What is the cheapest way to move cross country?
Your hard-earned money is at risk. What do you do?


  • Moving across the country can turn out to be an expensive affair.
  • The national average cost of a long-distance move is about $4,000 with a price range from $2,200 to $5,700.
  • Don’t panic!
  • Luckily, there are proven ways to minimize moving expenses so that you don’t pay more than you absolutely have to.
  • Take advantage of these tried-and-true cheap ways to move across the country.

Still looking for the cheapest way to move across the country?

Money doesn’t grow on trees, so you should definitely be searching for the cheapest way to move your household goods across the country.

It’s not a secret that moving house is an expensive affair and logic dictates that the greater the distance between the two homes, the more expensive the house move will be in the end.

Luckily for you, the move distance is not the only factor that determines the final moving cost. As a result, there are a number of good ways to move across the country without having to drain your savings account just to get your stuff from Point A to Point B.

The hand-selected tips below will show you how to move across the country cheaply by helping you make your move not only less expensive but also easier and more efficient.

With some good and timely advice, it is completely in your power to organize your move in such a way as to save money in the end regardless of the move distance.

Yes, that is perfectly doable as long as you know a good number of cheap ways to move long distance.

Here are the best 10 cheapest ways to move cross country.

1. Pick the cheaper moving option

When getting ready to move across the country, one of the very first questions that you need to ask yourself is whether to hire professional movers to help you in that difficult task, or whether to organize a self-move despite the long distance.

The answer to this question is never easy because each long-distance relocation scenario is unique. There are various factors (time until moving day, complexity of the move, availability of moving labor, etc.) that will determine whether moving on your own or hiring the services of a professional mover is the best way to move across the country under the circumstances.

Ultimately, it’ll be the moving cost that should help you decide which way to go.


Get several moving quotes for free to find the best price for your cross country move.
Get several moving quotes for free to find the best price for your move.

Moving by yourself is usually the cheaper option only when you’re moving only a short distance away. Why? The numerous hidden DIY moving costs will quickly add up and make your self-move costlier and harder than you anticipated.

Still, if you know you can rely on your friends to help you pack and move, you’re not moving any specialty items, and you feel comfortable navigating a rented truck across the country, a DIY move may still prove to be a good option for you.

Full-service movers

Hiring reputable and experienced cross-country movers is not going to be cheap by any means but you’ll get the peace of mind that your prized possessions will be in good hands and will reach the new home the way they left the old one.

Hiring a full-service moving company practically means that they will take care of all the details for you, so you won’t have to worry about a thing.

After all, that’s exactly what you’re paying for, right?

Request free cost estimates to get a precise idea of how much your movers-assisted move will cost you.

Hire Movers or Do It Yourself: 10 Questions to Help You Decide

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2. Use your time more efficiently

One of the best ways to move across the country is to avoid losing too much time during the preparation period. The time you have until the move-out day is a crucial factor in determining how you are going to approach the house-moving case in the first place.

Remember that TIME is crucial, even if you think you have enough days to get ready for the interstate move.

If you fail to get 100% ready for Moving day due to time mismanagement, then you’ll most likely be forced to hire extra movers – which means paying more in the end – or to postpone your move altogether – which will result in additional troubles and incur extra expenses.

The best solution in that case is to create a moving checklist – a detailed to-do list that will help you stay properly organized and sufficiently motivated throughout the move.

All move-related tasks in your moving checklist must be customized and prioritized in order to respond to your specific relocation needs.

Time is money.

And proper time management during a characteristically chaotic house move is the ideal way to do a cross-country move not only problem-free but cheaply as well.

The Greatest Moving Checklist of All Time

3. Hire an affordable mover

Without a doubt, the cheapest way to move across the country is to hire an affordable long-distance moving company.

But hiring cheap yet reputable moving services is not an easy task. The moment you begin your quest to find the perfect combination of high-quality and reasonably priced moving services, you’re likely to get confused by the overwhelming number of professional moving companies on the market.

How could you possibly know which mover to turn to?

How to Hire Cheap Movers

Get free cost estimates

The best way to get an accurate idea of how much your relocation will cost is to request free moving estimates from several reputable long-distance movers and compare their rates and conditions.

Don’t go with the first cross-country mover that you get into contact with and resist the temptation to accept an offer that is way lower than the rest – it could be a sign of a moving scam – click here to read on to learn how to protect yourself from dishonest rogue movers.

