What Should You Do with Your Car When Moving?

The heaviest thing you have to worry about when you move? It’s not your bookshelves full of antique hardcovers. It’s not even the full-sized washer and dryer. The heaviest thing is your car. The average American vehicle weighed 4,000 pounds as of 2010. We like heavier cars because they make us feel safer on the road (though they also make life more dangerous for other drivers and pedestrians). Even the most lightweight sedan isn’t something you can just fold up and stick in your purse on your way out the door. Here are three of the top options for dealing with your car when you’re moving.

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Sell It

Selling is the ideal option if you’re heading to a place where the public transit is so efficient that you won’t even need a car. Owning a car is especially exhausting in places like New York City, where you can expect to pay $300 or more a month to park your vehicle in a garage. It’s not impossible, but it’s understandable if you would prefer to sell your car now and just hoof it to the subway station every day.

Selling it can also work if your car is old and you’re thinking of buying a new one once you get settled into your new town. This is a good idea if you’re about to start a new job that pays significantly more than the position you’re leaving behind in your soon-to-be-former hometown. Let’s say you’re moving from Nevada to New Jersey. You can sell your car in Nevada, fly to the Garden State, and then look for VW dealerships in New Jersey once you’ve gotten a couple of paychecks under your belt.

Ship It

Lots of things seem less fun as we get older, and cross-country road trips are a great example of this phenomena. For one thing, you always spend more than you intend to on road trips. They also work best when you can take your time and really enjoy the sights, but that’s a harder feat to pull off when you know there’s a brand-new life in a brand new town waiting for you at the end of the journey.

They require a ton of energy, and you’re additionally putting your car at risk by driving two or three thousand miles in a few days. If you’re driving a minivan that was built during the Clinton administration, the idea of a few scuffs and dings won’t scare you. But if you’ve got a luxury sports car, you need to at least look into the idea of enclosed auto transport. Regular auto transport means your car sits on the back of a truck and is exposed to the elements, but enclosed auto transport means your vehicle will ride inside a trailer all the way to its destination.

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Drive It

This is the default option for most people. If you’re bringing your spouse or significant other, be sure to make plenty of pit stops. A few minutes outside the car (and away from each other) is a critical tool for diffusing tense situations that can and do pop up whenever you’re locked in a vehicle with someone for hundreds of miles.

Rest is even more important if you’re driving solo. Don’t try to drive two thousand miles in three days if you’re going at it alone. Even long-haul truck drivers have mandated rest periods, and they do this kind of thing for a living. The more pressure you put on yourself to drive 800 miles in a day, the more agitated you’ll get, and agitation is one of the worst emotions you can experience when driving. Start slow. If you think you can drive 600 miles in a day, schedule yourself for 450 miles the first day and see how that goes.

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