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What Is the Cheapest Way to Move Cross-Country?

Posted in Moving Tips & Tricks,Planning the Move on January 4, 2023

Many of those who wish to relocate want to know how to do so in a cost-effective manner. If you’re one of many looking for the cheapest way to move cross-country, know there are a variety of ways of doing it, so this experience doesn’t leave you broke and stressed. Luckily for you, we got them listed here – so read on.

If you’re relocating on a tight budget, you can use pre-owned packing materials and do your best to look for available storage spaces among your household goods. Next, in order to reduce relocation costs, you should declutter before the move and consider doing a part of the relocation work (or all of it) on your own – with the help of your loved ones. At the same time, avoid scheduling a move at the peak of the season. If you wish for professionals to help you move successfully, consider the option of a hybrid move.

How Much Does Long-Distance Moving Cost?

The cost of a long-distance move can vary dramatically depending on the size and scope of your move. It’s important to be aware of the factors that go into calculating the cost so you can create a relocation budget and plan accordingly. Generally speaking, the further you’re relocating, the more expensive it will be. To get an exact estimate for your particular move, it’s best to speak with professional cross-country movers who have experience with long-distance relocations.

Still, keep in mind that the size of your shipment is also an important factor in determining cost. If you have fewer items on your household inventory list, then it will likely be less expensive than if you have multiple bedrooms worth of furniture and belongings. Finally, the time of year plays a role in determining expenses – peak summer months tend to be costlier than other times due to the high demand for movers during this season.

Around 23% of people moving choose to hire cross country movers

Whether you choose to hire long-distance movers or relocate on your own, it’s not a secret that moving cross-country won’t come cheap. However, there are some relocation tips that can help you save money on relocation expenses. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, consider some of the following suggestions.

A person budgeting for cross-country moving
Take into account all the factors that may impact the cost of relocating

Invest in Used Moving Supplies

If you wish to save money to move, consider acquiring second-hand boxes and other packing materials instead of buying new ones. Look for those willing to sell these supplies online, but don’t forget to check:

  • Local stores,
  • Liquor shops,
  • Bookstores,
  • Friends’ and neighbors’ homes,
  • Offices

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find some free supplies you can use. Additionally, make sure you browse through websites such as Freecycle, where people post used goods they no longer need.

However, keep in mind that, although pre-owned, these supplies need to be sturdy enough to protect your belongings when you’re packing fragile items. Quality materials will ensure that your items remain safe during transit and in storage units if you opt for getting storage services. It would be good to inspect all boxes for any damage before you start with the packing process- if a box has been damaged, it could lead to further problems down the line.

Don’t forget about the additional benefits of used relocation supplies – gathering them instead of new ones reduces waste and keeps them out of landfills where they would otherwise end up taking up valuable space.

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Use Your Household Goods as Packing Materials

Make sure to reuse any bags you may already have. Instead of purchasing new boxes and plastic bins, why not just repurpose the ones you already have? Duffle bags, suitcases, and other types of bags can serve as valuable storage space – so don’t let it go to waste.

When the time to pack dishes, glassware, and other fragile items comes, most people rely on bubble wrap or packing paper for protection. However, instead of buying these items separately, you can take advantage of items you already own. Towels, blankets, and even old clothing can be used as wrapping or padding materials during the move – just make sure that the items are clean so that they don’t leave behind any residue on your belongings.

Towels in different colors
By using your belongings as packaging materials, you'll save a ton of storage space

Declutter Before the Relocation Day Comes

Decluttering can provide you with many relocation benefits. For starters, fewer items mean less money spent on packing supplies. Additionally, when you’re packing fewer items, it becomes easier to organize what goes where during the move, which saves time as well as energy and allows you to move efficiently. Remember – when there are fewer items in your home to pack, everything from packaging to unpacking becomes much more manageable.

However, the biggest advantage of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is that you’ll be able to save up on the cost of truck rental or professional cross-country moving services. The reasoning is simple – the fewer goods you decide to bring, the less space they’ll occupy and the less they’ll weigh, which will lower the final price.

How Do I Start Decluttering?

