Moving Across Canada

Moving across the country. It almost seems impossible.

From my experience, it’s not an easy task, but it’s not impossible. My partner got a job out west. So, I moved from Ontario, Canada to Alberta, Canada. It was a hectic and time consuming move, but we made it. I hope that I can help you using my experience.

In order to make this move smoothly, you must plan for your journey. If you’re reading this, you’re on the right track.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” -Benjamin Franklin

Enough fluff, let’s get started.

1. MONEY

The very first thing you’re going to need is MONEY.

It seems obvious, but the costs of making this move are usually more than expected.

To get an idea of how much you might need, I’ll give you my scenario.

My partner and I moved from Ontario to Alberta. This is a 40 hour trip, with a large majority driven through the United States. We rented a U-Haul, drove a truck, and stayed at two hotels. We stopped for food multiple times. We took toll routes.

Our trip cost us just over $7000.

2. THE LIST

You will need a list of all the things you will need to do before you leave. Here’s some to start with:

  • Get a drivers abstract form. You’ll need these for insurance. In some situations you can only get them in your home province.
  • Find a place to live, whether buying or renting. We bought a condo because we couldn’t travel to look at the new place. This way we had less risk.
  • Forward your mail using Canada posts mail forwarding program. It’ll cost you just over $100 for 12 months of mail forwarding. This might seem like a lot but it will save you from missing important mail.
  • Call the area you’re moving and ask what you will need to switch things over. You’ll have to switch insurances, Drivers licenses, license plates, health cards, family doctors and more.
  • Consider speaking with a travel agent. They will be able to help plan your journey.
  • Get rid of anything not worth shipping. You probably can’t get rid of everything but anything not worth taking up valuable space should be discarded.
  • Contact your friends and family and tell them about there plans. Plan to see them before you leave.
  • Apply for jobs. Explain your situation in your cover letter and ask for a phone or Skype interview.
    Start packing your things. There’s nothing worse than frantically throwing things in boxes on moving day. You’ll be unorganized. This means it’ll be be harder to unpack. You might end up breaking your things. Therefore, pack up anything you don’t absolutely need BEFORE moving day. Pro tip: use vacuum bags for your clothes, bedding, and other fabrics to save space.
    Set up utilities. If your not renting an all-inclusive apartment then you’ll need to make sure you call and set up your hydro, water, gas, etc. Some thing like cable or wifi can wait until after you move, but you need to be able to turn on your lights and flush your toilet when you get into your new place.
    Get a passport if you are traveling through the states and don’t already have one.
    Rent a U-Haul or another trailer if you plan on bringing your belongings with you.
    Gather your records and belongings. Health, education, work, safety deposit box, etc. You are moving to far to be going back for silly items so be sure you collect them all first.

That’s not all. These are some basic things you may need to do, but you might have to add more depending on your needs.

3. FINDING YOUR NEW HOME

Finding your new home can be very difficult when your far away from your destination. It’s difficult to take a tour of a house that’s a plane ride away. Here’s some tips on how to find your new place:

Temporarily rent

I know some people hate renting. “It’s like throwing money down the drain”. However, when you can’t view your new place it might be your best bet.

Renting saves you from buying a house that is not in good shape. Just because the pictures look nice, doesn’t mean the house looks nice. It might have hidden problems that aren’t mentioned by the real estate agent.

Try to get a month to month renting deal. This way, you can search for a house after you are in the area and save yourself the headache of buying a house with hidden ‘surprises’.

Buy a condo

If you must buy your new place then consider purchasing a condo. A condo is a safer option than a house because the building is kept up by the owners and building managers.

Condos are also a great choice because you won’t have to worry about maintaining the exterior of your house or the land around it. Some condos even come with extra like a gym, and a common area. Usually your condo fees will also cover some of your utilities.

4. SWITCHING THINGS OVER

When you get to your destination there is still a lot of work to be done. When you move from one province to another a lot of things that need to be changed. Some of these things include:

  • Drivers license
  • Health card
  • Drivers and house insurance
  • Family doctor
  • Health insurance
  • Change of address from group, organizing, the CRA and anything else that has your address

Remember that you will also have to get an out of province safety for your vehicle.

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