Road trip from Mass to Cali – Planning

Sometimes things just happen without warning, such as moving to another state. And even though it was December, my husband and I had no fear for the cross-country challenge. We made the decision to do this road trip 1 month before we hit the road.

For trip planning, we had a general idea of what we should do:

  1. Find our new “home”
  2. Get rid of excessive stuff
  3. Meet friends and families
  4. Check out your car, or do one maintenance
  5. Plan packing
  6. Plan route

Find the new home

We were lucky to have a chance visiting our new home on the trip to my friend’s wedding. We scheduled several house visiting in two days and went on a house tour. By the time we went back to Mass, the new home location was decided.

Packing planning

How to get rid of excessive stuff? Sell them and donate them. The first place we thought was Craigslist, however, it was the pool of spams in nowadays. I tried to post stuff half a year ago and people contacted me were all trying to do phishing. People on FB are not serious either. 50% of buyers stood us up, and their reasons were kinda unacceptable. For us, the nicest place was Wechat groups. We lived very close to universities. University-student is a high quality second-hand buyer group. They are usually serious and responsible of what they promise. It is better to separate the stuff-for-sale from your living space, for safety thought. We used around 3 weeks selling 70% of the spare stuff, and donated the rest of them to Savers. It was miserable to do the final clean up, too many things were with nice memories.

After the toughest to-throw-or-not-to throw decisions, finally, we packed the following things in the car:

  • Clothes – in the backpack (for the road trip) and in the vacuum bags (save room)
  • Food
  • Cooler and cold packs – for butter, cheese and other fresh food
  • Water – two bottles and one 2.5 Gal box of water
  • Towels and daily bathroom things
  • Important document
  • Wet napkin and paper towel
  • Sunscreens, sun glasses
  • Back pillow for chairs
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • We also prepared some different color bags for identifying stuff in the car.

Our car is Honda Civic, no hatchback. We put the back seat down and gained extra room between backseat and trunk, so long stuff such as clothes rack and vacuum could fit in.

Other things like books, office things, kitchen stuff and bedroom stuff can be shipped. Smaller boxes are always easier for carrying. I shipped 6 boxes (9″9″12″, 19 – 25 lb each) with FedEx, and spent around $100. Other than that, we also had 2 boxes of books and DVDs. We used USPS Media shipping. The price was good, and the actual arriving time is one day before FedEx.

Route planning

It is impossible to create a perfect plan for road trips, especially cross country road trip. There are websites that help plan  road trips. We tried Roadtrippers and Furkot. Originally we only wanted to visit the Niagara Falls and Denver, so there was no solid strict planning ahead of time. We reserved 14 days for the road trip, yet we thought it might took us round 5 days to finish (naive).

In total, we spent 7 days and a half on the road. We used Airbnb and Hoteltonight booking rooms on the trip. For Airbnb, booking 24 hours ahead of time is ideal, however, some considerable factors would make a difference on timing, such as timezone change, traffic, meal time, gassing up time and resting time. Google maps is an awesome tool, however, it doesn’t consider time zone changing. Don’t trust the miles left on the car dashboard too much, it surprised us sometimes.

The whole planning did not take us too much time. It is a process and we were doing it all along the road.


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