Moving

7 best long-distance moving companies 2024

Typically spanning multiple days of travel time, long-distance moves can be overwhelming and require careful planning. We chose International Van Lines (IVL) and Allied Van Lines as the best long-distance moving companies based on our in-depth review process and secret shopping. 

Meet the expert

Sean Donnelly is a former professional mover. He served as a laborer, crew leader and move coordinator across more than 500 client moves.

Long-distance moves are expensive — generally costing more than $6,000 for a 1,800-mile relocation. IVL impressed us with transparent online pricing, free estimates and one month of free storage, relieving you of complicated logistics while saving you money. Allied offers the best service range as a carrier, allowing you to easily book direct service for vehicle shipping and avoid placing trust in brokers that outsource your move to third parties.

Hiring a professional moving company — especially if it’s cross-country — saves you the hassle of dealing with these challenges alone and helps ensure a smoother experience.

CompanyOverall rating
International Van Lines4.6
Allied Van Lines4.6
North American Van Lines4.6
Moving APT4.6
JK Moving Services4.6
Mayflower4.5
Safeway Moving Inc.4.3
American Van Lines4.2
Industry average4.3
Based on our rating methodology section and the average ratings of 16 providers we’ve reviewed

What is a long-distance move?

The moving industry typically has no set distance requirement to distinguish between local and long-distance moves. If your move spans multiple days due to travel time, it’s usually billed as long-distance. Moves taking multiple days for packing or same-day moves, even across state lines, are often billed hourly and considered local.

The demand for professional moving services will likely increase as the amount of state-to-state moves rises. The number of people who moved between states increased from almost 7.9 million in 2021 to 8.2 million in 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. State-to-state relocations also made up a larger part of overall moves between 2021 and 2022, rising from 18.8% to 19.9%, according to the American Community Survey.

As the need for professional moving services increases, it’s crucial to the success of your move to pick the right company, which starts with knowing what to look for.

Our top 7 long-distance moving companies

After extensively researching popular movers, we outlined the best moving companies with nationwide presence to help you find the mover that can provide the best experience for your specific relocation needs. We reviewed the following providers based on factors including customer satisfaction, availability, services and pricing.

Compare top long-distance moving companies

You should consider reputation, pricing, range, service offerings and customer service when selecting the best mover for your relocation. Compare top movers using the table below.

The cost figures in the table above are averages based on quotes from our secret shopping. For the most accurate pricing, we suggest requesting your own quotes.

How do you choose the best long-distance moving company?

Proper preparation for a move of any scope or size is the key to a stress-free experience. To choose a long-distance mover, research licensed companies, read reviews, consider insurance options and compare multiple quotes.

Tips from Sean

A huge red flag I see when vetting long-distance movers is a rushed quote process. If you feel the rep sped through the inventory and info-gathering and pushed you to sign a contract, you should likely take your business elsewhere.

We already know it’s essential to look for certain positive qualities in a moving company, such as excellent customer feedback, pricing and service offerings. However, it is just as crucial to know what to avoid.

We recommend the following step-by-step guide for vetting movers. Here, we break down the importance of determining the services you need, evaluating cost, understanding customer service quality, comparing providers and getting multiple quotes.

You can also check out our full review methodology for details on how we rate moving companies. After reviewing our detailed guide, you’ll see why International Van Lines and Allied Van Lines are our top recommendations for the best long-distance movers.

1. Determine the services you need

Long-distance moving companies should offer a basic suite of services plus multiple add-on service options. To determine your service needs, take a thorough inventory of your belongings at least six to eight weeks before your move. Go room by room and write down all the furniture and other items you plan to bring. This includes anything that will be in boxes on moving day. Keep a rough count of how many boxes you think you’ll need.

Tips from Sean

The biggest mistake I’d see was that customers would assume packing was included in their base moving packages. There were plenty of times when I showed up to a home on moving day only to find that the client had not packed anything and assumed that we could do it all on the same day. Packing is a stand-alone service, which is usually handled before the actual move date.

Long-distance move coordinators will need these lists to give you the most accurate estimate possible and suggest beneficial add-on services. During our call with IVL to get a quote, the move coordinator spent several minutes specifically going over our inventory. 

