Coast-to-Coast Moving: How I Planned My Move from Portland ME to Portland OR

Moving from one Portland to another might sound like an easy task, but not when there are more than three thousand miles between the two cities. I had the family (and more importantly, my wife) on board, a job opportunity lined up, friends ready to greet us, and a hankering to escape the frigid New England winters. Even with everything in place, moving included challenges I wasn’t expecting.

If you’re planning a coast-to-coast move, hopefully learning from my trials and tribulations can help your adventure go as smoothly as possible!

Here’s what I needed to put together before we left.

Mode of Travel

First things first: I needed to decide whether we were going to drive or take a plane.

For us, I decided on this reasonably quickly. I liked driving. We had houseplants, valuables, and other personal items to bring that wouldn’t fit on a plane. We also had a flexible time frame since I didn’t have a definite starting date for my new job and the kids were out of school for the summer. Because of all of this, it was pretty easy to decide that we’d drive out.

For those who aren’t sure whether plane or car travel is best, though, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

You might want to drive if:

  • You own a vehicle that’s hardy and well-maintained enough to manage a 3,000-mile trip.
  • You have at least a week to get from New England to the Pacific Northwest.
  • You aren’t bringing pets, cranky kids, or people who can’t tolerate long car rides.
  • The price of gas is low enough that the cost will be less burdensome than a plane ticket.
  • You have furniture and boxes of stuff that won’t fit in just one or two suitcases.
  • You’re moving at a time when you won’t encounter snow in the Rocky Mountains.

You might want to fly if:

  • You have no vehicle and are planning to take advantage of Portland OR’s fabulous public transportation.
  • You can pack everything you own in a tote bag and a couple of hefty suitcases or movers are transporting everything for you.
  • You’re bringing pets or children who will not appreciate a week in a stuffy car.
  • You want the lower environmental impact of a plane ticket as opposed to a cross country trek.
  • You’re on a time crunch.

A Moving Company

So once we decided that we were driving, I needed to plan our journey.

First and foremost: getting our stuff there. I knew we had more furniture and possessions than we could cram in our SUV and minivan, so I opted to hire a moving company. It was expensive, but my new employer did offer a modest relocation reimbursement. Additionally, I knew with our three kids and two vehicles, my wife and I already had our hands full and didn’t need to worry about also hauling a trailer or driving a rental truck.

(Cost saving tip: Shop for movers early. When companies get busy, they tend to charge higher rates.)

I shopped around different moving companies, finally settling on Cheap Movers Portland OR. There’s a surprising amount you need to know beforehand. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Local moves and long-distance moves are priced differently. Long-distance moves are based on the weight, not the time spent moving. So, if you get rid of stuff before your move, then you won’t have to pay to move it.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration handles the licensing of any movers who cross state lines. You can look up your mover in their online database to make sure they’re licensed and check the company’s safety records.
  • It can take a while for a coast-to-coast move. Companies that handle long moves often combine loads to make the trip more efficient. This means your stuff might temporarily go into storage before getting placed on the truck or that the truck makes a detour on its way to your new home. Expect a cross-country move to take up to 2-3 weeks.

Routes, Interstates, and Hotels

Once we had the moving company reserved, I had to plan our route.

After getting from Maine to Boston, the path across the country is a straight shot down I-90 and I-80. These two roads bisect the northern US from east to west. The fastest route to Portland hops between them. You’re going to end up in the Rocky Mountains pretty much no matter what you do. Since we left in the summer, it wasn’t a problem. But if you’re driving in the winter, make sure you have impeccable brakes and four-wheel drive.

Here’s something I wish I had known before I left: The hotel situation in most of the US isn’t like in New England. New England’s economy has a lot of basis in tourism and hospitality, which means there’s a ton of hotels with a ton of open space. But once you get into upstate New York and beyond, the hotels dwindle. You’ll have a hard time finding ones with vacancies if you wait until the night of your stay to look for a room.

I avoided booking hotels beforehand because I didn’t want to pressure us to drive certain distances each day if we weren’t feeling up for it. But do yourself a favor: Find hotels every eight hours of driving or so along your route, and book your stays well in advance.


We also needed to have a place to stay when we got there. My wife and I decided to delay home shopping until we could get a feel for which Portland neighborhood was best for our family. We found an Airbnb in a great Portland neighborhood and negotiated a lower monthlong rate with the owner. This way, we had time to get acquainted with the city, check out different houses, line up financing, and I could start my new job without a problem.

