I’m sure Shae and I will make a ton of mistakes over the years on our 50 state road trip. I therefore figured it’d be fun (for you!) if I wrote a series of posts all about our mistakes.
To kick off the series, here’s a mistake we made a few days ago before the road trip even started.
So in case you ever decide to do a similar thing, here’s how to not relocate to Florida.
Seeing as we’ll be moving from state to state every month for the next five years, we won’t have a home base.
Although we’ve lived in Virginia for the last few years, we’ve given away nearly everything we own, we don’t own any property and have no ties to VA other than family and friends.
I’d read a few articles (such as this and this) that suggested we’d be best off relocating to Florida. This would reduce our tax liability, make getting and renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle registration easier, as well as providing some other benefits.
Shae and I therefore took a road trip down to Florida over Thanksgiving to change our state of domicile to the Sunshine State.
It Started Off So Well…
I was all kinds of pleased with myself, confident with how well I’d prepared. We’d registered with St Brendan’s Isle, a mail forwarding service that provides you with a residential address in Florida. I’d packed our driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, bills with our new address, passports and all the forms we needed to complete.
After spending the weekend enjoying ourselves in Orlando and Jacksonville, we drove to the DMV first thing on Monday morning to get our new driver’s licenses, title and tags.
After about 15 minutes of waiting, we were called up to the window. It was time for us to become Floridians.
Except it wasn’t.
Make A List, Check It Twice…
We explained we’ll be traveling full time but would be living in hotels and Airbnbs rather than an RV. We handed over all our IDs, the form we’d completed in order to change our state of domicile and started completing the form to change our car title and registration.
And then came the question that thwarted our plans:
Do you have your car’s title with you?
In all the busyness with getting rid of all our stuff and preparing to be homeless, I’d not packed our title. It hadn’t even occurred to me that we’d need it, despite printing a form to change our title.
We’d even seen the title a couple of days before driving down to Florida. Shae and I went through our firebox containing our important documents to clear out anything we no longer needed. The title was one of the items we kept; it just didn’t click that we needed to bring it with us.
Unfortunately that meant we couldn’t change our title and tags. It also meant we couldn’t get our Florida driver’s licenses.
The Next Step
This means that we have to revisit Florida in the future to get everything changed over. We’re now in New Zealand and Australia for the rest of the year, so we can’t get it sorted in 2017.
The good thing is that the first two states on our road trip are South Carolina and Georgia. Both are within a reasonable driving distance of Florida, so we’ll take a couple of days in January or February to swing by Jacksonville to get all this finalized.
Note to self – read through forms and make sure you have ALL the paperwork you need. And have wifey check it to make sure you haven’t done something dumb like forget your car title when you want to get it changed.