Cross country

Moving across the country – tips and tricks

alwaysgaia Lifestyle

Hello sweeties, 

I’ve been procrastinating this blog post long enough. I wanted to write this because I wan’t able to find anything like this online; most of the articles were about long road trips and not a move. I also wanted to give you some advice if you are planning to move across the county (across the US) or any long distance move. Moving is very stressful on its own but moving long distance adds even more stress (at least to me). 

I think that by now you got the idea that we actually drove across the county. Well, we didn’t want to but because of our dogs we had to. Let me explain this. We moved in early December. 
At first we were very optimistic, treating this like the easiest thing there is. The plan was: hire the moving company to move our furniture and other belongings and fly with the dogs. Quickly we discovered that things are not that easy. Here are the reasons we couldn’t fly:
1. In order to fly dog in the main cabin the dog can’t be more than 12″ tall (one of my dogs is much taller than that)

Than I thought, fine, we are just going to put him in cargo… Only to realize:
2. You can no fly dogs in cargo area if the temperature at the either destinations (starting and final) need to be more than 60 F. Which obviously isn’t the case when your final destination is Minneapolis.

I still refused the idea of driving across the county, at time it seemed ridiculous. So I went online and found this service that transports the dogs by car and that even do it in your own car. I was sold!!! So happy, I thought we finally have the solution. I didn’t have to pay to ship my car and the way it works is: two people travel to your house, take your car, the dogs, pet supplies,… and they drive non stop to your final destination. It costs about $2500 (obviously the price varies by the distance). I will link it here, if anyone is interested. Great service but…

3. …the only available date in December was the 19th and we were leaving on the 11th. 

I was crushed, my moral was at the lowest. I did a lot of research and I realized that we don’t have a choice. We have to drive. And now the big questions became: How do we do it?! Obviously the goal is to get to the final destination as soon as possible. It is not a road trip, especially not when you have two puppies the the back seat. From Temecula to Minneapolis. 28 hours of driving. Here is how we did it:

  1. Try not moving during winter
  2. Select cities where you are going to stop and sleep an the lodging has to allow dogs. 
  3. Clean up your car
  4. Pack the car with most needed items and nothing else. 
  5.  Save some space for water and snacks
  6. Pack separate suitcase for travel

Easier said than done. As I said earlier, we moved on December 11th. We were planning on moving in spring, however our house sold very quickly and we just decided to go for it. Luckily for us the beginning of the winter was quite mild and the road were not frozen nor snowy.  

We decided on 2 stop before our final destination. First one was St. George UT and the second one was Rapid City, SD.  We decided that immediately after they pack our furniture on the move day, we will just hop in the car and drive 6 hours to St. George. We slept at Courtyard by Marriott.They allowed dogs and our room was on the first floor so it was very easy with dogs. We got there quite late and we went straight to sleep because we had to wake up at 6 am the next day to continue the ride. 14 hour ride to be exact. I don’t even know how we did it! It was 2 shifts 6.5 hours each. Uhhh.. I am tired just thinking about it.  It was though, my dog could relax in the car and she was shaking a lot. I felt so bad for her. We were trying to stop ever 6 hours or so for them to go pee and relax a bit. We finally made it to Rapid City SD. We stayed at The Rushmore Hotel, it was a lovely experience, their rooms seem to be renovated and modern. We got there, went to sleep and the next morning we had “only” 8 hours to go. 4 hours each. It was late at night that we got to Minneapolis. 
I was exhausted! Luckily we stayed at the Kimpton Hotel in Minneapolis which the best hotel I have ever stayed at! There is so many great things things to say about this hotel I should probably do a whole post about it!

The drive through Utah was really nice!



Believe me, you want to clean it up before it fills up again with all the fast food wrappers! When you are driving cross country that is what you’ll mostly eat, you don’t want to stop for fancy dinner or lunches, you just want to get to the final destination. 

Packing the car… UGH, that can be hard. We were able to fit 4 suitcases (2 big, 2 small) + dogs stuff in the trunk. We also got a seat cover for back seat where the dogs are going to sleep. I’ll link the seat cover here, it turned out to be very useful especially because one of my dogs likes to escape to the front seat and the covered kept her in the back. We packed pillows and blankets behind the back seats and on top of back seats, covered it with the seat covered and then put some more blankets and dog beds on top of it. We made it very cozy for the pups. 

The picture is not the best but it realistically slows the situation. One of my dogs was really cozy in the bed whilst traveling.

Packing the car

What I learned very quickly is that I kind of over packed the trunk and the back seats and we had almost no room for water bottles. I was kind of able to squeeze into pillows behind the back seats. But I should have definitely planned that one ahead.

As I mentioned before, we had 2 big and 2 small suitcases; the big two were packed at the back of the car and the small two were used when we were changing hotels every day. In my opinion you don’t want to drag out half of the car our and all that. You want to get your stuff out of the car and disrupt the whole thing as little as possible. I also had a separate bag packed for dogs with their food, water bottle, treats and some toys. It worked great.  

All in all, we made it here safe and sound. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. At that time that was the best option.

This was taken at the final destination, one very very tired puppy. BTW, she loved this bed at the Kimpton so much, that we bought it for her and she still loves it.  

Thank you for stopping by and reading this. I tried to keep it as short as possible but there is a lot that you have to consider. 🙂 





Courtyard by Marriott
The Rushmore Hotel
Kimpton Hotel in Minneapolis

Private Nationwide Pet Transportation Company 

Back seat cover


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