Moving from Chicago to Tampa: Movers and Cost

There has been a growing migration towards the south over the last few years. Over a million people move to the south annually, according to data from the US Census Bureau. And Florida is getting the lion’s share of these numbers, with over 500,000 people calling the Sunshine State their new home each year.Where are all these people coming from, you may ask? A good percentage of the people moving to the south are Midwesterners from cities such as Chicago. Others are from New York, Georgia, and Texas.Thanks to the great weather, proximity to beaches, and a strong economy, Tampa is one of the most attractive places to live in Florida. So with that in mind, it’s clear to see why thousands of Chicago natives are among the 500K people making their way to Tampa each year.

Read on to see how much your long distance from Chicago to Tampa is likely to cost and why. Also, learn the different moving options at your disposal, the best interstate movers, the best places to live in Tampa, FL, and lots more!

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:

  • Best Chicago to Tampa movers: The long-distance moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top movers from Chicago to Tampa.
  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from Chicago to Tampa?

The trip from Chicago to Tampa is a long-distance journey of about 1, 172 miles, traversing through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. The moving cost for this interstate relocation during peak summer months is somewhere between $1,706 and $7,250 for a 3 bedroom household.

See more moving estimates below comparing different methods of moving such as moving containers, freight services, and DIY rental trucks:

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $2,525 – $5,800 $1,799 – $2,273 $1,235 – $2,025 $1,056 – $1,459
2-3 Bedrooms $3,020 – $7,250 $2,286 – $3,410 $1,663 – $2,633 $1,107 – $1,706
4+ Bedrooms $4,950 – $9,500 $3,054 – $4,265 $2,043 – $2,835 $1,386 – $2,036

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

What are the best Chicago to Tampa movers?

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
Proud American Van Lines $$ Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
Safeway Moving $$ Carrier/Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
JK Moving Services $$$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 2 bedroom

Why do moving costs vary so much?

If you go around collecting quotes for your Chicago to Tampa move, you may be puzzled by the different costs you end up with. However, there is a rationalization for these price variances.

Below, see the different factors that drive your moving costs up and down and use that knowledge to tailor your moving budget.

Your preferred mode of moving

There are other ways to relocate out of state besides using established professional moving companies such as Van Lines. You have contemporary options such as moving containers and truck rentals to compare. These different options are part of the reason why there is such a wide price variance. Once you choose your preferred method of moving this range will narrow considerably as you can see in our table above.

Furniture weight & volume

All moving costs are guided by the weight and volume of your goods (especially the former). The more goods you have the higher your moving costs will be. So you can have two different families living in similar 3 bedroomed houses paying different costs to move from Chicago to Tampa just because of this.

Inbound vs. outbound ratios

Another industry factor that causes fluctuation of moving prices is inbound and outbound ratios. In layman’s terms, that is the number of people moving in and out of a particular location. If the inbound ratios are higher, moving to that location will be slightly more expensive, and moving out will be slightly cheaper. This is due to the availability of moving staff and trucks.

In the case of Chicago to Tampa moves, there are more people moving out of Chicago than moving in and there are more people moving into Tampa than there are moving out, so your moving estimates are likely to be on the higher end of the price ranges.

Peak moving season

Most people move between March and October, largely due to weather. The peak moving season during this time is the summer months because kids are on holiday at this time. During this peak season moving prices go up due to the increased demand for moving services.

Holidays, weekends, and special events

Peak summer months aside, holidays, weekends, and large events such as conventions, music festivals, and big sports events do affect how much you pay to move. If any of these factors line up with your move, your moving costs will go up. And if you have several of them affecting your move (say you’re moving in summer during a weekend and a holiday), your moving prices will be on the highest end of the scale.

Holidays and events in Chicago, IL, that could impact your peak season move:

  • Chicago Blues Festival – July
  • Lollapalooza Music Festival – August
  • Chicago Air and Water Show – August
  • Chicago Marathon – October

Holidays and events in Tampa, FL, that could affect your peak season move:

(Most large events in Florida take place between January & March):

  • Gasparilla Pirate Fest – January
  • Florida State Fair – February
  • Gasparilla Music Festival – March
  • Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – March
  • Sunset Music Festival – May

Note: Large events along other parts of your moving route (e.g. the rest of the state or in other states) could affect your move’s costs and duration as well. Research your travel route properly and discuss it with your moving company to avoid inconveniences.

Get a personalized estimate!

Use our cost calculator to get free quotes for your move. Simply punch in your moving dates, house size, locations, and you’re good to go. You can also use our handy calculator to better choose your moving dates so that you get the best rates possible.

Why are people moving from Chicago to Tampa?

