The Cheapest Ways to Move Out of State in 2024

While you can always opt for one of the best long-distance moving companies, the cheapest ways to move out of state are typically a rental truck, moving container, or freight trailer. Here’s how much each option typically costs:

  • Rental trucks: $700 to $2,000 for a long-distance move, plus mileage, gas, and fees
  • Moving container companies: Average of $5,000 for a cross-country move
  • Freight trailer: $1,500 to $3,000 for a medium to long-distance move, on average
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Of course, these are far from your only options for moving out of state. Whether you’re moving for a new job or to be closer to family, moving out of state is a big adventure — and a costly one. So, how can you cut down your moving costs when going out of state?

In this article, you’ll learn more about the cheapest ways to move out of state, including rental trucks, containers, interstate moving companies, and some creative alternatives.

Table of contents

How much will your move cost? 

There are a lot of variables that can affect moving costs. In general, the cheapest way to move out of state can range from less than $1,000 with a rental truck all the way up to $12,000 or more if you use a full-service moving company.

For out-of-state moves, the biggest factors that affect your costs are the size of your move, the distance, and the type of mover you use. The larger the move and the greater the distance, the more expensive your move will be. And the more work you do yourself (as opposed to hiring professionals), the more you can save.

Our moving cost calculator will give you a pretty good idea of your moving costs for different types of moves if you enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move.

For a general idea of what your move could cost, here are some sample price ranges for out of state moves with different types of movers for a two- to three-bedroom home:

Distance Rental Truck Moving Container Full-Service Mover
250 miles $305–$635 $1,082–$2,235 $1,531–$4,481
1,000 miles $768–$1,524 $1,690–$3,298 $2,511–$5,972
2,500 miles $1,668–$3,445 $2,446–$5,399 $3,563–$6,988

10 cheap ways to move out of state

Preparing for a cross-country move or long-distance move is different from a local move. A lot more can go wrong when you move out of state, and moving costs tend to be significantly higher. Here’s what you should know about your top options for out of state moves.

1. Rent a moving truck: Best for budget-friendly large moves

Using a moving rental truck to move out of state is pretty straightforward — and also the cheapest option for larger moves. You get the truck for a set number of days based on the distance of your move. For one-way out of state moves, most companies like Penske and U-Haul also offer unlimited mileage.

When you rent a moving truck, you’ll be required to do all the driving and heavy lifting yourself unless you have money in your budget for hiring professional movers to assist with loading and unloading. However, because the moving company is only providing a truck, you can save significantly on your overall moving costs. Just make sure you get a truck that is large enough for your items!

While a rental truck is typically considered the default option to cut moving expenses, you need to plan for more than the cost of the rental itself.You’ll also need to factor in gas, hotels, and meals — as well as the time it will take to do everything yourself.

Quick tips:

  • Penske, Budget, and U-Haul all will price match against each other, so get quotes from all three, even if you prefer a particular provider.
  • Make sure to account for fuel costs!. Diesel trucks get better gas mileage.
  • Always try to get the newest moving truck available, assuming it’s the right size. This way, you’re less likely to experience maintenance issues on the road.
  • Call the day before to confirm your reservation. Have a backup option if they don’t have a rental truck for you on your moving day.
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2. Rent moving containers: Best if you need storage

If you will potentially need temporary storage as part of your move or want a DIY solution where you don’t have to do the driving, renting a moving container is a great option.

Here’s how it works: a moving container company will deliver an′ eight- to′ 16-foot storage container (or multiple containers) to your house. You will be responsible for doing all the packing and loading yourself. Once the container is loaded, the moving container company will pick it up and either place it in temporary storage or ship it to your new house.

Moving container companies offer a good middle ground between full-service and DIY moves. However, storage can be more expensive than using a storage unit if you plan on keeping your items in storage for an extended period of time. Moving containers are better for situations where you only need short-term storage before moving into your new home.

