The key to a smooth and successful move is proper planning. It’s no difficult task to find resources that will help you plan for the basics (this very blog being one) like packing, hiring a moving company, renting a truck, unpacking a and more, and you may very well think you’ve thought everything through and formalized all of the details of your plan. The problem is, things don’t always go according to the plan. While it is of course impossible to foresee and plan for all possible surprises and contingencies, here are some common unexpected problems and events that confront those in the process of moving:

Emergency accommodations: it’s often true that people underestimate the time it takes to move their belongings into their new home. You might not be able to move enough in that first day to spend the night in your new home. In addition, things might not be properly set up and ready—the electricity or water could be off for example. Or, you, your significant other, or your family might decide that after a long and labor filled day of moving, they would prefer sleeping in a place that is clean and cozy. In any of these scenarios, you might find yourself checking into a hotel that night—and thus paying an extra bill you weren’t expecting.   

Emergency storage: the same can go for your belongings. You might find that you’re unable to properly move everything into your new home and then organize it in a way that makes things habitable. Or, you might have underestimated the number of things you have/overestimated the size of your new home. In those cases, you might want to book a storage unit to keep your things in until you have the time to figure out how everything will work—another expense you weren’t expecting.   

Food: while this might not result in as large a bill as the first two, it’s probably more often ignored. The fact of the matter is you’ll probably be paying a good deal more for food immediately after your move. Something could go wrong and your kitchen could take a week to set up, requiring you to dine out. Or, you might be too exhausted or not have the time to cook a meal. And regardless of the first two, you’ll probably have to restock your refrigerator and pantry with items like condiments that you use so rarely and over such a long period of time you often forget you have to buy new ones. This is a small expense, but it may be likely you’re already stretching your finances while moving.

Utilities: there’s a charge for almost every change you make to an account with many utility companies. Both your new and old providers might charge fees for cancelling your old account, opening your new account, or transferring your account. These should be easy to plan for with a bit of research like browsing your provider’s website or just giving them a call

The best way to plan for these contingencies is to keep a part of your budget devoted to things that might go wrong. How much you’ll need to keep in reserve depends on factors like the size of your family, your location, and more. For example, if you’re moving to a new area that’s generally more expensive than the one you moved from, everything from hotel to grocery bills may be higher. If you have a large family, you might have to book more than one hotel room and will definitely need to spend more on food. So do your research and make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.

Brian Shreckengast is a writer at, a leading price-focused search engine for finding cheap storage units. For more information on moving and storing, check out the SSD blog.

Price your move

Our social network