Lessons from the road.
We recently helped Henry move from LA to Orlando for grad school, driving from Cali to Florida in his fully-packed Mazda sedan. Here are the five lessons we learned along the way.
The Best Navigation App
After comparing Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze, we found Apple Maps to be the best by far. Our favorite features include seamless integration into your car’s audio system (it even pauses podcasts when announcing directions), plenty of lead time to change lanes, and a display of upcoming directions on your phone’s lock screen.
Create Extra Packing Space
We packed as much as we possibly could inside Henry’s car and trunk, but we never considered a roof bag because his car doesn’t have a rack. It wasn’t until we saw this bag (that doesn’t require a rack) on top of a car next to us that we realized we could have brought so much more!
Consider A City Tour
While it’s tempting to get to your destination as quickly as possible, consider making stops along the way, if you can afford to do so. Henry visited friends in Phoenix, spent time with my parents in Kansas City, and then I joined him for stops in St. Louis, Nashville, and Atlanta before arriving in Orlando. Stopping along the way made the trip so much more bearable, plus we got to experience each city, even if only for a day.
Plan Ahead For Parking
Early in our journey, we pulled up to our chic boutique hotel, located in a downtown area, to discover that the hotel offered street parking only. On the side of the building was a sign: PARK SMART. KEEP VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT. Not exactly where you want to park a car full of moving boxes and electronics in the back seat. We ended up switching to a hotel with a secure garage and called ahead to the other hotels we had booked to confirm that they offered covered, monitored parking. Important to consider if you’re hauling a TV or, in our case, a custom built computer which your child has securely packed into a box and labeled M-O-N-I-T-O-R-!
Make Plans Within Walking Distance
The last thing you’ll want to do after a day of driving is hop back into the car for a dinner reservation. We had made plans to drop our bags and head back out for dinner in each city, but found ourselves exhausted. We eventually learned to make reservations close to the hotel, within walking distance. One night we rallied and called an Uber, but driving was the last thing we wanted to do.
Share your tips for cross-country moves in the comments!
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of Raise, stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to Raise, she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.