Moving to a new apartment within the same city can be a hassle. So it’s not surprising that moving out of state can cause even more stress. However, it doesn’t have to be a troublesome task if you prepare in advance. Here is a to-do list for your long-distance move:

Find a New Apartment

The first step is finding a new apartment. Like any other move, you want to find a few places to tour and ask all necessary questions before you sign the lease. It’s important to give yourself enough time to pack your belongings so plan at least a month of preparation time.

Get Rid of Excess

Before you start packing, get rid of the excess items in your apartment. It’s expensive to move furniture and heavy boxes to another state, so only keep what you need. There are a variety of ways to reduce your amount of furniture. You can host a yard sale, post your goods on online classifieds or donate to charity. Also, go through your clothes and toss or donate anything you no longer wear or doesn’t fit. To help you decide what to give away, make three piles of items labeled: keep, toss or donate.

Secure Transportation

Once you have gotten rid of your excess belongings, you can find a moving company. Look at your items to get a good sense of what you have and how large a truck you will need. Consider if you want to move things yourself or if you will hire people to do the heavy lifting instead. Read through user reviews to choose between a variety of moving services. Some companies even offer an online tracking system so you can keep an eye of your things as they traverse the country.

If you are driving to your new place, get your car fully serviced so no problems will arise while you are on the road. Make sure that when traveling with animals they have pet carriers of an appropriate size. Additionally, you might want to make sure they are up-to-date on all their vaccinations before moving out of state. Cats in particular aren’t good travelers, so you may be able to get a sedative from your veterinarian if necessary. But only do so under the doctor’s approval.

Change Your Address

Inform all your accounts of your change of address like your bank, employer and health care provider. You may also be able to fill out a change-of-address form so all your new mail is automatically rerouted to your new apartment. Additionally, you might want to give your bank a call before a move so they won’t flag the use of your debit or credit card in another state as unusual activity.

Contact Utility Providers

Not all utility providers service all regions. In fact, many companies only work in some areas within a state. So before you move, contact all your major utility providers, like the energy and gas company, to see if you can use them in your new home. If not, your new landlord can help you find out which providers are offered in your area. This also applies to entertainment services like phone, cable, satellite and Internet. To limit hassle later, find out what accounts can carry over to your new place before you move.