Once you have the written cost estimates in your hands, it shouldn’t be too difficult to select the best long-distance moving company that fits your budget.

Check movers’ reputation

Check movers’ reputations before hiring their services.

It should come as no surprise that each trustworthy moving company is trying hard to maintain its good reputation online.

Moving reviews are a great way for long-distance movers to do a reality check about the quality of their services, as well as to attract new customers.

Thus, you are strongly advised to check what other people had to say about the services of the cross-country moving companies that you have shortlisted.

How to Choose a Good Moving Company

4. Negotiate a better price with your mover

When you have the cost estimates in writing, issued by several top-rated moving companies in your area, you should pick the offer that you feel is the right one for you.

But before you do, you can try a bit of negotiation with the movers in an attempt to bring down their quoted prices.

No mover’s price is set in stone so it won’t hurt to attempt to negotiate a better deal for yourself. There are a few negotiation tactics you can try out:

  • Contact the moving companies and ask them directly if they are currently offering any type of promotions or discounts you can take advantage of.
  • Speak with your movers and tell them that you like their conditions but that you’ve been offered a better price by one of their competitors.
  • Ask them directly if they should be willing to price-match the lower-priced offer or best it even. Sometimes a moving company would rather lower their price than lose a customer to another mover. The good news is that you’ve got nothing to lose either way.
  • Be brave. What’s the worst that could happen? A mover refusing to bring down their quoted price means you’ll either go with their original quote or pick another reputable moving company.

How to Negotiate With Movers

5. Select the best time to move out

Once you’ve selected an affordable cross-country moving company, it’s time to book your move. What is the best time to book my move?

In order to move cheaply across the country, there are a couple of important things you should know about booking your long-distance move:

Book early

Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as reserving your move too early. In fact, practice shows that it’s best if you book your mover as soon as you know the date of your moving day regardless of the time frame.

The good news is that some moving companies can offer discounts if you book their services early enough.

Also, early booking is a guarantee that you’ll have some of the most experienced movers at your disposal – something that is crucial during the height of the moving season.

Schedule it right

If you have any flexibility at all, schedule your long-distance move during an off-peak moving period – the middle of a month, a weekday, or anywhere between the low moving season (September – May).

Smart scheduling and good negotiation skills could save you up to 30% off standard moving rates.

Deciding on a Moving Date

6. Get free moving boxes

Need free moving boxes to make your move across country even cheaper? Problem solved!
Need free moving boxes to make your move across the country even cheaper? Problem solved!

One of the cheapest ways to move cross country is to use free moving boxes in an attempt to save money from your packing expenses.

This may not sound like a great cost-saving plan at first, but the minute you start packing, you’ll realize just how many packing materials you will need.

And each and every cardboard box, stack of packing paper, or sheet of bubble wrap will cost you extra.

Brand-new moving boxes and packing materials can add up substantially to your moving expenses. The great news is that there are a few good ways to get free cardboard boxes and thus make your long-distance move much cheaper.

Where to find moving boxes for free?


Maybe some of your good buddies have relocated recently and now have no use of the great number of boxes piled up in their attics or basements – second-hand cardboard boxes which can be yours for the asking.

Spread the word (including online via your favorite social network) that you’re in need of good boxes for moving out and wait to see what happens.

Local retailers

Local retail businesses are your best bet for hunting down moving boxes in good condition and in various sizes and shapes.

What grocery stores, bookstores, office supply stores, liquor stores, etc. do is break down all the cardboard boxes that they no longer need and take them to recycling centers.

So, if you pay them a visit and speak to the respective managers, you’ll most likely end up with more boxes than you’ll need for your cross-country relocation.

Local recycling centers

You could also try skipping the above step and going directly to the place where boxes get recycled, but the availability of good sturdy cardboard containers would be somewhat limited there.

Here is the complete list of places where you can find free moving boxes.

Of course, you can also go one step further and try to find free packing materials as well – packing paper, Bubble wrap, and padding blankets.

Where to Get Free Packing Supplies

7. Don’t move items you won’t really need

Without a doubt, one of the cheapest ways to move across the country is to do with as few personal possessions as possible. Ideally, you would move with no personal items of any kind, but that’s not really possible, is it?

Be really careful what you take with you: remember that every dollar spent on moving an item that you really don’t need is a dollar wasted. Why?

One of the major price-formation factors is the total weight of a household shipment, meaning that any item you add to your MOVE pile will increase the final moving price.

