Rental Trucks

If you’re relocating across the country, hiring a moving company isn’t your only option. While loading up a truck and driving it yourself is a more labor-intensive way to move, it does have its advantages. If your possessions are limited enough to fit comfortably in a truck, it can be the most cost-effective option around. However, the options aren’t mutually exclusive. A cross-country move can take weeks when you’re using a company, so renting your own truck can provide you with the means to settle in to your home with just the basics while you wait for the rest of your belongings to arrive. Of course, you’ll want to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using a rental truck and make the choice that’s best for your circumstances.

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Pros and Cons of Renting a Moving Truck


There are several advantages of renting a truck for your relocation:


Moving on Your Schedule

While moving companies try to offer the customer flexibility, chances are that you’ll have to make accommodations to suit their schedule. When you handle the moving everything yourself, you’ll have the opportunity to pace yourself however you like and make the most of your time. This enhanced flexibility also means you can often execute the move faster than mover would.


Lower Costs

When you hire a cross country moving company, you’re paying a premium for their labor and knowledge. The only costs involved with a moving truck are mileage and gas. Just keep in mind the value of your time and labor.


You’re in Control

Renting your own moving truck allows you to determine exactly how things are packed and arranged. This is be a huge benefit for anyone who’s concerned about their belongings.



While it does have its benefits, renting a moving truck does have significant drawbacks. After reading through these, you might feel like it’s worth the added cost to hire a professional mover:


Personal Liability

When you handle a move yourself, you’re completely responsible for any damage to your belongings that might happen along the way. If the TV gets smashed or the sofa slips out of your hands, you’ll have to fork over the cash to replace these items. On the other hand, the moving companies in our network are fully licensed, bonded, and insured, providing you with an extra layer of assurance if something goes wrong.


Finding Assistance

It’s likely you won’t be able to handle all the logistics of the move yourself, and that means enlisting the assistance of friends and family. While you’ll spend less than you would hiring a moving company, getting the help you need from the people you love can be a trial.


Hidden Costs

The promotional rates offered by truck rental companies are often limited to special circumstances. Be sure to carefully evaluate the terms of your rental to make sure it fits within your budget, including add-on fees like insurance.


Best Truck Rental for a Cross Country Move

You have a few different options when it comes to choosing a rental truck provider. To get the best rate, make sure your compare rates from the following companies:


Budget Truck Rental

Budget’s biggest advantage is in the name. They offer some of the best rates for rentals in the industry, but that doesn’t mean that they skimp on quality. Budget’s myriad pickup and drop-off locations makes it an especially convenient choice when undertaking a long-distance move; the company operates over 2800 locations across North America. You can select your pick-up location and reserve a truck ahead of time, so you won’t have to worry about availability the morning you intend to start packing up your things. For an additional fee, Budget allows users to rent a Garmin GPS device – another plus when you’re trying to navigate across state lines and blazing out into unknown territory where your cell phone may or may not work. Budget prides itself on the accuracy of its truck sizes, offering more bang for the buck than many of its competitors, and ensuring that the storage space that’s advertised is precisely what you’ll receive.


Budget Truck Rental Sizes:

Budget has three truck sizes from which to choose:


  • 12′ Small Truck: Suitable for a studio apartment or 1 – 2 rooms 
  • 16′ Medium Truck: Recommended for a one-bedroom home or 3 – 4 rooms 
  • 26′ Large Truck: Appropriate for a 2 – 3-bedroom home or 5 – 8 rooms

Ryder Truck Rental

Ryder specializes in the needs of commercial businesses by offering several specialty trucks designed to assist with refrigerated and otherwise sensitive items, but they offer trucks suited to residential moves as well. All Ryder trucks must be returned to the same place they were picked up from, making them less ideal when you’re looking to relocate halfway across the country. But if you intend to return to your hometown to put your affairs in order, they could serve as a reasonable alternative to their other competitors. They also lack the extensive selection of specialty equipment you’ll find at rental companies more squarely focused on residential moves. Hand trucks or furniture pads are available at only select locations, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you already own the moving equipment you need. Their pricing policy is a unique standard in the industry. Rather than charging by the day and the mile, they assess fees by the hour. This means they can be a cost-effective option if you’re undertaking a short move, but you can quickly rack up fees for longer moves.


Ryder Truck Rental Sizes:

  • 14′ Sprinter Van: Provides 547 cubic feet of cargo space
  • 16′ Box Truck: Suitable for a one-bedroom home
  • 26′ Straight Truck: Suitable for a 2-3-bedroom home 

Penske Truck Rental 

Truck companies that specialize in long distance, one-way moves are few and far between in the United States, but Penske is one of the best around. Penske doesn’t charge mileage rates, instead just charging a flat daily rate. It’s a refreshingly transparent approach to truck rentals that’s particularly well suited to your needs if you’re crossing multiple state lines to reach your destination. Just keep in mind that the rates fluctuate according to the size of your truck and the season, so if you’re frugal, you may want to time your relocation carefully. You’ll be guaranteed a truck at your chosen pick-up location if you place your reservation 48 hours in advance. Penske operates over 2000 locations throughout the US, and they offer drop-offs at many Home Depot locations as well, making them one of the more convenient options for long distance moves. Rentals are complemented by several add-on services like dolly rentals and packing kits, allowing Penske to serve as something of a one-stop shop for cross-country moves.


