average long distance moving costs 2020

The average cost of hiring long-distance movers is $5800​.

What the average cost to hire long distance movers?

If you have to move across the country, the process can get messy, especially when children and pets are involved. Long distance movers, also known as cross country movers, are hired to help pack and ship your belongings safely while you and your family travel separately to your new home.
Hiring a long-distance moving company costs on average $4,500 to $6,000, with the average homeowner spending around $5,250 on moving, packing, and shipping a 3-bedroom house 1,000 miles.

Average Long distance moving costs

Average Long Distance Moving Costs
National average cost$5400
Average range$4800 - $6200
Minimum cost$1500
Maximum cost$30000

Average Long Distance Moving Cost factors

No matter where you move, there are going to be long distance moving costs that factor into the overall cost of moving, some of which increase the farther your move.
  • Travel fees: unless you’re driving your own moving truck, most of your belongings will travel separately from you and your family. You’ll have to build in the cost of travel on top of the standard moving fees. Expect to pay $300-$400 per person to fly across the country. Driving to your new home may take several days, which adds accommodations and food to your travel costs.
  • The size of your home: how much you plan on taking with you, which is based on the size of your house, will impact the final cost of shipping. Long distance movers charge by the distance (per 1,000 miles) and by the pound ($0.50-$0.70 per pound).
  • Packing services: some moving companies will also provide packing services for an additional fee. This fee would include the cost of packing supplies and the labor involved in packing and preparing your belongings. Packing services range from $1,000-$3,000.
  • Storage: storage will also add to your moving costs. Storage units cost an average of $50-$200 per month, but storage containers are another way to ship your belongings without having to pay for additional storage ($150-$500 per month plus delivery and moving fees).
  • Moving supplies: if you’re packing your belongings yourself, you’ll need to factor in the cost of moving supplies such as blankets, boxes, tape, and packing fillers. Boxes and packing materials will cost $200-$500, depending on your home size.
  • Moving date: what time of year you move may affect your moving quote. The summer months are particularly high-volume in terms of moving, and you may have to pay a premium. October-April moving rates are generally cheaper. Another way to possibly save money is by moving mid-month and mid-week; these are less popular moving times than end-week, end-month dates.
  • Liability and valuation coverage: valuation refers to the assessed “worth” of the items to be shipped, and you may be charged a premium for shipping items of higher value in order to make sure they are properly protected.

Average Long Distance Moving Cost Checklist

A long-distance move involves balancing a lot of factors. Here is a schedule to help keep you on track:
  • 14 weeks before moving: you should start budgeting your moving costs and get quotes from different moving entities, including professional movers, DIY truck rental, and shipping containers. Also have your family (humans and pets) get final appointments before moving out of town. This would also be the time to start talking to a real estate agent if you are going to sell your home.
  • 12 weeks before moving: go ahead and book your travel arrangements if you are not driving a moving truck yourself (plane, train). If you have other vehicles that need shipping, now is the time to start getting quotes and making arrangements. Finalize mover contracts if you are hiring professional movers. Start making school arrangements for any school-aged children.
  • 10 weeks before moving: now is the time to begin planning which furniture will make the move to the new house. The less you have to pack, the lower your costs.
  • 8 weeks before moving: some items should move with you personally, while most items can be shipped or mailed separately. Decide which items, such as vital documents and valuables, will travel with you. Purchase or acquire boxes, packing tape, filler, and zip ties.
  • 6 weeks before moving: out-of-season items and other items that are used infrequently can be packed and ready to go. Start researching homeowner’s and renter’s insurance coverage in your new location and whether your current coverage will transfer.
  • 4 weeks before moving: get rid of items you no longer need, either through a yard sale, donations, or both. Make sure you have access to physical or digital records from doctors, auto repair, etc.
  • 3 weeks before moving: cancel local memberships and subscriptions and notify the postal service of a change in address. Less essential items can also be packed.
  • 2 weeks before moving: get an oil change if you’re planning to drive. Notify your bank and start the process for changing institutions if necessary. Communicate with utility companies of turn-off/turn-on dates.
  • 1 week before moving: pack everything but the essentials and plan meals around using what’s in the pantry. Confirm final details with the movers. Make sure you have cash for tips for movers and get any final prescriptions before leaving.

Average Costs for Long Distance Shipping

Yet another option is to have your items shipped to your door - like FedEx or USPS. Costs will vary based on the weight and volume but this is not usually a cost effective option if you are shipping 5 or more large boxes.

Average Costs for Full-Service Long Distance Movers

Full-service moving involves several components. The first involves providing packing materials and packing your belongings (including furniture disassembly). Second, full service movers will load and move your items to your new location. They will also unpack at your new home and dispose of packing materials. Some full service moving companies will also make arrangements to move vehicles and specialty items such as boats. This is the most expensive moving option ($7,00-$10,000 for a 3-bedroom house), but it involves the least amount of coordinating efforts on your part.