Why people are leaving Chicago:

113K people left Illinois in 2019. And thousands out of that statistic leave the city of Chicago each year. The reasons are pretty standard across the board.

One of the major ones is high taxes. Illinois has hefty income and property taxes (the second-highest in the country). Housing is another big issue there, partly due to steep property taxes which amount to $3,800 annually on average. The third is employment; many leave the city/state in search of better jobs.

Harsh winters are another reason for the high migration out of Chicago and Illinois in general. Another serious issue in Chicago is crime. Gun crimes and gangs are a bother in various neighborhoods in the city.

Why people are moving to Tampa:

A lot of people are already moving to Florida as we explained earlier. The general reasons for this include the amazing sunny weather all year round, no state income tax, beautiful beaches, and the amazing entertainment & nightlife.

Tampa happens to be one of the most attractive places to move into in Florida. The location boasts 12 white sandy beaches with clear waters, amazing sceneries all around, the unique Ybor City, the Riverwalk, and theme parks such as Busch Gardens.

There are lots of restaurants, shopping outlets, and museums all around. Homes are more affordable here compared to other areas in FL such as West Palm Beach. And if you like to party, there are lots of entertainment spots in South Tampa (SoHo). Tampa also has some of the best golf courses in the country.

Why people are moving from Chicago, IL, to Tampa, FL

The major reasons why people are leaving Chicago every year and moving to Tampa include:

Employment & career growth

Job opportunities are poor in Chicago mostly due to a struggling economy, corruption, and politics. This is one of the top 3 reasons for people leaving the city/state and moving to Tampa and other areas in Florida.

Taxes and cost of living

Chicago residents have to contend with punitive taxes that include a 5% state income tax compared to zero state income tax in Tampa. The property tax is 2.27% in Cook County (Chicago) versus 1.02% in Hillsborough County (Tampa, FL).


Overall, the cost of living in Chicago is 24% higher than that in Tampa, with entertainment and transportation being some of the hardest-hit areas.


Crime is a serious issue in Chicago which is notorious for gun crime and high murder rates. Tampa enjoys much lower crime levels despite facing the obvious challenges of urban living.


Weather is a common cause for migration from Chicago to Tampa and other parts of Florida such as Miami and West Palm Beach. Chicago residents escape the harsh Midwest winter snow to come and enjoy the unbelievably sunny winters in Tampa.

Nightlife and entertainment

Although Chicago has a nightlife of its own, it does not compare to the party scene down in Florida. And South Tampa is one of the biggest party zones in all of Florida. Tampa also houses many museums, parks, theme parks, restaurants, and beaches that seem to be right out of magazine covers.

What are some of the best places to move to in Tampa?

Tampa is a beautiful place to live. You simply cannot go wrong so long as you choose a residence in this magical city. However, we have gone to the lengths to pick some of the areas that are most coveted and generally regarded as the best. Check them out below.

Palma Ceia

Palma Ceia is located south of Tampa, below Historic Hyde Park, off the Hillsborough Bay, and overlooking the Davis Islands. It’s one of the safest locations in Tampa. It’s a bit pricey compared to other neighborhoods/cities in the area but not out of reach. Palma Ceia enjoys great neighborhoods, restaurants, and shopping centers.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is located just south of Tampa, at the tip of Hillsborough Bay. It’s also quite safe, has parks, and lots of schools; all of which make it a great place for families. Living in Hyde Park you get to shop and eat out in the city while living by the water. And you’re close to SoHo if you want a variety of party spots to check out.

Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa is just below the Central Business District. It’s right on the Hillsborough River and close to the Riverwalk that connects to restaurants and museums. If you want to live in the city, this is one spot you should consider. Homes in Downtown Tampa are slightly more expensive but you can walk to work.

The area is popular with singles and young families. Concerts and events are common here too.

Beach Park

Beach Park is situated on Old Tampa Bay, right between Westshore and South Tampa. Three quick words to describe this area are relaxed, mature, and affluent. Beach Park is a high-income area with homes and rental prices that are slightly higher than adjacent neighborhoods.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is located on Tampa Bay, right on the southern tip of the peninsula. It’s close to the beach and features well-maintained affordable homes. The area is a favorite for young professionals and young families. And like most areas in Tampa, St. Petersburg is flanked by bars, clubs, and local breweries. The nightlife is also abuzz with events every weekend.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Plant City
  • Westchase
  • Sunset Park
  • Port Tampa
  • New Tampa

Will you be making the move from Chicago to Tampa and joining thousands that relocate the same route every year? If yes, be sure to check out our best picks for long-distance moving companies. And also have a look at our FREE cost calculator to help you anticipate your moving costs and options.

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