If you’re planning a move across the country, there are several options for getting your things from point A to point B. Ultimately, there’s no one size fits all solution for a long-distance relocation. The plan that’s best for you depends on your preferences, circumstances, and personal considerations. Here are some of the most promising options for moving cross country and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Selling Most of Your Belongings
While this option may seem a bit dramatic, it does come with its advantages, and it’s especially well-suited to long distance moves. It can be the cheapest opportunity for planning a move, but how effective is it comes down to how many things you own and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Consider the value of your belongings carefully. While you’ll need to replace things that you toss out, keep in mind that moving companies charge by the pound for a cross-country relocation. So, the cost of shipping furniture to your new home might be more expensive than the cost of simply buying a replacement at your destination. Depending on how many of your belongings you sell, you may be able to eliminate the need to rent moving truck or hire a moving company entirely from the equation. Plus, it means you get to make a new start in your new home. We suggest planning in advance and taking the time to stage a yard sale or sell your possessions online to further mitigate moving costs.
- Substantial savings on moving costs – no need for movers or moving truck.
- You get a fresh start when decorating your new home.
- Minimizes time spent packing.
- Simplified moving – just load everything in your car and hit the road.
- Must repurchase furniture and other items in your new location.
- Takes time to sell or otherwise dispose of your items.
Enlisting the Help of Friends and Family
One of the most common cost cutting measures for a move is getting the important people in your life to help. However, asking favors of your loved ones has its own complications. Moving is chore, so getting even the closest friends and family to find time in their busy schedules to assist is a difficult task. You need to be a master coordinator, but if you can pull it off, you eliminate the need for hiring a moving crew completely – all for the cost of a few pizzas and some drinks. Just keep in mind that a cross country move isn’t as simple as a move down the street. Unless your friends and family are traveling halfway across the country with you, you’re going to need to find some professional help when you reach your destination. Even if you choose to hire a moving company to handle the heavy labor, though, you can save significant time and energy by asking your friends and family to help you pack.
- Greatly reduces moving costs – only hire movers for the services you can’t tackle yourself.
- Move at your own pace – with friends and family helping, you have additional time to pack and plan that you wouldn’t have if movers were on the clock.
- Additional help – you can have a moving party with as many friends as you’d like. Just imagine what a dozen of your best friends can accomplish in comparison to a moving crew of 3-4 guys.
- You assume full liability for damaged items.
- Friends and family are not trained professionals and might make rookie mistakes.
- People might resent your request for help or may not prove reliable when moving day rolls around.
- Still must find someone to help unload the truck at the other end of the trip.
Getting Supplies on the Cheap
The cost of moving supplies adds up quickly. Fortunately, there are several cost cutting measures you can employ if you’re willing to put some energy into it. For example, there are plenty of places to scoop up free cardboard moving boxes. Stores often throw away boxes from shipments, and many are willing to hand them over to you for free. Liquor stores, coffee shops, and big box stores are some of the most promising places to scout out boxes. You may want to call in advance to find out when each location receives their shipments, so you can cut down on the time you spend running around. Also, try hitting up sites like Craigslist or neighborhood groups on Facebook to get your hands on cheap or free materials from other people who have recently moved. In addition to finding free moving boxes, you can also use items you already have laying around for padding your breakables. Instead of bubble wrap and packing paper, try wrapping your fragile items in t-shirts and towels. You’ll have to pack these items either way, so putting them to use will cut down on supply costs and save space.
- Reduce spending on moving supplies.
- Cut down on volume of items by swapping out bubble wrap and packing paper for t-shirts, towels, and other padding already on-hand.
- Takes time and energy to find free moving boxes.
- Previously used boxes do not have the same structural integrity as new boxes.
Renting a Moving Truck
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of mover, renting a truck is a decent alternative to hiring a full-service moving crew. Size is rarely an issue, as companies like Penske and U-Haul offer trucks with enough space to handle the possessions of a 3- or 4- bedroom home. Trucks offer more vertical and horizontal space than a towable trailer, and they come equipped with more straps and ledges to protect your valuables. A truck also gives you added flexibility to move on your schedule. Of course, renting a truck means shouldering more responsibilities. Navigating a heavy truck across state lines brings isn’t for the faint of heart. Additionally, loading and unloading your items might prove difficult without the skills and muscles of a professional moving crew. You’ll also have to figure out how to get your car to its destination since you’ll be occupied driving the truck.
- Cheaper than hiring full-service movers.
- Plenty of size options – from small trucks suitable for a studio apartment to a large truck that can hold possessions from a larger home.
- More flexibility to move on your schedule.
- Still need help loading/unloading the truck.
- Must drive across the country in a large and unfamiliar truck.
- Must arrange to ship or tow your vehicle(s).
