How Much does it Cost to Move Across the Country?

When it comes to moving across the country, there is no doubt you will spend more, compared to local moves or a move within the country. Apart from the added stress and planning involved in moving cross-country, the cost of moving can distinguish local moves from long-distance or cross-country moves. But the question is “how does it cost to move across the country“?

How Much does it Cost to Move Across the Country?

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While the answer can be challenging and may not be accurately quoted over the phone due to a number of factors involved, the closest estimate can be made even before you invite any mover for inspection. The cost of moving across the country is not a one-way price.

This is because there are hidden costs you may not even think of. Apart from paying a mover, some costs such as costs of the hotel stay during moving, and as well as costs associated with meal breaks and fuel may be required.

Firstly, knowing the actual cost of moving across the country is to understand that rates charged by movers depend on some numbers of factors such as the distance of the move, the method and size of the move, and much more. Each of these factors also has its own determining factors to know the actual cost.

However, you can have an idea of how much it may cost you to move cross-country at the end of this article. We will talk about factors, methods, and other related factors that determine the rates charged by moving companies to relocate across the country.

Typically, the costs of moving cross-country vary and largely depend on how you want your move, the way you approach it, and your choice of service. There are many ways of approaching cross-country moves, and this is based on your budget.

On average, while the cheapest move (making use of available means of cutting cost) can cost above $1000, a full-service move across the country could gulp up to $10,000 or more depending on the distance and other factors. How can one determine this?  Let’s look at the available options for determining a cross-country move.

Determining Factors for Cross-Country Moves

You can base your estimation on your choice of move. In addition to using long distance movers and do-it-yourself, we will also talk about using moving containers as one of the ways consumers use to move across the country these days. Each of these methods has its associated costs; hence, you should be guided accordingly.

Below are the 3 approaches to moving across the country:

Do-It-Yourself Move

A do-it-yourself move implies that you have decided to handle your move by yourself including packing, loading, and driving your household items to your new destination.

It involves renting a moving truck and hiring moving labor services (if you don’t want to do it all) to help you with packing, dissembling of furniture, loading and unloading the truck, as well as unpacking and reassembling of furniture at your new home.

With these methods, you only need to cater for the costs of renting and fueling the moving truck and moving labor services (optional). Other costs include meals and lodging while moving across the country, insurance or liability costs to cover your rental.

In most cases, moving truck rental services do guide consumers on moving labor, insurance, and gas-fill to take you through the journey based on your mileage to cross country. However, this option entails that you will be in charge of your move – no rushing or force schedule.

Professional Moving Service

If you are a busy person and don’t have the time for a DIY move, hiring a professional moving company is an option for you. With this method, professional movers come to your house for inspection, estimate the entire moving need based on the weight of your belongings, distance, and submit a quote for your move.

They will take the stress off you and your entire household and be in control of the move until your belongings are delivered to you. They will face any difficulties involved in moving your stuff cross-country. You don’t need to worry about the security of your items during a move once you sign the agreement with them.

You are allowed to take a separate route and enjoy the journey with your family while they guard your stuff across the country. However, the cost is higher than do-it-yourself but less stressful.

Moving Container Service

The third option available for cross-country moves is moving container service. This method involves that a hired moving container service drops off a moving container at a driveway of your home on a scheduled day and you fill it up with your stuff.

They come back after an agreed day, pick it up and deliver it to your destination abroad. The cost of hiring moving container depends on the size and distance of your move.

Other Approaches to Determine Costs of Cross-Country Moves

Other areas that can also determine your cost of the move are whether you are outsourcing some tasks to professional services. This is irrespective of any of the options. Services such as packing and unpacking are common to all. Let’s briefly discuss packing and unpacking as they are related to all.

Personal Packing

Moving activities start from packing your stuff into the moving boxes, and this can be demanding and time-consuming. If one does not have time to spare, it may be difficult to accomplish this task.

Are you sourcing for free moving boxes or buying them? There is no doubt, while packing can be tedious, packing your stuff yourself is usually cheaper than hiring professional packers.

If you have enough time to get free moving supplies and pack your things yourself, you will save your cost of moving across the country.

You can read our post on Where to Buy Moving Boxes.

