, you can stay in touch. Long-distance phone carriers will gladly offer you a calling card. Calls with it are typically cheaper than calling collect. Also, you can purchase prepaid calling cards almost anywhere. Stay in touch!