Your move coordinator will likely suggest doing an in-person or virtual walk-through to help you determine your service needs and give you the most accurate estimate. In our experience, top companies like Allied Van Lines won’t supply you with a binding estimate unless you’re able to do a virtual or in-person walk-through. 

Note that you might not be able to move some items, such as live plants and certain cleaning products. Make proper arrangements if your move involves pets. If you have more detailed service needs, we especially recommend selecting a company with a wide range of service offerings, such as Allied Van Lines and IVL. 

You may decide to add services such as packing or unpacking to your move. Most moving companies also offer packing supplies and junk removal. Let your mover know if you have larger, heavier items, such as pianos or safes. Moving these types of items usually comes with an added charge. Several of our best long-distance movers — including International Van Lines, Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines — offer services to move larger items, including pianos

Whatever services you decide to add, discuss these details with your move coordinator well before your move date to avoid any miscommunication around your needs and the amount of your final bill.

The graphic below compares each moving company’s subscores within this section of our methodology. We compared movers on their service and storage options. International Van Lines rose to the top in this section, scoring a perfect 5. IVL’s one month of free storage and a long list of add-on service options — including crating, vehicle shipping and packing services — helped the provider achieve the best score. Allied Van Lines, JK Moving Services, North American Van Lines, Moving APT and Mayflower also scored well with a 4.8 out of 5, thanks to their extensive service offerings, such as short- and long-term storage solutions and antique moving.

2. Evaluate cost and quote models for top providers

Long-distance moving costs are primarily determined by total shipment weight and move distance in miles. A moving coordinator can give you at least a ballpark quote using these numbers plus any add-on services. We were able to obtain ballpark quotes from companies such as JK Moving Services, North American Van Lines, Moving APT, International Van Lines and Allied Van Lines. Customer service representatives with these companies stressed that these rates could increase if inventory or service needs change. 

Tips from Sean

Preparations for a speedy and successful loading and unloading phase begin and end with properly labeling your boxes. During my time as a mover, I helped relocate hundreds of clients. People who clearly labeled their furniture and boxes with the destination room at their new address had far smoother moves.

Confirm that a moving company offers binding estimates. This pricing model provides peace of mind by ensuring the price quoted is the amount you will pay unless you request a change in services or adjust your inventory. Long-distance movers including North American Van Lines (NAVL) stand out here for its bottom-line and not-to-exceed pricing options. NAVL also doesn’t have a deposit requirement, which cuts down on upfront costs. One of our top recommendations, Allied Van Lines, also doesn’t have a deposit requirement.

If the estimate is not binding, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker; however, discussing this with your mover will prepare you for potential price fluctuation.

The graphic below compares our top moving company’s subscores within this section of our methodology. International Van Lines again sits at the top of the scores in this section with a perfect 5. Several other movers scored an impressive 4.8 out of 5 because of their quote process and costs, including Allied Van Lines, JK Moving Services, North American Van Lines, Moving APT and Mayflower.

Many national moving companies make instant pricing or quote request forms readily available online. Below, you can see what different providers require for you to get your own quick pricing information.

IVL

Allied Van Lines

JK Moving

International Van Lines’ instant ballpark quote tool offers quick rates for domestic relocations. Enter your origin and destination ZIP codes or addresses, as well as your home size, to get an immediate price. This also requires entering contact information, so you can expect a company representative to reach out to schedule an in-depth estimate after you use the tool.

Allied’s InstaQuote tool provides you with an easy way to get quotes for local and long-distance services. After entering your move details, you can get rates for homes that are furnished sparsely, moderately and densely, whether you're traveling across town or across the country. You’ll have to enter contact information for this preliminary rate, so you should be prepared for an Allied move coordinator to reach out after you use InstaQuote.

JK’s quote request tool doesn’t yield instant pricing. Rather, it provides this mover’s customer service team with some basic information about your move — such as origin and destination ZIP codes, home type and number of bedrooms — before they contact you to discuss your relocation needs. Once you submit this form, be prepared to schedule a video call or in-person estimate at your home to get a binding estimate for service.

3. Know what you’re getting with customer service and communication

Moving companies employ customer service representatives to help answer questions and communicate important information about your move. We recommend contacting a company’s customer service team before making your final booking decision. This will allow you to get an idea of the representatives’ quality and availability.  

Some national providers have 24/7 availability, while others have limited hours. Phone calls and emails are the most common ways to get in touch with a mover to start your quote process.

