Are you planning to move interstate? Are you concerned about the cost of hiring a full-service moving company?
The price of convenience can be high so if you’re willing to share the burden of moving your belongings there are other ways to get your interstate move on.
The following six methods are all viable alternatives to hiring a full-service moving company when moving interstate (unless you’re relocating to Hawaii or Alaska!)
We have arranged them in ‘cheapest first’ order but this is only a guide as there are often good deals to be had if you look around for them.
Use the Bus
This is an easy option to overlook but is perfectly feasible for those movers who have no pets, no vehicles to transport and no more than 250 pounds of stuff to carry with them. In most cases, buses will allow cargo up to this weight although it is advisable to call in advance for any size and weight restrictions.
If taking the bus, you will need to spend extra attention on packing as your boxes are liable to be knocked around a bit. You should also take enough food and drink to last the trip and it goes without saying that you should check the route to make sure you can be dropped off at a convenient spot.
Then there’s the issue of getting your belongings to and from the bus station or stops. If you can call in some favors from friends or family members you might be able to even avoid an Uber or taxi fare.
One huge advantage with taking the bus is you can sit back and enjoy the view without worrying about the driving side of things.
Use the Train
If you like the idea of public transport but have a bit too much to take with you, a train trip or two could be the best option for you. For short distance moves (under 7 hours or so) you might even be able to pay a surcharge to bring your cat or dog.
As with the bus, you will have to find a way to transport your belongings to and from the train station and you will normally have to move them out of the station within 48 hours (you should call ahead to check on this together with any other restrictions).
Luggage allowance is more generous when moving by train and you can usually move up to 500 pounds in one trip. Again, you should check the route thoroughly before booking and cut costs further by bringing your own food and drink.
As with bus transport, you should assume the worst when it comes to luggage handling and movement during transit so be extra thorough when packing those boxes.
Hire a Tow Trailer
If you’re someone who is happy to drive and pack, hiring a tow trailer is a good way to save money as it is usually the cheapest self-drive option. You can also transport those larger boxes and items of furniture that won’t be allowed on a bus or train.
Availability can be scarce so it is worth booking your tow trailer as early as possible to avoid disappointment. You will also have to make sure you hire the right tow package for your needs, obtain adequate insurance and secure all belongings firmly.
Some extra tips include practicing backing up with a trailer, researching gas stations for those which are trailer-friendly, taking it very slow over speed bumps and curbs and protecting heat sensitive items from freezing or spoiling.
Hiring a tow trailer is a great way to enjoy the benefits of traveling in your own vehicle but is not always suitable. For example, really bulky items (large couches, white goods, etc.) may not fare well, especially with a long drive.
Hire a Pickup
One of the self-drive moving options which is regularly overlooked is hiring a pickup truck rather than a moving truck. Pickup day rate hire is usually cheaper than a dedicated moving truck and the cab of a pickup will be more spacious too which is a bonus if you’re taking children or pets along for the ride.
Of course, there will be compromises to make. Insurance won’t be included so you will either have to sort this out separately or just drive very carefully. You will also need to get hold of plenty of straps, ropes and stretch cords for securing your load and a heavy duty cover for protection from the elements. You can get these from a good warehouse supplies outlet. Another disadvantage is the lack of a loading ramp so you will have to be willing and able to lift boxes and furniture over the side of the truck when loading.
When stopping for a break, make it a habit to check and tighten straps and ropes and never leave your truck where it can’t be seen.
Hire a Moving Truck
If you are carrying a lot of furniture, white goods and heavy boxes you might decide that a tow trailer or pickup are simply not adequate for your needs. In this case, hiring a moving truck is going to be the cheapest option.
Keep that fact in mind because the experience will probably be quite demanding as you will need to do all the loading, driving and unloading yourself. You will also have precious little room in the cab (think two and a half seats at most), making for an uncomfortable journey. Backing up can be tricky if you’re not used to driving without a rearview mirror as can negotiating narrow lanes and city roads.
On the plus side, contents insurance is included and your belongings will be safely enclosed within the back (as long as you have packed them properly). It may be worth obtaining a heavy duty padlock from a warehouse equipment supplier for extra security.
To benefit your wallet even further, you should plan your move for when schools are in session as rates will be a lot less.
Hire a POD
If the previous section has put you off self-drive, there is one more option to consider before calling a full-service moving company: hiring portable on-demand storage – POD for short. The concept behind POD is simple. Someone drops a container off at your home, you load it, they pick it up and drive it to your new home, you unload it and they pick up the empty container.
Availability of POD services can be patchy and you may have to think about any drop-off restrictions but this is another way to save money if you don’t mind packing and loading yourself.
One last tip: before deciding to book one of the options above, it is worth making absolutely sure that a full-service moving company is out of your budget. Competition can motivate companies to offer very generous discounts and there are free comparison websites out there who will trawl through thousands of these to find the lowest price.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to make a decision about how you’re going to manage your interstate move but there is one final question left unanswered. What do you do if you are moving to Hawaii or Alaska?
In that case, you may find that a good deal involving air freight (either using an airline or courier company) may be your best option.
Good luck with your upcoming interstate move!