What is the Cheapest Way to Move Out of State?
The most expensive step that you can take when moving is hiring movers. You’re paying a mover to organize your move’s logistics, pack up your stuff and unpack, load and unload, and drive the moving truck to its destination. When you cut out hiring a moving company, you can pack up everything yourself and rent a moving truck to save a significant amount of money.
Depending on where you’re starting and your destination, it can cost just a few hundred or perhaps up to $2,000 to rent a moving truck. Pick-up trucks cost as low as $40 a day to rent, and they can be effective when moving if you’re moving a small space (like a college dorm or apartment). However, the average cost of renting a truck for your move is between $80 and $150. Don’t forget to figure in fuel costs and toll charges along the way.
Other Affordable Ways to Move
While renting a moving truck is the cheapest way to move out of state, it might not be the right option for everyone. You may live in a state where a commercial vehicle license is required to move a shipment equal to the size of your home, your driver’s license might be expired, or you may simply not be comfortable operating such a large vehicle.
Thankfully, no matter your situation, you have other options to move out of state without breaking the bank. Besides renting and driving a moving truck yourself, here are a few other ways you can move to save money when moving across state lines.
Use a Moving Container Service
A moving container service is always cheaper than hiring a full-service mover. This is a DIY packing method that you can use if you both want to save money and want to move at your leisure without a tight schedule. When you book a move with a container service, your moving container company will drop a weatherproof container at your property. You’ll then load your own things on your own schedule, and your container company will deliver the container to your new home.
Moving container services can be ideal for smaller spaces, as they provide you with lower pricing and the convenience that comes with avoiding delivering your shipment on your own. Some excellent container services include 1-800-PACK-RAT, U-Pack, and PODS. For example, U-Pack’s average cost of a move is $2,600.
Rent a Cargo Van
Alternatively, you can rent a cargo van to transport your things to your new home. You don’t need any special driving skills or experience for a cargo van like you might need when driving a moving truck yourself. If you don’t have a lot of stuff (moving from a dorm or a studio), you can possibly fit all your belongings into one van. The advantages of a cargo van are that they are cheaper to rent than larger vehicles, and since they’re smaller, they are easier to maneuver in cities and when parking. If you need more than one van, you can simply enlist the help of a friend or two to drive the rest of your fleet to your new home. You can rent a cargo van for $80 to $150 per day.
Rent a Freight Trailer
If you have more stuff than a U-Pack ReloCube can hold or would fit into a cargo van, you have the option to rent a freight trailer. Moving companies will drive the semi-truck trailer you rent to your home and park it for three days to pack up your stuff. Once three days have passed, the driver will come to your home, pick up the freight trailer filled with your belongings, and drive it to your destination. This allows you to pack on a more relaxed schedule and how you want to, especially if you are particular about packing your belongings in a certain way. This option also frees you from driving a cumbersome Class C vehicle that you may not feel comfortable driving or parking, especially when moving out of state. Renting a freight trailer, which has a volume of about 1,900 cubic feet, typically costs between $1,300 and $2,000.
Rent a Tow-Behind Trailer
If you’re planning on moving with your own vehicle and driving it yourself to your new place, consider renting a tow-behind trailer from a mover like U-Haul or Penske. If you have a friend or acquaintance who has a handy trailer to attach to your trailer hitch, that can be an excellent way to save money and be self-sufficient during your move. If you go with a company to rent a trailer, they typically come in several size options, so you can choose the one that’s both right for your total load and an appropriate size for your vehicle to tow—these range in rental price from $15 to $40.
Should You Hire a Moving Company?
Moving yourself is a great way to save money, but it’s not the best option for everyone. Perhaps you are in a different situation than those who can move independently. Here are some reasons you should consider hiring professionals to help you move.
- You’re moving with an older family member: Older family members can’t always do the heavy lifting required when packing up and loading vehicles to move. If you’re a caregiver, it will take the pressure off your family members to simply hire a company for much-needed help during your out-of-state relocation.
- You’re moving to start a new job, and you need to be out fast: If you’re on a tight schedule and you know the dates ahead of time that you need to be in your new home for something like starting a new job, it’s best to hire a moving company. They handle every last detail, so you don’t have to, and you can make it quickly to where you need to go. You might even be able to claim a corporate allowance to offset the price of your move, which means that you won’t spend your own money on your moving team.
- You have specialized items: If you have large and unwieldy pieces of furniture, a piano, antiques, or other specialized and delicate possessions, hiring professionals with the proper tools and experience to pack and move these things could be the best way to avoid damage to these special items.