Renting a Cargo Trailer
As with renting a truck, towing a rented cargo trailer leaves you handling more of the relocation yourself. Trailers offer less space than most trucks, but they work well for small moves with less fragile valuables. The big advantage of this option is that you can hitch it to the back of your existing vehicle, so you won’t have to deal with the added complication of transporting your car or learning how to maneuver a vehicle much larger than what you’re accustomed to. Cargo trailers are available in a range of sizes, so you’ll want to carefully figure out how much space you’ll need to rent the one most suited to your needs. Shopping around is important here. Some rental companies may not have trailers large enough to suit your needs. Also, consider splurging for a covered rather than open trailer, since you’ll be moving a significant distance, and rain and weather conditions could become a problem.
- Cheaper alternative to renting a truck or hiring a moving company.
- More flexibility to move on your schedule.
- In most cases, you can still drive your own vehicle with the trailer attached, so you don’t have to make other arrangements for your car.
- Suited to small moves (i.e. studio or 1-bedroom apartments)
- Must be comfortable with the risks of towing a trailer.
- Must handle the loading/unloading of trailer or hire a crew on each end to do this for you.
- Limited space – not suitable for larger scale moves.
Renting a Moving Container
Portable moving containers like those from PODs and U-Pack provide an easy alternative to traditional moving services. For one, they allow you to move at your own pace. Simply set the container in your yard or on your driveway and start loading things at your convenience. Your container is shipped to your destination without a need for unloading and reloading multiple times. Moving containers are especially ideal if you’re going to need to store your items for a while before moving into your new place. Whether you’re in a transition where you need to move out of your old place and don’t have a new one lined up or you’re simply waiting for your house to close, you can trust that your belongings will be safe in the interim.
- Load at your own pace and arrange for pick-up when you’re ready.
- The company transports the container to your new location, leaving you free to drive your vehicle.
- Ideal solution if you require short-term storage during your relocation.
- Must arrange for loading and unloading the container.
- Your neighborhood or apartment complex might restrict the use of moving containers.
- Not suited to fragile or bulky items like pool tables or pianos.
- In most cases, the consumer assumes liability for the contents of the pod.
Hiring Professional Movers
While hiring a professional moving company may be one of the most expensive options available to you, it’s also the safest and most convenient choice. Most moving companies will load and unload your belongings, and many of them offer additional options like packing, storage, and the disassembly and reassembly of furniture. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when you’re planning a long distance move and making use of a professional labor company can reduce the costs of time and labor significantly. Contracts also provide you with a flat rate price, so you worry less about the hidden and unexpected costs that are often overlooked when you do the moving all by yourself. All licensed moving companies are bonded and insured, so you’re covered even if something goes wrong. You should be diligent in your shopping process. Comparing quotes carefully can save you a lot of money, and you stand to save even more by moving on the off-season when the rates charged are significantly lower.
- The moving company assumes liability for items during transit, making this one of the safest choices.
- Movers are trained professionals, so they have the best techniques for packing and protecting your items during the move.
- Full-service moves greatly reduce the time and stress of your relocation. Movers can handle logistics of the move from end-to-end, or you can pick the services you want (including storage).
- You don’t have to drive the moving truck, leaving you free to drive your vehicle.
- Flat rate pricing simplifies makes moving costs more transparent.
- Typically, one of the more expensive moving options.
- Doesn’t provide the flexibility of other options – you’re locked into a specific date for pick-up.
- Depending on the type of move you choose, it may take as many as 3-4 weeks to receive your belongings.
Moving Your Vehicle
Some moving options, like renting a truck, require finding a method for moving your car, but you may want to consider finding someone to transport your vehicle even if it isn’t a necessity. The gas and mileage you’ll have to sink into your car to transport it yourself adds up. Plus, using a transport service means you can reach your destination faster by flying or taking a train to your new home. There are a couple of options for transporting your vehicle. Hiring an auto transport company means that your car can be delivered right to your door, and you won’t have to give it any additional consideration. Some train companies, particularly Amtrak, offer car shipping services, so you can just ride along with your vehicle. Just bear in mind that you may have a little further to travel once you reach your destination, depending on how close the train station is to your house.
- Eliminates the wear and tear on your car from a cross-country drive.
- No money spent on gas.
- Reach your destination faster by flying or taking the train, which means you can save on other travel costs, like hotel rooms and food on the road.
- You might spend a few days waiting on the delivery of your car, which could be a problem if you need it when you arrive in your new town.
- Risk of damage to your vehicle – you don’t have control over the car once it’s handed over to the company.
You have lots of options when it comes to planning your cross-country move. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each one when deciding what plan works best for you. If you decide to hire a professional cross country moving company, be sure to shop around for rates. Kip’s Cross Country Movers lets you easily compare quotes from licensed, insured interstate movers. To get started, use the form provided!