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Moving Across the Country? Moving Truck vs Pods vs Sell it All and Start Over

What you'll learn: When moving cross-country, should you sell your furniture or hire movers?

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Moving Across the Country? Moving Truck vs Pods vs Sell It All and Start Over

You made a choice, found a house, and set the date. You’re moving! Now, the question remains: How will you move your stuff across the country? Or, should you even move it at all? With the average cost of moving cross-country ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 or more, weighing your options is a smart idea. Each comes with varying levels of cost, convenience, and risk. To help you decide, here are the benefits and drawbacks of some of the most popular ways to move across the country.

Renting a moving truck

If you prefer a DIY approach, you may choose to rent a moving truck to drive yourself. Just keep in mind that this option is the most labor intensive and may require bribing friends and family to contribute some extra muscle on moving day. Truck rental rates vary based on the vehicle size and distance.

Pros of renting a moving truck:

  • You can choose a truck size that fits your needs, so you’re not overpaying for space you don’t need.
  • It’s often the cheapest way to move cross-country with your current belongings.
  • You can ensure all of your possessions are handled with care.
  • Packing and unpacking are in your full control.
  • Timing is flexible, as you often pay by the day.

Cons of renting a moving truck:

  • You do all the manual work.
  • Driving is your responsibility.
  • You pay for gas, which adds up quickly when you’re moving across the country.
  • You’re liable for any damage that could occur to the truck or your possessions.

Renting a moving truck may be best suited for:

  • The budget-conscious DIYer who’s confident driving a moving truck long distance.

Renting pods

Portable moving containers, sometimes called pods, are a relatively new service that combine a moving truck and storage into one. While still viewed as a DIY approach because you’re responsible for loading and unloading, pods can offer more flexibility than a traditional moving truck.

Pros of pods:

  • The container can also serve as a storage unit for before, during, or after the move.
  • You can choose to store the container on your property or at the company’s storage facility.
  • Timing is flexible, allowing you to pack and unpack on a timeline that fits your schedule.
  • The company will pick it up and ship the pod across the country when you’re ready.
  • Pods are more affordable than a full-service moving company.

Cons of pods:

  • You do the packing and unpacking.
  • Self-storage space is limited. If the facility is full, you may have to find one farther away, adding time and expense to your move.
  • City restrictions or unhappy neighbors may hinder your ability to park a pod at your old or new residence.
  • Pods typically cost more than renting a traditional moving vehicle.

Pods may be best suited for:

  • The mover who needs maximum time flexibility and isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves.

Hiring a moving company

According to Mayflower, full-service movers handle the heavy lifting from start to finish. No packing, unpacking, loading, or driving a truck to haul your belongings. Specific services vary between company packages, but the general idea is to leave the checklists, sorting, packing, and (literal) heavy lifting to someone else.

Pros of hiring a mover:

  • You’ll barely have to lift a finger on moving day.
  • Movers can significantly reduce the stress of a long move.
  • You won’t have to purchase many, or any, moving supplies.

Cons of hiring a mover:

  • Full-service movers usually come at a premium price.
  • You place your possessions in the trust of someone else. You may consider moving insurance, which adds expense.

Hiring movers may be best suited for:

  • Someone with a higher budget who prefers a white-glove moving experience.

Selling it all and starting over

Relocating is a fresh start. If you’re looking for the easiest way to move across the country and aren’t attached to your current possessions, downsizing before you leave may be right for you.

Pros of starting over:

  • Packing is limited come moving day.
  • You can fill your new home with furniture and decor that best fits the space.
  • As far as upfront costs go, it’s likely the cheapest way to move across the states.

Cons of starting over:

  • It’ll take time and effort to downsize before you leave. Think rummage sales, Craigslist transactions, and trips to thrift stores.
  • You may have to make do with little furniture and familiar comforts upon arrival.
  • Furnishing a new home once you arrive can come with significant expense.

Starting over may be best suited for:

  • The adventurous spirit willing to put in some upfront work to move with a blank slate.

Summing it all up

Still undecided? Here’s a table to sum up the pros and cons and give you a side-by-side comparison of the cost, convenience, and risk of each option.

 

Cost

Convenience

Risk

Moving Truck

$$

★★

⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠

Pods

$$$

★★★

⚠⚠⚠

Moving Company

$$$$$

★★★★★

⚠⚠⚠⚠

Start Over

$$

★★★★

Planning a cross-country move isn’t for the faint of heart. To be successful, choose a method that makes sense for you based on your budget and what’s practical for your situation. Set realistic expectations and remember, the work will pay off when you finally open the door to your new home.

 

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