- You can avoid the stress of logistics: If you hire a moving company, they will go through your house either in person or virtually and assess your belongings to see the best way to move them. They handle the logistics of the move, the planning, the packing, loading, disassembly, reassembly, driving the vehicles, everything. You only have to be at the right place at the right time, avoiding all the hassle of a move.
- You don’t feel comfortable driving large-class vehicles: Most of our options above require you to drive a larger vehicle yourself. If you would rather someone else take the wheel, you have that option when hiring a moving company. Additionally, if you don’t have a driver’s license, you will need to find a friend who can drive, choose a container service, or hire a moving company.
- You can focus on relocating: If you’re not handling the details of your move, you are freed up to focus on the details of your new home, such as setting up utilities and internet connections, new job orientation, and neighborhood exploration.
- You can have protection in case of loss or damage to your property: Most moving companies come with insurance or valuation coverage up to a certain monetary amount. You can purchase more if you choose. This isn’t an option when moving yourself. If you’re very concerned about the possibility of damage when moving, hiring a moving company and purchasing additional coverage can be an excellent idea.
Signs of a Moving Scam
Unfortunately, moving scams can be quite common. Predatory companies may take advantage of clients who are desperate to relocate and stressed out about the process. Here are some red flags that should let you know to get away from these scammers as quickly as possible.
- No address: If the company you’re considering doesn’t have a physical office or address, that’s a worrisome sign. Find a different candidate immediately—it’s likely that the company with no address is just a front trying to take your money and belongings. Illegitimate moving companies often tend to change locations, which means that having no established presence or reputation in your area is a major red flag of a scam.
- Quotes too good to be true: If a mover offers you an extremely low quote, chances are high that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. One reason they may offer you such a “bargain” is that the company is completely lacking in experience and the correct tools and supplies to move you. Another reason may be that they’re trying to use a bait-and-switch tactic, increasing the price at the last minute and hoping that you won’t be able to back out. Either way, avoid companies that don’t offer you a solid contract in writing or who don’t complete an in-person or virtual walkthrough before providing you with pricing.
- Cash payments only: Paying for a move with cash can be something that can save you money because you won’t be paying off credit card interest. However, that’s completely different from a company only accepting cash payments. This is suspicious and a key indicator that they’re running a business under the table without the registrations or certifications needed to operate a moving company. Remember—if you pay with a credit card, you have recourse if the company fails to deliver on its promises. You don’t have this option when you bring cash to the table.
- Asking for a huge deposit up front: Legitimate moving companies will only ask you to pay a small percentage of the total move cost if they require a deposit. Most companies simply require payment upon completion of services.
If a potential mover is asking for a huge deposit of more than half or perhaps all of the payment before they’ve done anything, definitely close the door on them. They may be trying to abscond with your money without rendering services.
Tips to Lower Your Moving Costs
Besides choosing which vehicle fits your specific moving needs, there are other things you can do to prepare for your move that will save you money in the long run. Use these tips to ensure that you’re sticking to your moving budget and don’t overspend on your move.
Downsize as Much as Possible
Before packing the first box, take stock of your belongings and see what you can sell. Hold a garage sale with the bulky and unnecessary accumulations you’ve acquired over the years. Whatever you don’t end up selling, you can donate to homeless shelters or missions in your community. Selling furniture eases up a lot of the challenges of moving—the less furniture you have, the easier it is to move your belongings with less people and less space in a vehicle. You can also consider donating particularly cumbersome items, such as books or a piano.
Recruit Your Friends and Family
Friends and family know the challenges and stress of moving, and they can help you pack and even load up your boxes into whatever vehicle you choose to use for your move. You can feed them and perhaps give them some of the things you don’t need so that they get something in return for helping you. Take advantage of their helping hands, and remember to ask for assistance well in advance of your moving date.
Plunder Local Big Box Stores for Moving Supplies
Check out your local supermarkets for free cardboard boxes. They receive new shipments every day, and the cardboard simply gets broken down flat and strapped together onto pallets to be picked up by the recycling plant in your town. If you ask a manager for moving boxes, most will be happy to oblige. Also, try schools and offices—their reams of paper come in the perfect sturdy boxes, complete with cut-out handles.
Liquor stores are also an excellent resource for free, high-quality moving boxes. Liquor and wine distributors receive dozens of thick cardboard boxes every day—and most managers will be more than happy to allow you to take them off their hands if you ask respectfully.