Some over-the-phone quote processes may take longer than others. For example, we spent nearly 40 minutes on the phone with a company representative with American Van Lines to thoroughly go over our inventory and service needs to get a moving quote. Our experience was shorter with some of our other top providers. We spent around 20 minutes on the phone with International Van Lines to get a quote and about 15 minutes with Allied Van Lines. Experience and call times may vary by location and representative. 

The graphic below shows each moving company’s subscores within this section of our methodology. As with other categories, International Van Lines sits at the top with a perfect 5. Other companies, including Mayflower, Moving APT, North American Van Lines, JK Moving Services and Allied Van Lines aren’t too far behind, with 4.8 out of 5.

4. See how top providers stack up on reputation and customer reviews

Customer reviews are a valuable source of information for moving companies you consider. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, Trustpilot, Yelp and social media sites such as Facebook are all good spots to look.

When you research each provider, look for positive and negative trends to determine how the full-service mover operates aside from its stated policies. In our reviews below, we dive into each mover’s customer reviews and highlight key themes we note. We read through hundreds of customer reviews for each provider we review to understand customer sentiment. 

The graphic below shows each moving company’s subscores within this section of our methodology. Once again, International Van Lines achieved a 5 out of 5 subscore in this category and was the only one of our top recommendations to do so. Allied Van Lines, JK Moving Services and North American Van Lines still achieved an impressive 4.8 out of 5 for their reputation and reviews. Moving APT, American Van Lines and Mayflower fell toward the bottom half of the pack in this category, mostly due to lower customer satisfaction scores and a higher amount of negative reviews.

5. Get multiple quotes to ensure availability 

Not all long-distance movers cover the entire United States, much less international moves. Check that your top choices are available for a move from your origin to destination cities. You should also check for availability in your desired time frame, especially if you have specific dates you need to vacate your home.

Tips from Sean

I always recommend customers get at least a few comprehensive moving estimates before committing. This is the only way to ensure that all your needs are met at a fair price.

Start your quote process with a company with substantial domestic and international reach. IVL easily fits into this category, covering all 50 states and 150 countries. Allied Van Lines’ fleet of more than 1,000 moving trucks and 500-plus affiliate locations also makes for wide availability. Additionally, North American Van Lines has great accessibility, reaching all 50 states and 130 countries.

Getting multiple quotes well before your moving date will help you prepare and fully weigh your options. Submit full inventory lists and service requirements when getting quotes to have the best idea of potential cost.

Moving companies often necessitate an in-person or virtual walk-through of your goods to provide the most accurate estimate. Virtual assessments, generally conducted via a video call, make the process more accessible and convenient for many clients. Several of our top providers — including International Van Lines, Allied Van Lines, JK Moving Services, North American Van Lines and Mayflower — offer a virtual estimate option.

The graphic below shows each moving company’s subscores within this section of our methodology. All of our recommended providers achieved a perfect score.

How much will your move cost?

Tips from Sean

If you’re physically able and have time, you should handle your own packing. I’ve worked on moves that required multiple days of packing by the moving crews. In these extreme instances, packing services more than doubled the cost of the relocation.

A moving coordinator will give you at least a ballpark quote using your total shipment weight, move distance in miles and any add-on services — such as packing, crating, cleaning, vehicle shipping, junk removal and storage.

We secret shopped for quotes for a three-bedroom, 1,800-mile move while reviewing moving companies. Generally expect to pay more than $6,000 for this size move with a top moving company.

  • International Van Lines gave us a ballpark rate over the phone. The price tag would be $7,158 with full packing and $6,276 without packing.
  • An Allied Van Lines representative also said they couldn’t provide a binding rate without an in-person estimate; our ballpark rate was $7,000 without packing and $10,000 with packing. 

According to our November 2023 moving survey of those who had moved within the last two years and hired professional movers, respondents reported paying an average of $5,652 for their move (across all move sizes and distances).

The graphic below highlights the average move cost from our top long-distance moving companies, according to our survey. Note that this is the average across all moves sizes and distances.

What does moving insurance cost?

Released-value protection should be included in all moving packages at no additional cost. This typically covers 60 cents per pound per item.

Tips from Sean

I recommend downsizing before a move. Especially if you’ve lived there for a few years or more, you will have accumulated far more than you realize. Getting rid of anything you don’t need can save movers time during the loading and unloading process, plus cut down your shipment weight.