However, if you have limited time to move and you are always busy, professional packing can be your option, but it will surely add to your costs of moving cross-country. Let’s discuss this briefly.

Professional Packing

Professional packing services are equipped with people who have been trained to handle and pack your things especially your valuable stuff with extra care. With this service, you will have peace of mind that your packing will be done in time while you focus on more pending issues of the move or other things that make you hire them.

While you might be worrying about how to pack some fragile items such as mirrors, breakable plates or items, etc., professional packers know how to get it done without making mistakes.

They will even give a guarantee and compensate you in case something goes wrong during packing. However, you should be ready for the relative costs of hiring a professional packing service as against personal packing.

Now, having known different options available to you to move cross-country, let’s discuss those costs you should expect when moving across the country.

While some people may prefer to avoid some to save costs, a number of them may not be avoided if you want to move with peace of mind and achieve a smooth cross-country relocation.  It has been broken down to make it more understandable for our readers.

Different Costs Involved in Moving across the Country

Many people wonder how the cost of moving cross-country or abroad are calculated and sometimes looks so high.

However, it is observed that there are some hidden costs associated with cross-country moves and some of these costs are regardless of any options you opt for.

Without wasting time, below are the many of expected and hidden costs as related to cross-country moves:

Package Costs

Just as it was mentioned above, you may choose to go for personal or professional packing based on your needs. However, when you are moving across the country, there is a little different as regard packing.

In some countries, moving companies are usually requested to present custom documents of what they are bringing into the country; to vouch for the package and assure that illegal goods are not imported into their country.

Hence, some reputable cross country movers do repack your items to standard because of custom, but this is based on the country you are moving to.

There is no way; movers must incur this cost. However, while some movers charge extra rates for this service, some do not. It is worthy of mentioning that the packing and unpacking cost talking about here is different from the ones used to pack your stuff. To reduce the cost here, ensure you don’t seal the moving boxes after you pack them.

Leave it open for your moving company to inspect. This is one of the ways to reduce the costs associated with packing and unpacking between you and your mover.

Remember, any mover found breaking the law may jeopardize his ability to operate in that country and as well as face the resulted fines or lose his license; hence, moving companies don’t play with it.

To further reduce this cost, ensure you carry your mover along with the contents of your moving boxes and if there is anything you can do to achieve your goal. A typical package cost starts from $100 and above.

Moving Costs

This is the cost many consumers usually think they need to move cross-country, ignoring other costs involved. Though moving cost is the main costs of moving, there are hidden costs involved.

When you hire a national moving company to move you from country A to country B, the company charges you based on a number of factors as briefly discussed below:

  • The distance of the move: When you call a mover that you want to move cross country and you his service, the company first asks you – where? This is to calculate the distance of your move. The farther your move, the more you pay.
  • Size of the move: The size of your move also plays a significant role in determining your moving cost. The smaller the move, the lesser you will be charged. The size of the move goes in terms of the volume and weight of your entire household item. The amount paid to move a one-bedroom apartment is different from a three-bedroom apartment. If you observe anything in your possession not worthy of moving cross-country, dispose them off or organize a garage or moving sale to raise some funds for your move. Furniture sometimes can be sold, and you will buy a new set when you arrive at your new place abroad.
  • Transportation method: There are two available transportation options; either shipping by air or by sea. Your choice of transportation method is a big factor in determining your actual costs of moving cross-country. Shipping by air is more expensive than the sea. However, irrespective of the method you opt for, trucks will be used to convey the load to the terminal based on your choice of transportation.
  • Route: If your route is popular, there is a tendency for people are moving and using the route often; hence, you will pay less compared to unpopular routes. For instance, moving from the United States to Canada is a popular move, and there will be competition on that route.

The typical moving cost charged by moving companies starts from $1,000 and go as higher as $10,000 for cross-country moves.

Storage Costs

Storage costs are the expenses you or your mover incurred when your belongings are not in shipping during your move. Don’t be surprised this cost comes up in addition to the moving costs charged by your mover. Storage costs arise due to difficulty in matching your moving date with the dates of shipping utilized by international shipping services.

