Last fall, we packed up our life in Vancouver, Washington and moved over 2,500 miles away to Birmingham, Alabama! Since we’re currently saving every dollar we can toward owning our first home debt-free, we needed to plan our long distance move on a budget.

Moving across the country is no small feat—and no small dent into your savings! So getting our stuff from point A to point B as cheaply as possible was important to us.

Let’s start with the numbers and then fill in the rest of the details down below.

Long Distance Move on a Budget Cost Breakdown

Here’s the cost breakdown of our 2,500 mile, long distance move on a budget:

$00 — moving boxes (found them all for FREE!)
$83 — moving supplies (packing tape, packing paper, stretch plastic wrap, locks, mattress bag, stickers for labeling, etc.)
$62 — moving pads (purchased on Amazon, cheaper than long-term renting)
$20 — pizza for our moving help
$1,900 — 2 U-Pack ReloCubes
$2,065 — TOTAL

If you count our cross-country road trip as part of our long distance move on a budget, then add an extra $1,300. But since we made a vacation out of the long drive, I look at it separately from our moving expenses.

Our Long Distance Move on a Budget

Moving across the country is an expensive endeavor! Pricing out various moving companies was eye-opening.

I gathered loads of information and put together moving estimates from every angle I could think of.

Here are some of my notes on different companies, from cheapest to most expensive:

ABF U-Pack ReloCubes:

  • Dimensions: 6’ x 7’ long x 8’ high
  • 2 cubes will fit in front of parking spot
  • We would need 2-3 . If we don’t use the 3rd, there’s no charge. Easier to pack than the truck.
  • 2 cubes $2250, door to door/ 3 cubes, door to door $3150
  • All inclusive cost is $1,900! (sales rep gave me a discount! :)
  • No charge up front!

ABF U-Pack Truck:

  • $1,992 (price includes taxes, fuel & free ramp)
  • 11 feet of trailer space (Pay for what you use; add $91 for every extra linear foot.)
  • Door-to-Door Delivery
  • Estimated Transit Time: 6-8 Business Days
  • My required space estimate… Overall Total Cubic Feet: 620’ // Total Linear Footage Estimated: 10

U-Haul U-Boxes:

  • $3,297 Total Cost (3 U-Boxes + U-Box rentals for 30 days)
  • Included in quote…
    — Delivery to and from your home (trailer rental or truck delivery fee where applicable).
    — Cost for shipping (transportation charges).
    — Cost for storage (monthly fee to store your U-Box containers in our secure facility).
    — 6 dozen furniture pads
  • Takes 2 weeks (or a little longer) to arrive
  • Will also hold in their warehouse; you rent U-Boxes month to month
  • Each U-Box container is approximately 5’ wide x 8’ long x 7.5’ high
  • You can purchase insurance: $5,000 for $18, $10,000 for $25, $15,000 for $32

U-Haul Truck Rental:

  • $1,570.00 — 15’ truck and tow dolly ($214)
  • $99 — 10K property coverage
  • $140 — accident damage and theft of U-Haul truck
  • $40 — 4 dozen furniture pads
  • $850 — fuel
  • $600 — hotel rooms
  • $3,299 — TOTAL

Budget Truck Rental:

  • $2,213 — 16’ moving truck, car dolly, unlimited miles (used 20% off coupon) Includes 10 days… each additional day is $70, up to 6 extra days
  • $87 — 3 dozen moving pads
  • $850 — fuel
  • $600 — hotel rooms
  • $3,750 — TOTAL

PODS:

  • Crazy expensive/ way overpriced

As you can see, we saved over $1,000 by choosing U-Pack!

Here’s how it all went down.

An Honest U-Pack ReloCube Review

It didn’t take me long to see what a great deal moving with U-Pack was. But picturing all of your earthly belongings being driven away on a truck is a bit nerve-wracking, no matter which moving company you use!

So I called up U-Pack to speak with their reps about how the moving process goes, and whether their ReloCubes or freight truck would be a better fit for us.

You have two options when moving with U-Pack: either a freight truck (you only pay for the space you use) or the ReloCubes.

