Cheapest Way to Move Out of State

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Cheapest Way to Move Out of State

Cheapest Way to Move Out of State

We often dream of the family home and the white picket fence. But what do you do when the high paying jobs lead you somewhere else? You pack up your life and move out of state. This is something that many Americans have had to come to terms with, seeing as jobs in this country fluctuate based on what industries and regions are hot at a given time.

It’s no surprise that a large portion of the tech industry is located in California, parts of Texas, and Washington State, while you’d be hard pressed to find jobs in the oil industry outside of Texas and other popular fracking locations.

learn more about cheapest long distance moving options

When it comes to moving, Americans are fairly lucky. Nearly every state is landlocked (ok, not Hawaii or Alaska – but no one is actually moving there for work), so moving is cheap. In most cases, the cheapest way to move out of state (depending on your state) will be to move your belongings using a moving truck. A shipping container will always be more expensive than a box/cargo truck, even though they are both trucking methods. “Cheap” really depends on your personal situation and how quickly you want to complete your move.

Keep in mind, this article will briefly discuss the cheapest ways to ship, but the actual costs will vary for you based on your location and other factors. Here’s what we are going to cover:

  • The different shipping methods for moving your belongings
  • The modes of transportation for the different options
  • What you should look for in a service
  • And other useful information to help you find the cheapest way to move out of state

Does this seem a bit overwhelming to you?

Don’t let it bother you, moving out of state is really easy and not that expensive.

With the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, all other American states are landlocked. When it comes to landlocked states, using a moving company’s trucking is often the cheapest way to move out of state. This usually depends on how far you want to move, as it can be cheaper in some instances to rent a shipping container that is shipped on a boat (i.e. Maine to Florida or Oregon to California).

A-1 Auto Transport can help you move your household goods nationwide. Call 888-509-3213 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote on interstate moving services.

With Hawaii and Alaska (depending on the weather), shipping will be the simplest and cheapest option. Hawaii is an island so trucking your belongings out of state is impossible on its own. Alaskan roads can become icy and dangerous during the winter, so it may be easier to rent a shipping container and use shipping by sea instead.

If your budget is limited, flying is not an option. Flying is really expensive, especially when compared to trucking and shipping by sea. Since the focus of this article is about the cheapest way to move out of state, forget about shipping by air all together.

Trucking Options

The trucking transportation options available to you will depend on how much stuff you have and want to transport.

If you do not have a lot of stuff, a box/cargo truck may be a great option for you. You have definitely seen these vehicles before, for instance, as many home owners rent these trucks for the day and businesses often use them to transport their products.

A few things to consider…

If you have a lot of stuff, you should look into renting a shipping container. This shipping container will be loaded onto a low loader big rig that will be driven to your new home.

Remember, cheap is a frame of mind that depends on many factors like:

  • How much stuff are you moving?
  • Is your stuff very valuable?
  • Will a cargo truck be enough?
  • Do you want a shipping container?

There are no wrong answers to any of these questions. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your budget.

As moving specialists, we always recommend that you set a budget that allows for you to hire a reputable moving company. We’ve been in this business for a long time and we’ve seen the kind of damage that low quality services provide. Trying to chase down a shady operation that damaged all of your belongings will take a lot of time and money. You can avoid this all together by hiring a company that takes care of your stuff and does the job right.

Shipping by Sea Options

If you want to ship your belongings by sea, you will need to use container shipping. You can either rent part of a shipping container or use an exclusive one. Renting part of a shipping container (also known as shared shipping) will be much more affordable than renting an exclusive shipping container, but there are tradeoffs.

Exclusive shipping containers provide two main advantages that shared shipping does not. First, your contents are only accessible to you. No one else can open your container. Once your belongings are loaded into the container, it is locked and secured. The container is only opened once it arrives at its destination.

Second, exclusive shipping is great if you are not sure how much of your belongings you want to bring with you. With exclusive shipping, it is not an issue if you suddenly want to ship some big, last-minute items like a bed frame, a set of drawers, or even a standing refrigerator. With shared shipping, an issue might arise due to restrictions on space.

