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The Hidden Costs of Long Distance Moving


We all know that moving is a huge pain, but it can be pretty darn expensive too, especially when it comes to moving long distance. According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate household move is around $4300. When planning your moving budget, keep in mind that in addition to the obvious costs of hiring long distance movers or renting a truck, there may be some additional expenses you haven’t factored in:

Getting the Money Back on Your Deposit

According to data gathered by Trulia, over 40% of Americans rent their dwelling rather than owning a home. Most leases require a security deposit at the time of signing, typically equal to one month’s rent. This deposit is meant to cover any damage the rental sustains during your lease. In September 2016, the median 1-bedroom rent was $1120, while the median 2-bedroom apartment was $1280, which means that for most people, the security deposit is not an insubstantial amount of money. To ensure that you get your full deposit back, follow these steps:

  • Request a copy of the inspection checklist from your apartment complex or landlord
  • Go through each line item on the list to make sure everything is taken care of
  • Scrub and dust every surface of the apartment – particularly the bathroom and kitchen
  • Fill any holes you have made in the walls with spackle
  • Don’t forget to clean the oven
  • Consider having the carpets professionally cleaned, especially if you have pets
  • Take pictures of everything so you have proof of how you left the apartment
  • Schedule a walk-through with apartment management so you can discuss items that might be docked from your deposit
  • Make sure the complex has your new address on file so they know where to mail the deposit refund check
Not getting your deposit could be an unintended consequence of moving. Making sure you thoroughly clean your apartment before handing over the keys!

Not getting your deposit could be an unintended consequence of moving. Making sure you thoroughly clean your apartment before handing over the keys!

Packing Supplies

If you’re moving long distance, it’s important that your items are properly packed for transport. With more distance to cover, there’s more opportunity for things to get rattled and jostled along the way. Making sure everything is packed snuggly with plenty of padding prevents breakage.

In our post on Best Moving Tips for Saving Money, we discussed the expense of packing supplies. Purchasing brand new packing supplies (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper) to pack the average American household costs upwards of $500. To keep the cost of supplies down, consider doing the following:

  • Boxes: Check with your local grocery or liquor store to see if they have any discarded boxes from a recent shipment. Often, stores will gladly part with extra boxes. Additionally, ask family or friends if they have any boxes from a prior move laying around.
  • Packing paper: Instead of buying brand new packing paper, recycled old newspapers should do the trick. Just be careful not to use newspaper when wrapping china, as it could leave ink smudges on your dishes.
  • Bubble wrap: Substitute with t-shirts and towels. These items have to be packed anyway, so by using them as extra padding, you’re cutting down on both cost and space.

Car Transport

While you’re busy packing the interior of your home, it can be easy to forget about other checklist items, like the transport of vehicles. If you have more than one car, or plan to fly to your new home rather than driving, you may want to look into having your vehicle(s) shipped rather than driving them yourself. When considering whether to drive your car yourself or to make use of a professional auto transport company, weigh the following:

  • Cost of gas
  • Wear and tear of driving your vehicle
  • Speed of getting to your final destination
  • With pets and children in mind, what travel plan is best for the whole family

While car transport may not be something you had previously factored in, it can actually be cheaper than you may think. Your best option for cheap auto shipping is selecting open transport carrier that carries several vehicles at one time.


When moving, many people find themselves temporarily without a home, while waiting to move into their new house or apartment. Whatever the reason for the delay, you may need to consider the cost of a temporary storage space for the contents of your home. It’s common for moving companies to offer storage as an additional moving service. Most are willing to move your items into a self-storage unit that you can access as needed. Others offer storage at their own warehouse storage facility. The latter option is much more cost-effective if you are looking to minimize storage costs.

Don't forget about the expense of storing your things if you are temporarily between living situations.

Don’t forget about the expense of storing your things if you are temporarily between living situations.


How are you getting to your new home? As mentioned before, you may be driving to your new home, but many people choose to fly or take another means of transportation. In addition to gas or plane tickets, don’t forget to also factor in the cost of meals and hotels, particularly if you opt to drive. These expenses can really add up, especially if it’s a long trip.

It’s a given that moving will cost money, but being aware of hidden costs and proactively seeking to reduce them is the surest way of minimizing the final bill. Do keep in mind that the cost of your move may be partially offset if you qualify to take a moving expense deduction on your personal tax return. Make sure you keep all of your receipts and consult with your tax preparer to determine whether you qualify to take the deduction.
If you’re making a cross country move and looking for reliable moving help, find the best long distance movers with today!

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