How Is A Local Move Different From A Long-Distance Move?

Did you know that an average American moves around 11 times? People move for various reasons. It can be due to job relocation, family issues, seeking opportunities, or out of necessity. 

There are two main classifications of moves:

  • Local moves
  • Long-distance moves

How are the two types of moves different? Find out below.

Local Move

Any move to a new location within 50 miles from your current residence is a local move. Therefore, if you need assistance moving 50 miles or less, you should hire a local mover as opposed to a long-distance mover. This type of move is also called intrastate because you will be changing locations within the same state.

Long-Distance Move

Any move that exceeds 50 miles from where you are currently located is long-distance or interstate, as you will be moving to a new state or into a different country.

Main Differences Between the Two


An intrastate move costs less than an interstate move. Irrespective of the specific factors that may affect the cost of your move, like the number of laborers needed, local moves remain cheaper. The average cost of a local move is $1,250.

In contrast, interstate moves cost slightly higher with an average cost of $4,890. The move also attracts a line haul charge, which depends on how heavy your items are. Thus, to save more, consider only carrying items you need or those with sentimental value.

Ease of Planning

Since local moves are shorter, planning for the move is easier. Therefore, with proper planning, moving locally can take a day. Besides, since the distance is short, the move is more manageable, and you don't have to worry about transporting your pets.

On the other hand, interstate moves need a lot of planning — in some cases, months of preparation. It involves focusing on the trip (if you intend to drive your belongings). You need to consider various factors, like navigation routes, accommodation options, and fuel prices. However, hiring professional movers helps make it easy to plan as they undertake all the responsibility from packing to offloading.


The law requires all interstate moving companies to register with FMCSA and get a USDOT number. Also, most states demand these movers to get insurance to safeguard their clients. Local movers don't need to comply with these regulations. Intrastate movers follow the rules set by the state within which they operate. 

Number of Companies 

Dealing with local movers entail entering into a contract with only one company. However, since interstate moves cross boundaries, you might work with several independent movers to coordinate the move.