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How to Survive a Move From New York to Florida

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Stacie L has lived and traveled in many states so she likes to share her experiences with her readers.

Move yourself with a rental truck

Move yourself with a rental truck

Moving From New York to Florida

In the winter of 2003, I decided to make a major move from Long Island, New York, to the Southeast coast of Florida. It wasn't a difficult decision since that was one of the worst winters in many years. The record snowfall fell in feet that season, accompanied by the near-record low temperatures. My pocketbook was also feeling it since my heat was dependent on oil, and the oil tank was going to be re-filled for the fourth time.

Another deciding factor was the escalating real estate prices. My home had doubled in value, but it took a long 12 years to realize. Even though it took that long for the market to rebound, I, along with many others, started to list my property in hopes of selling and making a good profit.

It was sold in a few weeks' time, on a rainy Memorial Day weekend open house, as a matter of fact. Many prospective buyers came, and a handful made good offers. I accepted one offer for the full price and started to pack up.

Moving from NY to Florida with pets.

Moving from NY to Florida with pets.

Preparation for Move

In New York, as in some other states, real estate transactions are handled by lawyers. It generally takes three months to close. That year was a test for all connected with real estate. Closings were taking a little longer due to more sales. I didn't mind since it gave me more time to find a job. I already had family living in the area that I wanted to move to. I visited there every year, like so many “snowbirds”, and had dreamed of finally moving to my paradise.

Since the school year would be starting in August, a month sooner than New York, I had decided to move ahead of the closing. I had a proxy sign for the closing.

As I was a certified teacher in New York, I was given a temporary teaching certificate in Florida. The county I was moving to was one of the fastest-growing counties, so it wasn't hard to find a job. The only con I could see was the pay cut. I would learn later on that things don't always seem as they appear.

Shop for a Rental Truck and Load Up

I called around and found a national truck rental store that had the size truck I would need. My brother and I picked up the truck and brought it back to load up that day. We woke up before dawn and loaded overnight bags, my 21-year-old cat, her litter box and provisions in a cooler.

The diesel truck would have to be driven on commercial roads only, so that meant we would lose some time since the Expressway was out of the way.

After driving into New Jersey and seeing the sunrise, we knew the hardest part of the trip was behind us; or so we thought.


Into the sixth hour and entering Virginia, we discovered the truck's air conditioning had stopped pumping out cold air. It was now in the low 90s in July, so that cab heated up quickly. Keeping the old girl (my cat) comfortable was a challenge. I poured water into a washcloth and wiped her head often to keep her cool. We stopped often at fast-food restaurants to cool off and continued calling the rental place, which didn't answer the phone.

Bad Weather

Finally, I got someone at the headquarters and explained the situation. They found a repair shop in the nearby town and authorized us to go there. My brother dropped my elderly cat and me at a motel while he drove into this strange town alone. It was now late afternoon, and we were losing precious time.

To make matters worse, the skies opened up, and the torrential rains and thunder came crashing down for over an hour. I was scared for my brother, who was out in a strange town, in a large truck, driving in this storm.

Regrets About Moving

“Oh, what have I done?” I thought, watching the heavily flooded roads.

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I was having major regrets about this whole move by this time. I put others in jeopardy and should have given more thought to this whole venture. While waiting in that motel room with my geriatric baby, I was scared that my brother was in an accident, and I had no idea where he was. Two and a half tense hours passed, and I finally spotted the truck driving into the parking lot of the motel.

My brother had found the shop, and they repaired the air conditioning! I didn't care about that, just that he was safe. I was never so glad to see him! After having dinner in the nearby restaurant, we went to our rooms and left early the following day.

On Our Way

The rest of the trip took about 16 hours, and I was so proud of my brother. He had never driven a stick shift diesel truck before, and he drove like a pro! I even joked with him that he could start a new business venture—driving long-distance moving trucks! That went over like a lead balloon!

Driving on Interstate 95 in South Florida is like driving on the Long Island Expressway; it's crowded, and other drivers are cutting in and out of lanes and driving way too fast.

