Think of your long distance move as a road trip. Although in this instance, it’s more about the destination than the journey—and about saving money while getting there. Moving long distance can be cheap if you know where to cut costs. Whether you’re moving to a neighboring state or across the country, follow these tips and you will save money, have an easier time getting to your new home and maybe even enjoy the drive.
Why stay in a $200 hotel room when there’s a $100 hotel room a mile away? Plan your move and book hotel rooms in advance to get the best deals. Save extra money by enrolling in rewards programs for chain hotels and using discount booking sites.
Get creative with lodging and save money. Consider Airbnb, or if you’re the outdoorsy type, campgrounds. One underrated option is KOA. In addition to tent and RV sites, the campground chain offers cheap cabins, which are an inexpensive and fun alternative to hotel rooms. If your budget is very tight, consider Couchsurfing or Walmart parking lots that allow you to safely and legally sleep in your vehicle.
Moving for work? Hang onto your receipts. You may be able to get reimbursement from your employer and deduct moving costs when filing your taxes.
“You’re not using GasBuddy?!?!” -you, judging your friends who have yet to learn about the money-saving genius of the app that makes fueling up cheaper.
Stopping at restaurants—yes, even cheap fast food joints—can really add up. Save money by getting a nice cooler (Yeti coolers keep ice frozen for over three days if you’re willing to invest in one) and loading it with snacks from a grocery store.
Another way to save money on food is to cook along the way. Stay at hotels with kitchenettes (extended stay hotels offer these), camp at campgrounds with grills or at the very least, make sure that room you’ve booked has a microwave and a fridge so you can heat up soup or something similar.
Remember that cooler we mentioned? When you do dine out, use it to save your leftovers and then microwave them and have them for dinner when you arrive at your hotel.
Unexpected car trouble can blow your whole moving budget on towing fees alone. Get your car tuned up before you hit the road and prevent a costly breakdown.
Moving long distance doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Infuse the drive with that road trip spirit by stopping at free attractions along the way. This might include scenic view areas along the highway and free events, such as factory tours and community festivals, in towns that you’re passing through.
Save money on your long distance move by moving at the right time. Traffic is lighter and hotels are cheaper midweek, which will save you money on gas and lodging. If you’re renting a moving truck or using professional movers, prices are typically more affordable mid-month.
Renting a storage unit can save you money on your long distance move in a number of ways. First, if you plan on coming back to the town you just left, leaving some items in storage for your next visit can prevent you from throwing them out and replacing them when you arrive at your new home. It can also help your gas mileage because your car won’t be weighed down. Another way to save money on your move by using self storage is to rent a portable storage unit, or mobile storage unit. You’ll pack the storage unit and it will be shipped to your new home for you to unload at your convenience.
Happy moving; enjoy the journey!