Types of Moves and How to Know the Difference

Types of Moves and How to Know the Difference

It is essential to know what type of move you are planning. When planning logistics, you will often have to categorize your move based on distance. When I speak to a moving company, the first question they ask is what type of move I am planning. Some companies only assist with local moves, some specialize in long-distance relocation, and others can handle everything in between. Knowing different types of moves can make planning a move much more simple.

For short-distance moves, I’ve always had the best luck hiring moving companies that are local and well-established. Even if I needed help with smaller tasks that didn’t require a considerable time commitment, like loading the rental truck, I was driving cross-country.

For long-distance moves, I’ve had better luck hiring a branch of a nationwide company, which is usually easy to find in major US cities. While I love supporting local companies, finding a local company that assists with cross-country moves can be challenging. They would have to collaborate with another local company at your destination. If not, a small, local company would likely charge you mileage from origin to destination and back to origin. A regional or national company would charge mileage from origin to destination only because they have another branch of their company in your new city.

4 maps showing different distances

Types of Moves By Location

Local Move

A local move is one where the origin and destination are within the same metropolitan area. The move requires less than 2 hours of travel time. Usually, multiple trips can be quickly made to move items. Typically, this type of move is the most basic and least expensive compared to other kinds of moves because there is less distance to travel.

You could efficiently pack your vehicle or rent a moving truck to complete a self-move. Depending on the size of the moving truck, you could complete the move in one trip or multiple trips. The shorter distance may allow more frequent trips to move belongings. The quickest way to execute the move would be to hire full-service movers. You could be packed and moved into the new house within one to two days. A local moving company may be your best option for short-distance moves. They tend to be more affordable and reputable.

Intrastate Move

An intrastate move is a move within the same state but is a longer distance than a local move. Travel time may be as short as three hours or as long as a day. To complete a self-move, you may need to rent a larger moving vehicle and complete the move over a couple of days. Compared to a local move, more travel time is required. You could hire a local or regional moving company to complete the move and be all set in your new home within a couple of days.

Interstate Move

An interstate move s a move from one state to another. The move could be as close as a neighboring state or as far as the other side of the country. This type of move requires more time to plan and complete. If you rent a moving truck to complete the move yourself, you must loan from a company that allows one-way rentals. You will also need to ship your car(s) or have an acquaintance drive your vehicle(s).

When hiring movers, I have found that working with a national moving company is easier because local moving companies typically cost much more if they do not have another branch in your destination city.

International Move

An international move is a type of move that crosses international lines. I have yet to complete an international move, so I cannot offer advice from experience. If I were to move somewhere internationally, I would work with a moving company specializing in international relocation. Depending on the logistics and location, these moves can take weeks or months.

three pics of people packing up and moving their belongings

By Level of Assistance

Self-Service Move

This is the DIY move, where you do all the work. Pack your boxes and load them into your vehicle or a rental truck. Then drive your belongings to your new home, where you will unload them.

This is typically the cheapest option when it comes to moving. Still, it does require a significant amount of time and energy. 

Hybrid Move

A hybrid move is a mix of a self-service move + a full-service move. This is an excellent option for people who want to have more control over the move and save a little bit of money. It’s for those who are okay with doing extra work to complete the move.

For example, you pack your boxes and hire someone to load them onto your moving truck rental. Then you drive the rental truck to your new home, meeting another team you’ve hired to unload your belongings.

Full-Service Move

This is the most common move people think about when hiring movers. A full-service move includes a moving company handling all details from beginning to end: packing up your old home, loading the moving truck, driving the truck to the new location, unloading, and unpacking your belongings to your new home.

Full-service moves are the way to go if you are short on time or ability but have a larger budget for the move. 

Again, before hiring anyone to help you with a move, be sure to know if your move is local, intrastate, interstate, or international. Think about the level of assistance you would need to get moved to your new home. Moving estimates, time frames, and other logistics depend on the move you are planning.

If you’re looking to hire a moving company, check out these questions to ask to properly make sure you are hiring a legit, reliable company.

Wanting to stay organized during the moving process? Check out the Move Mama Move Relocation Planners to keep you on top of it all. Subscribe (in the sidebar →) to Move Mama Move, and you will receive a special offer on items in Move Mama Move’s shop, including the Relocation Planners.

people unloading boxes from a moving truck with text "types of moves and how to know the difference"
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