Congratulations! You’ve made the exciting decision to move to Las Vegas, one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation and a great place to live, work and play. As you prepare for relocation, the stress of planning and the daunting task of making the move might become overwhelming.

Below you’ll find information about everything needed for relocation, from selecting a moving company and packing your belongings, to transferring your medical records and hooking up utilities at your new home.

MOVING
 
A number of options are available when it comes to planning the big move. You can do it yourself by renting a moving truck and packing and loading your own belongings, or you can hire a moving company to do the work for you. It’s important to consider how far you’re moving, how much you’re bringing with you, and the time and costs associated with each option.

Hiring a Moving Company!
 
If you plan to interview moving companies, ask questions, request references and get everything in writing.

Information to have on-hand when interviewing moving companies:
1. Departure and destination cities.
2. Exact moving date (you’ll want to let the company know both when you need to have your current home packed and when you’ll need your belongings to arrive in Las Vegas). Make sure you’ll be present to meet the moving company at your new home to avoid incurring additional fees for storage.
3. Will you need temporary storage? If you’re moving into temporary housing when you first arrive, you may not have room for all of your possessions and may opt to place some things in storage. Some moving companies can arrange this for you. Others will require that you make arrangements on your own.
4. Are you planning to pack your own belongings? If so, you may inquire about the price and availability of packing materials.
5. If you’re planning to have the moving company pack for you, ask about insurance and take a careful room-by-room inventory of your possessions. You may consider taking date-stamped photographs of items that are of high monetary or sentimental value, such as antiques, easily breakable items and family heirlooms. If the moving company takes its own inventory, read through it carefully before signing off.

Every moving company has different pricing, policies and procedures. Make sure you get a written estimate before signing a contract.

Binding and Nonbinding Estimates!
 
A binding estimate details, in writing, any and all services the moving company is agreeing to provide for you. This type of estimate ensures you will only be billed for the prestated amount. A nonbinding estimate is simply an approximation of your total moving costs and will vary based on the total packed weight of your belonging, movers’ ease-of-access to your property and your packing needs.

Make sure you interview at least three companies and get everything in writing before you sign an agreement or make a deposit. Many companies allow you to estimate your moving costs online by completing inventory lists and selecting “add on” services.
 
Do-it-yourself:
 
If you’re planning to move yourself, start by calling moving companies, getting price estimates and asking about the services the company offers. Make sure you know what you need before you start contacting movers. Make a list that includes information related to the following:
 1. When do you need a moving vehicle?
 2. How much do you have to move? (Most companies estimate truck sizes based on the number of bedrooms you are moving.)
 3. How long do you anticipate having the rental moving vehicle? Factor in loading, travel and unloading time.
 4. What type of materials will you need? Many moving rental companies can provide you with moving boxes and packing materials as well as equipment for loading heavy items.
 5. Will you need any special insurance?
 6. Who will be driving your moving vehicle(s)? If someone other than you (like a friend or family member) is helping you drive a moving truck, that person must be named on your rental agreement, and carry insurance coverage.
 
Timing a move is of crucial importance. Many moving companies will require a “window” of time availability for completing your move, and, oftentimes, DYI moving companies require several weeks notice for reserving a truck.

Packing Tips:
 
Whether you’re moving across the state or across the country, you’ll want to ensure all of your possessions make it to your new home in good shape. Consider these tips:
•Moving gives you a perfect opportunity to clean out your closets and garage and lighten your load. Consider holding a yard sale or donate unwanted items to charity. You may also discover that it makes more financial sense to sell or donate older, bulky items (such as appliances) and buy new ones upon your arrival in Las Vegas.
•Make sure you have all of the right packing materials on hand before you get started:
•A collection of sturdy boxes in different sizes and bubble wrap for delicate items.
•Moving blankets (to pad and protect items large items that can’t be boxed)
•Good old-fashioned newspaper
•Many moving and storage companies provide special boxes for packing china, glassware, lamps and clothing. Label each box clearly and note its contents. Before you get too carried away with your packing, consider what things you’ll need easy access to both during your move and soon after your arrival.
•Clothing and toiletries
•Medicines
•Important records and documents (such as your moving contract, important contact numbers, paperwork pertaining to your new home in Las Vegas). It’s also a good idea to keep sensitive and important documents in your possession: tax records, credit card and bank statements, medical and school records, etc. Also, personal electronic devices such as cell phones and chargers, PDAs and Blackberries should be kept with you at all times.