As we iterated before in this article, cheap is subjective. Cheap depends on your goals, and you may want a more exclusive shipping option, especially if your belongings are very valuable. This value does not only have to be monetary. Sentimental value can make even the most ordinary items priceless to you.


Look, we get it. Insurance is a dirty word to many people. It’s quite difficult to think of a good experience that goes hand in hand with an insurance policy. Still, sometimes purchasing insurance is worth it, especially if you are shipping expensive items. An adequate level of insurance may be included in your moving company’s quote.

The moving company wants to ensure that your items are insured in case anything goes wrong. A truck can fall over, items can be jostled over potholes, and more. When moving your belongings, especially if you do not have the time to potentially replace some items once you move, you should purchase insurance.

Even if this insurance is included in the final moving price, you may decide to purchase additional insurance. You can insure all your belongings, or just the really valuable ones. Insurance may seem like a waste of money, but it is not. Insurance is like oxygen, you need it, but do not notice you need it until it is too late.

Avoid big headaches like this by purchasing additional insurance to protect your belongings.

Shop Around for Rates

Moving companies provide different rates based on a variety of factors including distance, how busy a company is, the time of season, gas prices, and more.

Asking a moving company located in the top of North Carolina how much it will cost to move to South Carolina will leave you with a higher quote than asking a moving company on the border between the two states. With larger states like Texas and California, this difference in price will become even more pronounced.

The farther you are from your destination, the more expensive it will be to move. If you can, shop around for rates between different moving companies, especially ones located in different zip codes, in order to receive the cheapest quote.

Here’s an industry tip for you…

Whenever you get a quote from one company, shop it around with other companies. The auto and household shipping industries are really competitive. These companies know their profit margins inside and out and they will budge so long as it is profitable to do so. Don’t take the first price you get, leverage your quotes against other comparable companies and you will see your prices go down.

Pay for Quality

Even if a quality moving company is not offering you the lowest moving quote to move out of state, you should still consider it. Quality moving companies are worth every penny. Many times, people do not notice how good a company can be until they contract a worse company.

Often, the difference between moving company quotes for companies located in the same zip code will not differentiate that much. Keeping in mind that quality is key, it may be worthwhile to use the moving company that asks for a slightly higher rate, even though it will cost a little more than you were expecting. The difference in quality will more than make up for the difference in price.

The easiest way to determine if a moving company is reputable is to check out their reviews and social media pages, to see if they are partnered with other reputable companies in the industry, and to talk to former customers to see how their experience went.

Contact Student/College Moving Companies

Oftentimes, these companies are staffed and sometimes owned by college students. College students may be more willing to give you a lower price. Keep in mind that the quality may be lower. This is not to state that college moving companies are worse, just that they tend to hire college students that are still learning the ropes.

College student-run businesses are untested commodities in the marketplace. However, you may be pleasantly surprised at the service you receive. These businesses are often staffed with more passionate people and this passion usually translates into better service.

Your mileage may vary, but if you are looking for the cheapest prices possible, this may be the best way for you to find them.

Balancing Between Cheap Prices and Exceptional Quality

The cheapest way to move out of state will depend on the state you live in, as well as your moving requirements. If you live in Hawaii, you will need to ship your belongings by boat. If you live in Alaska, trucking, ships, or even airplanes, may be used depending on the weather. If you live in the lower 48 (that is, the rest of the states), you will predominantly use trucking to ship your belongings out of state.

Remember this important advice:

  • Always shop around for rates
  • Consider the various perks and packages different moving companies are offering
  • Negotiate to see if you can get a better rate or a better deal
  • Consider what your bottom line is, both in value and price
  • Think about things like: What transportation method do you want? What transportation method would you be ok with, even if it was not your first choice?

After you have done all this, and answered these questions, you will know which moving company can provide you with the cheapest way to move out of state.

There’s another option…

Have you been shopping around for quotes and making no progress? A-1 Auto Transport can put an end to that. We are a reputable auto and household moving company that has been working in the industry for several decades. Your time is valuable, so we won’t bother wasting it with pointless quotes. Give us a call and we will give you the best price right away.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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