The Cheapest Way to Ship a One-Bedroom Cross-Country

You’re moving less stuff in a one-bedroom move, but many customers find it surprisingly difficult to find cheap shipping options! In fact, the smaller your move, the harder it can be to find a decent deal.

The average cost to move a one bedroom apartment cross-country ranges from $1,000 to $4,500 depending on how much you’re moving and which moving company you choose.

The cheapest option is to rent a tow-behind cargo trailer, which costs $100 – $700 (before gas). If you can’t tow a trailer, other DIY move options like moving containers and rental trucks range from $1,000 to $3,400 to ship a one bedroom coast-to-coast. Local movers usually charge hourly rates – expect to pay somewhere between $25-$50/hour per mover on the team for a super-simple moving process.

For people who prefer a more hands-off experience, Professional moving companies like PODS cost between $1,500 to $4,500 depending on the size of the move.

Every move is different, so we recommend comparing your options to find the most affordable way to ship a one bedroom home cross-country. In this guide, we’ll compare several moving options to help you plan the most hassle-free small move.

Cost to ship a one-bedroom cross-country

The moving method you choose is the single most crucial factor in the cost of your move. Here’s a snapshot of average pricing for each move method.

Cost of Moving 1 Bedroom Cross-Country

Moving option Average pricing Considerations
Moving company $1,500-$4,500 Very convenient, but costly (especially in the peak summer season)
Moving container $1,500-$3,780 Great for moves with storage
Rental truck $1,900-$3,917 Generally more expensive and a lot of work
Cargo trailer $0-$900 Car with tow power and towing experience necessary
Pallet shipper $900-$2,100 Very convenient and affordable for small one bedroom moves
Freight trailer $1,000-$3,900 Affordable for larger one bedrooms

What is the typical size of a one-bedroom home?

So, what counts as a one bedroom home, anyway?

According to industry pros, a standard 1-bedroom house falls between 400 and 1,000 square feet. That usually includes one bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a small living room area.

That’s a big range though, so your home could be larger or smaller than the industry standards. When in doubt, use our moving estimate calculator to get instant moving quotes based on your type of move.

Regardless of which moving option you choose, most will charge you by the space you take up, measured in square feet. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many square feet you can expect to take up based on the size of your home.

Home type Square footage
Studio apartment 400 – 600 square feet
Small one bedroom 600 – 800 square feet
Large one bedroom 800 – 1,000 square feet
Two bedroom 1,000 – 1,500 square feet
Three bedroom 1,500 – 2,000 square feet
Four bedroom 2,000 – 3,000 square feet
Five bedrooms or more 3,500+ square feet

Professional movers: Best for hassle-free moving

Not in the mood to handle the heavy lifting yourself? Cross-country movers are the way to go. While moving a one-bedroom apartment cross country with professional movers can be expensive, the convenience and peace of mind they provide are often worth the investment.

The average cost of moving a one-bedroom apartment cross country with professional movers ranges from $1,500 to $4,500. This is a rough estimate, and individual circumstances will ultimately determine the exact cost of your move.

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Many factors affect the cost of moving a one-bedroom apartment cross-country using long-distance movers. Gather this information before your moving date to request the most accurate quote possible:

  • Distance: The distance between your current location and destination is the most significant factor affecting the cost of your move. Professional moving providers typically charge per mile, so the further you move, the higher the price.
  • Moving company rates: Cross-country moving companies all have different pricing structures. Some may charge a flat rate, while others may use an hourly rate or a combination of both. Get free quotes from multiple companies to compare their rates and services. Read customer reviews and moving experiences to ensure you work with a reputable moving company.
  • Weight and volume of belongings: Most professional movers use the weight of your household goods to determine the overall cost. The more items you have, the more it will cost to transport everything. Consider decluttering before your move to lower your long-distance moving costs.
  • Add-ons: Some moves may require additional services, such as disassembling and reassembling furniture, storage, packing, unpacking, or special handling for fragile or valuable items. You may also have to pay extra for packing supplies like bubble wrap and boxes. These services will increase the overall cost of your move.
  • Insurance: Professional moving companies typically offer basic coverage, but consider purchasing additional insurance to ensure your items are fully protected. This added protection will come at an extra cost.
  • Seasonality: Moving companies are more expensive from April to September during the summer peak season. Good moving companies are very busy during the summer and won’t be interested in small moves unless you’re willing to pay a big premium, so a summer move could cost you. The winter off-season (October to March) is a different story. In the winter, things slow down and moving companies are willing to offer great deals on small moves.

Moving containers: Convenient for delayed moves

Do you have a gap in your lease or want time to find a new place to live? Portable storage containers could be the best option for your cross-country move. On average, moveBuddha readers spend $1,500 to $3,700 to transport the contents of a one bedroom home cross-country in a moving container.

Company Quote Rating Price
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Containers are basically portable storage containers. The container company transports them back and forth from their depot to your home and then to your new location cross-country.

