How to Make a DMV Trip as Painless as Possible

I recently went to the DMV because my car registration was way outdated, I’d just gotten married and took up residence in a new state. It’s a wonder I didn’t get pulled over for my tags -whoops! But, I wasn’t about to pay to get my registration and new license just to have to do it again because I was changing my last name.

Unfortunately for me, I had to make an immediate trip to the DMV. It’s a long story, but a new job was involved, training in Alabama and last name changes.

Any-who, I learned a few things that day about going to the DMV.

  1. Never, ever go to the DMV on Monday or Friday. Avoid going first thing in the morning unless you want to get there an hour early and wait in line. Don’t go close to the end of the day because they will not service you if it reaches closing time even though you’ve been waiting for hours – learned that on the hard way.

    That pretty much leaves you going from about 11 AM to 3 PM. My husband went on lunch and just walked right in. Impressive -especially for the DMV.

  2. Prepare for your visit. They will send you home if you don’t have all of the required documents. So, in an opaque envelope (I took a clear baggie – dumb!) put your old driver’s license, social security card, passport, original birth certificate, insurance card and mail from your new address. There’s probably more items you need, but you’ll just have to check the website. You may need forms that you can get online.

    I believe in bringing way more than what I need because I do NOT want to come back again.

  3. Kill two birds with one stone. Instead of having to make two trips, get your license and register your car all in the same visit. Luckily, the place I went had them right next to each other.
  4. Bring entertainment. Unfortunately, I came with a 20% charged phone, no headphones and nothing to occupy me for the long wait.

    Even if you do all of the above, there’s no guarantee that the line won’t be insanely long. I would bring: headphones, magazines, a book, etc. Bring multiple. You never know when your phone is going to give out.

  5. Do it all online once you’re set up. In a lot of states, you can renew your license and registration online. If you have that option, DO IT! It will save you so much trouble!

Hope your DMV trip is easy and painless!

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