However, you’ll have to pay for any coverage over that basic amount. Full-value protection offers more extensive coverage and ensures the moving company is responsible for the total replacement cost of items lost or damaged in your move. While this coverage will increase your final invoice, it can be worth it for the peace of mind. Coverage and costs vary by company, so discuss policy details, including deductibles, before purchasing this protection.

How can you reduce moving costs?

Since shipment weight significantly affects overall cost, consider downsizing your belongings. You could donate the items you no longer need or host a yard sale to make some cash before moving. 

Opting to do some of the work yourself, such as handling all the packing instead of paying extra for packing services, can also save you money.

Our reviews of the top long-distance movers

Embarking on a long-distance move is more than just packing boxes and making checklists. Navigating the quote process and decoding moving contracts can be intimidating if you don’t have much experience. 

Our best long-distance movers offer a comprehensive selection of services with operational ability across state lines. We’ve listed several of the top options for long-distance relocations to help you start your shopping process.

International Van Lines

4.6
USDOT Number : 2293832 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A

Our thoughts

International Van Lines (IVL) has nearly unmatched availability for domestic and international moves. It currently has locations in California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas as well as brokers moving services out to the rest of the country. However, IVL requires large deposits, and some reviews mention spotty customer service.

What we like

IVL’s all-encompassing service profile and network of vetted partner companies give you peace of mind that your needs will be met. Additionally, IVL provides a cost calculator tool and transparent rates for add-on services. It also features quick quotes from its reliable customer service team.

What we don’t like

IVL can provide binding estimates but doesn’t exclusively advertise this on its website. When we called for a quote, we weren’t promised a binding bottom-line price. This is something that could make you pause before signing a moving contract.

Services

This carrier and broker offers long-distance service in all 50 states with the widest available range of international options in more than 150 countries. This includes licensing for both ocean and air freight. Its domestic basic and add-on services include the following:

  • Crating
  • Fine art and antique moving
  • Packing
  • Packing supplies
  • Piano moving
  • Storage services
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

We called IVL for a quote and got a ballpark estimate for a long-distance move in less than 20 minutes. While a video call estimate or in-person consultation will take longer, the representative took a full verbal inventory before providing a rate. The three-bedroom, 2,880-mile relocation requested totaled $14,600 with packing. All moves include 30 days of free storage at the destination.

Availability

IVL offers long-distance service to all 50 states and over 150 countries.

Customer thoughts

IVL maintains an overall positive reputation. Its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page shows a customer review rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars based on 175 reviews. Customers who leave positive feedback comment on efficient moving crews, while those who write negative reviews mention difficulty contacting customer service representatives after booking. If you’re planning a move near one of its brick-and-mortar locations in California, Florida, Illinois, New York or Texas, read reviews for your specific location.

Allied Van Lines

4.6
USDOT Number : 76235 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A+

Our thoughts

Allied Van Lines offers comprehensive long-distance service to all locations in the United States. It operates a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks with 500-plus affiliate locations and is one of the most easily recognized moving companies in operation today. Like many moving companies of its size, moving service quality can vary among locations, but this is outweighed by generally positive reviews that cite honest pricing and consistent customer service.

What we like

As a carrier, Allied doesn’t require a deposit to book a move. This is a huge plus if you’re moving on a budget or your money is tied up in an apartment security deposit or closing costs on a new home. It also provides expedited service for small moves via its Allied Express service plan, which helps streamline long-distance moves for those in small homes.

What we don’t like

Some Allied Affiliates operate dually under their own branding and under Allied. This makes Allied responsible for anything that goes wrong during a move. Despite this, some reviews report denied claims for damaged or lost items when they contacted Allied, which may deter those with high-value items from booking with this mover.

Services

In addition to standard moving services, Allied offers expedited service through Allied Express. This provides customers with a moving container, full-value protection and labor at one bottom-line price. It’s a great stand-in for do-it-yourself moves for smaller residences. 

