Moving to DC? Read This!

If you’re moving to DC from another part of the country, there are a few things you should know that may be helpful. Platinum Moving Services has been moving people in and out of the DC area for more than three decades. We’ve learned what surprises and mystifies new DC residents the most!

DC Is a Non-State Surrounded by Two Different States

Depending on how prepared you are, or whether or not you have friends or acquaintances in the DC area, you may not fully realize that you’ll be in and out of two states and the District itself fairly often, possibly even daily, depending on where you work or live. That means you’ll need to keep some differences in mind as you travel around.

Buying Spirits? Check Your State First.
Maryland’s liquor laws vary from those in DC and Virginia. In fact, they vary county by county in Maryland. But no matter where you are in the Old Line State, you won’t be able to buy beer, wine, or liquor at a grocery store. You’ll have to find a beer-and-wine shop or a state-run liquor store. In DC and Virginia, you can buy beer and wine at grocery stores.

Wages and Wagers
If you or someone in your family is looking for retail or entry-level work, note that DC has a higher minimum wage than Maryland and Virginia. At $9.50 per hour in 2014, it will go up to $10.50 in 2015 and cap at $11.50 in 2016. Maryland’s minimum wage will go up to $8.00 per hour on January 1, 2015, and will continue to rise incrementally until it hits $10.10 in July 2018. Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

If you want to supplement your income—or lose some of it, depending on your perspective—Maryland, Virginia, and DC each have their own lotteries. Other gambling laws vary.

Driving Safely in the DC Area
Don’t text and drive no matter where you are. Texting while driving is against the law in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Other cell phone use laws vary by state. Hand-held cell phone use while driving is prohibited in DC and Maryland. All cell phone use is banned for school bus drivers and novice drivers in each state.

Car seat laws are almost identical in each state—all children must ride in a federally-approved, secure child safety seat until their eighth birthday. Other child car safety laws differ slightly in each state.

DC Terms You Should Know

The Beltway – inner and outer loops.

If you’ve watched any movie or television show that is set in DC, you’ve heard of “The Beltway.” It’s often used to refer to the DC political scene—a beltway insider, beltway bandits—but it is actually the official name of Interstate 495. The Capital Beltway surrounds Washington DC and parts of Maryland and Virginia. It spans 64 miles; 22 are in Virginia and 42 are in Maryland.

When you hear traffic reporters talking about the Beltway (it’s a major source of congestion!) you’ll notice that they refer to its “inner loop” and “outer loop.” What do they mean?

The inner loop of the Beltway is the clockwise direction (if you were looking down at it). The outer loop is going counter-clockwise. To put it another way, the inside lanes are the inner loop and the outside lanes are the outer loop. For the directionally-challenged among us, it may take a while to get your inner and outer loops straight!

The Mixing Bowl
Another traffic idiom, the Mixing Bowl is a term of annoyance given to the Springfield Interchange, where interstates 395, 495, and 95 meet in Springfield, Virginia. Before its reconstruction (completed in 2007), travelers had to merge and weave in order to get to their needed lanes and exits. The name stuck!

Bonus Tip: How to Conduct Yourself on DC Metro Escalators

The DC area’s rapid transit system, the Metro, is often the best option for getting around. Once you know the routes, you’ll discover that taking Metro beats trying to find a parking spot in DC most of the time! But, as a DC-area newcomer, there’s one very important thing you should know about the DC Metro:

When you are using the station escalators, remember—walk on the left, stand on the right!

You won’t see any signage telling you this inside a Metro station, but your fellow riders will thank you.

Get a Quote on Moving to DC

Now that you’ve been briefed, contact Platinum Moving Services for a quote. We can move you to DC from anywhere in the world!

*This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

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