The downside is that parking the containers can be an issue. You’ll need to double-check that there’s ample room to drop off the container in your driveway or the street. Some cities have ordinances against moving containers or require a permit first, so check local regulations before booking a moving container.

Often, this option can be less costly than renting a local storage unit when you factor in the savings of not having to make multiple moves in and out of storage. Check out our top picks for the cheapest moving containers in the industry.

Renting a truck: Not as cheap as you think

Renting a truck might seem like a budget-friendly option compared to renting a moving container or hiring movers, but the costs add up. Sure, the rental truck itself seems affordable, but food, gas, and hotel costs add up quickly for long-distance moves.

Rental trucks can be affordable for in-town moves, but it isn’t the cheapest option for all moves, so it’s always best to evaluate your options. Plus, you’re on the hook for loading, driving, and unloading with this option, which adds a lot of time and hassle to the moving process.

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Cargo trailer: Cheapest overall

Cargo trailers are the cheapest option for shipping a one bedroom home cross-country but with a few caveats.

Cargo trailers make a lot of sense if you’re already planning on moving a car in addition to your one-bedroom apartment. The only catch is you’ll need a vehicle or moving truck with towing power to make this work. An itty-bitty Kia isn’t going to cut it.

U-Haul is the only national moving company that rents tow-behind trailers in addition to their normal truck rental services. Rates range from $100 to $700 (not including fuel costs).

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Few companies rent cargo trailers because driving with a trailer is dangerous – especially for the inexperienced. Learning on a cross-country drive is probably not a good idea if you’ve never driven a trailer.

Cargo trailers also have the same issues as renting a moving truck: you’re on the hook for loading, transportation, and unloading. It might not be as much of a hassle as driving a giant truck, but tow-behind cargo trailers still require a lot of hands-on work.

However, this is the cheapest way to move a one-bedroom home coast-to-coast for the trailer-driving pro who doesn’t mind a DIY move.

Pallet shipping: Best for smaller one-bedrooms

If you’re only shipping a few pieces of furniture and 20-30 moving boxes, consider a pallet shipping service instead of long-distance movers.

Pallet shipping services allow you to avoid long carry moving costs and take advantage of commercial shipping rates by shipping everything on pallets.

If your move is small enough, this can be a very affordable and convenient way to ship a one-bedroom house or studio apartment in a cross-country move.

ShipSmart, (866) 333-8018, is one of the best options for this method. Mention moveBuddha to get a 10% discount from them.

Freight trailers: Best for large one-bedrooms

Is there a lot of stuff in your one bedroom house? No problem!

Booking a freight trailer allows you to pack everything in one large freight container. The freight company will drop off a 28-foot-long trailer. You load the truck and only pay for the space you use. From there the freight company drives your belongings cross-country.

Freight trailers are especially affordable if you’re moving to a less populated areas. The only issue with this option is parking can be tricky. You’ll want to ensure enough space to park the trailer at your new home.

FAQ

How much do full-service long-distance and local movers cost?

Full-service movers like Safeway Moving, American Van Lines, and International Van Lines bill by volume or weight. These services cost between $4,300 and $4,800+ for an out-of-state move with an average distance of around 1,200 miles. Local moves, on the other hand, are typically billed at an hourly rate. Expect to pay between $25-$50/hour per mover on the team for a super-simple moving process.

When is the cheapest time to move cross-country?

The cheapest time to move cross-country is in winter, or October to March. There’s lower demand for moving services during this time, and many companies are willing to cut you a deal in exchange for your business. Summertime, or April to September, is the most expensive time to move because of increased demand.

What is the cost to move a two-bedroom home?

If you have an additional office or loft, you’ll likely need to consider pricing for moving a two-bedroom home. The average cost for shipping a two-bedroom home ranges from $381 to $7,560. Average shipping for a one-bedroom home is $1,000 to $4,500. As you can see, sometimes shipping more items can snag you a better deal for long-distance moves, although a smaller weight or square footage generally makes one-bedroom moves more affordable than two-bedroom ones.

How do I estimate the weight of my belongings for a cross-country move?

The more accurately you can estimate the weight of your stuff, the more accurate your moving estimate will be. You can get a more accurate estimate by:

  • Taking inventory of your belongings with a list. Divide everything into categories like furniture, appliances, boxes, etc.
  • Using average weights of these items to get an approximate total weight. For example, the average sofa is around 250 pounds and boxes are around 40 pounds each.
  • Weighing smaller items or boxes on a bathroom scale.
  • Requesting an in-home estimate from the moving company.
  • Accounting for bulky items like pianos, grills, exercise equipment, or outdoor furniture.

Are there affordable moving companies that specialize in long-distance moves for small apartments?

Yes! Several companies specialize in small moves, including MiniMoves, U-Pack, TSI, Ship Smart, and uShip. If you just need help with loading or unloading, consider a labor-only service like HireAHelper.

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