If this is your first time decluttering before a move, don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The key is breaking down the process into smaller tasks and taking things one step at a time. Start by going through each room in your home and sorting through all the items in each space. Once you’ve finished sorting, begin boxing up the items that will stay with you during the move and decide what you’ll do with the rest – you can recycle, sell, or donate them to people in need.

If you have a last-minute move and are looking for additional relocation hacks that will make this process easier and faster, don’t miss watching the video below:

Ask Friends and Family for Help

Not only will the help from your friends and family help you save up on costs and avoid injuries while relocating but having your loved ones around can make it a more enjoyable experience. You can host a packing-themed moving away party or simply ask them to assist you with those relocation tasks you’ll need help with.

If you decide to ask your friends and family for assistance when moving, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Be clear about what kind of help you need

Decide whether they just help with the packing and loading of the truck, or will you ask someone to donate your belongings once you move? Do you need assistance for one of the multiple days? Having this conversation upfront will prevent any confusion down the line.

Make sure everyone involved knows their role

If you’re coordinating multiple people from different groups (friends, family members, coworkers, and so on), make sure each person has an assignment so that nothing falls through the cracks. This will also prevent any feelings of resentment from arising due to someone feeling like they’re doing all the work while others aren’t doing their share.

Show appreciation for their efforts

Relocating is hard work. Therefore, ensure everyone involved feels appreciated for helping you during these difficult times. If possible, express your gratitude in tangible ways (organize the delivery of food or drinks after a long day of work).

Consider Going With the Hybrid Move

A hybrid move combines professional relocation assistance and a DIY move, and it’s a good option if you want to move on a budget. Therefore, you might pack everything yourself and hire long-distance movers to assist you in loading your belongings into a van or truck and transporting them. In essence, you can hire a professional to handle any aspect of your relocation that you don’t want to or are unable to perform yourself. However, you must ensure that the professionals you want to work with are reputable and trustworthy.

Open car trunk with moving boxes outdoors
Consider using the services you need the most

Research Discounts Companies May Offer

If you wish to get as much help as possible from the relocation company but still move on the budget, make sure to look for businesses that are willing to cut the price when combining more of their services. For example, some reliable companies will offer you a significant discount if you choose to get their car shipping services on top of those related to the relocation of your household goods.

Additionally, always inquire about the variety of services mover offers because you may find options that fit your budget better than others. You can get, for instance, partial packing services instead of letting packers deal with all of your belongings – and save quite a bit. In the end, don’t forget that some companies can offer cost-free services, such as using storage units, for a certain period of time.

Avoid Relocating at the Peak of the Season

Understanding why prices increase during peak season is key to understanding how to avoid them. The main reason behind this is simple – supply and demand. More people decide to move in the summer since it’s considered the best time of the year to move, so companies increase their pricing accordingly during this period. Summertime is one of the most popular seasons for people to move due to school schedules and better weather conditions.

The best way to save money on your move is by avoiding peak season altogether. If you can choose your relocation date and wish to go with the cheapest time of the year to move, your best option would be to relocate in winter.

A couple enjoying winter after cross-country moving
Relocating in winter can be a good choice, as long as you're prepared for the challenges it brings

Ask Your Employer About the Reimbursement Package

If you’re moving across the country for a job, make sure to ask your future employer about the relocation packages they can offer. Employer reimbursement packages are created to cover certain costs associated with the move. Depending on the company, these packages might include payments to cover the cost of movers, packing materials, storage fees, and more. Some employers will even pay for airfare and hotel accommodations if you have to move to a new city with your family before settling into your new home.

It is important to note that each company has its own rules and regulations when it comes to reimbursement packages, so make sure you know what is included (and excluded) in the package before making any decisions. You should also keep in mind that while many employers are willing to provide financial assistance with relocation costs, they may have specific requirements or deadlines that must be met in order for employees to qualify for the package.

A girl working after long-distance moving
Relocation packages are an excellent way to save up if you plan to move for a job

Even When Looking for the Cheapest Way to Move Cross-Country, Don’t Skimp on Quality

While it’s important to be mindful of your relocation budget, don’t forget that you get what you pay for. When looking for the most affordable way to move, make sure you are still getting a high-quality service. Remember – a low price may end up bringing hidden fees, poor customer service, or even relocation scams. Do your research and read reviews before choosing companies you’re going to do business with so you can be confident you are getting the best possible value for your money.

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

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