I’ve moved 5 times without a car – Here are my top tips

  • I’ve moved five times in one year, and I’ve done it without a car thanks to these tips.
  • Familiarizing yourself with airline baggage policies and matching your belongings is essential.
  • Keep an eye on ridesharing apps throughout the day to gauge the cost of a ride in advance.

I moved alone for the first time in 2020 after deciding to leave my marriage.

Little did I know that I was going to move a total of five times to four different states that year, and I was going to do it all without having access to a car.

Here are the tips I wish I had known before my first move.

The moving process can be stressful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help

Moving without a car requires you to be resourceful, and that includes tapping into all the expertise possible. After all, moving can be a lot for one person to manage on their own.

The first time I packed my things, I was so focused on the logistics that I didn’t ask my friends or family for help or advice. In hindsight, that was a mistake.

Organization is not my strong point, so my packing strategy was flawed, to put it mildly. My best friend is an expert at assembling suitcases and cleaning up messes, so I should have asked her for help sooner.

If I had, I could have saved time, space and money.

South West Airlines.

When I move, I prefer to fly with Southwest Airlines. Passengers can check in two free bags.

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

If you’re flying to your new home, factor the airline’s baggage policy into your packing strategy.

Each airline has its own baggage policy. Do your homework ahead of time to come up with a packing strategy that allows you to bring the items you need and avoid unexpected baggage fees.

I prefer to travel with Southwest Airlines when I move because passengers can check two bags for free. I used to try to fit all my stuff in both suitcases which often resulted in a $75 overweight baggage fee.

Now I have a different game plan. Each additional checked bag costs $75 and I pay for two. This is the same price I paid for my two oversized control bags. Using this method, I can pack everything I need.

Associate your things as soon as possible – you will thank yourself later

I overpacked the first time I moved which made moving much more difficult. Without a car, I didn’t have the luxury of stuffing things into the crevices of the backseat or the corners of the trunk. I knew that every square inch of my suitcase was precious, but there were still items I couldn’t part with.

I matched my things with each move. It became clear which elements were essential to my survival and happiness. I kept my favorite books, workout gear, and childhood memories.

Getting rid of stuff took me a while, but I recommend doing it earlier in the moving process. You will thank yourself down the line.

clothes bags

I recommend donating and selling items and clothing that you don’t wear or use regularly.


Before throwing away items you don’t need or use, consider selling or donating them instead

I usually keep things that I should have thrown away years ago. Some of these items, like a decade-old laptop charger, probably aren’t useful to anyone, but others are worth selling or giving away.

Space is at a premium when moving, so make sure everything you carry serves a purpose. If it’s not useful to you, it might be for someone else. So think twice before throwing it in the trash.

For example, I had amassed a large makeup collection that I took with me on my trip. I didn’t use most of the products, many of which were brand new, so I ended up selling over 100 eyeshadow palettes.

Know the location of the nearest medical care

If you don’t have a car, living too far from emergency medical care can be risky.

Before committing to move, I always try to make sure there is a doctor or hospital within walking distance or affordable carpooling.

Test ridesharing apps to gauge prices and wait times

When I can’t use public transport or walk, I rely on ride-sharing apps. I have found that the cost of these trips varies depending on the location.

I once arrived in a new city and was shocked that the carpool from the airport to my new home was over $100, a huge jump over the cost of a similar route in my previous destination.

Rideshare fares also fluctuate throughout the day, so a 2 p.m. ride is likely priced differently than a 2 a.m. ride.

I’ve found it helpful to check the apps, even when I don’t need a ride, to get an idea of ​​how much a ride will cost at different times. From there, I make sure to double the budget in case of price spikes or other unexpected setbacks.