The Differences in Preparing for a Local vs. Long-Distance Move

A substantial amount of time, planning, and energy is required when preparing for a move whether it’s just down the street or you’re crossing an ocean. It’s important to remember, however, that not all moves are created equal.

There are significant differences to consider between getting ready for a local or a long-distance move. The distinctions are sometimes hard to anticipate, especially if it’s your first time moving, or you’re venturing further than you’ve ever been before. If you don’t do your research, the moving process might end up needlessly being more stressful and less efficient.

Familiarize yourself with the unique aspects of how both local and long-distance moves operate so you know what to expect when you’re preparing for the next step! Once you’re equipped with this helpful information, all that’s left to do is hire a skilled and experienced moving company and you’ll be all ready to go!

The Differences in Preparing for a Local vs. Long-Distance Move

What is considered a local move?

It’s going to be hard to determine whether you need to prepare for a local or long-distance move if you can’t distinguish between the two! You can probably make a pretty accurate guess as to which category your move will fall into, but just in case we’ll go over the standard definitions.

Generally, anything under 50 miles is classified as a local move. This number can vary though depending on your province, state, or the moving company you choose. Unless you live close to a border, a local move is probably going to take place within one province or district—referred to as an interstate move.

What is considered a long-distance move?

Typically, a move qualifies as long-distance if you’re traveling 150 miles or more. Of course, this number is fluid and can be anywhere from 50 miles to 150 as well. Again, the designation just depends on the area and the moving company.

Most long-distance moves involve crossing state or provincial lines—interstate moving—or sometimes even international borders—aptly known as cross-border or international moving.

You don’t have to be crossing any domestic or international boundaries to be moving long-distance though. If the province or state you’re moving within is considerably large and your journey requires significant mileage, you should be preparing accordingly.

What are the differences when it comes to preparing for each move?

The type of move you’re making will determine the best way to prepare for your specific process. You’ll find that there are several varying factors and explicit distinctions to make in what to anticipate when it comes to local and long-distance moving.


The biggest difference to plan for if you’re making a farther move is the cost. Local moving company services will usually be priced per hour or by crew size. The size of the team you need is decided based on how much stuff or how many rooms you have to move.Moving Costs

A long-distance move, on the other hand, is commonly priced according to how much stuff you’re moving, how much it weighs, and how far it needs to be transported. Obviously, the more belongings you have and the more mileage they need to be hauled, the more it’s going to cost. You also need to account for differences in labor costs between provinces, states, and countries.

If you’re opting to carry out the move yourself—which is not recommended for long-distance travel—you’ll need to make similar considerations when it comes to renting supplies. You’ll likely pay for a rental truck based on the number of days rented and miles driven.

Additionally, if your move is long-distance you probably won’t have the opportunity to make more than one trip so the truck you rent will have to be larger and thus more costly.

Legal Regulations

Chances are, local moving companies will already be very familiar with and prepared to meet the requirements in your area for professional movers and vehicles. If you’re moving long-distance though, they’re probably going to need additional paperwork, permits, and sometimes insurance to be allowed to cross state or provincial lines.

Moving Regulations and Paperwork

You and the moving company you hire must meet all of the legal requirements in every state you travel through. The company may have to apply for special permits, or you may have to provide a detailed inventory list for insurance purposes.

If you’re moving from Canada to the U.S. or vice versa, you’ll have to be aware of and prepare for additional customs requirements when you cross the border. Also, moving companies traveling through America need to acquire a USDOT number, register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and meet their regulations as well.

Personal Preparation

Aside from the more extensive research a long-distance move necessitates, there are other, more challenging elements you’ll need to manage. You should get started on making your checklists and finding a long-distance moving company as early as possible if you won’t be making a local migration. More mileage, cost, and regulations mean more serious planning, organization, and budgeting.

Equally as important as the logistical preparation for a long-distance move is the process of personally adjusting to the changes that come along with it. Settling into a new area is difficult and adapting to your new environment might be stressful. The more prepared you are mentally, the easier it will be once you arrive.

Do some research about your new city—find out where to get all of the household and lifestyle essentials and what the local hot spots are. You may have to search for a new job or get to know your new company ahead of time if work is compelling your move. Find the best schools and social opportunities for your kids, brush up on the best ways to make new friends, and familiarize yourself with any differences in culture and climate that you can expect.

Are there any similarities?

The same basic methods and ideas should be employed whether you’re moving 10 minutes or 10 hours away. The one thing you can count on to stay the same is that hiring a trusted and accomplished moving company will streamline the process and relieve a lot of your burdens.

Dowell’s Moving & Storage offers expert services for local and long-distance moves alike all throughout Victoria. We’ll pack up your belongings and move you to the house next door, across all of Canada, or even into the U.S.!

Our team of skilled and experienced movers will make your relocation easy and well-organized, and keep you feeling levelheaded and confident for the duration of the process. Visit our website or give us a call today to get a free quote and learn more about the premier services we offer!