Quick tips:

  • Companies like PODS and U-Pack offer different types and sizes of containers, so be sure to check which company’s offerings best fit your needs
  • The cheapest moving container rates for out-of-state moves will usually come from professional moving companies with locations close to you on both ends of your move. If a company is close by locally but doesn’t have a location nearby in the state you’re moving to, that will add a lot to your total cost.
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3. Hire a full-service mover: Best for convenience

Interstate moving companies are your best bet if you have the means and aren’t interested in doing a lot of the heavy lifting for your long-distance move. A long-distance moving company will handle all the loading, driving, and unloading. Full-service moving companies can even go as far as to pack your boxes for you.

Full-service movers like Safeway Moving and Mayzlin Relocation generally offer competitive pricing and have a reputation for quality service. However, full-service movers will always be pricier than using DIY-style options.

Hiring professional long-distance movers will make cross-country moves easy and much less stressful, but for a price. If your budget is on the small side, look into a different option instead.

Quick tips:

  • Quotes from full-service movers can vary by thousands of dollars, so be sure to get at least three quotes. Many also price match with their competitors.
  • Always confirm that an interstate mover has proper licensure for out-of-state moves.
  • Be prepared to pay a deposit. Many full-service movers require an upfront deposit of up to 50% of your total moving costs.
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4. Use an online marketplace: Best for getting a deal

Use the power of the internet. uShip is an especially popular marketplace that allows people to find professionals to help with packing, loading, and other moving tasks at a fraction of the cost of professional movers. You can even find help for moving single items.

With this platform, you’ll receive multiple quotes in just a few minutes to find someone with the right pricing and availability for your needs. Of course, you can also use well-known platforms like Facebook and Craigslist to find moving help.

While these platforms can be a great place to find a deal, you must be prepared to do additional vetting yourself. Carefully check reviews to ensure you are working with a legitimate service provider. It’s also worth noting that availability can vary. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to get many competitive quotes through a marketplace.

Quick tips:

  • Discern. Like with anything, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t risk your belongings with a sketchy offer.
  • Look at the transporter’s profile for previous reviews and potential red flags. Carefully evaluate this information before agreeing to use their services.
  • Make sure your listing includes all moving services you need so you can get accurate quotes. Keep in mind, however, that service providers on these marketplaces usually can’t drive a moving truck for you.

5. Hire moving labor: Best for DIY hybrid moves

While renting a moving truck is a cheap option for DIY moves, some people still don’t have the time or physical ability to load everything themselves. In this case, you can save money on your out-of-state move by hiring moving labor to help you load your moving truck.

This option generally comes out to be cheaper than hiring full-service movers, since moving labor won’t drive the truck for you. While you can use platforms like Facebook or Craigslist to find this type of help, HireAHelper is generally going to be your best bet.

HireAHelper is a marketplace where you can hire movers to help you on an hourly basis. This is an excellent option if you’re just looking for extra hands to load a rental truck or pack a moving container. HireAHelper also offers a $1,000 money-back service guarantee, so you can have peace of mind regarding the quality of their services. Just remember that you’ll need to hire different labor help at your new home.

Quick tips:

  • Like with online marketplaces, you’ll often need to vet your moving labor before agreeing to use their services. Fortunately, platforms like HireAHelper already do much of the vetting for you.
  • While moving labor can help with packing, loading, and unloading, you’ll usually need to take care of transportation yourself. This means renting a moving container or driving a rental truck.
  • Be sure to make arrangements for both your old and new homes, as you’ll have different sets of movers for each location.
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6. Rent a cargo van: Best for studio apartments

Cargo vans are the ideal option for those who want to cut moving expenses by making a DIY move out of state without needing the space of a moving truck. Getting through traffic and parking is significantly easier in a cargo van than in a moving truck. Being a smaller vehicle, you also get better gas mileage. On a long-distance move, this makes a difference.