Remember that children, older travelers and pets will need extra attention and frequent stops along the way:
•If you’re traveling with pets, bring along your leash, doggie bags and plenty of fresh water. Stop in places where animals can safely stretch their legs and run off some energy.
•If you’re traveling with kids, invest in some travel-size car games, nutritious snacks and favorite toys. If you bring personal electronics, such as games, remember to bring plenty of batteries!
•While it’s important for every traveler to stretch, walk around and get some fresh air every few hours, it’s vital that the elderly and those prone to blood clots (such as pregnant women) have the opportunity to move around and get their blood circulating.

MOVING EXPENSES!
 
Portions of your move may be tax deductible, especially if the move is related to a new job offer. While you should check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or your own accountant to determine what can be deducted, keep careful track of expenses and save receipts for the following:
•The costs associated with renting a moving vehicle or hiring a moving company
•The cost of meals and lodging during the course of your move
•Gas and oil fees
•Temporary housing and/or storage
•Costs associated with selling an old home and buying a new one

TEMPORARY STORAGE!

You may want to store some or all of your belongings when you first arrive in Las Vegas. Consider these tips:
•If you’re only storing some of your possessions, make sure you differentiate between boxes that stay with you and boxes/items to be stored. Label storage boxes and, where possible, keep storage items together on the moving truck to ensure everything gets to the right place in an expedient manner.
•Most storage facilities require that you provide your own lock, so invest in a sturdy device and make note of where you put the key.

In selecting a storage company, consider the following:
•Proximity to your new home.
•Rental price and terms. Some storage companies enforce minimum time limits in the rental agreement while others give you month-to-month options.
•Amenities. Storage companies vary greatly. Do you want climate control? Drive-up access? Internal lighting? Ask what each company offers and learn about policies for damage/theft liability and availability for the dates you need.

TEMPORARY HOUSING!
 
Many new residents need temporary housing upon arrival in Las Vegas. Maybe you haven’t decided what part of the valley you’d like to live in, or perhaps you’re waiting for a new home to be built. In any case, you have many options.

All-inclusive short-term housing!
 
Many newcomers opt to use “all inclusive” short-term rental properties that provide everything from furniture to dishes and linens to utilities and phone service. While these properties typically charge a higher rate, they can often be more flexible than individual landlords. With this approach, you’re free to place the majority of your belongings in storage and keep only personal possessions with you at your rental.

Hotel/Motels!
 
If you need housing for a relatively short period of time, a stay in one of our local hotels or motels might fit the bill. Depending on your budget, you can check in to an extended-stay neighborhood property or take a mini-vacation and enjoy the star-studded amenities of any one of the city’s resort hotel/casinos. Some properties offer special weekly rates for guests who are in need of short-term housing. Ask about fees, availability for the dates you anticipate needing and short-term storage options.

FORWARDING MAIL!
 
Just as you want your possessions to arrive safely in Las Vegas, you’ll want to make sure your mail follows you as well.
Mail forwarding is a very important step in the moving process. To begin, go to your local post office for a “change of address” kit a few weeks prior to your move. In addition to forwarding mail, the kit will help you notify all interested parties of your new address, from credit card companies and magazines to family, friends and colleagues.

Once you’ve forwarded your mail, keep close track of things such as credit billing statements and other personal information that could put you at risk for identity theft. Pay attention to what arrives at your new address. If you’re missing a credit card statement, make contact with the issuing company right away. It’s also a good idea to monitor your credit report during your relocation to ensure no one has confiscated your personal data at any point during your move.

