How much money do I need to move cross country?
U-Pack moving consultants are often asked, “What’s the average cost of a cross country move?” While that is a really good (and reasonable) question, it can be difficult to answer since the cost depends on several things, like the type of moving company you choose, how much you’re moving and how far you’ll be traveling. But don’t let that discourage you! Planning for cross-country moving costs can easily be done by understanding what you may need to budget for. We’ve got those details and some example moves to help you get a good idea.
Are you moving out of state for the first time? Start with our Cross-Country Moving Guide to learn more about how it works.
The big picture
Because a cross-country move covers more distance than a local or state-to-state move, some moving expenses will play a larger role in your costs. While there are other things you may need to budget for, these are the biggest ones to think about when moving cross country:
- Transporting your household goods to your new place
- Traveling with your family
Moving your vehicles
The price range for moving your stuff cross country
Costs for this piece of your move can swing widely, depending on the type of service you use and how far the move is. DIY services, like truck rental and portable storage, are normally on the cheaper end of the spectrum, while full-service movers (who do everything for you) are usually most expensive. And, as you might expect, longer moves typically cost more than shorter moves.
For example, when you start getting quotes, you could see prices that range from $1,500 to $6,000 for a cross country move, and up to $8,000 for a coast-to-coast move.
We’ve provided some specific examples below, along with details on how to get the cost for your cross-country move.
Travel costs for a cross country move
Since the distance will likely mean several nights on the road, travel costs are important to plan for. Note that they can vary depending on time of year and location, but it’s usually the easiest to figure out.
- Hotels: As of October 2020, the average nightly rate at a hotel is $99/night (which is likely to rise as the travel industry returns).
- Meals: Food costs can vary greatly depending on location and meal choice. You can typically expect to spend about $5-30 per person, per meal.
Fuel: If you’re driving your car as you move, make sure to account for fuel costs. The average rate is $2.14 per gallon.
Aside from these three expenses, make room in the travel budget for extras like road tolls, snacks and roadside emergencies.
Getting your vehicles to your new home
Most people drive their cars across the country during their move, so fuel is the only expense. However, if you have more cars than drivers, you may need to tow or ship a vehicle. The towing costs you’ll need to prepare for are the equipment, liability coverage and extra fuel (because towing decreases fuel efficiency). If you’re shipping a vehicle, costs can vary significantly by company based on type of service, type of vehicle, distance, and delivery. Learn more about vehicle transport, if it’s a consideration for your move.
Comparing cross country moving rates
To show the range of different prices, we looked at an example move for a family of three going from Kansas City, MO to Glendale, AZ. To see the total moving expenses, we combined the moving and travel costs for three different moving options: U-Haul®, U-Pack® and Bekins Van Lines®. Estimates are based on prices in late October 2020.
Note: These moves are examples only. Prices vary based on location, move date, house size and the quote date. Equipment options and additional services are based on each company’s recommendations. Fuel costs were found using online fuel calculators.
For this trip, travel time was three days and two nights (19 hours of drive time). We budgeted for three meals per day at $10 per person and figured in two vehicles to transport.
Want to compare a smaller move? Check out these examples showing the cost of moving a one-bedroom apartment.
When renting a U-Haul, it’s important to account for things like fuel, liability coverage and taxes. This example also includes towing equipment for one car.
Here’s how the cost breaks down:
- Base quote: 20’ truck at $1,404
- Safemove® basic coverage: $105
- Towing: $233
- Towing coverage: $70
- Environmental fee: $5
- Sales tax: $156.44 (8.61% in Kansas City)
- Rental truck fuel: $300
Then travel is factored in: $200 (hotel), $270 (meals), and $90 to fuel one car.
In total, the cost was $2,833.44.
U-Pack is a self-moving service where you do the packing and loading, and we handle the driving. Quotes include the equipment, transportation, liability coverage and fuel. For this example, U-Pack estimated they would need two ReloCube containers at $2,199.
Then travel is added: $200 (hotel), $270 (meals), and $180 for fuel in two personal cars. In total, the cost was $2,849 with U-Pack. For the same price as U-Haul, this family could move across the country without having to drive a big truck or leave their belongings parked outside a hotel overnight.
This is a full-service moving company that charges based on the shipment’s weight.
Bekins estimated a move from Kansas City to Glendale would cost anywhere from $3,734 to $6,620, depending on the shipment’s actual weight and the packing services and coverage options selected.
With travel (same as U-Pack above), the cost would be $4,384 to $7,270.
Why do rates vary so much?
Each company has different cost structures and overhead, which is normally what accounts for the difference in price. Base rental truck rates seem more affordable, since you do all the work, but costs can add up when you consider the “extras.” And because full-service movers usually do the packing, loading, driving, etc., there are more people and time involved, so the price is higher. U-Pack is designed for cost-conscious people who want some help moving but want to keep rates low. You pack and load, which saves you money, then to continue keeping costs low, we add palletized commercial shipments that are moving in the same direction and ship it through an efficient transportation network — with some of the fastest transit times in the industry!
Learn more about moving costs and what to expect when getting quotes with these moving price FAQs.
Check prices for your move
Wondering how much you’ll spend on your cross-country move? U-Pack makes it easy to get a quote so you can start comparing prices. Request a free quote online or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077. If you have questions about how much it costs to move cross country with U-Pack, let us know!
U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party. Bekins® Van Lines is a registered trademark of Bekins Van Lines, Inc. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.
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