Each person I spoke with was friendly, kind, and knowledgeable. They all had the same story—I received no conflicting information.

U-Pack’s entire process is totally straightforward, and I really appreciate that there are no hidden fees. Their estimates include everything!

Not having to pay any money upfront was a huge bonus, too. In fact, we weren’t charged a dime until they had delivered our ReloCubes to our new home in Alabama!

So, we went ahead and reserved 2 ReloCubes that were slated to arrive shortly before our moving date, and hoped for the best.

Long Distance Move on a Budget | Our U-Pack ReloCube Experience

Our U-Pack ReloCubes Arrive

The ReloCubes arrived shortly before moving day, right on schedule.

Because we lived in a small apartment complex, we decided to go with the ReloCubes instead of a freight truck. Two ReloCubes fit perfectly in our assigned, standard-sized parking space, but there would have been nowhere close by to park a big freight truck!

My first impression of the ReloCubes was that they seemed a bit small. How were we supposed to fit our entire life inside these things?!

But once we started loading them up, they seemed to grow in size.

We were very impressed by how safe and sturdy the ReloCubes are. I’d read some horror stories about U-Haul’s U-Boxes because they’re basically plywood covered in a tarp! I would not have felt safe putting our belongings in those and shipping them 2,500 miles away!

But the ReloCubes were like a fortress, strong and made out of metal—and the locking mechanism was solid. I had no concern putting our furniture and boxes inside.

We lived in a small, 2-bedroom apartment, and 2 ReloCubes ended up being just right for us. We packed our ReloCubes very tightly, and had almost no space to spare.

In the end, we did have to rearrange some boxes and furniture, but our stuff fit perfectly. Talk about a huge relief!

Once everything was inside, we locked our ReloCubes with padlocks that only we had the keys to. Then, we watched the forklift carry them away.

Now, all we had to do was wait!

Oh, and drive from Vancouver to Birmingham.

Long Distance Move on a Budget | Our U-Pack ReloCube Experience

Was Anything Damaged in the U-Pack ReloCubes?

Since it was too expensive to have our 2005 Toyota Camry transported across the country, we decided to take 10 days to drive over 3,000 miles to our new home.

The total cost of our 10-day family road trip was less than $1,300. We drove through 11 states, and saw some amazing sights along the way! It was a great experience, and the highlight of our year.

Sometime during our road trip, U-Pack charged our debit card in full for the ReloCube rental and transportation.

Our ReloCubes arrived in Birmingham before we did, but U-Pack held them for us in their warehouse until we were ready to have them delivered.

As we unlocked the ReloCubes sitting in our driveway, I felt a little nervous. Had our boxes gotten crushed? Was our furniture damaged? Had everything been handled carefully?

There was only one way to find out!

Long Distance Move on a Budget | Our U-Pack ReloCube Experience

We slowly opened the doors in case things had shifted during the move, but our stuff was basically how we had left it.

The worst damage was that the lids on some of our clear plastic bins had cracked. But that was our fault for stacking heavy containers too high.

We had taken great care to wrap our furniture with moving pads and stretch plastic wrap, and everything arrived in great shape.

Hallelujah!

We unloaded our ReloCubes in no time, and called up U-Pack when we were finished.

A few days later, they came and retrieved the ReloCubes, and that was that!

Long Distance Move on a Budget | Our U-Pack ReloCube Experience

U-Pack ReloCube Verdict

So, would we work with U-Pack again?

Yes—absolutely!

We were incredibly happy with U-Pack’s pricing and professionalism. Everything was on-time and right on schedule.

They communicated with us every step of the way, and their customer service reps were friendly and knowledgeable.

Also, I should note that this is not a sponsored post—we’re just very happy customers!

Planning a Long Distance Move on a Budget

If you’re planning a long distance move on a budget, know that it can be done!

Look for creative solutions. Set a budget. Do your homework. Don’t pay for moving boxes. Definitely check out U-Pack!

And be sure to check out my best helpful long distance moving tips!

If you’ve ever made a long distance move on a budget, what are your best tips?