The Complete Guide to Moving Out of State

How To Ship Boxes out of State

Planning a move out of state can be daunting, whether you're moving for work, family, or other reasons. Our Complete Guide to Moving Out of State answers all your biggest questions about moving out of state, from creating to-do lists, planning, and budgeting for your move to downsizing, packing your belongings, and settling into your new home.

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1. How To Ship Boxes Out of State

Discover your options for shipping boxes out of state, including hiring movers, consolidated freight, parcel shipping, and flat rate box shipping.

i. Hiring professional movers

ii. Consolidated freight

iii. Parcel shipping

iv. Flat rate box shipping

2. Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about shipping boxes to another state.

If you’re moving out of state, shipping your belongings may be one of the most practical options for getting your stuff from Point A to Point B.

If you’ve never done it before, you may be asking yourself: “how can I ship my belongings to another state?” It may seem complicated, but shipping your stuff when you move is a relatively simple process, especially if you are shipping moving boxes out of state. Because boxes often have standard dimensions and a designated weight capacity, they are actually one of the easiest items to ship.

There are several different shipping methods you can use, including:

  1. Hiring professional movers
  2. Consolidated freight
  3. Parcel shipping
  4. Flat rate box shipping

In this section of the Complete Guide to Moving Out of State, we’ll take a closer look at each of these four methods for shipping boxes out of state.

1. Hiring Professional Movers

Most of the time, when you hire professional movers for a long distance move, you’ll have to pack your own belongings into boxes before your moving day. On moving day, the movers will load your boxes and other belongings onto the truck, transport them to your new home, and unload them upon arrival.

Depending on which service level you select, your moving team may be able to pack your belongings for you. Packing services will cost extra, but there are some situations where it is necessary, such as if you are crunched for time, have many obligations, or are physically unable to pack your belongings. In these circumstances, paying for packing services will speed up and simplify the process, and allow you to focus on other aspects of your move.

Hiring professional movers for an out-of-state move is often costly, but it’s also one of the most convenient ways to move boxes to another state. Here’s a rough idea how much you can expect to pay when hiring long distance movers:

Move Size Philadelphia →
Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago →
Cleveland → San Diego
1 bedroom $2,614-$3,536 $3,668-$5,099 $2,352-$3,146 $3,436-$4,755
2 bedrooms $3,536-$4,464 $5,099-$6,501 $3,146-$3,956 $4,755-$6,053
3 bedrooms $5,290-$7,046 $7,748-$10,390 $4,678-$6,213 $7,208-$9,657
4 bedrooms $7,046-$10,266 $10,390-$15,264 $6,213-$9,023 $9,657-$14,172

Source: Moving Cost Calculator. Estimates do not include the cost of packing services.

Professional movers are ideal for:

  • People who doing a large household move that includes furniture and more than 15 boxes
  • People who need help packing, loading, and unloading their belongings

Anchor2. Consolidated Freight

Consolidated freight shipping includes cost-effective services such as less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, as well as hands-off services like White Glove shipping for valuable cargo and furniture.

With LTL freight shipping, you’ll pack your boxes yourself and bring them to the curb for pick up on the scheduled day. The movers will load them onto the truck (possibly with your assistance), then unload them curbside upon delivery. Your boxes will share space on the truck with other shipments heading in the same direction and will typically take about 5 business days to deliver after pickup.

Shipping costs for LTL consolidated freight depend on the size and weight of what’s being shipped, as well as how far it needs to travel. Freight shippers will always price your shipment using a minimum billable weight. TSI’s minimum billable weight is 120lbs, which means that a single box or a few boxes weighing a cumulative 50 lbs will be priced as if they weigh 120 lbs. This is why it makes the most sense to ship boxes as part of a larger household move. At TSI, consolidated freight starts at $360 for standard less-than-truckload shipping, and $650 for White Glove service, which includes indoor pickup and delivery and typically involves furniture in addition to boxes.

Here’s a rough idea of what you can expect to pay for standard freight based on the number of boxes you’re shipping, how much they weigh, and how far they are travelling:

Box Weight Philadelphia →
Philadelphia →
Los Angeles
Chicago →
Cleveland →
San Diego
5 boxes weighing 30 lbs each (150 lbs total) $395 $600 $355 $435
5 boxes weighing 60 lbs each (300 lbs total) $620 $940 $525 $695
10 boxes weighing 30 lbs each (300 lbs total) $620 $940 $525 $695
10 boxes weighing 60 lbs each (600 lbs total) $735 $1,155 $605 $850

Consolidated freight is ideal for:

  • People who are doing a small- to medium-sized household move
  • People who are shipping more than 15 boxes to another state

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3. Parcel Shipping

Parcel shipping is similar to standard mail, and is offered by providers like the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

If you’re using a parcel shipper to ship boxes out of state, you’ll pack the boxes yourself and drop them off at your chosen parcel shipment provider, or arrange for at-home pickup.

The cost will depend on the size and weight of the boxes, as well as the service speed selected and sometimes how far the box(es) will travel. While convenient and familiar, this method can quickly become expensive if you are shipping large boxes or multiple items long distances. 

