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How much does it cost to move across country?

April 21st, 2016 - 12:56 PM

How much does it cost to move?

Almost everyone who calls the U-Pack® office wants to know one thing: what is the estimated cost of moving cross country? That’s an important question if you have a set moving budget. Even though there’s no one-size-fits-all price tag, U-Pack offers a free online moving quote to see how much your move will cost.

Ultimately, relocation costs vary depending on a few factors. As you compare quotes, it’s important to understand how these factors impact your move. We want to help you stay on budget so you can experience the quickest and most affordable move possible. Let’s walk through the information that’s needed to calculate and determine your cross country moving costs.

cross country moving costs

What determines the cost to move?

Three main things affect the total cost of your move: the type of moving company you choose, how you get to your new home and any extra services you add.

How moving companies impact costs

Moving company options range from DIY to full-service — and they all vary in price.   

  • Truck rental services may appear to have lower prices, but when you add fuel, liability coverage, taxes and tolls, the moving costs increase dramatically. Use our rental truck fuel calculator to figure out how much it costs to fuel a rental truck and add in all those necessary extras before making a final decision."
  • Full-service movers are typically the most expensive option. While the movers do everything for you (packing loading, driving and unloading) it comes at a premium price. They also base rates on the weight of your shipment, which isn’t always easy to estimate accurately. Because of this, most companies require an in-home estimate to tell you how much it costs.
  • When it comes to choosing a moving company, your best option is a “you pack, we drive” service like U-Pack. While you do the packing and loading, we do the driving. Prices often compare to truck rentals, but with U-Pack, you have no hidden charges or fees. As a bonus, you don’t have to drive! Our quotes include these costs: driver, fuel, sales tax, road tolls and liability coverage.  

While full-service movers can take over 4 weeks to have your belongings delivered, U-Pack has an average transit time of just 2-5 business days (with the option of paying a little extra for a guaranteed delivery date). So not only does U-Pack offer competitive costs, but we also offer faster delivery times.

Traveling options impact moving costs

Another factor to consider is your method of travel. Though moving expenses can be tax deductible, not every move qualifies. If your move doesn’t qualify, you probably want to make sure that you move across country in the most affordable way. U-Pack is all about helping you save money! These are some good things to keep in mind:

  • If you choose to move with a rental truck, your family may not be able to ride along. While the larger trucks can hold three passengers, smaller rentals are limited to two. If you move with children, keep in mind that rental trucks aren’t designed for car seats. You may also have to tow your car behind you or ship your vehicle. These methods come at a separate cost — so be sure to include those in the budget. Read more about traveling in a rental truck.
  • If you let U-Pack or full-service movers do the driving, you can travel in your own vehicle or go by plane or train and ship your car. You can even turn your trip into a mini-vacation and see some sights along the way. Note: If your moving expenses will be tax deductible, remember sightseeing costs can’t be included.

Don’t forget hotel stays if you’re driving! With either option, you’re going to have to factor in the cost of a night in a hotel for every 500-600 miles you drive. That would mean 3-4 nights in a hotel for a 2,500-mile move.  And if you’re pulling a trailer with a rental truck, the maximum recommended speed is 55 mph. Lower speeds will decrease the distance you’re able to drive safely and may lead to more nights in a hotel.  Average hotel costs are $90-$150 per night.

Extra services impact moving costs

There are other potential services you may need to consider as you determine how much it costs to move.

  • Moving Help. If you need to add loading or unloading services to your move (for either truck rental or U-Pack), those would be additional costs. We refer our customers to Moving Staffers. They charge hourly and by the amount of movers you use.
  • Storage. If you need to store your belongings for any amount of time (either a few days or a few months), you can add storage services. There are two main options: storing in the container or getting a storage unit. You may have to rent a storage unit if you’re using a rental truck, which would mean moving your belongings from the truck to the unit, and eventually from the unit back into a truck and then into your home. If you move with U-Pack, you can store right in the moving container or moving trailer, so you never have to transfer your belongings. A moving consultant can give you storage rates after you get a moving quote – just call us at 800-413-4799.
  • Moving Supplies. To keep your belongings protected during your move, we recommend investing in professional moving supplies. While they are an additional cost, you can purchase discount boxes and other moving materials from the U-Pack Store and get FREE shipping.

What other ways can I save money?

The cost of moving cross country can add up quickly. However, U-Pack offers alternative moving and packing methods to help save money.

Pay only for the space used. U-Pack doesn’t charge by weight; we charge based on how much space gets used in both our moving trailers and ReloCubes®. This means you control the price –  a feature our customers love. If you load your belongings in a trailer, you’ll pay only for the linear feet used (5 ft. minimum) and you never pay until your items are in transit. How does this save you money?  If you are quoted for 17 ft. of space but only use 15 ft., you only pay for 15 ft. The same rule applies for ReloCubes. These typically hold the contents of a one-bedroom studio apartment. Reserve as many containers as you think will be needed and then pay only for the ones used.

Terminal to terminal moves. Loading and unloading at the local terminal can save up to $300. It may require a little extra effort since you’ll have to pack your boxes in a vehicle or rental truck first, but in the end, you’ll still save money!  

Off-peak days. Moving during off-peak seasons can help save money as well. Lower prices are normally October through March, with the exception of major U.S. holidays. Check with your U-Pack moving consultant to discuss cheaper moving days.

Get rid of unneeded items. Have a garage sale or donate items you no longer use before packing. This helps save space in your trailer or moving container. The less space used, the less money spent.

Figuring the cost of moving cross country

To figure out the cost of moving cross country, leave a comment below, get a free moving quote or contact a U-Pack representative at 800-413-4799. We drive, you save!

Related Links

Wondering about the cost of moving your home? Check out these other blog posts:

How much does it cost to move a one-bedroom apartment?

How much does it cost to move a three-bedroom home?

How much does it cost to move a four-bedroom home?