Allied also provides in-house vehicle shipping services, which removes the hassle of dealing with third-party carriers. Allied’s other services include the following:

  • Assembly and disassembly
  • Car shipping
  • Crating
  • Full-service packing
  • Piano moving
  • Storage services
  • Unpacking

Cost

We called Allied for a quote and got a quick pricing estimate. While the company representative was clear that we couldn’t get a binding estimate without an in-person or video call evaluation, we got a ballpark quote within 15 minutes on the phone. The three-bedroom, 2,880-mile quote totaled $12,175 without packing. Adding full-service packing to my moving package would increase the rate by $2,500.

Availability

Allied operates in more than 500 locations throughout all 50 states. It also has more than 1,000 partners in 130 countries available for international moves.

Customer thoughts

Allied has a customer review rating of 1.1 out of 5 stars on BBB that is somewhat misleading. Many of its individual locations are highly rated. In this case, BBB serves as a sounding board for complaints and grievances — a common platform for customers of all nationwide moving companies. 

Customers who leave negative reviews mention that Allied damaged items and failed to compensate them. However, many positive customer reviews on other platforms, including Google Reviews and social media, mention quality service for both simple and complex moves.

JK Moving Services

4.7
USDOT Number : 1065394 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A+

Our thoughts

JK Moving Services is a moving carrier and broker based in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metro area. Its movers are trained in an industry-leading facility at its headquarters. We like that each of its moving packages includes full-value protection for all goods. As a downside, some of its moves seem overpriced due to the coverage and experienced labor this company provides.

What we like

All movers are background-checked and fully vetted before being hired. After this, each employee undergoes a training program in a fully-furnished house at JK Moving’s headquarters. There, training managers show workers how to handle various moving scenarios before they head out to your home.

What we don’t like

JK Moving’s somewhat higher rates are mainly the result of its included valuation coverage. While this is something you can opt out of, it isn’t explicitly stated during the quote process. This can catch some potential customers off-guard.

Services

JK Moving offers a comprehensive suite of services, including antique packing and crating and climate-controlled storage. JK Moving can offer a secure moving plan regardless of your move type, size or distance. Its services include the following:

  • Crating
  • Debris removal
  • Financing options for all moves
  • Long-term storage
  • Packing
  • Shipment tracking

Cost

We called JK for a long-distance quote. Within 20 minutes, we got a ballpark quote despite not submitting availability for a video call estimate. The 2,880-mile, three-bedroom quote included a full inventory overview and totaled $13,100 with packing. Without packing services, it would be $10,700. Both price points require a $250 deposit.

Availability

JK Moving offers long-distance moving services to all 50 states.

Customer thoughts

JK Moving’s home location has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews. Many customer reviews mention specific movers or crew leaders by name, citing personalized care, punctuality and positive attitudes, plus specialized care for customers with unique moving needs.

Customers who left negative reviews mentioned damaged goods and added fees on moving day, but many of these reviewers don’t specify whether they added inventory or requested extra services after they received a quote.

North American Van Lines

4.6
USDOT Number : 70851 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A+

Our thoughts

North American Van Lines (NAVL) features bottom-line and not-to-exceed pricing options. This means that quoted price ranges won’t change unless inventory or service needs shift, making it easier for you to stay within your defined budget before moving. Due to its 500-plus locations, you might have a different moving experience than someone in another area, but its customer care team makes up for this with responsive service.

What we like

If you have a somewhat inflexible budget, NAVL’s variable pricing structure is a definite selling point. This, plus NAVL’s lack of a deposit requirement, makes it easy to book a move of any scope without significant upfront costs or fear of additional fees on moving day. NAVL partners with Allied Van Lines under a global relocation service provider, Sirva Worldwide, to offer domestic service to all 50 states and international moves to 130 countries.

What we don’t like

NAVL’s 500-plus locations are both a selling point and a drawback. Each location is independently run and has its own set of testimonials on Google Reviews and other platforms. Look up location-specific reviews before you book your move to ensure your closest NAVL location offers quality service.

Services

NAVL provides long-distance service throughout the U.S. and international moving options in 130 countries. These move packages can include the following:

  • Antique moving
  • Car or vehicle shipping
  • Crating
  • Packing
  • Piano moving
  • Storage

Cost

We called NAVL and got a ballpark estimate for a three-bedroom move in about 20 minutes. Its customer service representatives were friendly and took a thorough inventory of the goods described. The quoted price for a 2,880-mile relocation was $16,757 with packing. Without packing, it was $13,450. Neither price point required a deposit.