Here’s how much you can expect to pay per box if you opt for parcel shipping:

Box Weight Philadelphia →
Philadelphia →
Los Angeles
Chicago →
Cleveland →
San Diego
Large light box
8 ¾” x 7 ¾” x 11 ¼”
10 lbs
$19.00-$155.20 $27.09-$180.47 $19.00-$157.74 $27.09-$180.47
Large heavy box
8 ¾” x 7 ¾” x 11 ¼
60 lbs
$96.24-$498.15 $143.32-$562.63 $96.24-$498.15 $143.32-$562.63
Large very heavy box
8 ¾” x 7 ¾” x 11 ¼”
120 lbs
$153.82-$920.54 $196.34-$1,112.40 $153.82-$920.54 $196.34-$1,112.40

Parcel shipping is ideal for:

  • People sending boxes to multiple different locations
  • People sending fewer than 5 boxes
  • Businesses that have an account with a parcel shipping company

4. Flat Rate Box Shipping

Some shippers, including FedEx and UPS as well as consolidated freight shippers like TSI, offer flat rate box shipping services. With flat rate box shipping, you pay a single flat fee per box, regardless of how far it will travel or how much it weighs (up to a maximum weight limit). You may not even have to go pick up boxes—some flat rate shippers will drop the boxes off directly to your home. You simply pack them up, drop them off at your shipper or arrange for pickup, and send them on their way.

TSI offers flat rate box shipping up to a maximum of 40 lbs per box. When your boxes are packed, we’ll return to pick them up and transport them anywhere in the continental US. Flat rate box shipping is a convenient and cost-effective method of shipping your easy-to-pack household goods, including clothing, linens, books, toys, and other inexpensive, durable household goods. The cost of transporting your boxes using TSI’s flat rate shipping depends on how many boxes you have to send—prices start at $570 for 5 boxes, up to a maximum of 15 boxes.

You can also do flat rate box shipping through USPS and parcel shippers like FedEx and UPS. The service is similar to TSI’s, but there are some key differences: 

Maximum Weight 70 lbs 50 lbs 50 lbs
Pricing $8.30-$21.10 depending on the size of the box. $9.50-$101.95 depending on the size of your cargo, as well as the speed and distance of travel. Starting at $11.50 depending on package size and speed of travel.
Surcharges There are no surcharges for delivery to residential addresses. There are no surcharges for residential delivery. Additional surcharges will apply for packages that require signature or delivery confirmation.
Pickup Packages must be dropped off at a USPS outlet. Pickup can be scheduled from a home or a business. Pickup can be scheduled from a home or a business.
Delivery Speed 1-3 business days 6 delivery speeds are available as fast as overnight. 4 delivery speeds are available as fast as next day.
Packaging You must use USPS packaging to qualify for flat rate pricing. You must use FedEx packaging, but packaging is free and can be ordered online with free delivery. You can use your own packaging.
Tracking & Insurance Includes tracking and $50 insurance coverage for each package. Packages include $100 of insurance coverage per box. Packages include $100 of insurance coverage per box.

Flat rate shipping with parcel shippers such as UPS or FedEx ranges from $9.25-$212.95 depending on size of box and speed of travel. FedEx also considers distance of travel when pricing flat rate box shipments.

Flat rate shipping is ideal for:

  • Smaller household moves with fewer than 15 boxes to send
  • People downsizing their homes and sending items to their children or other family members or friends
  • People sending more than 5 boxes

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to ship boxes to another state?

The best way to ship boxes to another state depends on how much and what you are shipping:

  • For one or two boxes under 70 lbs, USPS or parcel shipping is often ideal.
  • For three or more boxes, large boxes, or heavy boxes, consolidated freight is your best option. These carriers specialize in transporting large, heavy cargo.
  • For five to fifteen boxes, flat rate box shipping is the most cost effective if your boxes are under your carrier’s maximum weight limit.
  • For boxes containing fragile or valuable items, White Glove shipping is the safest method. Your shipping partner will create a personalized plan that is tailored to your cargo, and packing services will be provided.

What is the cheapest way to ship boxes across the country?

The cheapest way to ship multiple boxes across the country is consolidated freight.

If you are shipping a single box, USPS is the most cost effective option.

Learn more in our Cheapest Way to Ship Guides.

How do I pack boxes for shipping?

Shipping packed boxes of household goods across country is simple when you pack them properly. When preparing and boxes for shipment, regardless of what items are going in them, you should follow these basic steps:

  1. Select the appropriate box size for the items you are packing.
  2. Assemble the box. Tape all sides using the H method.
  3. Line the box with padding. Crumpled newspaper sheets or magazine pages may work for household goods, but the ink can transfer onto soft materials. Plain packing paper or large bubble wrap is often the best choice.
  4. Wrap items individually before placing them in the box, especially fragile pieces.
  5. Pack heavy items first and pack lighter items on top. Add padding around each item as you put them in the box.
  6. Seal the box with more packing tape and label it with its delivery address. If you’re using any method other than parcel shipment, you should also include the contents and which room it belongs to.

Shipping Boxes Out of State?

Find out how TSI can help you ship boxes to a new state.

Learn more

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