Moving cross-country: which is better, flying or driving?

Moving cross-country: which is better, flying or driving?

Do you have an upcoming move and trying to decide between flying to your new home or driving? Moving cross-country is stressful. When I moved cross-country, I packed my Mazda Protege and headed west, I packed a moving truck rental and made the trek cross-country with my mom. I’ve flown with our kiddo when he was 6 months old. I’ve also made a two-week road trip out of the move with my now-husband.

Deciding whether to fly or drive for a cross-country move depends on several factors, including the distance, time frame, budget, and personal preferences. Here are some things to consider when making this decision:

Map with heart shapes going across it . moving cross-country


The distance you need to travel is critical in deciding whether to fly or drive. Driving a few hours is one thing, but making a cross-country move is a whole different beast. If you’re moving cross-country, it may be more practical and time-efficient to fly. Ask yourself these three questions:

Am I comfortable driving or being a passenger for the distance?

How can I get my belongings to my new home? Will I hire a moving company? If not, can I pack my belongings and drive them myself? If I fly, can I fit everything in a couple of suitcases?

Do I have a reliable vehicle to get me to my new town if driving? Getting to your new town without vehicular issues is important. You don’t want to worry about the car breaking down on your way out of town.

Display of clock and calendar

Time frame

If you’re moving on a tight schedule, flying may be the best option, as it will allow you to arrive at your destination quickly and with less stress. However, driving may be a viable option if you have a more flexible schedule. Years ago, we had three weeks before my husband started his new job. So, we took a road trip from the Pacific Northwest, through Canada, through Glacier National Park + Yellowstone National Park to our destination in the Midwest. It was amazing.

But, when I moved solo from the Midwest out to California, my mom and I loaded a moving truck and headed west. We made the trip in three days, driving 10-12 hours per day. I was set to start a new job in a week and didn’t have a lot of time to move.

Chart of a budget plan


Budget is a significant consideration when choosing whether to fly or drive. While flying can be faster, it can also be more expensive, especially if you must transport many belongings. And if you book tickets at the last minute. Do I need to hire movers to take my belongings to my new home? Because that, too, is an added expense.

On the other hand, driving can be more affordable, but it will take longer and may require additional expenses, such as food, gas, and lodging. But you don’t necessarily have to hire a moving company if you can move yourself. 

Family gather boxes in moving truck

Personal preferences

Personal preferences also play a role in the decision to fly or drive. If you enjoy road trips and want to experience different parts of the country, driving may be a more enjoyable option. I am always game for a summer road trip, but if it’s winter time, I will not be on board for driving. Having grown up in the Midwest, winter weather roads stress me out.

On the other hand, if you prefer to avoid long drives, flying may be a better option. Getting across the country in a day can be so helpful to avoid multi-day road trips. You just have to book a flight and transport to and from the airport. So, the logistics can be much easier to handle.

Ultimately, the decision to fly or drive for a cross-country move depends on your individual and family circumstances and priorities. You should consider the distance, time frame, budget, and personal preferences, and weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. Take the time to decide what works best for you.

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