Hence, your possessions are safely kept in the storage when it is not in transit. While this is in the case of moving containers, it also happens when you hire professional movers, especially if your new place abroad is yet to settle.

In another scenario, some people do move overseas but temporarily store their stuff before they finally move to their apartment. Ensure you keep this in mind and plan your movement very well. A typical storage cost starts from $100 per month and above for 1 or 2-bedroom apartments.

Moving Insurance Costs

If insurance coverage is not included in your mover’s quote, you should prepare for moving insurance costs of moving cross-country. While some movers incorporate it in their estimate, some do not. However, ensure you confirm from your moving company, so you don’t pay for the insurance twice.

The type of insurance to consider depends on the method of shipping. For example, if your items will be shipped by sea, there is no doubt you will need a maritime insurance policy.

Whichever method you choose for your shipment, you will need a full value insurance package that will cover your loss in case of damage, theft, or loss. A typical moving insurance cost starts at $100 and goes as higher as thousands of dollars depending on the move.

Customs Duty Charges

Though this cost is not as much as others, it should be planned and incorporated into your budget. Some countries such as the United Kingdom does charge customs duties before goods are cleared and allowed into their countries.

However, some countries including the United States don’t charge household goods any duties before they are allowed into the country. Also, some regions or continents do exempt customs duties when you are moving within the continent or region.

The rates of customs charges depending on the value of goods or weight. Typical custom costs start from free to as higher as the value of the items involving in the move.

Visa/Travelling Document Fees

Regardless of the method of moving you employ, when you are moving your belongings overseas, it may not be possible for you to move with your stuff. You will need to apply for necessary traveling documents such visas, tickets, and other related papers to permit you and household members into the country you are heading to.

Moving cross-country is not visa-free, even for a visit, you would need such papers. This also depends on your reason for moving cross-country – whether for study or job transfer or personal relocation.

So, while you are planning and budgeting for moving your stuff abroad, remember your costs of transporting yourself to the place. The typical costs of a visa and other required traveling documents largely depends on your destination and vary from country to country.

Other Related Costs

Having discussed the most significant costs of moving cross-country, there are still some small expenses that may come up during your moving or settling down in your new place. For example, you may need to buy a new set of furniture when you get to the new country.

Some people don’t even move their furniture because of the stress involved in moving them cross-country. Apart from this, the cost of moving some furniture is higher than the cost of buying new furniture in the country you are moving to. You may also need to change your wardrobe due to the weather in the country you are moving to.

You may also need new appliances due to voltage differences in different countries. Using the wrong type of appliances can damage your electrical system and lead to high energy bills, so always check before you move.

These and many other costs can come up unexpectedly. The best way to approach these unexpected costs is to make inquiries about the country you are moving to before you finally move there.

Actual Costs of Moving across the Country

In summary, you can move cross-country by three methods namely – by professional moving company, by do-it-yourself renting truck, and by using a moving container. The typical costs given below are based on a three-bedroom apartment within a traveling distance of 1,500 miles.

The costs may vary based on the weight, additional or special moving request, and as well as the choice of moving company. It is highly recommended to discuss your actual inventory with your moving vendor to avoid unnecessary augment. Let’s take a look at the costs of each method as summarized below.

Costs of Moving Cross-Country using DIY

Do-it-yourself (DIY) move is when you rent a truck or trailer and handle your move by yourself as against hiring a professional moving company or container service. If you are moving cross-country and observe that you don’t have many items to move or don’t have items that require extra care, DIY might be an option for you to reduce your costs of moving.

It only costs an average of $3000 to rent a truck or trailer, load and drive it cross-country. However, you should be aware that you tend to lose peace of mind and protection you should enjoy by hiring professional services.

Moving can be demanding, time-consuming and can as well tell on your muscle especially when you are moving across the country. Employing the services of a professional can make things easier for you, and perfect every moving need such as providing packing and moving resources, undertaking most of the heavy lifting, arranging storage facility for you at your destination upon arrival, and offers much-needed protection for your belongings cross-country.

Costs of Moving Cross-Country using Container Services

Using container services is another cost-effective method compared to the professional mover, and they are a much-preferred option to moving yourself. It costs an average of $4,500 to use container services and move across the country like a pro.