There are several factors that go into the final cost of an interstate or long-distance move: distance traveled, labor costs, and the weight of the shipment (your household contents). Labor costs include the time it takes to pack (optional), load, and unload.
Because shipment weight is such a major cost factor, the smaller your home, the lower your moving costs.
Home typeAverage cost to move 1,000 miles
Studio apartment$1,400-$2,300
1-bedroom apartment$2,000-$3,200
2-bedroom home$3,000-$4,000
3+ bedroom home$4,500-$9,500

Long Distance Moving Help

Before hiring a moving company, you should find out who is responsible if something breaks. Additionally, you’ll want to ask about insurance. Most homeowner and rental insurance policies don’t cover items in transit, and moving companies will offer several options with various levels of reimbursement in case anything is damaged during the move.
Because costs increase based on the amount (and weight) of things you move, decide what is critical to your move and what you can part with. Have a yard sale, donate items, or give items to friends in the area. It may actually be cheaper to buy a new sofa than have your old one shipped.
When you’re packing, number each box and keep a master list with each box number and where it goes in the house. You’ll be able to check off the master list when your boxes are unloaded to make sure everything arrived.
Your pets need to travel with you. Make sure your pet’s records are with your important documents, and talk to your veterinarian about tips for traveling with animals.
The final step before leaving your old house is to do a complete walkthrough to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Depending on your method of travel, you may need accommodations. Book your hotel room in advance to ensure a room.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Auto shipping

In a cross-country move, you may opt to have your vehicle shipped. Prices will vary based on the type of vehicle (car, truck, SUV), but expect to pay an additional $600-$1,300 per vehicle.

Piano moving

Pianos require special moving tools and specialized care. The best long distance movers should offer specialty moving including pianos but the price will vary depending on the size and type of the piano, but a studio upright piano can cost as much as $2,000 for a long-distance move.

Storage services

If you need to temporarily store any of your items, rent a climate-controlled storage unit, which varies in price based on the size of the unit. Prices start around $100-$300 per month.

Pool table moving

Pool tables are incredibly heavy! Your pool table will likely need to be disassembled, transported, and reassembled in your new home. Some movers are experienced working with pool tables, but you’ll want to ask your moving company if this is something they can handle. Moving a pool table may also come at a premium ($400-$500).

Additional considerations and costs

  • Moving can certainly be a DIY job, but it takes a lot of time and energy, not to mention the physical strength involved in lifting and moving boxes and furniture. Be prepared to acquire your own packing supplies, pack and label everything yourself, and load and unload a moving truck. Moving truck rental companies can provide suggestions for the size of moving truck needed for your home size. Moving trucks charge based on mileage, and you also are responsible for fuel.
  • Standard moving insurance may not necessarily cover high-value items such as fine art or antiques. You will need to ask the moving company if there is a ceiling value on what they cover. Depending on the experience of your moving company and the value of your items, you may want to consider utilizing a specialty shipping service that has expertise in shipping art and other valuables, even UPS and FedEx.
  • Because standard insurance policies don’t cover items in transit, moving insurance is recommended. There are varying levels 1 of coverage. Some policies are based on a value per pound, while others will reimburse total value or the cost of repairs. You’ll need to ask specifically about insurance for items of extremely high value.
  • There are few ways you can save money during the moving process. Get free moving boxes from neighbors, stores, or even Craigslist. Peak moving times (spring and summer, end of the month) are more expensive, so consider moving mid-week, mid-month in the off-season (October-April) to save on moving expenses. Save money on labor by asking your friends and family to help pack and load the truck. Additionally, some employers will pay for the move entirely or provide some sort of partial reimbursement of moving costs. Moving companies will also occasionally offer discounts, particularly in the off season—if you have time to plan and look for deals, you can potentially save more money.
  • Don’t trust the lowest moving estimate you get—a low cost may mean careless transport. Read reviews and get references if possible. All cross-country moving companies need to be fully licensed to transport household goods across state lines. Long Distance Movers should be able to provide you with their license number. Be wary of moving companies that supply a binding quote or that operate as cash-only businesses.
  • Some of your moving costs may be tax-deductible. There isn’t a federal deduction for moving, but your state may have one.
  • It’s possible that if you’re only moving to the next state your moving costs will be lower than a typical interstate moving quote. Depending on your mileage, your moving company may still consider your move “local,” even if it’s in a neighboring state.

Long Distance Moving Average Cost FAQ

  • How much does it cost to have movers move you across the country?
The cost will vary depending on the distance that you move, the total weight of your items, and whether you pack the items yourself. The cost to move a 2-bedroom house 1,000 miles, not including packing, is $3,000-$4,000.
  • What is the cheapest way to move cross-country?
In general, the cheapest way to move cross-country is by using a shipping container or shipping via freight.
  • How long do cross-country movers take?
It will depend on how your items are moving, but cross-country moving can take 3-7 days.
  • How much does long distance moving cost?
Long distance moving costs vary on how much you’re moving and how far you’re traveling. It costs about $3,000-$4,000 to move a 2-bedroom house 1,000 miles.
  • How much does it cost to move 1 bedroom apartment cross-country?
It costs $2,000-$3,200 to move a 1-bedroom apartment cross-country.

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