So, remember to take only items that you do intend to use in the foreseeable future. Purging your home of all the unnecessary stuff is a very important moving preparation step that shouldn’t be easily skipped.

As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used a personal possession in over a year, the chances are that you never will.

Do an inventory of your entire home and choose to take with you only what you really need. Then, sell any unwanted or unneeded items – either at a yard sale or online, give them away to friends or donate them to charitable organizations. Throw away for recycling anything that nobody will ever need again.

How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Important! The cheapest way to move cross country is to NOT take any large and heavy furniture pieces with you.

What to Do With Furniture When Moving?

8. Pack whatever you can by yourself

Not surprisingly, one of the cheapest ways to move your stuff across the country is to pack your things by yourself.

Unfortunately, self-packing is not always possible, especially when you have a number of specialty items that require expert packing skills. Do you even know where to begin when it comes to packing your priceless grandfather clock that’s been a family heirloom forever?

Also, packing on your own may not be an option when you happen to have too little time to handle the most time-consuming task in your moving checklist without using professional packing services.

However, having enough time until Moving day and not owning any specialty items is a great opportunity for you to save the money you’d otherwise pay professional packers to do the job that you should be able to tackle by yourself and a few good friends.

Shoes, clothes, bedding, and books are good examples of non-breakable items that you should be able to pack on your own without any major problems. All you ever need is a good PACKING CHECKLIST that will guide you through the entire packing process.

After all, the national average cost to hire packers on an hourly basis is roughly $80 per hour per packer. Doing your homework in advance may help you find cheaper packing services than that but that’s still a considerable amount of money that you should be able to save.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire Packers?

9. Ask your friends to help you out

The decision not to hire professional packers to pack up your things will often mean that you’re going to have to rely on your friends’ help to finish the packing task on time. Or you may have made up your mind to bravely organize a self-move despite the great distance between your current home and the destination one.

Whenever possible, asking your good friends for assistance is a proven way to save money on your long-distance move by not paying professionals. The only problem now is how to ask friends to help you pack and move in the best possible way.

Your pals will either agree to give you a hand or not, but you want to approach the delicate situation in a way that everybody feels good about it all in the end without any hard feelings, tension, awkwardness, or misunderstandings.

  • Ask your friends for help as early as you possibly can to minimize the disruption of their own plans;
  • Ask your pals for assistance in person, if possible. If not, use the convenience of your favorite social media network;
  • Be a straight shooter and tell your buddies exactly what type of help you’ll need from them;
  • Prepare well for your friends’ arrival: have the required packing materials and moving equipment ready;
  • Have a good plan of action to show that you value your friends’ time;
  • Make an effort to make the process more fun for everyone;
  • Think of a proper way to thank your helpers and promise to return the favor when the right moment comes.

How to Get Friends to Help You Move

10. Take control of your expenses

Control your expenses and you’ll control your move.

Moving cheaply across the country is all about having complete control over your moving expenses.

Most moving tasks will incur expenses of some sort – some more, some less – so your primary objective is to make sure no moving task gets too greedy by requiring more money for its completion. And by doing so, you’ll be able to monitor your expenses constantly and be ready to react accordingly.

Set a moving budget very early in the house-moving process to

  • know in advance whether you’ll have enough money to cover all the moving expenses;
  • be mentally ready for the moment when you have the final moving bill in your hands;
  • be able to distribute properly your money among the moving tasks in such a way as to avoid any serious judgment errors;
  • do redistribute the allocated finances with the purpose of keeping everything running smoothly until you find yourself in the new home, and even after that.

When hiring a long-distance moving company, the things you need to budget for include:

  • moving company fees;
  • additional insurance;
  • additional moving services;
  • extra charges and fees.

When organizing a courageous DIY move across the country, the things you have to budget for include:

  • truck rental fee;
  • fuel price;
  • cost of renting moving equipment;
  • packing expenses;
  • cost of possible moving labor;
  • unexpected moving costs.

How to Create a Moving Budget

Bonus: Have the company you work for pay for your move

What’s the cheapest way to move across the country? It’s when somebody else pays for your move, of course.

In case the reason you’re moving across the country is work-related, then the company you work for, or the company you will be working for, may cover some or all of your moving expenses.

Job relocation guide

Make sure you contact the HR department and inquire about the relocation policy of the company. With a little luck, your company will be willing to reimburse you for the long-distance move. And if that’s the case, then don’t forget to keep all move-related receipts as proof of your expenses.

20 Tips For Moving Across Country: The Serious Checklist

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