Cargo vans are available through some moving truck companies, but they are often limited to in-town moves only. For example, while Penske lets you use a cargo van for interstate moves, U-Haul only allows cargo van rentals for cross-town moves. Be sure to check if a cargo van can be used for long-distance moves before reserving a rental for an out-of-state move.

Quick tips:

  • Like with a moving truck, you will be required to do all the lifting and loading yourself.
  • To save money, buy packing supplies on your own rather than from the cargo van provider. If you have a little extra room in your budget, you can also hire professional movers to help you pack things up.
  • Before settling on a vehicle for your DIY move, determine your needed space. You want to take your load seriously and get the right type of vehicle. For anything larger than a studio apartment, you’ll probably need a moving truck.

7. Use a tow-behind trailer: Best for shorter-distance moves

If you’re already driving your car or pickup truck across the country and don’t have a ton of stuff, a tow-behind trailer is one of the cheapest out-of-state moving options. You can either rent or buy a tow-behind trailer to hitch behind your car or truck. This is an excellent option if your vehicle has the towing capacity.
Rental truck companies like U-Haul offer tow-behind trailers in multiple sizes with no mileage fee. The largest cargo trailers are roughly the size of a small moving container. As such, they are best suited for smaller moves, such as studio or one-bedroom apartments.

A tow-behind trailer isn’t a good idea if your vehicle doesn’t meet towing requirements, or if you aren’t sure how to safely transport one. Because trailers can make driving in rough weather more dangerous, they are best for shorter interstate moves.

Quick tips:

  • Trailers can be dangerous. If you don’t have experience hitching and driving with a trailer, a 1,500+ mile moving adventure isn’t the time to learn. Trailers are responsible for a lot of accidents.
  • Be sure to factor in the cost of packing supplies, including bubble wrap and packing tape.
  • Learn trailer safety tips for driving with a trailer. Make sure you don’t exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. You should also reduce your normal driving speed and be extra cautious during turns.

8. Move by car: Best for dorm rooms and other small moves

You know how this one works. Cram all your belongings into your car or pickup truck, fill up the tank, and get on your way. Of course, your move will need to be relatively small for this. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this method is usually used by college students who are moving out of their dorm.

One of the main advantages of this type of move (besides saving a lot of money) is moving your car and items all at once. There’s comfort in moving in a vehicle you’re already familiar with and avoiding the need to pay for anything besides your own gas, food, and lodging.

Of course, depending on the size of your car or pickup truck, you’ll only be able to fit smaller household goods and personal belongings — no room for furniture. If this is a temporary move, you may need to put furniture and larger items in a storage unit until you return to your dorm.

Quick tips:

  • Cars have limited space, so you’ll need to pack carefully to fit everything. You generally won’t have room for any furniture.
  • Make sure you load your items in a way that doesn’t limit your visibility, particularly for your rearview mirror and checking blind spots.
  • If you can’t make the trip in a single day, you’ll need to find a safe place to park at night to reduce the risk of anyone trying to break into your vehicle.

9. Rent a freight trailer: best for larger moves

Similar to using a moving container, this is a “you load, they drive” option that is better suited for larger moves. Freight companies drop off a 28-foot trailer at your house and you have up to three days to load everything yourself. They then drive it to your destination and you have another three days to unload.

However, since freight trailers are used for larger moves and only provide a limited time for loading and unloading, you might find this requires more labor than you can handle on your own. Depending on the size of your move, you may need to hire moving labor to get everything loaded in time.

Quick tips:

  • You may need help loading and unloading the moving truck. You don’t get an extended loading period with this option.
  • Freight trailers are especially good for moving from rural areas or moves where you need your items delivered quickly. They can be tricky in big cities where parking is limited — you’ll need about 40 feet of space to park — and permits are required.
  • Some companies will let you put a car in the trailer, as well.
  • Trailers have spring suspension, so be sure to pack any fragile items carefully.

