cheapest way to move interstate

How to Have the Cheapest Interstate Move: A Comprehensive Guide

With hundreds of kilometres separating the different Australian states, moving interstate can be a daunting and expensive endeavour.

From the logistics of packing up your life to the costs associated with hiring professionals, it’s easy to see why people often feel overwhelmed and helpless, worried about not knowing how to move interstate cheaply. But fear not!

Having been in the interstate and international removals business for nearly 60 years, we understand the importance of budget-friendly options. So, throughout this article, we will provide you with practical tips and insights to ensure you know the cheapest way to move interstate in Australia.

13 Tips to Have the Cheapest Move Interstate

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to navigate the challenges of interstate moving while keeping your budget intact. Simply follow these tips:

1. Plan your interstate move months ahead

Planning your interstate move months in advance is a strategic move that offers a multitude of benefits.

  • Securing the best deals: When you plan ahead, you have the luxury of time to research and negotiate with prospective removalists. This often leads to significant cost savings as you can lock in lower rates.
  • Choosing off-peak months: Understanding the seasonal patterns of the removalist industry can work to your advantage. During off-peak months, typically in the winter, removalists tend to charge less due to decreased demand. Conversely, peak season, which usually falls in the summer, can see higher prices and reduced availability.
  • Reducing stress: Moving house can be stressful, but early planning can ease the physical and mental burdens of relocating – especially when you have kids and pets to think of. You’ll have ample time to organise your belongings, pack efficiently, and address any unforeseen challenges.

2. Declutter, sell, and give away furniture and other belongings

Before embarking on your interstate move, consider the advantages of decluttering, selling (try Gumtree, eBay, Rosella Street, Etsy, etc.) or donating items (check out Freecycle, Tread Lightly, Dress for Success, Street Library, etc.) you no longer need:

  • Reduce volume and weight: Removalists often base their fees on the volume or weight of your possessions. By downsizing, you not only lighten the load but also potentially save significantly on moving costs.
  • Earn extra cash: Selling items that no longer serve you not only simplifies your move but also puts some money back in your pocket. Those funds can be allocated to cover other moving expenses.
  • Support local charities: Donating usable items to local charities (or your soon-to-be ex-neighbours) is not only a kind gesture but also an environmentally friendly choice. It ensures your belongings find new homes and reduces the amount of waste generated during the move.

3. Source free moving boxes and supplies

When it comes to obtaining free moving supplies, here are some ingenious ways to maximise your resources:

  • Hunt for free boxes from local businesses, friends, or online platforms: Begin your search by visiting nearby grocery stores, liquor shops, bookstores, or even your workplace. Many businesses discard sturdy boxes regularly, and friends may have recently moved and could have spare boxes. Online platforms like social media groups or community forums often have people willing to part with their surplus moving materials for free or at a minimal cost.
  • Use household items like towels, blankets, and even stuffed animals as padding materials: Instead of purchasing bubble wrap or packing paper, make use of your existing linens and blankets. Wrap fragile items like dishes, glassware, or ceramics in towels and use stuffed animals as cushioning to protect them during transit.
  • Collect newspapers for wrapping fragile items: Newspapers can also serve as excellent padding for fragile items. Keep an eye out for free newspapers in your community or ask friends and family to save some for you.
  • Check with your removalist: Some removalist companies provide complimentary or discounted packing supplies as part of their services. Be sure to inquire about this option when obtaining quotes.

By creatively sourcing your moving materials, you’ll not only fulfill your goal to move for cheap but also ensure a more sustainable and eco-friendly relocation.

4. Pack smart to maximise space

Since most removalists do charge by volume, efficient packing can save you money. By packing efficiently, you can significantly reduce the space your belongings occupy, potentially resulting in lower costs.

Here are some practical packing strategies to consider:

  • Use proper packing techniques, such as labelling boxes and packing room by room. Labelling your boxes this way makes unpacking a breeze, ensuring items end up in the right place. Additionally, clearly marking fragile items helps movers handle them with utmost care.
  • Disassemble furniture to save space. If possible, disassemble larger furniture items to reduce their size and make them easier to transport. Keep all screws, bolts, and assembly instructions centralised and organised in labelled bags.
  • Use vacuum storage bags for clothing and bedding. Vacuum storage bags are a fantastic space-saving solution for clothing, bedding, and other soft items. These bags remove excess air, compressing the contents and making them more compact.

By implementing these packing strategies, you not only make the most of the available space but also keep your interstate moving costs in check.

5. Compare different moving options

When considering hiring a professional moving company, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons on how to move interstate carefully.


