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Why Long Distance (currently unavailable service) Moves Take So Much Longer Than Local Moves

Home » Why Long Distance (currently unavailable service) Moves Take So Much Longer Than Local Moves

The average American moves about once every five years, which, compared to much of the world, is pretty darned mobile. Odds are, you’ve moved a few times in your life, and you have a pretty good idea how future moves should go: Packing, loading a truck, unloading a truck, and unpacking.

In the vast majority of moves, that’s exactly how things go. When done professionally, a move takes one day. If there’s a lot of packing and unpacking, three days, tops. All of that changes, though, when you move out of state.

You would think long-distance moves worked a lot like local moves, and in some ways they do. Someone still has to pack and load the truck. Someone still needs to unload and unpack, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. With few exceptions, long-distance moves take much longer than local moves. Here’s what to expect for your long-distance move:


The pickup for a long-distance move is done one of two ways. Your moving company will either arrive with a small moving truck, or a semi-truck. Ultimately, your items will be loaded onto a semi-truck for the trip across country, but if there isn’t room for a large truck near your front door, they will have to load everything onto a smaller truck, and then transfer onto a semi. If the movers have to load your household into a small truck because the large truck couldn’t get within several feet of your door, you will mostly likely have to pay an additional “shuttle” fee. If the mover is loading into a small truck for their own logistics, they should wave the fee.


After your goods are loaded onto the semi-truck, it’s time to make the trip. On average, a semi-truck will fit about three households worth of items (don’t worry, yours will be color coded and thoroughly inventoried). The truck won’t leave until it’s full of items going in the same general direction. There’s also a good chance that the truck will stop along the way to unload, and then to possibly pick up another load before delivering yours. This entire process can take days to weeks.

Can things be Delivered More Quickly?

You can arrange for a faster delivery, but you will pay for it. Similarly to how you can charter a plane for just you and your friends, you can charter a truck for just your items. The good news is, it’s cheaper than chartering a plane, but it can cost three times or more of the cost of sharing a moving truck.

Featured image by Quintin Gellar via Pexels

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