Tips for driving a moving van cross country

A cross country move is without a doubt a big event full of excitement and challenges. And if you’re the person in charge of driving a moving van cross country, it’s even bigger. Staring at a 12-foot truck and trying to figure out how you’ll get it, and its contents, from point A to point B can be quite intimidating. If you’ve never driven a truck before, it can be quite scary. Acquiring a moving truck should be the first thing you do right after hiring cross country movers NYC. The first thing to understand is that driving a truck isn’t all that different from driving any other vehicle. Sure, the size is different, and there is going to be a learning curve. You’ll need to figure out all of your blind spots and controls in terms of blinkers and buttons.

white moving van ready for a cross country move
Don’t let moving vans intimidate you, as they’re not much different from regular cars.

But if you’re comfortable with driving a regular car, you’ll be perfectly fine. So, let’s begin with the basics. You should rent a truck as soon as you know your moving date. In this text, we’ll focus on a few important things: the size of the truck you’ll need, the important documents required since you are about to leave the state for good, and a few other essential things to prepare. Making an error or overlooking any of these elementary factors can make your relocation a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Meaning, you need to give yourself enough time to cover all the minor details and fully prepare for the journey.

Picking the right-sized truck for your move

Before driving a moving van cross country, you first have to pick one which fits you the best. Choosing a truck that’s either too big or too small can be an inconvenience no matter which way you look at it. In reality, picking the right truck is like picking cheap storage Manhattan. You need to find space which is just slightly larger than what you actually need, just in case. With that said, the size of the truck depends on how many items you intend to bring with you. For a smaller studio apartment, a cargo van will suffice, while a three-bedroom home will require the largest truck available. Here are the usual truck sizes together with a few details to help you make the right choice:

  • Cargo van – Smallest vehicle available, perfect for a small studio with minimum furniture, or moving in and out of college dorms. Cargo space holds up between 250 to 300 cubic feet, with a carrying capacity of up to 3500 pounds.
  • Medium moving truck – A good middle ground for either a two to three bedroom apartment or a smaller house. The vehicle length is around 15 feet with a cargo space of around 800 cubic feet. The maximum weight load is close to 6000 pounds, meaning you can pack quite a lot inside of it.
moving vans driving cross country
Moving vans come in different shapes and sizes, and it is up to you to pick the perfect one
  • Large moving truck – The largest in the fleet with between 20 to 26 feet of length. The cargo size comes up to 1700 cubic feet, with a carrying capacity of impressive 10000 pounds. These dimensions make it perfect for large homes with three to seven bedrooms.

The required paperwork for driving a moving van cross country

There’s so much more to driving a truck than being over 18 and being able to reach the pedals. Properly packing your moving truck won’t help much if you can’t drive it. Because of this, you need to make sure your papers are in order. A couple of pieces of paperwork are absolutely necessary before you hit the road. Here’s what they are:

  • A driver’s license. – This is, obviously, the most important document you’ll need if you want to operate any kind of vehicle. Luckily, rental moving trucks are not categorized as commercial vehicles, which means you don’t need any special type of license to drive them! A regular license that is still valid will be enough for driving a moving van cross country.
  • Valid identification. – Most, if not all, rental companies require you to provide valid identification when renting a moving truck. This can include your passport, state-issued ID, a driver’s license, credit card, or any other type of accepted identification. To make sure you have everything you need, call your chosen rental company and check which forms of identification are needed and accepted.
person signing paperwork
There are a few crucial pieces of paperwork you must own before setting on your journey
  • Insurance. – No vehicle should be driven without insurance. If you have a personal vehicle, call your insurance policy provider and see if they cover moving trucks. If they do, check if there are any specific policy details that cover your chosen type and size of truck. In case your insurance company doesn’t cover moving trucks, ask the rental company about their protection plans. Most companies offer these, and they cover accidental damage, but not mechanical damage if it is caused by you. Overall, it is always good to have some sort of insurance when driving a moving truck.

A few extra things to prepare in advance

You have everything packed and ready in the back and you’re almost ready to hit the road. But what about the essentials you should have with you in the cab? Sure, you have your license and registration, but that’s not all you will need. Also, keep in mind that you won’t have direct access to most of your items since they are locked up in the cargo bay. Prepare a small box or a duffle bag and pack a few essential items you will need on the road. This package should include a charging cable or an external power bank if you need to charge your phone. An emergency roadside kit for mechanical repairs on the truck and a first aid kit in case an emergency situation arises.

highway toward a big city
Before you hit the road, prepare an emergency kit, and some money for toll booths

Since you will be driving a moving van cross country, prepare some spare change for the toll booths as well. Besides these essentials, prepare anything and everything you can think of that will make the drive more enjoyable. A pillow for support while driving and quick naps at truck stops, and plenty of snacks. Preparing a good music playlist or an audiobook you enjoy are great ways to minimize stress on moving day. With this knowledge and tips, you’ll be able to plan your entire move ahead, including the drive to your new location. We hope you have a safe journey!

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