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How Much Does It Cost To Move Cross Country?

National Average Change Location | View National
$3,273
Typical Range
$1,557 - $4,998
Low End
$800
High End
$9,000

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On This Page:

  1. Moving Cross Country
  2. Hiring a Long Distance Moving Service
  3. Moving Out of State
  4. Long Distance Moving Tips

Moving long distance is exciting, but it’s also pretty labor intensive. Furniture can be heavy. Wood and upholstery needs to be protected from damage, and there is no “easy” way to move a king-size mattress. You might need to have cars shipped. You also need to transfer insurance, school records, medical records, shut off utilities, file a change of address, and complete a host of other small but important tasks.

Fortunately, you can make the process a little easier by hiring a professional moving service. This helps ensure that your things are in skilled hands with a group of people who have lots of experience.

Moving Cross-Country

The average cost of moving house cross-country is variable. Often it will depend on the number of rooms in your house, or else its square footage. In general, $3,273 is about average. However, a moving company may send someone out to assess how much stuff you have and give a better estimate on the cost. They will also assess the weight of the load and calculate in how far you’re moving to give you the final estimate. Moving a typical 3-bedroom house from San Francisco, California to Brooklyn, New York can cost from $7,000.00 to $10,000.00. Packing supplies (boxes, tape, markers, moving blankets, etc.) can cost another $500.00.

You can rent a truck from companies like Penske, Budget, and Upack for about $3,000.00 (26-foot truck for a typical 3-bedroom house), but you will have to drive it yourself and ship or trailer your car(s). How much does it cost to ship a car? Anywhere from $1,500.00 to over $5,000.00 depending on if it’s running, if you want an open or enclosed trailer, and the year, make, and model. You may also want to buy your own insurance for the move. Some companies, like U-Haul, rent car trailers you can tow yourself. They will have to inspect to make sure your vehicle is capable of safely towing your car and that it’s tied in correctly. The cost is around $1,000.00.

You can also let the movers handle everything. These are usually priced by distance and weight and can easily cost around $10,000.00. A full-service moving company may offer packing and cleaning services, but this can cost $100.00 or more extra.

Before making that big haul, here’s a checklist of what to do and when to do it:

  • 8 weeks out, start collecting your moving paperwork. Keep it all together in a single folder and know where that folder is at all times. Now is also the time to research moving companies.
  • 7 weeks out, gather packing materials like boxes, tape, and bubble wrap.
  • 6 weeks out, notify your kids’ schools of the impending move. Get copies of their records and check the enrollment process at their new school. Also, get copies of your family medical records.
  • 5 weeks out, call the moving company and book the truck.
  • 4 weeks out, start packing non-essentials. Label and number the boxes. Keep an inventory sheet to let you know what sort of things are in which boxes. Contact utility companies and begin the shut-down process. Also notify your landlord.
  • 3 weeks out, start using up your perishable food that won’t be travelling with you. Try to empty your freezer by the move date. Again, look for charities to take things. Some soup kitchens will take sealed food. Transfer insurance to your new home, fill out a change of address with the post office, and have your car serviced checking fluids, brakes, and handling potential trouble spots.
  • 2 weeks out, start packing everything else. Keep valuables and sensitive items separate. You’ll want to move these yourself. Be sure you know what the moving company will and won’t allow on their truck (paints, cleaning chemicals, firearms, gas, combustibles, etc.). Clean as you pack to avoid a big headache on moving day. Dispose of any items that can’t go with you such as propane, paint, etc.
  • 1 week out, confirm when the moving truck will be there. Also, pack your essentials (clothing, hygiene products, etc.) and keep them separate from what’s going on the truck.
  • 1 day out, clean out and defrost the fridge and freezer. Remove any food from the pantry/cupboard. Make sure you have your moving documents handy.
  • Moving day, be sure the movers know what’s fragile and what’s heavy. Be there as they load to make sure everything gets on the truck and to answer any questions. Do a final walkthrough to make sure nothing is left behind, signing the paperwork only after you’re satisfied that everything is packed.

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Hiring a Long-Distance Moving Service

There are three options to moving long-distance: hire a company, rent a truck, or call a container company.

Companies (about $10,000.00)

Some of the big names in moving companies are Mayflower, Old Dominion, Atlas, North American, and Allied. These full-service companies often guarantee delivery within a week or less and carry insurance for your property. Some even offer packing/unpacking services. The drivers and loaders/unloaders are experienced professionals. They are, however, the most expensive option.

Rent a Truck (about $3,000.00)

U-Haul is not just a company; they’ve become the generic name for any moving truck rental company. Along with the other big names, Penske and Budget, U-Haul will help you determine what size truck you need and what features that truck should have (lift gate, ramp, attic, etc.). Cheaper than hiring a moving company, you are responsible for the safety and insurance of the move. You pack it, you load it, you haul it.

Container Companies (about $4,500.00)

Container companies drop a portable storage container at your house and let you pack it at your leisure. They then pick it up on a designated day and deliver it to your destination for you to unpack. They are quickly becoming the most popular way to move. P.O.D.S. is the foremost name in the business, but other companies include Upack and 1-800-PACK-RAT.

Questions to Ask:

  • Insurance? – Basic insurance for most companies is 60 cents a pound. You can buy your own insurance as well.
  • Binding Quotes? – Is this quote binding? Is it a “not to exceed” quote?
  • Transfers? – Will my goods be on the same truck for the whole trip or will it be transferred to another truck at some point?
  • Extra Charges? – Does the quote include awkwardly sized objects, parking, storage, fuel, etc.?
  • What payment forms/terms do you accept? – Be leery of cash-only companies.
  • Mover or Broker? – Are you talking to the mover or to a broker working for moving companies?
  • Who’s Responsible? – If anything is damaged, who is accountable for the damage?

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Moving Out of State

You might find your relocation is a lot closer than cross-country. If you’re just moving to the next state, your rates can be significantly lower depending on how far the trip is. If you’re near the border, you might get away with the costs of a local move. On average, moving out of state (but not cross-country) is about $5,600.00. This assumes a move of around 1,200 miles.

The considerations and checklist for moving to the next state are the same for moving cross-country. Since the drive isn’t as long, you might consider taking some things in your car. Fragile or valuable items might do better if you move them yourself. It will certainly help with your peace of mind knowing that the person moving them has a personal vested interest!

Even though the drive isn’t as long, keep all personal papers and moving-related documents with you. Also keep things like credit cards and other valuable items with you. If you stop at a motel, these things should be taken in with you when you first arrive.

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Long Distance Moving Tips

  • Don’t ship your pets. It might be easier for you, but it will be stressful for them even in the best of pet-transport companies. Only do this is if absolutely necessary.
  • Reduce what you’re taking. Have a yard sale or donate what you don’t need. Someone else can probably use your old clothes, toys, or appliances.
  • Number each box and keep a list of what sort of things are in what box. This will help you find things easier.
  • Service your car before taking off. The last thing you need is to be broken down somewhere without another car in sight.
  • Move your valuables into your motel room first, and never forget to lock the door between trips!
  • Call around 3 or 4 in the afternoon to reserve a motel room ahead of time. They fill up quickly with truckers, traveling construction crews, and other long-distance travelers.
  • Never let your tank get below 1/3 full. Gas stations can be few and far-between. When you stop for gas, also use the restroom and stock up on road snacks.
  • Before leaving your old home for the last time, do a thorough walkthrough to make sure you got everything. After you hit the road, there’s no going back!

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