P.O. Boxes
 
If you’re not quite sure what your immediate housing situation will be upon arrival in Las Vegas, consider renting a post office box. You can do this at a post office branch or at one of the many mail centers located throughout the valley. This approach ensures your mail will follow you to Las Vegas and not get lost in the shuffle as you make permanent housing arrangements.

SAFE DRIVING TIPS for Moving!
 
Before you leave:
Whether you’re driving a moving truck across the country or simply following one in your personal vehicle, a major move can be both exhilarating and frustrating if you’re not prepared. A little careful planning can make your move an exciting adventure for the whole family.
•Make sure you know where you’re going! Remember to check the best driving route to Las Vegas and keep maps and directions within easy access in your vehicle.
•Will you need lodging during your trip? Consider logical stopping points along the way and make reservations in advance.
•Consider points of interest along the way. No matter what part of the country you’re coming from, chances are you’ll pass within close proximity of national parks, historic sites and interesting out-of-the-way attractions. Frequent breaks will keep everyone in the family from feeling tired and overwhelmed, so why not plan some brief sight-seeing excursions along the way?
•From laptops and iPods to mini DVD players and hand-held video games, you can probably keep your family entertained during the drive. Make sure you have adequate battery power or car chargers in easy access.
•Be prepared for vehicle trouble and climate changes. Pack road flares, Fix-a-Flat and the number of your auto insurance and auto club.
 
Once you arrive:
 
While you’re getting acclimated to our local highway and street systems, keep a map handy and listen to local traffic reports for road closures and slow-downs. Driving in a desert climate can take a little getting used to. Plan your driving routes to work, school and other regularly traveled destinations to ensure you get the best gas mileage and encounter the least amount of traffic. Side streets are often the best alternative when highway construction is under way or when a heavy tourist weekend is upon us.

Some basics of Nevada driving law:
•Seat belts are required by law, as are age and weight-appropriate child restraint seats
•Open containers of alcoholic beverages are illegal, even if you’re a passenger
•U-turns may be made at any intersection unless otherwise noted
•Right turns on red lights are legal unless otherwise noted
•Speed limits in school zones range from 15 to 25 mph. As many schools operate on a year-round schedule (including summer months), it’s important to note posted school zone signs.
•It is against the law to leave a child under the age of 12 unattended in a vehicle.

AAA Nevada has customized patrol vans on the streets and highways to provide free assistance to motorists 24 hours a day, seven days a week (1-800-AAA-HELP). Most major local radio and television stations also provide regular, daily traffic reports during the morning and evening commute (see “Media” section). Typical updates include reported wrecks, road closures, lane restrictions, slow-downs and “areas to avoid.”

Settling in Las Vegas: Tips for making your residency “official”
 
NEVADA DRIVER’S LICENSE!
 
Once you arrive in Las Vegas, you have 30 days to obtain a Nevada driver’s license.

NEVADA VEHICLE REGISTRATION!
 
Once you arrive in Las Vegas, you have 60 days to register your vehicle. The fine for failing to register is $250 to $500. With so many people relocating to Las Vegas, this is a law the state takes seriously.

In order to register your vehicle, you must be able to show proof of liability insurance from a Nevada-licensed carrier. Out-of-state insurance is not accepted. According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), drivers who fail to obtain Nevada insurance may have registration suspended and be subject to a reinstatement fee.

New Resident Vehicle Registration!
 
The Nevada DMV requires that you bring the following documentation with you for registration:
•Most recent registration
•State-issued driver’s license
•Social Security card
•Out-of-state license plates
•Nevada emissions Vehicle Inspection Report (“smog check” — these quick procedures can be done at any number of service stations across the valley; most cost less than $20)
•Nevada Vehicle Inspection Certificate (“VIN check” done at the DMV office)
•Certificate of Title (if ownership is changing; if not, the owner has the option of retaining the out-of-state title)
•Proof of liability insurance from a Nevada-licensed carrier
•Cash, check or money order to pay all applicable fees. You can estimate what your total will be by logging on to https://dmvapp.state.nv.us/estimate.asp.