We arrived around 8 pm at our other brother's house. Having 4 hours of sleep in two days was a big challenge, and we were incredibly hungry, so we ate the whole pizza they had waiting for us.

Both of us were totally wiped out by the time we ended this trip. He wound up taking a plane back the next day, and I stayed with my other brother for a few months.

Life was going to change forever at that point.

Lessons Learned About Moving

There were many lessons that on that trip.

Some suggestions I would recommend are:

  • Make sure you have a working truck before driving long distances.
  • Better yet, rent a self-storage unit and let someone else move your stuff.
  • Sell off most of your things.
  • Put your stuff in storage.
  • Don't put others in jeopardy for your plans.
  • Fly down to your destination first and set up everything.
  • Drive down with pets in your own vehicle that has air conditioning

In conclusion, moving long-distance can be done with a lot of thought and foresight. Now that self-storage units are available, I have utilized them twice since that awful move. People move all the time, and it doesn't have to be a nightmare. My next two moves were a lot easier since I learned some valuable lessons on this trip.

Update: Regrets About Moving to Florida

Many people in the cold New York winter will often think about moving to a warmer location such as Florida one day. When that reality comes true, and the first summer heatwave arrives, you soon realize that the wonderful warm location does have its pitfall.

First, the pay rate is much lower, along with benefits, or lack of.

I guess the unions are much stronger in the northern states, and so are the housing and taxes, so you get what you pay for. Living in a cheaper state means you will also receive lower pay.

The real estate market heated up so fast that the insurance and taxes rose as fast, and pay did not keep up.

I would advise anyone who moves there to first rent for a while and get used to the area. Buying a home can be costly. I sold my home and moved to Kentucky, where everything is cheaper and the stress level is lower.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2009 Stacie L


Ms. B on February 11, 2017:

I'm in my 24th year of teaching and I am being put to test from my district. They want me out and could care less about my situation. Anyway, my sister lives in Florida. I know how the hot weather is and I like it.

The last two weeks I've been cleaning my basement and trying to clear up as much stuff as I can. I'm cleaning as if I'm actually moving soon.

I have been checking out teaching jobs in Florida and for sure the pay is better in N.Y.. I'm NYS certified in 3 areas.

I'm afraid that being 50 will deter districts from hiring.

Oh well. I stumbled upon your story and I enjoyed reading it.

Thank you

Ms. N B

Sam Takahashi on February 08, 2017:

I just discovered your story through google search. I am about to do same thing. Thanks for great tips.

Stacie L (author) on May 19, 2011:

Eiddwen: thanks for visiting and commenting on my hub.

Eiddwen from Wales on May 19, 2011:

A great hub and thanks for sharing.

Take care


Stacie L (author) on December 03, 2010:

Jessica; i only stayed two years and moved to Kentucky in 05.It was too hot,expensive, hurricany(is that a word?)


jessica on August 09, 2009:

so tell us how you like living in florida?

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2009:

whaysiz;yes a geriatric cat litterbox food and water. She was a real trooper!

so was my brother...LOL

whatsiz on July 10, 2009:

with a geriatric cat! and its litter box! and its food and water! You are a brave soul and your brother deserves all the praise in the world! Marvelous story and touching.

Stacie L (author) on July 10, 2009:

hey Travis Duncan;

thaks for the coments.....Hawaii to N. Carolina huh? definitely couldn't do that with a truck! LOL

Travis Duncan from Charlotte, NC on July 10, 2009:

I agree with selling most of your stuff when moving state to state, especially from Hawaii to N Carolina like my family did.

Good article!

Stacie L (author) on July 09, 2009:

yes,I am also a serious pack rat and it has cost me.

I've hauled the same stuff in boxes for four's time to get rid of it!


thanks for commenting:=)

Stickyfoot on July 08, 2009:

"sell off most of your things" -- That's a tip that I don't know if I'll ever be able to follow, I'm a serious pack rat. Nice story, thanks for sharing!

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