10. Ship via LTL freight carrier: Best for flexible small moves

This is another “you load, they drive” option similar to a regular freight carrier. LTL means less-than-truckload, meaning that your shipment only takes up a small amount of space on the freight carrier. The freight company consolidates your move with other moves to fill the rest of the space on the truck.

LTL freight trailers generally only charge for the space you use. This can provide some much-needed flexibility when you aren’t sure exactly how much space you’ll need for all of your stuff. Packing efficiently can help lower your costs by reducing how much space you take up inside the truck.

This is a good option if you have flexibility regarding how long your move can take and have only a few things to move. Because shipments from other customers are also on the truck, delivery will take longer than renting a freight trailer that is only used for your items.

Quick tips:

  • You pay based on how much space you use in the trailer. You’ll get a quote based on the company’s estimate and the final price will be adjusted to reflect the actual space you use.
  • Be aware of the risk of damage to your items. Different people loading and unloading the trailer can increase the chance of damage to your items.
  • You may need to palletize your items. Package them efficiently and well to avoid using extra pallets and avoid damage.

Other ways to save money on your move

In addition to hiring the right moving services, there are a few other ways to stretch your moving budget during the moving process. Here are a few tips to decrease moving costs:

  • Declutter for your move and sell things you don’t need at a garage sale. You’ll earn extra cash and won’t have to move something you don’t need. Professional movers will typically charge you based on how much stuff you have to load and unload, while selling enough stuff could allow you to rent a smaller moving truck or moving container.
  • Look for cheap or free moving boxes. Ask for extra boxes at grocery stores, liquor stores, neighborhood Facebook groups, or Craigslist.
  • Ask friends and family members to help with the packing and unpacking.
  • Save money on packing materials and packing supplies by using things you already have at home, like blankets, packing paper, bubble wrap, and plastic bags to protect your belongings.
  • Check if your homeowner’s insurance policy includes moving insurance. This could save you thousands in moving costs if you end up in a pickle. It also means you don’t have to worry about paying for more expensive insurance from your mover.
  • Look for moving discounts. Many moving companies provide discounts to seniors, military service members, and others. Many also offer seasonal discounts throughout the year. It never hurts to ask what discounts are currently available.
  • If you only need to move a few items, consider transporting your belongings using a parcel carrier like USPS or a train. Trains offer a flat rate of $67 for the first 100 pounds of items, and $0.67 per pound after that. While these methods can’t be used for heavy items, they are generally a safe and cost-efficient way to get small shipments out of state.

FAQ

What is the cheapest option to move out of state?

The cheapest option to move out of state will depend on the size of your move. For a small dorm room-sized move, you may be able to transport everything in your own vehicle. For larger moves, the best option will be a rental truck. The more of the move you can do yourself, the cheaper it will be.

What is the least expensive month to move?

The least expensive month to move is typically in January. But you’ll save money by moving between September and April, since most moves take place during the summer. Try to avoid weekends and holidays during these off-season months to get even lower rates for your move.

What is the cheapest way to move a long distance?

The cheapest way to move a long distance is usually with a rental truck. If you aren’t comfortable with long-distance driving, using a moving container company or freight trailer can also be cost-effective, since you only pay for transportation with these options.

What is the easiest way to move from one state to another?

The easiest way to move from one state to another is with a moving van lines, if you’re more concerned about convenience than cost. These full-service movers take care of loading, transportation, and unloading, and have a wide network that allows them to service most (if not all) of the United States. Many also provide add-on services like professional packing and unpacking.

How do I start relocating?

Start relocating by determining your moving budget and timeline. This will help you decide which type of move will work best for your situation so you can begin getting quotes from moving companies. You can use our moving cost calculator to get started on quotes and price comparisons.

How much does it cost to move to another state?

The cost to move to another state will vary based on the distance and size of your move, as well as the type of moving company you select. For a 1,000 mile move of a two- to three-bedroom home, expect to pay $768–$1,524 for a rental truck, $1,690–$3,298 for a moving container, and $2,511–$5,972 for full-service movers.

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