Resources
 
Visit the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles at www.dmvnv.com to download the New Resident Guide. The site also provides information on vehicles leased to a business and watercraft registration. If you choose, you can register to vote at your local DMV office as well.

UTILITIES
 
Getting Connected
Whether you’re moving into a brand-new home or a short-term rental, chances are you’ll have to establish utility service. While it may seem like a hassle to turn on service for a short-term location, all services are easily transferred once you find permanent housing.

Most local utility service providers allow online bill pay and specialized payment plans. Before you begin hook-up, make sure you have the following information on hand:
•Contact information from previous utility companies (including phone number, address, account number and where applicable, letter of deposit/credit)
•Details of your place of employment (address, phone, supervisor or human resources contact name)
•Driver’s license and Social Security card
•Your new address and phone number
•Dates you need service to begin

Electric
 
NV Energy has served customers in Northern Nevada and northeastern California for more than 150 years, and Southern Nevada since 1906. Nevada Power, Sierra Pacific Power and Sierra Pacific Resources merged in July 1999 to create one of the fastest-growing energy companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2008, both subsidiaries changed their names to NV Energy signaling a new commitment to serving Nevada’s energy needs. The service area covers 54,500 square miles of the fastest growing state in the U.S.

The following services are offered to NV Energy customers free of charge:
•Online Pay & Electric Check (pay online or have payment deducted from your checking account)
•Shop & Pay (bill pay at more than 130 store locations valley wide)
•“Select Your Due Date” option (you get to choose the date your power payment is due)
•Equal Payment (you pay the same fee every month to avoid fluctuations and high bills in the summer months, when air conditioning is used more)

Water

The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) has been supplying Southern Nevada with water since 1954. The company currently serves more than 1 million customers.
 
A precious commodity in the desert, water conservation is encouraged for all residents of Southern Nevada. In recent years, various levels of drought restriction have been in place to ensure a stable future water supply. The LVVWD currently provides rebates to homeowners who convert turf to desert landscape or replace turf with artificial ground cover. The district issues regular watering schedules (see chart) for different areas of the valley. Noncomplying residents are subject to fines. Certain types of private water features (including swimming pools and spas) are permitted.
 
Water restrictions to be aware of:
 
According to the LVVWD, during a “drought watch,” residential fountains and water features with a surface area of 200 square feet or less are allowed. During a “drought alert,” fountains and water features with a surface area of 25 square feet or less are allowed. Fountains are permitted to maintain a recirculating water pool to sustain pumps, pond liners, surface coatings and ancillary equipment, though under drought conditions, the features may run only between the hours of 1- 4 a.m., or whenever freezing conditions require system preservation.

Exemptions:
 
- Public and private swimming pools and recreational water parks
- Fountains and water features supplied by privately owned water rights or by water rights obtained by means of a state-issued permit

The Water District is the operating agency for the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), a regional organization that works to secure water resources for the valley. SNWA also provides conservation programs for customers of member agencies.

Gas
 
Southwest Gas Corp. has been providing the Las Vegas Valley with safe and reliable natural gas service for more than 50 years. The corporation offers a number of special assistance programs, including:
•Energy assistance
•Low-income weatherization
•Deferred payment options
•Online energy conservation tips
•Online and store-based payment options

Telephone Sevice
 
Las Vegas residents have a number of options when it comes to telephone service. Many providers of multiple services will package or “bundle” several services into one lower package price. Ask about new subscriber specials.

Trash Removal
•Republic Services provides refuse removal services valleywide. Services include:
•Twice-weekly curbside trash pick-up
•Recycling programs
•Dumpster rental