  • Experienced staff: Professional movers bring a wealth of experience, ensuring your belongings are handled with care throughout the process.
  • Insurance coverage: Reputable moving companies provide insurance coverage, offering peace of mind in case of unexpected mishaps.
  • Efficiency in packing and transportation: Removalists are experts at efficiently packing and transporting items, saving you time and effort.


  • Higher cost compared to DIY options: One of the significant drawbacks of hiring professionals is the cost. Professional moving services can be more expensive than a DIY move.
  • Reliance on their schedule: When you hire movers, you’ll need to adhere to their schedule, which may not always align with your preferred timing.

Qualities of the best removalist company

To ensure a successful and cost-effective interstate move, look for these qualities in a removalist company:

  • Reputation: Research the company’s reputation by checking online reviews and testimonials. A reliable company should have a track record of satisfied customers.
  • Experience: Experience matters. Companies with years of experience are better equipped to handle the complexities of interstate moves.
  • Customer reviews: Reading reviews from past clients can provide valuable insights into the company’s reliability and service quality.
  • Transparency in pricing: The best removalist companies are transparent about their pricing, providing clear, itemised quotes to help you understand what you’re paying for.
  • Licensing and insurance coverage: Ensure the company you’re hiring is properly licenced (such as by the Australian Furniture Removers Association or AFRA) and carries adequate insurance coverage to protect your belongings.
  • Clear communication and punctuality: Effective communication and punctuality are crucial. The best removalist companies keep you informed at every stage of the moving process and arrive on time.

Questions to ask prospective movers

When vetting potential movers, be sure to ask about:

  • Hidden fees: Inquire about any additional or hidden fees that might arise during your move to avoid unpleasant surprises on moving day.
  • Insurance coverage: Understand the extent of their insurance coverage and whether it adequately protects your belongings.
  • Timeline of the move: Get a clear understanding of the expected timeline for your move, including pickup and delivery dates.
  • Experience with interstate moves: Ask about their experience with interstate moves specifically, as these can be more complex than local moves.
  • Additional services: Check if they offer extra services, such as packing, unpacking, or storage solutions.

Why the cheapest option may not always be the best option:

While it’s tempting to only consider cheap interstate movers or to opt for the cheapest moving option, it’s essential to ponder the potential downsides of prioritising cost only.

  • The cheapest interstate movers may lack experience or insurance coverage. Some budget movers may cut corners, potentially putting your belongings at risk. They may lack the necessary insurance to protect your items adequately.
  • Hidden fees and subpar services can end up costing more in the long run. What seems like a quote for cheap interstate removals can quickly balloon when hidden fees are added. Additionally, subpar service may lead to damaged or lost items, resulting in unexpected expenses.

Striking the right balance between affordability and quality is key. While you’re looking for the cheapest ways to move interstate, it’s essential to ensure your belongings are handled professionally and securely throughout.

6. Use virtual surveys for more accurate quotes

When obtaining quotes from removalist companies, consider requesting a virtual survey of your belongings. With the advancement of technology, many reputable removalists now offer virtual surveys via video calls or smartphone apps.

Simply contact the removalist and schedule a convenient time for a virtual survey. During this session, you’ll walk through your home, showcasing all the items you plan to move. Doing this provides certain benefits:

  • Accurate assessment: The removalist’s representative can visually assess the volume and nature of your belongings more accurately through the virtual survey than by relying solely on your description.
  • Precise quotes: Virtual surveys (or pre-move surveys in general) lead to more precise and tailored quotes. This can prevent unexpected cost increases due to underestimating the volume of your belongings.
  • Time savings: By providing a detailed overview of your items without the need for an in-person visit, virtual surveys can save time for both you and the removalist.
  • Competitive pricing: When multiple removalists offer virtual surveys, you can compare quotes more effectively and choose the most cost-effective option.
  • Minimal contact: Virtual surveys are a great option if you prefer limited physical contact due to health concerns.

By leveraging virtual surveys, you can ensure that your quotes are accurate and tailored to your specific needs, ultimately helping you save money and avoid unplanned expenses.

7. DIY your interstate move

Opting for a DIY interstate move can be cost-effective; however, it’s crucial to be aware of the challenges and costs involved.

Of course, you will have full control over the process, allowing for cost-cutting over every aspect of your move, from packing to transportation. You may need to rent a truck or hire help for heavy lifting, so be sure to factor these costs into your budget.

Consider the distance, time, and your ability to handle moving logistics. The feasibility of a DIY move depends on the distance you’re travelling, the time available, and your ability to manage everything. For instance, moving to Melbourne from Canberra might be more straightforward than undertaking Sydney to Perth removals due to the vast difference in distance. Long-distance or complex moves are always more challenging to handle without professional assistance.