I hope these tips help as you plan your own cross-country move. How’s your planning going? Leave a comment below!

Things to Know Before Moving to Small-Town Maine

Freeport is a lovely Cumberland County town that’s the epitome of small town Maine. If you want to reap the rewards of a laid-back and serene New England lifestyle, then relocating to beautiful Freeport may be the right solution for you and your household. Before you move, however, it can be smart to learn the ins and outs of the small town life in Maine. While the cute B&Bs and area’s great eateries might be all you need for a nice vacation, does the area offer enough amenities for full-time residents? Moving to sleepy Maine can be a big transition for people who are used to living in more fast-paced and bustling parts of the country.


Weather in Small Town Maine Can Sometimes Be Rather Unpredictable

Weather in Maine can sometimes seem rather volatile. You may in the course of one single day experience moderate rain, intense sleet, heavy snow and even pleasant sun. You don’t have to panic if you notice weather extremes that come and go quickly in Maine, however. It’s all in a day’s work for the locals. They’re used to it. You can get used to it, too. The unpredictable weather is part of the charm!

It’s Smart to Have the Right Wardrobe

You shouldn’t move to small town Maine expecting to wear the same exact outfits you donned in Los Angeles, California or New York, New York. That would be unrealistic. If you want to accommodate the climate, it can be smart to invest in a good number of fisherman’s sweaters. A few nice pairs of sturdy and resilient boots, like those sold by local outfitter LL Bean, can also do the trick. Remember, you may be walking in a lot of heavy snow.

Excellent Dining Opportunities Abound

There are many excellent things about living in small town Maine. Excellent food is one of them. If you want to feast on the finest foods available in life, relocating to Maine can get you on the correct path. What could be more mouthwatering than fresh local seafood, anyway? Seafood isn’t the only type of yummy food that’s easy to find in Maine, either. If you want to feast on scrumptious donuts (locals love Frosty’s), appetizing Italian delights, and hearty dumplings galore, you can barely go wrong in small town Maine. Options in Maine dining run the gamut from fine restaurants to delivered meals. Food snobs from other parts of the United States need not worry for a second.

The Locals Tend to Be Warm and Friendly

People who live in small town Maine tend to be warm, friendly and inviting people. There are always exceptions, too, however. Don’t forget that Maine is brimming with people who originally come from different sections of the country since this is a popular state for retirement. Maine residents in general, though, tend to be an amiable, relaxed and pleasant bunch. If you want to enjoy carefree conversations with people who are down to earth and humorous, you should have the time of your life in Maine. People in Maine usually aren’t too pretentious. They’re often honest people who tell it like it is. They’re often folks who go above and beyond to make others feel great as well!


Preparing to Move to Maine

Chances are, if you’re moving to Freeport, you’re crossing at least one state line (if not several) to get here. Given the long distance to get here and the sometimes brutal weather, it may be best to invest in hiring a moving company. Without having to worry about driving the moving truck, you can relax and enjoy the scenery on the drive up. To assist with your relocation, we recommend the following companies:

Local Muscle Movers

Moving company with two locations, one in Burlington, VT and the other just down the road from Freeport in Portland. If you’re moving in the dead of winter, these movers occasionally offer special discounted rates (up to 20% off), plus they have storage services if your new home isn’t quite ready to move into.

Great Guys Moving

This nationwide moving company has local operations in Atlanta and Wilmington, DE. Great Guys services New England moves out of its Delaware location, but specializes in helping customers moving long distance. If you’re moving to Maine from afar, use Great Guys to scope out the lowest long distance mover prices.

Allen & Coles Moving Systems

These Portland movers service moves in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, which makes them the convenient choice if you’re moving from nearby. Allen & Coles has been moving New England since 1986 and with a team of over 100 employees, they can help you move to Maine from practically anywhere in the world.


5 Cutest Inns and B&Bs in Freeport, Maine

The small oceanfront town of Freeport, Maine is home to state parks, an outlet mall, delicious lobster restaurants, and, most importantly, dozens of cozy inns and B&Bs. With all of these great accommodation options, you may have a hard time figuring out which one would make your adventure the most enjoyable. Without further ado, here […]