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How to Make an Interstate Move for Cheap

Interstate Moving for Less

An interstate move requires considerable preparation. The good news is, if you take time to plan, you will have a say in both the price and the difficulty of your move. Below, we review some critical moving strategies you might want to contemplate before you begin the relocation process.

Sell it All!

There is a lot of appeal to selling most of your belongings and taking only the essentials to your destination.


Some of the pros of this strategy include:

  • Prioritize and minimize: The longer we live in one place, the more stuff we accumulate! When you sell everything, you give yourself a chance for a cleaner and more focused life. Once you arrive at your destination, you can re-purchase only the things you really want or need in your new life.
  • Give back to your community: As you declutter, your unwanted belongings will likely go to people who will appreciate them more than you might. The individual who comes and picks up your TV may not be able to purchase a brand-new model and might be thrilled at getting your used one. Hopefully, each item you sell will go home with someone who is excited about it. If you end up donating any of your belongings, all the better! You get to help someone in need while making your life less complicated (not to mention, you can take the tax write-off).
  • Simplify your move tenfold: The less you have, the easier it will be to pick up and move. Imagine placing a few things in your car and then just taking off. You get to your new place, and it only takes you thirty minutes to unload. Selling everything eliminates a lot of the stress of moving by minimizing the packing and loading process, while greatly simplifying the transport aspect.
  • Save cash on the move itself: With fewer belongings, it’s possible to move everything yourself or with assistance from family and friends. You can likely get by renting a smaller truck or perhaps just a trailer. This option is much cheaper than hiring a moving service.


Downsides to this minimalistic moving approach include:

  • Losing items of sentimental value: As you pick through your belongings, you will likely have to part with many sentimental items. It may be difficult to part with some of your treasured possessions.
  • Budgetary issues: Before you choose to throw everything away and start fresh in your new home or apartment, home in on your budget. How many things will you need to re-buy at your destination? How much do you anticipate this will cost? Factor in how much you will make for selling your belongings and how much money you will save on a smaller move. Based on the numbers, you can determine if selling everything is a sensible approach for you.

Renting a Moving Truck

Many people choose to rent a moving truck rather than hire a moving company because it can be the more economical option. Before you make your final decision, ponder the benefits and drawbacks of moving truck rental.


  • Affordability: Renting a moving truck can be cheaper than hiring a moving company. Remember that a moving truck only makes sense if 1) you do not have too many belongings to fit into one van or box truck and 2) you are able to recruit enough help to do everything without professional assistance. If you have a smaller move, a moving truck can save you a chunk of change. You will only pay for the truck based on size and distance traveled. Don’t forget insurance!
  • Control: When you do everything by yourself with a moving truck, you’ll have maximum control over your move. Of course, that means a lot of responsibility, but many individuals like handling the move personally. You will be able to organize, label, load, drive, and unpack everything yourself.
  • Flexibility: Renting a truck can also mean a more flexible schedule. When hiring movers, you will be locked into a date and time based on their availability. However, with a moving truck, you can often choose a pick-up time that works best with your schedule (if the rental company has trucks available).


  • Surprise Costs: When you’re doing a DIY move, don’t forget to think through all the costs. You will have to buy all your own packing materials and supplies. Most of the time, a moving company would provide these. Additionally, you will be responsible for fuel costs and any damage to the vehicle or to your own items. Don’t neglect those extras you might need, like dollies, cleaning crews, or drivers for your other vehicles.
  • Pickup and Return: The truck pick-up and drop-off are two tasks to add to your to-do list. It may take a little time to pick-up or return the truck while figuring out insurance and completing inspections. You can choose the date you will turn your truck back in. The less time you allot yourself, the more money you will save, but the more stressful the move can be. Make sure to give yourself enough time to reasonably complete the move.
  • Manual Labor: You’ll also have to arrange for help loading and unloading the truck. While you can hire local movers on either end of the move, it may be cheaper and logistically easier to bribe friends and family to help.
  • Difficulty of Driving: You will also need to decide who will drive the truck and who will drive your other vehicle(s). Be aware that many moving trucks are older with minimal features. Some may be manual, and all have tricky blind spots that can make highway driving unnerving. Make sure you are comfortable with the idea of driving a cumbersome vehicle.

