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The Ultimate Guide to Relocating for Work

Relocating for work? Make your move confidently with this in-depth guide.

If you're moving for a new job — congrats! There's a ton to be pumped about. This guide will help you confidently plan the more stressful parts of moving, so you can focus on the exciting ones.

Fun fact, you're actually part of the 7-8% of Americans who relocate for work each year, according to the Census Bureau. By definition, that makes you exceptional! 

relocating for a job

Source: UPack

Here's what you'll find in this in-depth guide:

relocating for a job


But before we get started, just remember to breathe!

Everything is going to work out great. 

It's really easy to have negative predictions about big transitions. Yes, the transition won't be as smooth as you'd like. But that doesn't have to hinder your ability to be really excited about this new chapter in your life.

Some people live in the same town for their whole lives, barely even exploring the edges of their comfort zone. You're about to embark into uncharted waters — as scary as that can be, it's also pretty darned cool.

Stay positive and stay excited and this whole thing will be a lot more enjoyable!

relocating for a job


Things to consider when moving for a job.

Never underestimate the amazing power of reddit.

Reddit — if you've never heard of it — is essentially a network of different online communities focused on hyper-broad and hyper-specific topics. It can be an immensely helpful community if you genuinely need help or insight.

I discoverd this wonderful, in-depth post on "how to move long distance cheaply" that is thoughtful and incredibly comprehensive. For anyone reading this article looking for tips on making an ecnomical move, look no further. Simply click the image below and revel in the awesome advice.

Here are just a couple tips in the post that I found really insightful and helpful:

relocating for a job

Bring only the "must haves" with you.

It can be really easy to convince yourself that you still need that couch you love. But when that couch weighs 100 pounds and you'll need to ship it to a new state, the effort and expense might outweigh the value you get from having it with you in your new home.

There are a bunch of great apps and websites that can help you sell your stuff — they're all pretty much the same, with some minor feature differences:

And there's always Craigslist. If you've never used Craigslist before, feel free to check out this WikiHow article on how to sell items successfully on Craigslist.

relocating for a job

When you're moving to another state, don't forget that expenses can be tax deductible!

The IRS has a special form where you can report moving expenses, called the Form 3903.

According to the IRS: If you moved due to a change in your job or business location, or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses but not any expenses for meals. You can deduct your moving expenses if you meet all three of the following requirements:

The cost of moving and getting relocation assistance from your employer. has a handy web tool that will help you get a feel for what moving across the country (using 3rd party shipping services) will cost you.

By no means is this an exact estimate of what your move will cost, but it's a great place to get an initial ballpark. Of course, if you already know that you'll want a 3rd party shipping service to assist with your move, then you can move right into getting quotes from some vendors.

Click the image below to check out's moving cost estimator!

relocating for a job

Some cost cutting + "asset liquidation" inspiration.

Meryl Williams, a Chicago journalist who moved to Portland, wrote a great article on the cost of moving between two major cities. The most enlightening section for me was about Amtrak Shipping. I had no idea you could ship stuff with Amtrak!

"Amtrak will let you ship up to 500 pounds of stuff from one station to another, and they’ll even hold onto it for you if your boxes beat you there. The price is right, and if you follow Amtrak’s basic requirements (the 500 pound limit, no single box can weigh more than 50 pounds, some box size restrictions) you can get a lot of stuff shipped for cheap."

Definitely worth a read!

Don't forget to contact your employer about relocation assistance!

For starters, if you're looking for an incredibly comprehensive guide to relocating and negotiating a relocation package, check out this wonderful guide from Moveline. They cover everything from:

relocating for a job

Click the image above to read the full, in-depth article on negotiating a relocating package.

Here are two great techniques for negotiating a great (or better) relocation package from your employer.

Create some competition. This is where interviewing at two different companies really pays off. Look at the employment offer from a different company that's offering a good relocation package. You can use this relocation package as negotiating leverage, including as many details as possible. If you ask the other company to offer something similar, they might just give it to you!

The "salary gap" approach. Sometimes your job offer comes in with a salary that's under your target. If the new job involves moving to a new city, you’ve actually got a better shot at closing the "salary gap" by asking for some relocation assistance, as opposed to an increase in salary. Since payroll typically happens twice a month, the company will feel the impact of that salary every month as opposed to the one-off expense of providing some (or additional) relocation support. Definitely worth a shot!

92% of companies reiumburse all or part of employees' relocation expenses.

relocating for a job

Relocating with family?

Parents Magazine offers some terrific insight to "help dial down the drama [of relocating with kids], so everyone can have a smooth move."  Author Caroline Schaefer breaks down her article into a few key sections to help you help your kids prepare and make the transition from current home to new home.

relocating for a job

Finding roommates in a new city.

Living with roommates in a new city is a phenomenal way to save money and quickly meet and mingle with locals after you relocate. Check it out below!

relocating for a job

Still wondering, "Should I relocate for a job?"

Atlas Van Lines conducts and releases the findings of a corporate each year. Here are the top 6 reasons that people choose not to relocate for work in 2015. "Family issues/ties" ranks as the top deterrent to accepting a corporate relocation.

relocating for a job

Source: Atlas Van Lines

According to the survery, "Most (67%) respondents state that declining the opportunity to relocate does not hinder an employee’s career." As such, there's no reason to panic that declining will damage your career. Obivously, opening up an honest discussion with your manager will be the best way to really get on the same page about what impact not relocating might have on your career.