We’re planning on moving our family across the country within the next 18 months! It sounds so far away, but I am an over preparer and 18 months is going to fly by so fast! When I was doing my research and trying to find a good guide to go about moving your family across the country, it was really hard to find an in-depth, step by step “how to” online. A lot of blogs I’ve read about moving across the country were after the fact and very short. I read several that went into depth about the physical moving of your items, but not so much the planning aspect, especially when you have kids.
I plan to take you along on our journey to moving our family across the country. From the very beginning stages of choosing the “right” place to move to, all the way until after moving day. Moving across the country is an extremely scary thing, especially when you’re moving away from family and friends, into a strange place where you know nothing about it or the people there. I really hope you can take away something from this if you’re curious about moving across the country, whether you currently have kids or plan to have kids in the future.
Some might ask, why would we want to move away from family and friends in the first place? We live in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and really cold, snowy winters. We’ve lived here basically our whole lives, and to be frank, we are completely sick of the snow and cold. Summers only last a couple of months, fall lasts about a week, spring feels like it never happened, and winter feels like it barely ended before it starts again. We’re ready for a change. We want our kids to not be afraid to take chances, meet new people, and explore new places.
When choosing a new state, we took many things into consideration. The weather was the first thing we looked into. We knew that we wanted somewhere south, warm, with woods and water. This narrowed down our search quite a bit already. The next thing we looked at was cost of living and wages. We had considered Florida for a hot minute, but then we decided that it was maybe too hot and humid for us. Our next place that we considered was Texas. They have very mild winters, still get a little snow but nothing compared to Minnesota winters. Their summers are nice and hot but nothing like the scorching desert of Arizona. They have a lower minimum wage, but when looking at jobs they had several jobs for me that I am more than qualified for with a similar wage to what I have in Minnesota. Their cost of living is lower than the western southern states, and many properties have some sort of land, which was a big factor for us. We want to have a little bit of acreage and in Texas, it’s affordable. That was it, we’re moving to Texas!!
Now we had to narrow down to exactly where in Texas we wanted to live. My husband will transfer his job so we had to look in the areas where his job has locations. He had several locations we could go to which honestly made it much harder than having only a few to look into. We knew we didn’t want to live in a major city or in the suburbs within the city. We also didn’t want to have a major commute to and from work. This helped us really narrow it down to the Tyler/Longview area. He still had 3 locations to choose from for work, which gave us plenty of options for towns to live in. Our specifications for those towns were: population under 50 thousand, good schools, low crime, and affordable housing.
The city of Longview had a higher population that we wanted, about 80,000. So we began looking at surrounding towns. Almost all of them had a population of 8,000 or less (most of them were actually half of that) which was right up our ally! We grew up in a town of about 3,500 so we enjoy small towns and small schools. I used Niche for most of my research when it came to schools, crime rates, and population. They have a great grading system for each town and it even shows crime rates of that town compared to the national average. It was nice to be able to compare those towns with our local towns that I’m familiar with to see how they compare. I also looked into Tyler which has an even higher population than Longview but also had more surrounding towns that had great school ratings and low crime rates.
After I had kind of narrowed it down to a few towns, I started looking at housing. We knew that we were going to rent right away because we wanted to be able to scope out neighborhoods. I looked at Zillow and Facebook marketplace to see what kind of rentals were available in each town we were looking into. Then I started to look at housing available to buy. Even if we weren’t planning on buying right away, I wanted to get a feel for what the housing market looks like in this new area. This was really just browsing kind of “for fun” to see what kind of house we could get for the same amount of money we had planned on spending in Minnesota for a house.
Next up, I joined some Facebook groups to get a feel for the locals. I joined a mom group for this area and I quickly learned of the better schools and what locals thought of the area and all of the smaller towns. Whitehouse, White Oak, Bullard, and Lindale had the best ratings as far as school and family friendly areas. I was also given advice on the charter schools in the area which seem like they would be a great fit for our family as well.
That was it. We finally narrowed it down to a few towns that we liked and had great reviews. Our first “to do” item is to apply for charter schools when enrollment opens up next year. There is still a ton of planning to do and we’re really looking forward to this new adventure! We have quite a bit of time left, but it’s going to go by super quick and I don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute.
If you’ve ever thought about moving across the country, especially if you have kids, I hope you find our moving adventure inspiring and helpful for you to do the same!
Stay tuned for the next step in our moving across the country process!!