One of the things that Tom and I have been stressing about is how to access our money once we're in the US. I've heard horror stories of people waiting six months before they can open an account, and I suspected that we might have to jump through some tricky hoops - like needing a Social Security Number, an address, some utility bills - before an account was ours, and some of this is a bit chicken and egg. How do you rent a house if you can't pay your deposit because you haven't got access to a bank account, etc.
And then, while carrying out my usual displacement activity avoiding packing, I checked what banks actually exist in California and I recognised one of the names on the list. HSBC. I don't or at least I didn't bank with them. But I did vaguely recall an advert about a family giving up fish for a lizard or something and the slogan "the world's local bank". Well, not that this is meant to be an endorsement of a bank (heaven forbid!), but they have been efficient and organized and we now have a British bank account with them, and rather more usefully, an American bank account. Two weeks before we get there. No cards have appeared yet, but I have enough information to transfer funds. So my tip if you're moving from the UK to pretty much anywhere - check if HSBC has branches there. They may be able to help.
A big thank you to Hannah in Abergavenny and Erica in the US office. This is one less thing to worry about (oh no I'm starting to sound like an advert...).