It is wise to brief yourself on the long-distance moving process as soon as possible. Learn ahead what your options are for cross-country moving whether you’re on the budget or want to hire expert movers. To help with planning your move, read on to know about cost factors, considerations when hiring the pros, and tips for a smooth move. Read on.

Long-distance moving transportation options

Unless you opt to sell everything you own and settle into a new life in a new city, you need to plan for transportation. Here are several options when long distance moving:

  • Hire a rental truck if you want to deal with the long-distance move by yourself. It can be the most affordable option for those traveling long distances. If you don’t mind driving all your belongings, this option will significantly cut the costs of your move.
  • Truck rental with long-distance movers can still save you money when you’d rather not drive the truck all the way. It can be more costly than a DIY move and the number of your belongings can also make it expensive. 
  • Hire a full-service moving company for your long-distance move. Get services included like packing, loading, driving, unloading, and unpacking which can be helpful for moving households with kids, pregnant women, and the elderly. 

Long-distance moving prices

The national average for interstate moves is roughly $4,300. This covers an average distance of more than 1,000 miles. The shipment weight for this average is around 7,400 pounds. Long-distance moving costs depend on different factors like:

  • Mode of transportation
  • Shipment weight (how much belongings you need to move)
  • Distance (exact starting and ending points)
  • Hiring packers, trucks, movers, or a local moving company

Prices vary widely, but to get a general idea of the costs of moving long-distance, here are some things to know:

  • A long-distance move typically covers a distance of 400 miles or more. 
  • The average long-distance moving costs $850 up to $5,000. 
  • The national average for long-distance moving is estimated at around $4,000.
  • Distance and shipment sizes are primary considerations that can make a long-distance move expensive.
  • Companies assess their quotes based on inventory, weight, and distance. 
  • Inventory-based prices use cubic feet. But, the weight of shipment can be greater than estimated when transporting heavier items. 
  • Expect additional costs to pay for gas beyond the mileage the company covers for free. Other added costs include paying for insurance and storage in transit if you experience issues when moving long distances.

Ways to reduce the costs of long-distance moving

First, when comparing bids, be sure to check other details apart from the total including per pound rates or per linear foot costs, insurance, delivery time, and service time guarantees, among others.

Also, check whether you have a binding estimate or not. A non-binding estimate may end up more costly in the end depending on weight, among other factors. 

Moving during weekdays and in the off-season (fall and winter) may help bring moving costs down. Stricter travel dates can make your move more costly. 

DIY Long Distance Moving

Should you decide to drive yourself and your belongings to your new home, truck rental may be the cheapest way to do it. When estimating the truck size, use the size estimating chart from a local truck rental company. In general, a 10’ truck can fit belongings from a small studio of less than 400sq.ft. For a 2-bedroom apartment, opt for a 15’ or 18’ and a 20’ to 26’ for a 3 to 4-bedroom home.

Moreover, considering that rental truck replacement costs around $45,000, getting insurance for a truck rental can prevent a financial disaster. Truck rental companies that offer a damage waiver can also save you a lot on costly repairs. 

Also, consider getting extra protection for your belongings. Cargo protection insurance may have exclusions like jewelry. It is wise to review your homeowner’s policy for coverage of the belongings you’re transporting before paying for extra coverage.

Don’t forget to check your car insurance policy for personal coverage in accidents while driving a rental truck. For long-distance moving, it may be wise to add supplemental liability insurance, too. It offers extra coverage for other people injured when driving the rental truck. Credit card companies may also offer coverage for moving truck rental.

Choosing a long-distance moving company

If you don’t want to go the DIY route, long-distance moving can be less stressful with reputable movers. Before you settle for the cheapest estimate from a moving company, it is best to consider a few things when searching for local movers:

  • Research and gather quotes from different moving companies. 
  • Read up on reviews and recommendations. 
  • Check for personal recommendations from family and friends you trust. You may get a list of the top 3 to 5 recommended local movers people you know used. 
  • Know that phone bids are inaccurate and illegal. Expect rough estimates or guesses to change. 
  • Start with an inventory form. This can help give you a better estimate.
  • Move with a local moving company when possible. They can give you an in-person estimate which is often more than what can be expected from a phone bid or inventory form.
  • Ask questions about whether they are licensed and insured. 
  • Go into the details of the quotes, not just comparing the totals. Factors to consider include per linear foot and per pound rates, service time guarantees, additional insurance options, and delivery time.

Long-distance moving tips

The long-distance moving process includes planning, researching local moving companies and truck rentals, packing, getting insurance, and keeping to a timeline. Whether this is your first time moving cross-country or it has been a while since your household crossed state lines for a move, here are some tips that can help:

  • Start planning as soon as you learn about the move. It can take more than a month to plan a long-distance move successfully. Create lists, a timeline, and a budget to keep yourself on track.
  • Do your research well and compare several local moving companies that specialize in long-distance moving. Local movers offer in-home estimates for a quote closer to what you will actually spend than a rough estimate from completing an inventory.
  • Read reviews and get recommendations to find a trusted moving company to work with. Cheapest is not always the best option. Long-distance moving needs budgeting and planning to avoid moving scams.

Packing tips

Packing for a long-distance trip can get overwhelming. You may later decide to hire professionals to do the packing as you plan for long-distance moving. You may also consider downsizing and taking extra precautions to move all your belongings safely and intact. Here are some tips to make packing less stressful for cross-country moves:

  • Make an inventory of everything you own. You can use a spreadsheet, an app, or pen and paper. An inventory can help you plan your packing and is equally important when unpacking at your new home.
  • Have a place for everything in your new home. As you pack items, decide ahead where they will belong in your new home. 
  • Consider downsizing to save on long-distance moving costs. Now is the time to get rid of things you no longer use or bought but never used. Reconsider all your belongings whether to keep, donate, or sell them. 
  • Have an open-first box with essentials like pots, pans, dishes, bedding, and towels you will need for the first few weeks.
  • Take extra care when packing fragile items and label them correctly so movers know to handle those boxes with extra care.
  • Label the boxes with your name and phone number to avoid losing your items from a mix-up or getting dropped off at the wrong locations.

Tips for moving on an actual day

After weeks of planning, researching, and preparing, you now have everything packed and ready to move. Here are some long-distance moving tips to consider when moving interstate or cross-country:

  • Before you leave, be sure to triple-check all your belongings on your inventory list. Hiring packing and moving companies can be a great help in making sure everything you want to move to your new home arrives there. Having your own list can be beneficial when checking for missing items.
  • Have a plan for what to do when the moving truck arrives at your new location. Ensure there will be space for the moving truck to park. While at it, check the parking regulations at the new neighborhood. 
  • You may have to pay extra for the shuttle fee should there be no parking space for the moving truck. With that, ask the moving company for any potential additional fees ahead of the move.
  • The off-season is a good time to move and can save you more. Summer can be a more expensive season to make a long distance move. Also, moving mid-month and on a weekday may help cut your moving costs.
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