Tips for Long-Distance College Moves

Young man using laptop surrounded by moving boxes in apartment
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When moving from home to college—in particular, when moving to a college that's far away from your hometown—you need to plan the move carefully to ensure you get all your things packed, moved, and ready to go before classes begin. A good place to start is researching how to pack for a long-distance college move. Once you have thought through the practical steps of moving, it's time to think about some of the logistics of moving far away.

Pack and Move Only the Essentials

Before you even begin to pack, think about what you need to take versus what you simply want to take. The essentials are items that you need on a daily basis that can't be bought easily or without spending too much. Items that are a "nice to have," on the other hand, are those that you don't use or wear very often or things that you can purchase easily once you get to your college town.

For example, you might want to take a bunch of pairs of shoes, but you should limit the number as they tend to be heavy and bulky. Along the same line, take one—or two, at most—jackets or coats. A good multipurpose coat can take you from rain to a cool fall day and well into the early winter, depending on where you live and how well you can layer sweaters and warm woolies underneath.

Mode of Travel

How much you pack will depend largely on how you plan to travel to your new college home. If the only way to get there is by flying, then the amount you pack and move will be determined by the airline's suitcase rules and how much extra you want to pay to bring along additional bags. If you're traveling by car, then you'll have a greater range of options.

Ship Dorm Room Essentials

If you're moving into a college dorm, you'll have to provide your sheets, blankets, and potentially some of the furnishings. Much of the bedding essentials can be packed and shipped before you move. Check with the residence to see what they'll provide and if they'll accept packages before you ship them.

To cut down on the things you need to ship, think about what you can buy once you arrive. Bulky items such as bedding, kitchen items, school supplies can all be purchased during the first week on campus.

Pack an Essentials Kit

Create a survival kit that will make sure you have everything you need for your first night or two. Don't rely on your luggage or the items you shipped arriving on time. Once you arrive on campus, your life will be pretty crazy with campus activities and dorm room socials taking up a lot of your time. You may find that there's little time to unpack, never mind collect and sort through the items you shipped ahead of time.