How Much Does it Cost to Move Across the Country?

Are you thinking of packing your bags Kerouak-style and hitting the open road for a new life? Or will your move be a little more methodical, packing your antique China cabinet, Pomeranian and spouse in tow? The lifestyle you live will depend on moving costs, though the following should be considered when calculating the costs of moving.


If you're a new college grad with milk crates to move, you will save significant amounts of money in shipping or storage costs. If, however, you’ve accumulated many pieces of furniture, you will have to pay moving fees. If driving, assess how many miles you will be driving and how many nights--these two factors will determine the cost of your rental. According to the U-Haul website, a seven-day drive from Arizona to Washington, D.C., (one-way) hauling four bedrooms’ worth of furniture, costs $2,048. That does not include the cost of gasoline, dollies, padding and Bubble Wrap, which can total an additional $500.


While having five strong teenage kids to help you pack would be ideal, you might have to hire movers should you be alone. Movers usually charge $40 to $60 per hour, depending on location and company. Even if you pack everything in boxes and leave nothing but the lifting, it could take three hours with two people, costing (at $50 an hour) a total of $300.

Current Housing

Moving from one property to another might carry costs. Owning your home and choosing to rent to tenants means accepting the risk that the tenants might not pay. Even when tenants move out, you might have to eat the cost of a month’s rent while you wait to lease the home to new tenants. The other option would be to sell your home, which might not always yield the best return if you need to sell it quickly.

If you reside in an apartment, breaking a lease could have significant financial consequences if your new boss wants you to start work before your lease expires. The solution? Find someone to take over your lease, or else risk paying double rent at your old place and your new home.

Tips to Reduce Costs

If relocating for a job, negotiate with the company to cover moving expenses. Otherwise, consider storing some pieces of furniture with a relative and buying a less expensive alternative; that relative might be willing to drive the old, nicer piece of furniture with them later in the future. Think about selling your furniture to avoid the cost of moving it, and also to make money, which will mitigate the overall cost.

To reduce the cost of movers, many college students looking to make a quick buck will happily respond to a craigslist ad for just $20 or $30 per hour. Before hiring a mover, try calling friends first and offer them a nice lunch as a “thank you” if they should accept your plea for help.


Sometimes, the cost of hiring someone to move your items cross-country might save you money in hidden costs. expresses that paying an extra $1,000 could save you time, stress, and potentially, your health—many people have back or joint problems that could be exacerbated by lifting furniture and unpacking. Thoroughly calculate all costs you will incur from moving, and then compare these figures against a quote by a moving company.