Availability

This moving carrier offers long-distance service to all 50 states via more than 500 brick-and-mortar locations. NAVL also provides international moving services in 130 countries.

Customer thoughts

NAVL’s BBB profile is filled with negative reviews and customer complaints. A customer review rating of 1.1 out of 5 stars is less than ideal, but many of the individual locations where this carrier operates receive overwhelmingly positive feedback. Customers who leave negative reviews here mention nonadherence to defined delivery windows and inflated rates for service.

Moving APT

4.6 Stars methodology
USDOT Number : 2247863 Virtual Assessment : Depends BBB Rating : B+

Our thoughts

Moving APT is a moving broker that offers full- and self-service options and transparent pricing. While it offers relocation services through third-party carriers only, it provides fast quotes and great visibility into its pricing and moving partners.

What we like

Moving APT is upfront about its moving partners and features company bios on its website. It also supplies moving checklists and guides to help you prepare for the moving process and get through it smoothly.

What we don’t like

Moving APT’s operates solely as a broker. This means that it only handles moving services through other partner companies. For this reason, we recommend that you do your own research on its partners after you get a quote. Quality varies from location to location, so you should read customer reviews for the company Moving APT assigns you before you sign a contract.

Services

Moving APT offers everything from small, local moves to large-scale, long-distance relocations. Its provided moving packages can include the following:

  • Crating
  • Long-term storage
  • Packing
  • Price matching for competing quotes
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

While this broker offers fast online quotes, you’ll need to call to get a more accurate idea of your move’s cost. We had a 20-minute call with a Moving APT company representative and got a quote of $10,600 with packing for a three-bedroom, 2,880-mile move. The deposit to book would be $3,402. This is a large amount to pay upfront, but the quote also included 30 days of free storage at my destination.

Availability

Moving APT has more than 2,500 partners throughout all 50 states.

Customer thoughts

Moving APT’s BBB profile features a high review score relative to most movers on this list. Its customer review rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars results from positive reviews from customers who speak on mover quality. However, one negative review mentions an unnecessarily time-consuming process due to the movers’ lack of information about the move.

American Van Lines

4.2
USDOT Number : 614506 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A+

Our thoughts

American Van Lines (AVL) is a carrier with hub offices in Florida, North Carolina and Texas. It employs movers that average 10 years of experience in the industry, which adds increased quality to its packing and antique moving services. Its hubs and other offices in the U.S. offer long-distance service to 48 states. AVL also provides flat-rate pricing for all moves, meaning your cost won’t increase unless you add service needs or inventory to your move. While this adds peace of mind when getting quotes, it can lead to somewhat higher rates.

What we like

AVL’s experienced workers offer comprehensive service for basic moves plus add-on services and fragile-only packing. In addition, its warehouses offer secure storage space and access to moving supplies. This mover’s flat-rate pricing makes for a clear and concise pricing breakdown at the beginning of your moving process, which can help you set a more defined moving budget early on.

What we don’t like

Flat or binding rates can sometimes lead to higher charges for service. This is because companies overbill to account for overages or unforeseen circumstances during a move. As a result, the rate we received for service from this provider was higher than many of our other moving partners.

Services

This carrier’s experienced movers can assist with more complicated moves. This includes the following:

  • Antique and fragile-only packing
  • Crating for fine art
  • Climate-controlled storage
  • Long-term storage

Cost

AVL gave us one of the more thorough moving quotes we’ve experienced. After nearly 40 minutes on the phone with a company representative, they gave a full inventory run-down, which included questions about stairwells and dresser contents. The quoted rate with packing included was $17,330. This didn’t include storage; 30 days of storage with associated labor costs would drive the price to $21,742.

Availability

AVL provides long-distance service throughout the lower 48 states.

Customer thoughts

With roughly 400 reviews, AVL has a customer review rating of 4 out of 5 stars on BBB. Despite high rates for service, many former customers seem happy with how their moves turned out. Some even mention movers by name, which demonstrates the quality of AVL’s employees.

Mayflower

4.5 Stars methodology
USDOT Number : 125563 Virtual Assessment : Yes BBB Rating : A+

Our thoughts

Mayflower moving is a moving carrier with decades of experience in the industry. It offers a highly comprehensive service range that includes Snapmoves, an expedited program for small moves. It also includes valuation coverage in all moving quotes, providing full reimbursement for goods lost or damaged. This can lead to elevated rates, but you may benefit from it if you’re moving high-value items.

