Moving costs | Prepare for your move | Best ways to move
Figuring out how to move out of state comes with lots of challenges and tasks. You’ve got to change your address, cancel utilities, and update your healthcare information. Plus, you have to arrange out the actual logistics of your move.
Our moving trend survey found that 44% of Americans cry at least once during the moving process. We’re here to help keep you from tears!
We’ll walk you through the steps to moving out of state and show you the best way to move out of state based on your budget.
How much does it cost to move out of state?
|Moving company (full service)||$2,500+*|
|Truck rental||~$400 (varies by distance and time)*|
|Personal vehicle||Varies based on current fuel price|
Moving isn’t cheap. Our moving survey found that, of Americans who made long-distance moves, 60% spent more than $2,000. In some cases, they spent a lot more.
That said, interstate moving costs can vary a lot ― and there are ways you can save money on your move.
If you rent a U-Haul truck, for example, you’ll probably spend less than if you hire an out-of-state moving company that does everything for you. (Just don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas, labor, and packing supplies for a DIY move. More on that below.)
The distance of your move can make a big difference when it comes to cost. Generally, the shorter the move, the cheaper it will be.
A move from Massachusetts to New Hampshire will cost less than a move from Massachusetts to Washington. So if you’re still picking where you want to move, the closer option could save you lots on moving costs.
Regardless of how and where you move, remember that you’ll pay for more than just transporting your belongings. You also need to think about travel costs ― like hotel stays and meals ―and moving supplies as you plan your budget.
Cheap ways to move out of state:
- Ask around for used moving boxes instead of buying new ones.
- Pick up used boxes from local stores.
- Use blankets and towels that you already own to wrap and pack your fragile items.
- Pack food for your drive instead of eating at restaurants.
- Stay with family and friends along the way instead of paying for hotels.
- Plan to move on a weekday to save on truck and hotel costs.
» MORE: Best moving boxes for every budget.
How to prepare to move out of state
Packing boxes and loading up trucks are a huge part of the moving process, but they aren’t the only steps to moving out of state. Make sure you put the following tasks on your moving-out-of-state checklist:
Notify the US post office of your permanent change of address
Once you know your new address, you can change your address with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) online or at your local post office to get your mail forwarded to your new place.
You can also choose to update your voter registration at the same time. Plus, USPS usually gives you coupons and discounts for stores like Lowe’s, Overstock, and Wayfair to help you get set up in your new place.
USPS will forward your mail to the new address for up to one year. Still, you should plan to update your address directly with any people or businesses that send you mail (like your bank or insurance company).
Contact utility companies to cancel your contracts
To avoid paying for utilities for the next tenant’s utilities or an empty home, you need to cancel your utility contracts. Make sure you cancel with these common providers:
You can usually call your provider (or use an online chat) to cancel your service after a specific date. Just make sure your move date is confirmed, because you don’t want to end up without power or water for the last few days in your old place.
You may have to pay an early termination fee when you cancel, but that depends on the terms of your contract. In some cases (like internet and cable), you may be able to avoid the fee by transferring the service to your new location instead of canceling. Contact your providers to find out more about your specific situation.
Sell or get rid of unwanted items
Don’t pay to move things you no longer need or can easily replace in your new home. You want to move the smallest amount of stuff possible, so pick toss out anything you don’t love.
Purge as many things as you can by:
- Holding a yard sale
- Selling items on Facebook Marketplace or Poshmark
- Posting items on Freecycle or your local Buy Nothing group
- Donating things to a nearby thrift store
- Giving food away to neighbors or a food bank
Selling items can be a good way to recoup some of your moving costs. But giving things away is usually faster and can still save you money. If you have less stuff, you can rent a smaller truck and pay less in labor fees during your move.
Double check the terms of your lease (if you’re renting)
If you’re renting, make sure you take care of your lease well before you plan to move. In most cases, you’ll have to give written notice to your landlord in advance. The notice period varies by state and by contract. But as a general rule, plan to give notice at least 30 days before ending your lease or you might have to pay a late fee.
If your lease period is up anyway, just put in your notice and ask how to get your deposit back.
If not, note that many landlords charge a penalty if you need to terminate your lease early. Check your contract to find out the terms and conditions of your lease, including how much notice you need to give. Or you can speak with your landlord to get the details.
You may also want to check out lease termination laws for your state. To learn more, use Avail’s interactive landlord-tenant law map.
Report your move on HealthCare.gov
If you currently have or plan to have healthcare coverage through the HealthCare.gov marketplace, you need to report your move to the marketplace on the HealthCare.gov website.
Most marketplace plans are state specific, so you’ll have to select new coverage when you move out of state. That means you’ll also have to upload a new healthcare application (for you and your dependents) for your new state. Depending on which state you move to, you can do this directly through HealthCare.gov or you may have to apply on a state-specific healthcare exchange.
Go ahead and report your move as soon as you’ve got your new address. That way, you can avoid a break in coverage or premiums for coverage you can no longer use.
Make sure you don’t lose Medicare coverage
If you have Medicare health coverage, moving out of state usually qualifies as a special enrollment period. You’ll need to reapply for Medicare coverage in your new coverage area.
You can update your coverage up to one month before you move or up to two months after. We recommend updating coverage before you move.
To find out how moving will affect your Medicare coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE. Or you can learn more at medicare.gov.
What’s the best way to move out of state?
When you’re deciding how to move out of state, time and cost are usually the two most important considerations.
- If you want to get the job done quickly with minimal stress, hire a professional mover.
- If you want to save some money, renting a truck and doing the work yourself is usually much cheaper.
- If you can’t afford to book a mover or rent a truck, try downsizing so you can fit everything in your own vehicle.
Hire a moving company
Hiring a moving company saves you time and energy. Instead of spending time on packing or loading a truck, you can spend your time on other things (like the steps above). Plus, you won’t have to worry about throwing out your back.
Our moving survey found that Americans who pay for moving services are less likely to report a stressful moving experience.
Of course, you will spend more on movers. You can find our recommended picks on our list of the best long-distance moving companies.
Rent a moving truck
Renting a move truck usually costs less than hiring a moving company. It also gives you more control over your move. You won’t have to deal with worrying about when your things will arrive or getting them mixed up with someone else’s.
Bellhop movers, a full-service mover, quoted us $2,500–4,500 for an out-of-state move. That cost doesn’t include packing, furniture assembly, or appliance hookups. Renting a U-Haul truck for two days to make that same move would cost only $391. That could save you over $2,000.
Now, to be clear, that U-Haul quote doesn’t tell the entire story. You’ll need to factor in costs like gas, packing supplies, and any moving labor you decide to hire ― not to mention the value of your own time and physical labor.
You can use this fuel calculator to estimate gas costs. And keep in mind that larger rental trucks cost more and use more fuel than small ones.
Even with those extra costs, renting a moving truck often ends up being the best cheap way to move out of state. If you’ve got the time to spare, renting a truck is our favorite budget friendly solution.
Use your own vehicle
If you don’t have much stuff and are trying to move out of state with no money, using your own vehicle is the cheapest option by far.
When you use your own vehicle, you just have to pay for gas and any packing supplies you need. You can save hundreds or even thousands compared to renting a U-Haul or hiring a full-service. Plus, you get the benefit of knowing exactly where your stuff is at all times. And you don’t even have to figure out where to park a rented moving truck.
Realistically, though, most people don’t have enough room in their vehicles for all their stuff. If you have a small home and a big vehicle, this can work, but you might have to sell or give away large items.