Renting a Portable Storage Container

Renting a portable storage container is another viable option for moving your things to a new state.


Positives of this method include:

  • You can move on your own time: Storage container rentals are a lot more flexible than moving truck rentals or hiring movers. Storage containers are usually rented on a monthly basis, giving you at least one whole month to pack, transport, and unpack your belongings. You call to schedule pick-up when you’re ready!
  • You can store things after your move: If you rent or buy a storage container, you’ll be able to use it post-move, too. This can be helpful as you sort out all your belongings and put them away to your satisfaction.
  • Great for temporary living situations: Are you planning on packing up and moving again very soon? A portable storage container can be the optimal DIY method for temporary living or frequent moves. Many portable moving container companies can arrange for temporary warehouse storage if you know there will be lag time between moving out of one residence and into the next.
  • Usually budget-friendly: While renting a storage container won’t eliminate all moving costs, like transportation or packing materials, it will reduce your cost as compared to a full-service move. Monthly rentals for a portable moving container start at under $1,000 per month.
  • No driving: Probably the best part of renting a storage container is not having to drive! The company will pick up the container and drive it to the destination for you.


Don’t forget about the negatives of renting or buying a portable storage container:

  • You’ll do all the heavy lifting yourself: Naturally, DIY moving comes with a lot of physical labor! You’ll have to pack, load, and unload yourself while trying to optimize your space in the storage container. Disassembling and moving heavy furniture can be taxing, and you will probably need some assistance from family or friends.
  • Reserving your time and space: You’ll need to think ahead of time if you’re planning on using a storage container for your interstate move. Containers must be reserved well in-advance, especially if you’re relocating during the busy summer months. Plan out your timetable and then schedule your rental as soon as possible.
  • Parking and approvals: You’ll also need a readily available parking space in both your current place and your new place where you can leave the container. You might also need special approval for the container. Some cities and HOAs restrict the use of unsightly storage containers, so be sure to double-check the regulations at both your origin and destination to ensure you don’t run into issues.
  • No climate-control: Storage containers don’t have any climate-control mechanisms. This means, if it’s 100 degrees outside, temperatures inside the container could soar well into the triple digits. Make sure you consider what effect temperature fluctuations might have on some of your items.

Renting a Trailer

Maybe you know someone who will lend you a trailer, or you plan to rent one. Some individuals might opt for a trailer because they have fewer belongings and plan to save money by renting a trailer instead of a truck. You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of renting a trailer below.


  • Total control: You’re in charge of the entire process. How do you want everything packed? Where do you want it loaded, and how should boxes be labeled? Where should the furniture go in the new home? You choose the timetable, the people who help you, and which packing materials are used.
  • Saves money: You might be interested in using a trailer to move in hopes that it will save you money. Moving yourself is still expensive, but cheaper than hiring a moving company. With help from friends and family and some hard work, you can save some money with a DIY trailer move.


  • Space and operational limits: Most people have more belongings than what will fit in a single trailer over one trip. You may need to cut down your possessions or take multiple trips with your trailer. You might want to consider a storage-trailer combo if your move is temporary. Additionally, trailer loading and unloading requires a little bit of thinking to optimize your limited space. Don’t forget to collect necessary supplies to protect your belongings in the trailer.
  • Demanding physical labor: Moving yourself is no small task. Use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury. Make sure you have help to move those heavy furniture pieces or boxes. Prepare for hurdles like stairways, tight corners, and narrow doorways.
  • Navigation: If you’re not used to hauling a trailer, it can take some getting used to. Since trailers pose additional hazards on the road, make sure you’re up for the challenge.

Hiring a Full-Service Moving Company

Some people prefer to save some money by conducting their own move, while others wish to reduce the workload of their move by hiring a full-service interstate moving company.