What we like

Mayflower’s Snapmoves service makes booking expedited relocations for students or those with small apartments easy. It includes insurance protection and flat-rate pricing as well as provides a concise estimate and assurance that your items will be safe in transit.

What we don’t like

Some negative reviews of Mayflower mention that the company brokers out moving services without fully disclosing this before you begin the move. This leads to confusion on moving day and a lack of communication between Mayflower and the partner companies regarding services rendered. This isn’t unheard of in the industry, but it is a definite negative.

Services

Among Mayflower’s moving options is Snapmoves, which offers speedy service for small moves. Beyond this, this carrier offers the following:

  • Custom crating
  • Packing
  • Packing supplies
  • Storage options
  • Unpacking
  • Vehicle shipping

Cost

We called Mayflower to receive a quote for a cross-country move of a three-bedroom home, but the representative wouldn’t ballpark the quote and we had to convince them to give us a barebones estimate. In all, the call lasted a little more than five minutes, and the quoted 2,880-mile rate fell in the range of $11,600–$12,900. Most customers who leave positive reviews report transparent pricing, which leads me to believe quotes are typically thorough if you can conduct a video call or in-home estimate with a moving coordinator.

Availability

Mayflower is available in 46 states. It doesn’t provide service in Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island or Virginia.

Customer thoughts

Mayflower’s low BBB customer review rating 1.3 out of 5 stars isn’t alarming. This BBB page shows joint complaints for both United Van Lines and Mayflower due to their partnership under UniGroup and is not indicative of the quality service most Mayflower affiliates provide.

Customers who left negative reviews mentioned damaged goods and unresponsive claims personnel, while those who wrote positive reviews touched upon reasonable pricing and professional crews.

Before signing a contract, we recommend asking a moving company representative these questions over the phone or in person.

Are you licensed and insured?

Every moving company’s license and insurance information is publicly available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database. To find a moving company’s insurance information, simply search for the company using its USDOT number. But it doesn’t hurt to confirm this information when you’re speaking with an employee.

What types of estimates do you provide?

Ask your moving company if they offer binding or nonbinding quotes. This question is especially important for long-distance relocations since costs can add up quickly.

Are there any items you don’t move?

This varies by provider, but your moving company might not move certain items, including valuable antiques, flammable materials and live plants. If you have any belongings on a company’s do-not-move list, you’ll need to hire a different mover or transport them yourself.

Will you perform my move yourself?

Moving companies such as IVL and Safeway are both brokers and carriers. In a scenario such as a cross-country move, a company that provides both services may opt to work with a partner carrier rather than use its movers.

If the idea of a broker’s partner carrier handling your items doesn’t bother you, the answer to the question might not be a concern, but we still advise asking it.

What services are included in my move?

A reputable moving company will detail in your contract what services are included and which services cost extra — such as packing and unpacking. Knowing about potential additional charges from the start is beneficial before proceeding beyond an initial discussion with the mover.

Do you train your employees in-house?

An inadequately trained mover is more likely to damage your belongings than someone who knows the ins and outs of the moving industry. Verifying that a moving company trains its employees in-house is one of the most effective ways to ensure you’re working with pros who will deliver your belongings safely.

Will I be able to track my shipment?

One of the things we like most about Allied Van Lines is that its mobile app provides real-time updates on your move’s progress, so you’ll know if there’s a delay in your shipment. This is very convenient in cross-country moves where slowdowns due to traffic jams or inclement weather aren’t uncommon.

What do experts say about long-distance moving companies?

What factors should people consider when vetting a long-distance moving company?
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
Associate professor of practice in supply chain management
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"Reputation is one of the most critical aspects in selecting a moving company. Keep in mind that many national moving companies have local offices or interchange agreements with other agents that may not operate exactly as the 'parent office' dictates.

Besides reviewing the website, check the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media outlets to see other customer experiences."

Wesley S. Boyce, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of practice in supply chain management
Wesley S. Boyce, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"Verify the company is licensed, insured and has a DOT number or even membership in associations like the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA).

Pay attention to how people in various parts of the company act and treat customers. If the front office or an estimator is rude, that might permeate the company's culture."

