Once you’ve decided that your relocation will be a do-it-yourself project, you’re next step is selecting an appropriate rental truck and getting a reservation for its use on your moving date. Make your reservation as early as possible, especially if you’re planning on moving during summer when rental vehicles are in short supply. Shop for the best deals by comparing prices at U-Haul and Budget and every rental truck provider in your area.
Select a truck based on the estimated size of your belongings. Generally, a 17-foot long truck can carry the contents of one studio apartment, a 24-foot long truck can move those of a 2-bedroom house, and a 26-foot long truck those of a 4-bedroom house. Some rental companies have online tools to help you estimate what size of truck you’ll be needing. Here, it’s better to err on the side of renting a truck that’s too big instead of one that’s too small since you don’t want to make any unnecessary return trip.
If you’ll be relocating to a place that’ll cross state lines, you may want to have an alternate driver to substitute for you from time to time during the long journey while you rest. Most vehicle rental companies will allow up to four drivers per truck, charging a fixed fee per additional driver except for family members.
On the day of the move, take the time to become thoroughly familiar with the rental truck. Adjust the seats and the mirrors to fit what you’re normally accustomed to in your daily driving. Work the controls and memorize the location of the buttons and switches for the parking break, the turn signals, the windshield wipers, the heater, and so forth. They may not look or feel the same as those in your car so be sure which ones to press for which purpose before you leave the company’s parking lot.
Start slowly and stay as slow as you can once you hit the road especially if this is your first time to drive a large moving truck. Slow down even more the moment it rains or snows or it gets too glary or too windy. Never tailgate, and always keep a safe distance between the truck you’re driving and the other vehicles on the road. Give yourself enough room to slow down and stop whenever you have to. When turning, make sure you have enough space or you might run over another car. When parking, especially in a relatively crowded area, ask another passenger to get off to give you directions. Don’t rely too much on the side mirrors and the brakes.