8. Move during off-peak times

Choosing to move during off-peak season offers several advantages.

  • Lower demand often results in lower prices: Off-peak months see reduced demand for moving services, which frequently translates to more competitive pricing from removalist companies.
  • Weekdays and mid-month moves are less crowded and more cost-effective: Weekdays, especially Tuesdays and Wednesdays, are typically less congested than weekends, making for smoother transitions. Additionally, mid-month moves often see less competition for available moving slots.
  • Greater flexibility in booking dates: With reduced demand, you’ll have a broader range of dates to choose from when scheduling your move, allowing you to pick the most convenient time for your family.

To make the most of off-peak moving times:

  • Contact multiple removalists to compare rates during different times. Reach out to multiple removalist companies to gather quotes for various dates. This enables you to assess the cost savings associated with off-peak periods.
  • Book well in advance to secure the best off-peak deals. Popular off-peak times can still fill up quickly. Therefore, it’s wise to book your removalist well in advance to secure the most favourable rates and ensure their availability on your preferred moving date.

9. Consider backloading

Whether you are moving to Perth, relocating to Sydney or any other city, backloading is an innovative and cost-effective approach to moving that’s particularly advantageous for long-distance moves. It involves sharing a moving truck with other customers who are also relocating to the same destination or along the same route.

This efficient use of space allows you to pay only for the portion of the truck your belongings occupy, making it a budget-friendly option. Sharing a truck also reduces the carbon footprint of your move.

However, there are some disadvantages to backloading as well:

  • Longer delivery times: Since the truck may make multiple stops along the route, your delivery may take longer than with an exclusive truck.
  • Less control over scheduling: With backloading, you may have less flexibility in choosing your exact pickup and delivery dates, as these are often determined by the logistics of the shared truck.
  • Limited space availability: While backloading can be cost-effective, it may not be suitable for individuals with large volumes of belongings or specific timing requirements.

Considering your priorities and circumstances, backloading can be a viable and economical choice for your interstate move.

10. Choose affordable insurance

It’s important to select the right insurance coverage for your interstate move to safeguard your belongings and provide peace of mind.

  • Shop around to find a policy that offers the best value for your needs. Don’t settle for the first insurance offer that comes your way. Take the time to explore different options and compare prices and coverage.
  • Compare insurance options offered by your removalist and third-party providers. Removalist companies often provide insurance options, but ensure you’re getting competitive rates by comparing them with third-party insurer packages.
  • Opt for insurance that covers the full value of your belongings. To ensure adequate protection, select an insurance policy that covers the replacement or repair costs of your items, not just their current market value.
  • Look for policies with reasonable premiums and deductibles. Striking a balance between affordable premiums and manageable deductibles is essential. High deductibles can negate the benefits of insurance.
  • Ensure that the insurance covers damage, theft, and loss during the move. Confirm that the insurance policy provides comprehensive coverage for a range of potential scenarios.

11. Claim possible tax deductions

If you’re moving for work or business reasons, some of your relocation expenses might be tax-deductible. To make the most of potential tax deductions:

  • Maintain meticulous records of all expenses related to your interstate move, such as transportation, lodging, and packing supplies.
  • Consult with a tax professional to determine eligible deductions. Tax laws regarding moving expenses can be complex and subject to change. A tax professional can help you navigate the rules and identify eligible deductions.

12. Check if you qualify for employer relocation assistance

When moving for a job, inquire if your employer offers relocation assistance or reimbursement as this can be one of the cheap ways to move interstate.

Employer relocation packages can include various benefits, such as covering moving expenses, temporary housing, or even assisting with the sale of your current home. Understand your company’s policy and requirements for reimbursement if they offer it, so you can take full advantage of the assistance available to you.

13. Leverage off-peak flight deals

If you need to fly during your interstate move:

  • Book flights during sales or off-peak times for lower fares. Keep an eye on airline promotions and sales to secure affordable airfare. Off-peak times, such as mid-week flights or flights during non-holiday periods, can often be had at lower prices.
  • Take advantage of airline baggage allowances to transport personal items. Airlines typically allow passengers to check bags and bring carry-on items. Utilise these allowances to transport essential personal items.

Hire Relocations WA for Your Interstate Move

By considering these practical tips for the cheapest way to move house and leveraging available opportunities, you can plan and execute a cost-effective interstate move in Australia while minimising stress.

Of course, you always have the option to get in touch with a seasoned and reliable mover like Relocations WA.

We have a friendly and professional team of removalists who are ready to ease your stress and any other burdens concerning your interstate move.

We offer transparent and competitive pricing, and plenty of extra services you may require, including packing and unpacking, pet transport and storage.

Get your personalised quote today!

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