Is hiring full-service movers the right path for you? Here are some factors to think about:


  • They are experts: These are the experts, and they know which packing materials to use and how to organize your things for optimal safety.
  • Full-service movers stick to a schedule: You tell them when you want to move and how much help you require. They will come in and pack up your home, disassemble your furniture, and load up your things as quickly as possible. This is the fastest way to get all your belongings unpacked at your new place so you can start enjoying your home.
  • They’re licensed and insured: If you work with a legitimate, reputable company, you won’t have to worry as much about the chances of something getting broken. All licensed interstate movers have insurance policies to pay for the repair or replacement of anything that gets lost, damaged or stolen during the move.
  • Injury prevention: Since your movers will do all the heavy lifting, they can help to prevent injury while they save you from the exhaustion of moving day.
  • Time savings: Professional movers handle everything! From packing to loading the truck to unloading at the other end of the move, their assistance saves you invaluable time!


  • Full-service movers are an investment: Of course, full-service movers aren’t cheap. Review your budget to find out if full-service moving is the right decision for you. For many individuals and families, full-service movers are well-worth their price. Movers reduce stress significantly and free up months of time.
  • Less flexibility: For an interstate move, we suggest booking your movers at least two months in advance. Since most moving companies require a deposit to secure your spot, you won’t have the flexibility to change your moving date.
  • Lack of control: You lose a little control when you hire a moving company. You can offer your movers as much guidance as you like, but some people still prefer to pack and unpack themselves.

Shipping Your Vehicle

Transportation is another variable you can play with as you budget for your move. Consider the following costs as you weigh driving or shipping your vehicle:

Cost of Driving Yourself

First, determine the fuel costs of driving the car yourself based on:

  • Current gas prices (for both states)
  • Your car’s gas mileage
  • Distance of travel

Next, consider other travel costs. Determine how many days of driving you should plan for and make accommodations for each day and night. If someone is driving with you and the two of you can switch off, you can discuss together how much mileage you plan to cover each day. If you will be driving solo, leave plenty of time for breaks and sleep.

Once you have mapped out the driving plan, answer the following questions:

  • How often will you be stopping for food and drink? Estimate how much that will cost you over the course of the entire drive.
  • Where will you be staying at night? How much will accommodations cost?

Once you understand the total cost of driving yourself and your belongings, you can compare it to the cost of shipping your car. Of course, your time and effort are also valuable, so don’t forget to attach a cash value to those ideas as well. Additionally, consider the wear and tear on your vehicle over hundreds of miles. Be realistic about what will make the move doable for you personally.

Cost of Shipping Your Vehicle

Some expenses to add up to find the total expense for shipping your vehicle include:

  • The actual shipping cost
  • Your transportation cost (plane or train ticket)
  • Cost of transportation to and from the airport, bus or train station
  • Cost of transportation while you await delivery of your vehicle

Once you’re fully informed, you can make a logical decision about moving your vehicle or vehicles.

To get quotes from moving companies or auto transporters near you, click the Get Quote button now. We’re ready to provide you with free interstate moving quotes, so you can determine the best moving option for you!

How to Reduce Moving Costs

Everyone wants to minimize moving costs where they can. Moving involves a million little tasks, and within all those to-dos, there are a few ways you can save some cash.

Pay Attention to Details

Planning every aspect of your relocation is critical to keep moving costs in check. You can start with this to-do list:

  1. Establish your Moving Budget: Do your research on how much a move like yours should cost. Consider all fees including transportation, packing materials, trucks, etc. Decide on a budget and then determine which services you will complete yourself and which you will hand over to the professionals.
  2. Nail Down a Moving Date: Reserve movers or ask friends and family for help long in advance. If you plan to hire movers, remember that the off-season months are often more affordable than summer months. Also, movers are usually cheaper Monday-Thursday versus on the weekend.
  3. Compare Movers: Once you determine which services you will hire out, call around for quotes from the best movers in the area. Make sure your movers are reliable, experienced, and affordable. Communicate clearly about which services you need so you can get a close estimate on costs. You can also get quotes from licensed moving companies right here on Ian’s Interstate Movers.
  4. Start the Process Early: Especially if you are doing most everything DIY, create a timeline and begin as soon as possible. You can begin clearing out your home months before a move. The more time you give yourself, the more cost-efficient the move will be.

