According to the Census Bureau, about eight million Americans move to a new state each year. Some of these long-distance hauls include cross country moves. If you’re relocating a long way from your current home, there are several ways to make your cross-country moving experience cheaper. Here are five of the best and cheapest ways to move across the country:
1. Sell Most of Your Stuff Before Moving Across Country
One moving option that enables you to avoid most of the move related costs is to sell almost everything you own. Then re-start in your new location by purchasing the things you need there. This option may sound drastic, but it could be appropriate in certain situations. For example:
- If you have very few possessions and everything you are moving can fit in your vehicle.
- If your furniture and other large possessions are old and worn out or you have been planning to replace them soon anyway, don’t bother with the effort to move them.
- If you are downsizing from a large home to a much smaller one and will need to get rid of many of your things, or if your old furniture will not fit in your new rooms.
- If you are selling your current home to someone, who wants to pay extra to keep your furniture and appliances and TVs. Get paid and don’t move a thing!
If you do decide to pursue this option, you should sell as much as you can so that you will have the cash to buy new items when you reach your destination. If you aren’t leaving things for the next owner, you can sell them by having a moving sale, which you could advertise on Craigslist and Nextdoor among other online venues.
Individual sales may net you a higher price for big ticket items. There are several resources for re-selling your possessions:
- Craigslist allows you to post individual “for sale by owner” listings in a variety of categories ranging from furniture and electronics to vehicles and books
- Facebook Marketplace makes it relatively easy to sell in your area
- Yard sale apps such as VarageSale connect you with potential buyers.
2. Rent a Truck To Move Across Country
You can save money on a moving company by renting a truck to move across country on your own. Then, recruit a few friends or family members to help you pack and move it into the truck. Be sure to offer them some drinks and pizza, but even at the cost of a hearty meal, such assistance is much cheaper than professional movers.
If you decide to rent a moving truck, there are several options for doing so, from U-Haul and Penske to Costco. Read about finding the right-sized moving truck for your needs. To save money, avoid peak moving times such as:
- The end of the month
Be sure to search several major moving truck rental companies for price quotes because prices can vary widely at any given time.
3. Rent a Cargo Trailer For A Cheaper Way to Move Your Things Cross-Country
If you don’t want to splurge on an entire moving truck, or you want to move your own vehicle while moving your things, you might consider renting a cargo trailer. You can attach such trailers to a car you already own. This convenience gives you the advantage of being able to move both your vehicle and your belongings at the same time.
An aerodynamic, lightweight, and enclosed cargo trailer suits most moving needs. However, if you need to haul building supplies or lots of landscaping items for some reason, you’ll want a utility trailer instead. Cargo trailers typically range in size from 4’ X 8’ to 6’ X 12’ (with a capacity of up to 2,500 pounds), so pick the size that’s right for you. If you rent a trailer that’s much larger than you need, you’ll end up wasting money on both the rental and gas.
4. Rent A Moving Container & Ship It Across Country
Portable moving containers, such as PODs, are sturdy containers with tie-down hooks for securing your belongings while you move them. Many companies offer containers with a ground level design that allows for loading and unloading without a ramp. The most commonly available sizes range from seven to sixteen feet. A sixteen-foot POD will hold three to four rooms worth of belongings, but smaller options are more conducive for a studio or 1-bedroom apartment. Read our guide to portable moving containers to select the company and container size that’s right for your needs.
When you rent a portable moving container, it is dropped off at your home at your convenience. You load the pod yourself, and then the container company transports it for you and delivers it to your new location. The company can even store it for you temporarily. This service feature gives you more flexibility with the timing of your move as compared to a moving company or rental truck. It also saves you money because you aren’t paying anyone to load or unload the storage container.
5. Hire Professional Cross Country Movers
Moving across the country might cost $5k with professionals, but it might still be your best option. Moving can be a serious headache and consumes loads of your time. Splurging for professional movers has a lot of benefits that might end up saving you in the long-run:
- It will save you time wrapping, packing, loading, unloading, unpacking, and breaking down boxes. You could use that time to focus on wrapping up work, finding a new job, or tackling another moving to-do.
- Professional movers are specifically trained to pack your belongings in such a way that they will remain safe. They use a wide variety of packing materials to ensure that your possessions do not become damaged in transit.
- When you hire professional movers, the company insures your belongings against loss or damage.
- Professional moving companies also offer other services, including storage, to make your relocation seamless.
- It’s the most stress-free way to move.
When looking for a cross-country mover, make sure to comparison shop for the best deal. Through the Great Guys platform, you can set your moving parameters once, then get rates from up to four moving companies. Our moving quotes are always free!
A Note About Moving Your Vehicle(s)
Except for option two, renting a truck, you can drive one of your vehicles across the country at the same time as your things. But if you choose option two, or you have more than one car that requires moving, you’ll have to consider how to get it from point A to point B.
Options for moving your vehicle include:
- Hire someone to drive it across the country for you. If you have a friend who wants to take a road trip vacation, you can both benefit by allowing him to drive your car.
- Rent a cargo trailer to carry one of your vehicles while it is attached to another one of your cars.
- Use an auto transport service, which can ship your car by train or trailer to its destination.