Penske Truck Rental Sizes:

  • 12′ Truck: Suitable for 1 – 2 rooms 
  • 16′ Truck: Sized for 2 – 3 rooms 
  • 22′ Truck: Appropriate for 3 – 5 rooms 
  • 26′ Truck: Ideal for 5 – 7 rooms

Enterprise Truck Rental 

Enterprise stands head and shoulders over much of the competition when it comes to the variety of vans and trucks they offer, but they suffer from a lack of locations and a business model that isn’t well-suited to long distance moves. Trucks rented through Enterprise must be returned at the same location from which they were picked up. All Enterprise rentals are charged at a flat-rate with no additional mileage costs, making them one of the most transparent and effective choices when staging shorter moves. Enterprise maintains 350 truck rental locations in 44 states, so there’s a high likelihood that you can find one near your current home. This company offers numerous sizes of cargo vans in addition to box trucks.


Enterprise Truck Rental Sizes:

  • Cargo Vans (Varying sizes): Suitable for smaller apartments or small loads 
  • 16′ Cabover Truck with Lift Gate: Suitable for 3 – 4 rooms 
  • 24′ Box Truck with Lift Gate: Accommodates 5 or more rooms
  • 26′ Box Truck with Lift Gate: Suitable for 5 or more rooms


U-Haul’s versatility makes it one of the best moving rental companies around regardless of your needs. The consistency of the product is where U-Haul really shines, and that’s reflected in just about every aspect of its business model. U-Haul operates locations in all fifty states and provides both local and long distance moving options. All U-Haul trucks come with the patented Mom’s Attic storage compartment, which is designed to provide a safe place for more fragile possessions, and even the smallest vehicle can tow a car, making it an especially useful choice for those interstate relocations. Reservations are guaranteed, and all U-Haul stores sell boxes, dollies, and other packing supplies, making them a convenient choice for handling all your moving needs. Many stores can even connect you with laborers who can help you with the unloading and loading process, providing you with the advantages of a moving company without having to invest in a full-service move.


U-Haul Rental Sizes:

Cargo Van: Right for a studio apartment or dorm
10′ Truck: Appropriate for a studio or one bedroom
15′ Truck: Suited for a two-bedroom apartment or one-bedroom house
17′ Truck: Ideal for a two-bedroom house
20′ Truck: Perfect for a two-bedroom house or three-bedroom apartment
26′ Truck: Equipped for a four-bedroom home

Movers you can trust. Pricing you can afford

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Tips for Your Cross-Country Truck Rental

Renting a truck is an effective alternative to hiring a moving company when you’re relocating but handling everything yourself isn’t a decision to make lightly. You’ll want to carefully plan and take all necessary concerns into consideration.


Schedule Your Move Strategically for the Cheapest Move

The rates offered by rental companies fluctuate wildly depending on the time of year. Prices tend to skyrocket during the summer (when everyone is moving), and you’ll often pay more if you’re trying to rent a truck on the weekend. You also need to consider the cost of gas. If you have the flexibility to do so, try to schedule your move during the off-season, so you can cut down on moving costs.


Evaluate Your Options Carefully

Different companies have different pricing schemes. While a single flat rate charge may be the easiest scheme to understand, you could save money on companies that charge you by the mile, depending on how far you are traveling. A simple glance at a map app can help you determine how far you need to go and how long it will take, and from there you can calculate the overall cost you can expect to pay from each company. Most rental companies also offer free quotes online; just make sure they include the extras you might need like insurance or dolly rentals.


Always Book in Advance

Reservation policies differ between rental truck companies, but, in general, you should book your reservation at least 48 hours in advance. Make sure to check with a company representative to ensure you understand their terms. A simple phone call can save you a lot of hassle and prevent you from driving all around town looking for a truck on moving day. Many companies allow you to make your reservation directly through their websites as well.


Gas Up Your Truck Before Returning It

Most companies charge a premium for returning your truck on an empty tank, and while it may be relatively minor, no one wants to pay more money than they must. Make sure to get an accurate reading of the gas level when you first rent the truck and return it with the same amount in the tank. There’s usually no need to fill it up all the way. Also, keep an eye on the mileage just to ensure that there are no discrepancies when you receive your final bill.


Renting a truck might sound like the best plan for your move, but if you change your mind, you can always find an excellent moving service through Kip’s Cross Country Movers. Use us to find a local mover to load or unload your truck, or skip the rental truck altogether and hire a full-service moving company. Whatever your moving needs, Kip’s is here to help!

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