Jason Miller, Ph.D.
Eli Broad professor in supply chain management
Jason Miller, Ph.D.
Michigan State University

"Look at both the size and age of the moving company. In general, older, larger carriers are safer than younger, smaller carriers."

All someone needs is to request the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) identification number of the carrier. For example, DOT numbers below 2 million tend to indicate carriers that have been around a while.

Also ask the following questions: How flexible is the company about the move-out and move-in dates? Will they temporarily store your boxes and furniture? Will they pack your items or not?"

How do different transportation factors impact moving logistics and costs?
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
Associate professor of practice in supply chain management
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"Moving follows the real estate market. Housing sales typically may be slower in the winter and increase in the spring through the summer so families can finish the school year in one location and start in another.

That will also drive the cost of transportation similar to basic supply and demand. Higher demand in spring and summer with limited supply equals a higher cost."

Wesley S. Boyce, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of practice in supply chain management
Wesley S. Boyce, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"Long-distance moves are often priced based on weight and distance. The heavier the weight or the longer the distance, the higher your pricing is likely to be. Larger moves may also require multiple vehicles, which would increase pricing."

How can someone save money and budget for a long-distance move?
Yi Liu, Ph.D., CFP
Assistant professor of finance
Yi Liu, Ph.D., CFP
St. John Fisher University

"Reduce your workload: Sell, donate or dispose of items you no longer need. This reduces the number of products you need to carry and may also result in additional revenue from sales. Fewer items mean fewer moving costs as well as [potential] tax breaks — increasing your savings.

To successfully budget for a relocation, get quotes from multiple moving firms.

Set aside an extra fund of your estimated moving costs for unforeseen fees. If your existing funds are insufficient, begin saving as soon as you foresee the relocation and contribute to it regularly."

What challenges should you consider when coordinating a long-distance move?
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
Associate professor of practice in supply chain management
Donald Maier, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"Timing and preparation. The homeowner becomes a project manager. Even if the moving company is packing, the homeowner needs to be heavily involved in that process.

Coordinate with the movers about what goods should be packed so that they are placed in the [right] room once the boxes arrive at the new home.

Stay in contact with the moving agent as well as with the driver. Understand that a truck does not drive as fast as a car and sometimes other factors — weather or traffic congestion — may delay a driver.

Don't forget that drivers for a moving company are still obligated to follow federal hours-of-service, which means they can only drive for 11 hours and be on the clock for 14 hours in a day."

Jason Miller, Ph.D.
Eli Broad professor in supply chain management
Jason Miller, Ph.D.
Michigan State University

"Recognize that moving today is much more expensive than before the pandemic. The producer price index, which measures changes in the prices that movers receive for their services, is up 23% from just before COVID-19."

Final take: The best long-distance moving company is International Van Lines

Booking the best long-distance mover can expedite your relocation regardless of where you’re heading. By doing the necessary research and getting free quotes, you should be able to choose the right moving company for your needs and budget requirements.

IVL’s wide reach makes it a prime option for lengthier moves due to its partner network that spans the country and the world. If you’re shipping a car or large furniture items, Allied’s fleet of moving trucks and service offerings make doing so easy. Finally, JK Moving’s vetted crews and training programs for workers make it the best choice for moves with antiques or valuables.

You should aim to get at least three quotes before booking a move to a new home. Evaluate several moving options and see whether you’re able to get a binding estimate with defined added costs for insurance coverage and add-ons, such as crating and packing services.

Our rating methodology for moving companies

Our moving recommendations are all backed by our detailed rating methodology. To fairly assess both interstate and local movers, we have tailored two sets of review standards for long-distance and intrastate movers.

Both sets of review standards assess factors including reputation and customer satisfaction, availability and range, services offered, pricing and quote practices and customer service. We rate each moving company out of 100 possible points. We then divide the final score by 20 to obtain the 5-star rating we feature in our reviews.

BBB and Google Reviews ratings are accurate as of May 2024.

Editorial note: The name “Homefront” refers to the alliance between USA TODAY and Home Solutions that publishes review, comparison, and informational articles designed to help USA TODAY readers make smarter purchasing and investment decisions about their home. Under the alliance, Homefront provides and publishes research and articles about home service and home improvement topics.

Homefront has an affiliate disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Homefront editorial staff alone (see About Homefront). Homefront adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is believed to be accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

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