Reader Request: cheap cross-country moving tips

Local movers in the St. Patrick's Day parade - probably not what this reader needs!

We’re losing a Springs Bargains reader!  Karen writes:

Our family is moving back to the east coast this fall to be closer to family. I am hoping one of your readers might have some advice for cheap cross-country moves… I am particularly interested in doing container shipping or where we would load the front part of a tractor trailer. Does anyone know of any cheap moving companies out there?

Karen, we’re sorry to see you leave beautiful Colorado, but hopefully we’ll be able to help you save some money on your move!  Anyone have any experience with cross-country moves?  Did you use a pod or “shared shipping”?  Please share your tips in the comments.

Archived Reader Requests are available here, and you can also submit a request.



  1. Gretchen says:

    When my family moved from Portland to the Springs we used ABF where we loaded all of our stuff on the front of one of their trucks and we paid about $500. Since there was a lot of height in the truck-we stacked things as high as we could (like our couch we put on the end and stacked stuff inside and on to of it-just make sure you bring a lot of extra rope to secure it up high. They give you wooden dividers to put at the front of all of your stuff and it worked really great-we didn’t loose anything because of the movement of the truck!

    • “we loaded all of our stuff on the front of one of their trucks and we paid about $500”. Is this a special option? When I requested a quote for moving from COS to CT for a “1 bedroom plus”, it was over $2,000. This that based on milage? I appreciate any insight. Thanks!

  2. I would also recommend ABF (I used them when I moved from Boston to Montana and it was cheap). You pay by the size, not the weight.

  3. I have to 3rd the recommendation for ABF. We used them when we moved from C/S to Idaho, and it was great! This was 7 years ago and I can’t remember the price, but it was about the same or cheaper than a U-haul.

  4. Can’t recommend any moving companies (we’ve always borrowed trailers and such) but don’t forget you can claim moving expenses on your taxes if you move more than (a certain number) of miles to be closer to your next job. (I can’t remember the miles-so don’t quote me) But when we moved 650 miles from MO to CO we were able to claim moving expenses.

  5. I don’t have advice on cross country moving, but my husband owns a moving business for in-state moves. He is also an antique restorer/carpenter, so he is very careful. Much cheaper than most. $80 per hour for him, another guy, and the moving truck. No extra fees.
    I am a bargain fanatic, and from what I know he’s very inexpensive. Nick @ Peak Furniture Delivery (and Moving) @ 719-344-4344. He also moves big Craig’s List, Yard Sale, or Auction items. :)

  6. Jennifer DeJong says:

    We moved from Warner Robins, Ga to Colorado Springs, Co. We decided to pack all of our stuff, hire someone to load up our truck, drive to CS, then pay someone to unload it. If you move yourself you can pit two moving truck companies against each other and get a really good deal.

    • That’s where we headed from! Being so far though, we didn’t worry about it and let the military move us. They used ABF. We’re looking at moving ourselves down to Florida when the hubs gets out though.

  7. Thanks for the recommendations. I will definately look into ABF. We are moving cross-country with a dog, a cat, and a 2 year old… so the last thing I want to do is to deal with a U-haul trailer!

  8. I have never used them but I have seen alot of those Pod containers around, where you pack the container and then they move it for you. You can go here :

    and get a quote to compare to the other commpany.

  9. catherine wellman says:

    We moved 2 houses worth here 2 years ago from Texas & used PODS; very affordable & the USPS Mail Forwarding package has a 10% off coupon. Happy Moving!

  10. We used PODS when we moved here last year. Worked out GREAT, but it was a bit pricey, about $2000 from L.A. with one month of storage while we searched for a home.

  11. heatherK says:

    I have to agree with Aaron – when we moved from Indiana to COS two years ago, we got a quote from PODS. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was expensive (above $2000). We ended up renting a 26ft Penske truck for $1,150 – I think that was for four days. I just checked their website, and they offer 10% off for reserving online and an additional 10% off if you have a AAA membership.

    • We used a Penske truck as well and moved ourselves from Ohio to here just over a year ago…they have the best price on a do-it-yourselfer that we have found so far and have used them a couple of times. We priced PODS and another brand for moving and it was certainly more expensive. Although it was hard moving ourselves, it worked out. And we got a discount on a storage unit in the area through Penske for the 6 months or so we used it. For us the savings was worth it and our 2 little boys (both under 4) LOVED the big yellow truck. I would recommend getting rid of as much as possible. I wish we had gotten rid of more. Less cost, less hassle.

