You may be making a long distance move for a new and exciting job or maybe you are moving to be closer to family. Whatever the case, these kinds of moves can be very taxing – physically and mentally. They take time and resources away from things you would probably rather be doing.

On top of all that, moving hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles across state lines is usually associated with quite high costs. While most interstate moves are indeed expensive, there are ways to make it sting a little less financially. 

In this post, we will be discussing the various types of interstate and long-distance moves, what you can expect to pay, and ways to make the move less expensive


The Four Moving Categories

The first step in remaining fully informed about your impending moving cost is to understand the difference between the different types of moves. This will aid you in your decision on which moving company (if any) to hire and the types of services you will need the most. 

Moving companies typically break down moves into four categories based on distance:

Local Moves 

Local moves are considered to be relocations of 50 miles or under. The price for a local move will vary on the size of the home but generally, moving companies will charge $25 per hour for each mover they put on your job.

Intrastate Moves 

An intrastate move is one that exceeds 50 miles while remaining in the same state. The average price for an intrastate move assuming a home size of about 2-3 bedrooms is roughly $2,300.

Interstate Move 

An interstate move is one that involves crossing state lines. Moving companies will often charge these moves based on weight and distance so depending on how far you are going, the price can vary wildly. It will also be more expensive if you have a lot of heavy items to be transported or fragile items that require extra care when packing.

International Moves

By far the most expensive and longest form of relocation, international moves involve leaving the country entirely. Again, the price for an international move will vary greatly depending on where you are relocating to and how much stuff you have, and how your items will be transported.  However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 easily.

make cross country move cheap


What Affects the Cost of an Interstate Move?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables that will affect the cost of your interstate move. In general, the most important factors include the distance of your move and the weight of your belongings

Another thing to consider is the state you are moving to. For example, if you are moving from Indiana to California, the tail end of your move may cost more money since the labor prices are higher in California. Special state permitting may also affect price depending on the state you are moving from and to.

The number of things you need to be moved will also determine how much you eventually pay. Of course, all of these factors only apply when you are considering hiring a professional moving company to handle your move. 

If you are hiring movers, we offer a handy moving cost calculator that will give you an accurate idea of how much your interstate move will cost.


Making the Move Cheaper

Now let’s get into some useful tips on how to make your long distance move cheaper. 

Consider All Forms of Transportation 

This first tip applies to all of the minimalist movers who don’t have a lot of furniture or belongings. Consider moving your items by bus. Yes, you read that right. If you have less than 250 pounds to move (not including yourself) then a bus is by far the cheapest way to make your long distance move.

Train transportation services like Amtrak generally allow up to 500 pounds of luggage to travel with you. You can actually transport up to 500 pounds per day so you can split the trip up for your belongings weigh more than 500 pounds.

The most common choice for budget movers is renting a truck or trailer from a place like UHaul. This option is relatively cheap and accommodates a wide array of moving situations. You can move large furniture yourself and save on full moving services with professional movers.

Pack Yourself

If you have the time and are moving from an apartment or small home, you could save yourself money by packing your things yourself. In the business, we call this a DIY move

It is a good way of not only saving money but you can also have peace of mind knowing exactly how your personal possessions were packed. Not everyone is as comfortable having strangers pack their belongings. 

Packing yourself allows you to go green and used recycled and repurposed packing materials instead of buying new ones. For a full cache of tips on how to pack green, check out this article.

Take Shifts When Driving

If you are renting a truck or trailer, taking shifts when driving could cut the cost of you having to stay in hotels along the way. Be sure to take some breaks throughout your journey to stretch your legs and eat. It will re-energize you for the long trip ahead. 

Remember to never push yourself as driving while tired can be dangerous. If you need to stay in a hotel consider motels or staying in small cities off the interstate where hotel prices are sure to be cheaper. 

Get Multiple Estimates 

It is usually recommended to get estimates from multiple moving companies before you make your final decision. This even more so when trying to move long distance on a budget. The first option you find isn’t typically the cheapest so make sure you shop around. 

Trust your gut:

When looking for movers simply based on price. If an estimate seems too good to be true or the moving company doesn’t provide an on-site visit move on. 

making a move long distanceIf you are comfortable with the heavy lifting and loading but don’t want to do the driving, storage PODS are cheaper than paying for full moving services. You can load up a container yourself and have it transported to your new location. Sounds easy, right?

To help cut down on the cost of gas, use gas price apps like GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest prices for gas based on the area you are in. Gas can add up quickly in a long distance move. 

Finally, pack food and small snacks for your journey.  This will not only reduce the money spent on food throughout your drive, but it can help save you time too. Maybe you’ll even get to your destination ahead of schedule. 


Preparation is Key

Planning ahead and heeding the aforementioned tips will be key to staying within your moving budget. A little bit of planning goes a long way and of course if you have been able to save a few bucks with some of your own tried and true methods in the past, feel free to share them in the comment section below.