How to Survive a Cross Country Move in the Wintertime


The last week of January was such a bittersweet time for our little family. We said goodbye to our first apartment in Dallas, and traveled almost 2,000 miles to move home to Maine. That entire month was so jam packed with last minute errands, and prepping for our big move. Originally, it was our plan to have our belongings shipped home along with my car, but plans changed last minute. So we quickly decided to install a trailer hitch, rent a U-Haul and drive in two separate cars. Knowing I would have to drive alone absolutely terrified me, so I enlisted the help of my blogger bestie, Summer (Coffee with Summer) to help me move cross country… and boy am I so happy I did. We also decided to team up and put out a two part collaboration post for any of you gearing up for a cross country move.

Even though we were well prepared for our cross country move, there were still so many little details we missed along the way. We knew how exhausting a cross country move was, but to do so in the winter? That in itself was a scary idea. And then to add two cats and a dog into the mix.. it’s bound to be a stressful time. Moving can be such an overwhelming time in ones life, and for that: I’m sharing with you all my top tips on surviving a cross country move.


10 Tips to Help You Survive a Cross Country Move in the Wintertime


Schedule a Tune Up

Chances are you are the one in the drivers seat, and if so, there’s so many details to stay on top of.  A week or so before your move, bring your car in for a tune up or an overall checkup before you drive a million miles across the country. Be sure to check your fluids, get an oil change, check tires, and prep your car properly before your move. Pack extra fluids in your car, just incase of any incidents. It’s crucial to pack a few essentials like: jumper cables, a shovel, an ice scraper, just to be sure you’re prepared for whatever may occur. Keeping your car stocked, and neatly packed will ensure a smooth drive, wherever you’re going!


Enlist a buddy

If you’re driving alone, you’ll want to enlist a buddy to help you tackle the drive. Our moving situation was pretty up in the air, so I had to find someone to come with me within a week of our move… which for most people, wasn’t doable with work schedules. Thankfully, Summer had already been wanting to come out to visit me in Dallas, so we decided to combine the two: a trip to Dallas & a road trip, what could be better than that? We had such a blast touring the city and getting to know one another. Asking a friend to help you on your journey across country not only gives you more of break in between driving, but gives ample opportunity to bond, have fun, and helps you to mentally reset from driving.


Plan & Pack Healthy Snacks

The day before we set off for our trip, Dustin, Summer & I headed to our local Trader Joe’s to stock up on healthy snacks. We wanted to make sure we were eating (semi) healthy on our trip, so we had enough energy to drive. We packed items that would provide us with long lasting energy, and snacks that didn’t need to stay cold. It was more convenient to pack snacks rather than make even more stops to have a meal. We did make several stops for coffee specifically, but we made sure every time we stopped, there was a bathroom, so each stop served more than one purpose. Be sure to set yourself up for success, and plan out your meals/snacks ahead of time.



Plan your stops/where you’ll stay

Unless you’re going on a very sporadic road trip, it’s crucial to know where you’re going to be laying your head down at night. I’m all for going with the flow, and flying by the seat of my pants…but this road trip was slightly different. We didn’t want it to drag on forever, especially because we were traveling in the wintertime. The week before, we sat down and mapped out just how fast we would be going, and when we would get to certain locations. We planned and booked our Airbnb’s, and even planned when we would get up in the morning, to accurately guess our arrival times. Adding that little bit of structure to an already hectic move, makes the entire process go that much smoother.


Pack your vehicle effectively

Since I already touched on this subject once prior in this post, I will keep this short and sweet. Of course when you go on a road trip you have to pack all of the “essentials” (phone charger, toll money, important documents, ice scrapers ect) But it is even more important to pack efficiently, and effectively, especially when you’re going to spend so much time in the car. You don’t want your purse in your trunk, or your toll money thrown in a random bag. On our trip, we made sure to have our purses directly behind us, and our snack bag on the floor of the passenger seat, to make life that much easier. It’s so important to strategically pack your car, and your trunk, because you never know when you may need something in a pinch.


Keep calm! You’ve got this!

The most important part of the entire trip? To keep calm, especially during the stressful times. Whenever we approached a giant city, I definitely panicked a little-not gonna lie! It’s so important to know yourself, and what YOU can handle with driving. For me, I hated the entire state of Ohio, it made me an anxious mess, and thankfully: I had a buddy to help me drive, and be there for mental support. During a long road trip, it can be so easy to let fear or anxious thoughts take over, because you have so much time on your hands. Try your best to keep calm, and concentrate at the task on hand.



Have a playlist handy

If you’re going on a road trip: you need good tunes! Plan out a “road trip playlist” on Spotify, and fill it with music that energizes you. You don’t necessarily want to listen to super chill or calming music, because that may mellow you out too much for the drive. In order to stay awake and alert, it’s important to find good music that keeps your mind occupied. The craziest part of our entire road trip? We never listened to music. Summer and I spent the entire time getting to know each other, and sharing stories… and we never got bored! Sometimes, all it takes is good music to keep you going, or good conversation… make sure you have one of the two when going on a long distance road trip.


Wear warm / comfy clothes!

When spending almost ten hours in a car for a long distance road trip, always prioritize comfort over style. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate stylish pieces into whatever you’re wearing, but for driving purposes, dress for comfort. If you still want to feel cute, throw on a pair of comfortable leggings, and maybe an oversized sweater. When you’re driving, you don’t want to be constantly pulling, tugging or readjusting your clothing. You need to be fully present and alert when going 70 mph down the highway, not distracted by a zipper. Try your best to consider the weather into your wardrobe, if you’re driving in the winter, be sure to pack extra layers.


Check the weather

Before you leave on your trip, be sure to check the weather in all places you will be driving. We were extremely grateful to not run into any snow showers in any of the states we were driving through, so we didn’t have any issues in the weather department. No one wants to be caught in a big snow storm, or broken down in the middle of one. Each and every morning, start your day by checking the radar, to make sure you wont run into any issues, and bonus: you’ll know how to dress for that day.


Safety first

Prioritizing safety on your drive is the #1 most important thing of all. If you’re near someone whose driving like an idiot, move over, don’t risk any possible accidents. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, just don’t. If something makes you feel unsafe in the slightest, listen to your gut instinct. If the weather is too dangerous to be driving in, extend your road trip. Yes, it may be inconvenient, but being safe and alive is more important.


Be sure to check out Coffee With Summer & read about her take on our trip, as well as all of the essential items to bring on your next road trip!


Have you drove cross country before? How was your trip? Share with me in the comments below!

Hey friend–I’m Laura, the Writer behind This Northern Native

Hey friend–I’m Laura, the Writer behind This Northern Native

A lifestyle + wellness blog, This Northern Native is a place to come for major realness. I deliver raw, honest content created for those who value becoming the happiest & healthiest versions of themselves possible, and share a love for New England living.