Are You Planning a Cross-Country Move By Yourself?
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In a perfect world, women would be able to travel around the world without having to be overly aware of our surroundings and vulnerabilities. However, it’s not a perfect world. As women, it’s necessary that we take precautions to protect ourselves when we are most vulnerable, including during a move.
Safety Tips for Women During a Move
If you’re moving alone, start planning early so you aren’t too stressed and preoccupied during the process.
- Work through the moving checklist, giving yourself plenty to time to pack.
- Pack into small boxes and don’t overload. Only pack them as heavy as you can lift and carry.
- Hire reputable moving help for the heavy stuff. If you don’t have friends and/or family to help, use affordable moving labor to help move the big stuff like furniture, appliances, mattresses, etc.
- Drive your own vehicle rather than a rental truck. You’ll draw more attention at gas stations and hotels when you’re driving a moving truck full of belongings. Opt for a service that does the driving for you. If you’re moving on a budget, a “you pack, we drive” service like U-Pack costs similar to truck rental, but you don’t have to drive.
- Hide valuables you’re carrying in your vehicle. Don’t leave the case carrying your high-value jewelry, your laptop or your tablet in the passenger seat. Make sure these items can’t be seen from outside the vehicle.
- Get your vehicle serviced and road-ready. Schedule a checkup and get basic maintenance like wiper and fluid level checks, an oil change and a tune up. Make sure to also check the battery and inspect the tires.
- Charge your cell phone. Don’t forget to bring a car charger to keep it fully charged at all times.
- Plan your route ahead of time. While an off-the-beaten-path route may sound intriguing, if you’re traveling alone, it’s best to stay on the main interstates and highways. If you have a GPS (or a smart phone with a good app) keep it on and in voice mode. Decide how many miles you’ll travel each day, make a friend or family member aware of your plans, and check in often.
- Drive during daylight hours. Start your day out early, and fill up your vehicle first thing. Make sure your plans include getting to your hotel (or new home) before dark. When you have to stop along the way, stop at areas that are busy. It’s a good idea to bring snacks and drinks with you so you don’t have to stop as often.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Call a friend or family member each time you stop, but before you get out of your vehicle, hang up your phone so you’re not distracted while you’re walking to or from the service station.
- Know what to do if you get pulled over. If you find yourself getting pulled over by an unmarked police car while en route, you can use your cell phone to call 9-1-1, let the dispatcher know what’s going on, and give your location. They’ll be able to verify that it is a legitimate officer.
Safety Tips for Women Moving into a New Home
Once you’ve successfully arrived at your new place, take these defenses to make sure you’re safe there as well.
- Don’t tell anyone that you live alone. This includes new neighbors, utility service companies, and the world via social media.
- Change the locks as soon as you arrive at your new place. If your home or apartment has been previously occupied, you can never be sure who still has keys. Changing the locks will ensure the only keys available are the ones you give out. And never hide a spare key in an obvious spot.
- Use the peep hole. If your front door doesn’t have a peep hole, have one installed, and use it when someone knocks (don’t rely on a safety chain).
- Cover your windows. If you’re waiting to hang blinds or curtains, you can cover windows with sheets in the meantime to dissuade onlookers from being able to see you or the valuables inside your home.
- Clear out shrubbery. Make sure there are no “hiding places” created by your landscaping. If shrubs and hedges are overgrown, take care of them right away.
- Secure sliding glass doors. While you can purchase a locking device that blocks the track from a home improvement store, you can also make one from a broom handle or metal bar. This video shows you how to do it.
- Think about lighting. Purchase electronic timers for the times when you’ll be out past dark; check doorway lights and porch lights; and if there isn’t already a motion detector light, consider having one installed.
- Get to know your new neighbors. While you don’t have to become best friends, it is important to know who they are and how to contact them in case of an emergency. And if you can get to know people who will watch out for you, even better!
- Schedule a regular “check in” call or text. Select at least one person to check in with each day so they’ll know to be concerned if they haven’t heard from you. It can be as simple as a “I’m home” or “good morning” text.
Moving and traveling alone is definitely workable (and can be enjoyable) – women do it successfully every single day! It’s important to consider that following these tips for moving alone doesn’t mean you’re fearful or afraid to live alone; you’re simply aware of your surroundings and prepared for anything that may come your way.
Good luck on your move, enjoy your new home, and if you have any questions about how U-Pack can help move your belongings while you drive in the safety and security of your own vehicle, let us know!