Other tasks to plan include:

  • Vehicle transport
  • Travel (companions, routes, and stops)
  • Access to your new place
  • Utilities and services
  • Real estate (ending contracts and selling homes)
  • Protecting your belongings

We understand that moving can be overwhelming, but when you start in advance and have a reliable checklist, you will feel a lot better once moving day comes. It is important to avoid blunders that cause you to miss out on money, like forgetting to handle utilities or travel accommodations.

Explore Your Options

You have several options for getting your stuff from point A to point B, including the following:

  • Renting a portable storage container: This option is economical and convenient for those who require temporary storage during their move.
  • Renting a trailer: If you don’t have much stuff, you can hook-up a U-Haul trailer to your vehicle and drive your car and all your belongings in a single go.
  • Renting a truck: If you are renting a truck, be sure to get the right size. With an interstate move, you won’t be able to come back for a second load.
  • Shipping your vehicle: It might be cheaper to ship one or more of your cars via an auto transport company instead of driving them yourself. Get a free vehicle shipping quote here on Ian’s!
  • Hiring movers: Also, call around to local moving companies to get some estimates for various services. Hiring professionals to do the packing or loading and unloading might be worth it in the long run. It may also save you money on the following things:
    • Packing materials: these will be provided to you by your moving company.
    • Potential injuries: moving heavy items and furniture is always an accident waiting to happen, and that means medical bills. Always use extreme caution to avoid lasting physical damage.
    • Your time: when you have significantly more time, you may be able to work more or otherwise translate that time into money.
    • Potential damage: if your things are damaged during transport during a DIY move, you are solely responsible, so exercise caution! If you hire movers with insurance, they will be responsible for your belongings. Insurance is cheaper than repairs and replacement.

By getting quotes on all the above options, you can choose the most affordable and convenient option for you!

Don’t Hesitate to Get Rid of Things—Early!

Now is the time to be realistic about what you use and love every day. If you’re liberal about letting things go that you don’t really need or use, you can make a lot of money that can contribute to the move. If you do plan to hire movers for any part of your move, having fewer belongings will also reduce the overall cost of your move.

The key is to start clearing out your things early. It can take some time for everything to sell. It’s best to list your items with the highest price you think you can reasonably get for each item. Then, there’s room to negotiate.

Look around and get creative. You could sell:

  • Electronics
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Clothing in great condition
  • Furniture
  • Toys
  • Books and movies

When selling furniture, try Chairish, an online consignment store, or Facebook Marketplace. Places to sell your used electronics include Amazon, Decluttr, and eBay. There are a multitude of apps and sites where you can sell used clothing, including thredUP, Tradesy, and Poshmark. For all the above plus all those other miscellaneous goods, Craigslist is always a good bet. You could also host a yard sale or sell everything through Facebook Marketplace or other apps like Letgo or Nextdoor.

Choose Packing Materials Wisely

Purchasing new moving boxes adds up quickly. Fortunately, there are more cost-efficient ways to get boxes. First and foremost, look around your own home. As you minimize and organize, you’ll probably discover boxes and materials that can be repurposed for moving.

How else can you find free or deeply discounted boxes, bubble wrap, and tape? You can contact local stores or businesses to find out if they have boxes they would otherwise just throw away. Grocery stores, discount stores, or local storage units may be good places to start.

Ask family and friends or post on social media to find out whether anyone has extra boxes. You may know someone who recently moved who has dozens of boxes just lying around! You could also try websites like Craigslist or Freecycle.

Get Your Security Deposit Back

If you made a security deposit on your current place, be sure to clean thoroughly so you can get that chunk of change back. We recommend repairing all the damage, enlisting help for some deep cleaning, and asking your landlord to perform a walk-through before you move. Don’t forget to return keys or anything else that may belong to your landlord!

One of the best ways you can save on your move is by comparing your options. Get your free interstate moving company quotes through Ian’s in just minutes! Get started by clicking on the Get Quote button.

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