13 Cheap, Easy Ways to Move Across the Country

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Looking for Cheap, Easy Ways to Move to a Different State?

Many Cincinnati residents are moving across the country to a new state.

According to the U.S. Census Data, many Ohio residents are packing their bags and booking it to the Sunshine State, Florida. Who can blame them? 

The beaches, the weather, the job market — it’s a tempting change from the cold, windy atmosphere of Cincinnati. 

But if you’re wondering how to move across the country cheaply and easily, this post will give you 13 great tips to make it happen. 

1. DIY the Move 

The cheapest way to move is simply to pack your stuff in your vehicle and drive to your new location. If cost is a major factor (long-distance moves aren’t cheap!), doing it yourself is the best option.

Be warned: DIY moves aren’t exactly easy. Mileage on your car and gas prices at the pump will be a major expense to plan for. 

But…Is it worth paying for a moving company? Can’t I save money by DIY? 

For long-distance moves — Yes! Although you save money with a DIY, you ultimately pay in time, stress, and hassle. 

2. Rent an Affordable Moving Truck or Trailer 

Moving trucks are a great alternative to hiring a moving company. The average cost is between $50 and $2,000.

Due to inflation, most prices have risen higher than that. If you happen to rent a trailer with attached towing hookups, you can move your personal vehicle in a single move, saving you money and mileage! 

The total cost depends on the truck’s size and the weight of your items (which impacts your mpg rating).

Google map of long-distance move driving from Cincinnati to Florida

Be Warned: Moving trucks don’t get great gas mileage, often around 10 mpg! 

That’s around $270 to $360 for a one-way drive (over 915 MILES)!  

If you have a super large move, rent a 28’ freight trailer.

A lot of trailer companies can drop off a trailer at your house for three days, you load it up, then they drive it off. 

3. Compare Your Options 

woman comparing moving costs on her laptop

It’s less stressful when you know what to expect.

Compare prices from moving companies and see which is the cheapest option. Get (at minimum) 3 price quotes to compare. 

Take a home inventory of all your belongings. What do you have? Heavy pianos, gun safes, and sculptures require “specialty moving services” that often come at extra cost, depending on the moving company. 

Know who you’re dealing with. Is the company a broker or carrier? There is a difference

  • Brokers are middlemen — they close the deal and send you off to a moving company to handle the logistics of your move. 
  • Moving carriers own their own van fleet and moving specialists. These services often cost a bit more and demand you do a bit more research. 

You might be wondering… 

What options do I have for a cross-country move? 


4. Look at their Services & Pick a Hybrid Move 

Dedicated interstate, long-distance moving companies like Nelson Markesbery take care of everything from packing and loading household items (pianos, beds, tools, etc.) to transportation and furniture assembly. 

You might not need all the services offered in a moving package. Look carefully and see if your company offers a customized moving service quote — a “hybrid move.” 

In short, it’s where you cover most of the move, and the hired moving staff helps with the remaining portions of it. 

Personalize Your Moving Experience with Allied Van Lines!

5. Budget & Save for Future Moving Costs 

Once you’ve compared quotes, total up your moving expenses using a calculator. With a clear number or range of numbers in mind, start thinking of ways to meet those expenses before your projected move date (or lower them…decluttering, downsizing, using recycled moving materials, etc.).

man budgeting coins in jar

Pile up on cash. Keep a close eye on your monthly budget and put away money each month towards your move. 

You might try opening a separate account for just moving-related expenses. 

6. Consider Renting a Moving Container 

Portable moving containers are a cost-effective alternative to hiring a full-service moving company. 

These double as storage containers before and after the move. The cost depends on the length of time that you rent it. 

Moving container companies to choose from: 

  • U-Haul’s U-Boxes
  • 1-800-PACK-RAT
  • Go Mini’s 
  • PODs

7. Don’t Even Pack, Just Ship it

It’s not a popular option, granted. But it’s a convenient solution. You can ship your belongings via USPS or FedEx and ship any larger items through online service providers like uShip.com. 

8. Use FREE Moving Supplies 

Pack your items using free supplies. Look in your local area. Hit up your neighborhood grocery store or look for recycled boxes that are in good condition. There’s a goldmine of no-cost moving supplies out there if you know where to look. 

9. Negotiate a Relocation Package with Your Employer

Talk to your employer about a relocation package. Many employers don’t cover your moving expenses, but some do. 

Relocation packages come in the form of reimbursement for all your moving costs or a lump sum to be spent on the move.

It’s worth a try. Besides, there’s no harm in asking. 

10. Ask Family & Friends for Help 

group of friends moving boxes into apartment

Buy some pizzas and invite your friends and family to help you with your move. You might consider tipping or paying them $10, $15, or $20 bucks for helping you out. 

It’s an awesome way to build in one last memory before you head out.  

11. Declutter, Sell & Donate 

Get rid of your excess belongings. The less you have to move, the cheaper your moving costs will be. And the less equipment you’ll need. 

Renting less equipment (fewer containers or a smaller moving truck) lowers your moving expenses. 

12. Ditch the Insurance (If you Don’t Need it)

If you’re shipping expensive items, GET INSURANCE. It could end up saving you money in the long run. For most people, insurance isn’t necessary. 

Getting rid of it means one less costly item on your bill. 

13. Move During the Off Season 

Holidays, the middle of the work week, winter time. These aren’t glamorous times to move. That’s why they’re the cheapest. Beware! Summer moves are notorious for high prices and few options (all booked out). 

Avoid summertime moves and weekend moves if you can. But if you must, read our list of summer moving tips!

Out-of-State Moving FAQs

What’s the cheapest way to move furniture out of state? 

  • Rental trucks (for a DIY move).
  • Parcel shipments with carriers (priced according to your box’s dimensions & weight). 
  • Self-moving service that delivers a portable shipping container to your door. 

For more informal tips on out-of-state moving, take a look at Reddit.

Are there any programs to help me move?

How to move out of state with no income?

It’s best to have a job in the new location you’re moving to or a source of income at the very least. 


But if you’re low on cash or without money, you’ll want to get free moving supplies (don’t buy packing supplies), sell whatever you can, and look for work as soon as possible.

Book Your Next Long-Distance Move with Nelson Markesbery

We make your moving experience as easy as possible, handling every detail with organization and precision. You can get a free quote or request more information about our moving services by submitting an online form!

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