  12. That’s funny that you found PODS to be expensive. When we moved from CA to CO 3 years ago we used and LOVED PODS! We loaded up half of our house into a POD before putting the house on the market and sent it off for storage. Then when moving day came we put the 2nd half of our house into a second POD (we had enough stuff that we filled both containers to the top!). Then they sent the PODS to Colorado while we drove out. We lived in temporary housing for 6 weeks- when we were ready to move into our new house we had the PODS delivered to the driveway. It was so convenient and it saved us having to move the stuff in and out of storage units on both ends. We compared several options and found it to be the least expensive and best suited for our needs. Some of the companies that offer similar services only have smaller units that would not have held our couch- something worth investigating before you commit!

  13. We used ABF Door to Door ( 3 1/2 years ago when we moved to CO from WA. Maybe we have a lot of stuff, but we used an entire 1/2 size trailer (28-foot — you know, the size where they pull 2 at once with a semi tractor). We packed it all ourselves. It was about $2300 and took them about a week to deliver. My husband and father-in-law drove our vehicles (also packed with stuff and one pulled a small open trailer with outdoor things). Their pricing can depend on where they have trailers and where they need trailers. However, for us, this price was way cheaper than renting 2 Hertz trucks (their biggest wouldn’t quite cover it) and the gas to get everything here).

  14. When we moved here 7 years ago from 1200 miles away, we gave away most of our stuff, packed up both our compact cars, shrink wrapped our left-over items (bed, crib, dresser, kitchen items, table/chairs). We sent them here via fed-ex. Cost $750.
    You could check with an area business that does business where you are moving …. if they ship things by truck, they sometimes allow you to put your things on the truck for a small fee.

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Hi Liz,
      My girlfriend and I are moving from Florida to Seattle this summer. I’m sure you can sympathize with the logistical nightmares we’re facing trying to come up with the most cost effective way to move. We’ve tried all the obvious solutions, trailer, truck, pods…but none of them seem ideal. We have only recently started considering shipping the big items so that we don’t have to drive a truck. Can you give me some more details on what you did to ship your things? Did you only ship your big furniture items and get rid of stuff that would have been packed in boxes? Also, did you move with any pets? Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

      Thank you!

  15. On our last cross-country move, hubby drove the U-Haul with one dog, one hamster and one child. My son, daughter in law and I with another child drove the car with a second dog, and two cats. We also pulled a small trailer u-haul. We left NJ on an early Sat morn. We took rest stop breaks and switched drivers, son sometimes in U-Haul, etc. We stopped one night in a hotel. (left cats and hamster in car and took two small dogs in with us.) Arrived in Tucson AZ late Tues night. Meanwhile, we’d sold our home in NJ so we had some funds., Hubby flew out to buy the place in AZ (BAD CHOICE, I forgot hubby has no sense of style) It took 20k to fix up his nightmare to make it liveable. ) next time, I will fly out and find the house. All around that was 12 yrs ago. BAD choice, I hate AZ as does daughter in law and all we do is complain abt the 110 degree heat. We want to go home. I should mention all of d-in-law family is deceased so she left no parents/grandparents/aunts, etc. Only child, too. AZ is the land of minimum wage op. SUCKS. High crime, too hot, no fresh fish of veggies. Planning to move back to the garden state as soon as we can. Not sure how. I’d prefer Seattle, where I have family, but I’ve been voted down. Our deal is we stick together, I won’t be away from my grandbabies, I just refuse. Life is way too short to not have grandchildren around to keep me young.

  16. I’m sure Karen has moved by now but I just wanted to add some information to the discussion. I’ve moved across the country 3 times now and I’ve done it in a couple ways. I’ve sold all my stuff and shipped my stuff through Amtrak after college. This was definitely the cheapest but at the time I didn’t have hardly anything to move. Amtrak has a 150lb limit with no furniture or electronics allowed. I’ve also hired movers (since I’m a mover I get great discounts) and that was a breeze. For the average person, moving yourself with a rental truck is the cheapest if you have furniture. For comfort and ease though, hiring professional movers is the best. If you want the cheapest deals on cross country movers, compare quotes from multiple companies. I hope this helps someone out there looking to move across the country!

  17. My fiancé and I plan to move from ny to southern ca. In the next couple years with our yorkie. Based on the research I ve done on the move, and our budget, we decided we would sell or donate everything we are willing to part with and then move everything else in our car. We plan to pack drinks snacks and simple sandwiches in a cooler and keep it in the backseat. Our yorkie is small so we will just be putting his blanket on the other half of the back seat with some toys( also have snacks food and water available). We also will be using a harness in place Of a normal collar for the move to avoid any accidents with him running away. Good luck to everyone else on their cross country ventures :)

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