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Budget Basics: The Average Cost of Moving Cross-Country

Moving cross-country has a lot of variables to consider when figuring out the costs, but ultimately you can expect to pay around $5-10 thousand dollars depending on what services you opt to use.
What is the Average Cost of Moving Cross-Country

In this article

When thinking about moving cross-country, your first thought is probably… “How much will it cost?”.

Although it would be nice to know without the hassle of getting multiple estimates and doing your due diligence, every move is different and there is no substitute for knowing the specifics.

However, it’s totally understandable to want to at least have a ballpark cost, which is what this article aims to do.

Your 3 Main Options

There are 3 approaches you can take when planning any move really, DIY truck rental, containers, and full-service movers.

The prices between these choices gradually increase, as well as the amount of work depending on which option you go for.

You also have to consider things like gas, location, and lodging.

Where Are We Going?

For this article, we are going to use the example locations of moving from Los Angeles to New York City.

These are very popular locations and also happen to be on opposite ends of the coast.

The distance between these cities is about 2500 miles, which is the main number we will use for our estimations.


This cost can affect all three moving options but is a main expense for the DIY mover,

Considering not every state has the same gas prices, the average across the states you would be driving through is roughly $3.

The average 20’ truck gets about 10 miles per gallon (not great) which would mean going 2500 miles is going to cost you around $750. (Multiply that number by how many trucks you end up renting).


Another expense you are going to want to think about is where you will sleep while you travel.

The total driving from LA to NYC is roughly 40 hours which equals about 5 nights where you will need to find a hotel. (Or sleep in your car).

Hotel prices can vary by large margins, but you can safely assume that you will spend at least $150 for an average hotel stay, which would bring your cost to around another $750.

How To Save On Hotel Costs:

  • Book them in advance
  • Try to avoid major cities
  • Find hotels that are a little outside of town


If you are not up for the task of driving for 5 days straight, your other option would be to take a flight. I mean you have to get to your new place somehow and I doubt you want to walk.

Even more so than hotels, airline prices are known for constantly fluctuating, you also have to consider if you want to fly direct or deal with connecting flights.

This cost is too difficult to get a consistent average on, but should not be overlooked.

Truck Rental

We have arrived at the meat and potatoes of the main cost differences, starting with renting a DIY moving truck.

For a 20’ Uhaul that fits about a 2-bedroom house, the current cost from LA to NY is about $4500. (Swapping the destinations does change the cost, so you will want to check for yourself).

Don’t forget, renting a moving truck requires you to load everything yourself unless you plan to hire help.

You will also want to think about how you will get your car to your new home.

Getting A Container

Similar to renting a truck, you will have to load a container yourself, assuming you don’t need to hire help.

The plus side is you will not have to drive a big truck 2500 miles across the country.

Like everything else, the price will depend on the time of year and your move date, but you can expect to pay close to $5000 for the distance we chose.

Not a bad trade-off, but with the added risk of letting somebody else handle your things.

Full-Service Movers

Hiring full-service movers is the most expensive option but also requires the least amount of work.

Looking around online, prices jump anywhere from 4 thousand up to 9 thousand dollars.

The pros to hiring movers are pretty clear, but some of the cons are, a higher potential for loss or damage, scheduling can sometimes be difficult and there are often unexpected fees.

Which is why it is super important to know where to find high-quality movers.

Moving Forward

Adding that all up, moving cross country involves a lot of planning and some decent budgeting skills. You’re probably not going to get away with spending less than $5,000 if you are moving more than a room or two’s worth of things. Hopefully, you found this helpful and we wish you luck making your cross-country move.

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Nik Watson

Nik Watson

Meet Nik, a dedicated writer with a passion for real estate/moving blogs and, of course… writing. For the past two years, he’s crafted engaging content for a plethora of real estate firms and E-commerce companies, accumulating credibility and experience to be one of the best in the industry. Having relocated multiple times recently, Nik has utilized a plethora of moving companies, gaining valuable insight into both solo and professional moves. Through these experiences, he would recommend moving with professional services, as it lowers stress levels tremendously. When he’s not immersed in his writing, you can find him working on other entrepreneurial endeavors in the real estate/moving space.
Green Group

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