My partner and I were living in Florida less than 3 months ago. We were living pay check to pay check, working crappy jobs, and tired of the atmosphere. We desperately needed a change. A friend of mine had a friend of her own who worked in the same field that Chris graduated in just at the end of 2015. She called us on a Tuesday and said if we could make it to California by next Monday she got the job! Sure it was an entry level one but it would be a foot in the door! We had no money to move and it felt impossible at first. If you are going to make the decision to uproot your life in less than a week you better jump in feet first because it takes no hesitation to accomplish it.
After about a three second conversation and making the decision we formed a plan…
1.) Cut your losses.
It was going to be way too expensive to move our furniture across the country so we cut our losses and posted on Criagslist, Facebook, OfferUp App, and anything else we could find to sell all of our furniture. You want to get the most out of your furniture but try to remember you need whatever funds you can get in a short amount of time. Don’t short yourself but don’t be too proud to sell that couch for $50 when you really need the money and you’re on a time crunch. We went with a rule of thumb to never go lower than what a tank of gas would cost us. Just sell as much as you can bare to part with.
Some how in three days we had sold enough to at least make it there. One problem at a time right?
2.) Get your vehicle tuned up.
We decided it would be best to spend some of that money on getting our car checked out. We were going to be driving for three days and mostly across the desert. We needed to make sure we weren’t going to end up stranded. Luckily my mom had also got us a portable car jump charge for a present a few months back.
-Get an oil change. Check your lights, break pads, fluids, especially your A/C for when your truckin’ it across the desert, check your tires. Make sure you have a spare tire. It seems like adding extra to your plate but you will be thankful to not end up on the side of the road in the middle of BFE.
BRING EXTRA WATER!
3.) Save your money anyway possible.
Someone said we would need a couple hundred for food. This advice is pretty simple, Don’t eat at Olive Garden the entire road trip. Get a cooler or borrow one and fill it with water/juice, sandwiches, fruits & snacks. Tip: Don’t preslab your sandwiches with mayo and mustard, they will get soggy. Get some plastic knives and just put the condiments in the cooler. This will save you so much money. Try to stick to the cooler and not go inside the gas stations. Those purchases will add up quickly.
There is also a nifty app called Gas Buddy we use to check for the lowest prices in our current area. Take a look at a gas calculator online and add $100 to your gas budget just to be safe. Who knows, you could get lost or accidentally take the wrong road 15 miles out of the way. If you don’t end up needing it you have $100 extra in your pocket.
Try to sleep in your car as much as possible, safely. We took turns most of the time driving and trying to sleep. You should at least plan for one hotel night stay even if you aren’t going to end up needing it, just put it in the budget if possible. Besides after the 20 hours in the car a shower will sound like a luxury. We did end up staying at a hotel in New Orleans for a night courtesy of one of those Apps that lists cheap hotel rooms and found a room at an old Inn for about $45 for the night.
4.) Realize it’s going to be rough and make a decision to make the best of it.
I know it sounds like Optimist BS but it helped me. I knew 3 days in a jam packed car with my dog and my partner was going to be uncomfortable to say the least. Try to make it enjoyable and easy for one another and you’ll be fine. Actually it was like a miracle that my dog Blue behaved so well during the trip and we actually had a pretty wonderful time talking and stopping at different places to take in the scenery.
5.) If you must drive through the desert, do it at night.
It’s cooler, less wear & tear on your tires & AC, and you’ll get to see the most beautiful stars. I suppose if we had the time we could have camped under the stars but just getting to see the sky without any light pollution for even a second was amazing.
One thing’s for sure we couldn’t have made it without the support of our friends and family buying up all our things and helping us acquire a temporary place for a month to start work. So, Thank you to those that made it a little more possible.
6.) Snag a cheap place for about the first month through room apps and sites.
We used an app and simply wrote to the people with the room asking if we could settle won a lower price if we went ahead and booked it for the month. They agreed. We brought our own pillows, one set of sheets, and two bathroom towels with us, just in case. Plus once we got our own place we knew we would need those essentials.
Getting a temporary place for the first month gives you the benefit of being able to take a look at surrounding areas and search for a more permanent place rather than just hoping for the best and being stuck for a year.
It is possible to just pack up and leave. It’s definitely not impossible. Just make sure it’s for the right reasons and try to make the most out of it or else what’s the point?