With this service, the company drops off a container in front of your home, based on your need, and you fill it with your belongings within the scheduled time. The company comes back, pick it up and drop it off at your new address cross-country.

While this option is cheaper than hiring a professional moving company in terms of cost, it may not be a good idea if you have fragile items such as fine artwork, TVs, or other related moving needs. However, you are partially in control of your move while you reduce your moving cost.

Cost of Moving Cross-Country using Professional Movers

If you want to move without feeling much stress, hiring a professional moving company is the best option. While these services are generally expensive, the benefits cannot be compared to the cash value compared to other methods discussed above. The cost of moving cross-country depends on the distance and size of the move. For example, on a distance of 1,000 miles, movers do charge $0.70 to move 1 lb.

When you invite a mover, the company sends a team to come over and weigh your belongings; based on this, your moving cost will be calculated. Moving companies can charge anything starting from $1,000 per room up to $7,500 to cover full-service moving experience – from planning, loading, up to the final stage at your new location abroad.

This includes insurance and other moving resources to ensure your move goes smoothly without issues. You will enjoy quality moving services that offer peace of mind before, during, and after the exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time of year should I move?

80% of people make their move between April and September in order to take advantage of the superior weather conditions. Better weather makes a move more comfortable and avoids damage to the household goods from rain or other inclement weather conditions.

Some argue that you can get a better deal if you plan your move outside of this window. In the end, it comes down to weighing comfort versus cost -though you can never truly predict the weather. Ultimately, how you make your move will be a more personal decision.

How far in advance should I start planning the move?

Making plans around one to two months in advance will allow you to look for the best deals without added pressure or time constraints. This window will also give you plenty of time to start packing up your items slowly and at a more leisurely pace.

Rushing a move can lead to mistakes being made and even damage to your belongings. Conversely, planning too far ahead may not be all that practical as conditions and plans often change around such matters. Give yourself time, but don’t rush to any decisions too quickly.

How do I prepare my appliances for a move?

Larger appliances like a washer and dryer should be disconnected, cleaned, and dried. Afterward tape the doors or any moving pieces closed and disassemble as much as is reasonable. Many appliances and pieces of furniture will have unique needs.

For example, a waterbed will need to be drained and dried before it can be stored and moved. Failure to properly adhere to an appliance or piece of furniture’s unique needs can end up damaging the item or your other belongings. You can also plan ahead for how some of these items may strategically sit against one another to avoid damage and maximize space -if the movers aren’t already handling that.

Can I take my plants along on the move?

Moving plants can be tough (and perhaps illegal if it is over state lines), and you should do quite a bit of research before you plan to move any plants. Even your lowly squash is going to be regulated by the state authorities.

Look up the guidelines for each plant and how they recommend to store and care for them on the move. Also, ensure you look up the legal guidelines if you are crossing any borders. You don’t want a rap sheet for contraband tomatoes.

Does the moving company I want change if I’m crossing state lines?

There are different legal guidelines for interstate (long-distance) and intrastate (local, or in-state) moves, and the companies that facilitate them. There are various fees and laws that come into play when moving items across borders.

While some companies can facilitate both types of moves, others specialize in only one. Make sure you find a moving business that is well versed in the requirements for your particular move. Mistakes in this realm can be quite costly.

Does the mover come over to appraise the weight of my items?

Sometimes. It is possible to give a non-binding estimate yourself ahead of time, but that is prone to dramatic miscalculations. An on-site estimate will be more accurate for both the costs and time expected to take.

While some may not be comfortable having someone survey the weight of their belongings, these will be the same people moving all of these belongings into the new home -so it is not often an issue. It is suggested that you utilize the estimates offered by the moving company professionals.

Final Words

Figuring out the actual cost of moving across the country or long distance moves has always been a challenging task especially if you are relocating abroad for the first time.

Many people do guess, but they do forget to add some hidden costs associated with a cross-country move. You must first decide on the method of move you want to opt for, whether a professional moving company or renting a truck or moving container.

Whichever you have chosen, this post had covered all you need to know about moving across the country. Follow up on each of the factors mentioned to know the ones that apply to your move. We will continue to share more informative tips on this page. Stay tuned!

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