Move During the Off-Season
Whether you’re renting a trailer, van, truck, or hiring a moving company, it’s always more budget-friendly to move in the off-season, which is winter in general and weekdays more specifically. Since many people find it difficult to get off work during weekdays, they opt to schedule moves on weekends; hence, weekday moves can be less expensive than weekend ones. Also, most families with children move during the summer when their children don’t have school. You can take advantage of moving in wintertime when business for movers is slow.
Don’t Settle for the First Quote You Get
Most of the time, moving companies will be willing to negotiate with you on their prices, and they’re not stuck hard and fast to the first price they give you. Try to negotiate on truck rental prices by scheduling your move well before you need the truck.
If you hire a moving company, you can avoid paying for extras like packing services or climate-controlled vehicles if you simply ask the mover to break down the quote item by item. You should get quotes from several different companies to see which one you want to go with. We recommend getting a quote from each of our recommended providers below before booking your moving date.
Our Recommended Cheap Interstate Movers
While saving money on your move should be a priority, you shouldn’t always choose the cheapest company you get a quote from. Working with a reliable moving company that keeps its pricing competitive is the best way to avoid hidden fees or a team that might not have the training or equipment needed to move without damage. Consider beginning your search for the right affordable moving company using the links below.
American Van Lines
American Van Lines (AVL) is a nationwide moving company that specializes in combining top-of-the-line moving processes with competitive pricing. Unlike many companies, AVL offers a flat-rate pricing system that makes it easier to estimate what you’ll pay for service and ensure that your estimate is correct. AVL also offers a price-matching policy that helps ensure that you’re getting affordable service without paying any more than you need to. If you receive a binding estimate from a local, reputable moving company that’s cheaper than AVL’s pricing, the company will match the best estimate for your shipment. This model ensures that you don’t need to sacrifice quality to save on your move.
Best Moving Add-ons
- Local, Long-Distance & International Moves
- Direct Carrier to All 48 Continental US States
- Storage Options Available
Safeway Moving Systems
If you need an affordable way to move, but you also need the personalized assistance that comes along with a full-service moving team, you might want to consider getting a quote from Safeway Moving Systems. Safeway Moving Systems is not a moving service provider itself. Instead, the company operates as a moving broker, maintaining a rolodex of connections with moving and storage companies and coordinating moves on your behalf.
After connecting with a Safeway representative to tell the company about your moving needs, Safeway’s team links you up with movers who happen to have availability when you need to be out of your home. This is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the moving company. Moving companies maximize their profits by spending more time on the road while you receive discounted service rates on your moving process. Safeway maintains a comprehensive review process to ensure that they only connect you with the highest-quality local movers. So you also won’t need to worry about getting stuck with an unreliable moving team.
Best for Military Moves
- FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
- Long-Distance Moving Only
- Packing & One Month Storage Included
Moving container services can be ideal if you’re looking for a more convenient way to move, but you need to pay as little as possible for transportation. U-Pack is a unique moving container service that provides you with low pricing and instant quotes on a variety of moves. U-Pack offers a range of container sizes, which you can mix and match to fit the unique size of your home and avoid overpaying for services. Like most moving container services, you’ll load and unload your own U-Pack container while the company provides transportation services. This allows you to save more on your move without undertaking the risks of driving your own moving vehicle.
Most Competitive Pricing
- Long-Distance Moving Container Service
- Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
- Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')
How to Move Affordably
While renting a moving truck is the most affordable way to move from one place to another, you may not want to take a DIY approach to your move. In any circumstance, the easiest way to lower the cost of your move is to get rid of as many of your possessions as possible before you book your moving date. Downsizing doesn’t only make decluttering and unpacking easier when you arrive at your new home—it also helps reduce the total weight of your move, which also makes your trip easier on your wallet.
Cheapest Way to Move Out of State FAQ
What is the average cost of moving to another state?
The average cost of moving to another state is currently $4,300, and this is calculated by the average weight of belongings and the mileage of the moves. This amount also considers the costs of packing and moving supplies and some moving services.
Why is moving out of state so expensive?
There are several factors that go into the cost of moving out of state, including the fuel costs of whatever moving apparatus you rent (your car pulling a trailer, a moving trailer, or a cargo van) and the daily rental cost of that apparatus. It can also cost a lot if you use a packing container company or a traditional mover. Even with a container company, you’re paying for the weight and surface area that you use and the professional driver to move the container.
How much money should you save before moving?
It’s best to have several thousand dollars saved up for your move, no matter which type of move you decide to go with. Even if your move is DIY, you need to pay for fuel for your vehicles, and long-distance fuel costs aren’t small. It’s also always best to prepare for any circumstance, like the possibility of needing to rent another vehicle or other unforeseen costs.