If you’re thinking about moving out of NYC, you’re not alone. Over the last few years, there’s been an exodus of people leaving NYC that’s been hard to ignore. Though New York City may be one of the greatest cities in the world, it’s also one of the most expensive. Three of New York City’s five boroughs ranked in Kiplinger’s top 10 list of the most expensive cities to live in the U.S. — with Manhattan beating San Francisco for the #1 spot. 

As the gig economy grows, and more jobs offer remote work options, many New Yorkers are questioning the payoff for the city’s high cost of living. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has left a fair share of New Yorkers reassessing if they’d rather be living in bigger, greener, and cheaper spaces. That may just mean moving to nearby NYC suburbs, fleeing somewhere in-state like Kingston or Hudson, or taking the plunge with an out-of-state or cross-country move

Whichever move you’ve decided to make, don’t fret! You’ve got several options to get it done. Here’s an easy guide to help you pick the best moving and storage services for your move out of NYC, including estimated moving costs and pros and cons.  

Things to work out before looking at your moving options:

Finding the best method for your move will depend on a combination of the size, distance, budget, location, and timing of the move you’re dealing with. A few important things to keep at the front of your mind while you’re figuring out your best options:

  • How much stuff do you need to move?
  • How quickly do you need to move? Is your timeline flexible?
  • Will you need or want storage at any point during the move?
  • How much work do you feel like doing on your own? Will any friends or family lend you a hand with moving or packing? 
  • What’s your ideal moving budget? What’s your maximum budget?
  • Are you moving out of an urban area that has parking restrictions?
  • Are you looking for contactless moving to reduce risks of COVID-19 spread?
New York City street

What types of options are there for a NYC move? 

New York City is dense, streets can get busy and narrow, and not all neighborhoods will allow you the same moving options. The exact options available to you will probably depend heavily on the specifics of your move and your location. Still, never fear, people move in and out of NYC every day. Here are some of the ways they get it done:

  1. DIY rental truck
  2. Moving and storage container service 
  3. Moving and storage container service specialized for city moves
  4. Traditional full-service mover
  5. A combo of the above

How much does it cost to move out of NYC*?

Let’s take a quick glance at some estimates that compare costs for different NYC moving and storage services. Since New York City apartments are notoriously small, we’ve based our estimates on a household size ranging from a studio to two-bedroom apartment. These are just rough estimates, so be sure to collect tailored quotes for your specific move as you consider your options.

NYC Moving Costs* Chart

Type of MoveRental TruckPODS/
PODS City Service
Full-Service Movers
Local $135-$192
$529-$1,600
(includes 1-month storage)
$799-$1,751

Long-Distance

$597-$2,850

$1,237- $2,999
(includes 1-month storage)

$1,780-$8,400 

*Based on estimates from PODS/PODS City Service and MoveBuddha for a studio to 2-bedroom apartment (800-1,200 square feet), for a local move (within NYC or as far as New Rochelle) or for long distances. Costs don’t include insurance or taxes and will vary based on specific location, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. 

Whether you’re going somewhere in state, out of state, or cross-country, moving out of a dense city like NYC comes with its own considerations (like street width and parking restrictions, for starters). Here’s how your different moving options stack up against each other in terms of price, pros, and cons. 

Penske moving truck
(Source: @pensketruckrental via Facebook)

Using a truck rental for a total DIY move

When it comes to using a moving truck rental, most of us know the drill. You pack up all your stuff, rent a moving truck, load up the truck, drive to your new location, and then unload and unpack your stuff. While this is usually the cheapest option, it’s also the most work. However, if you’re on a strict budget, it may be worth committing to the fact you’ll have to do all the work yourself (and probably call in favors from friends and family for help). You can usually grab a quote for your move and book online through the rental truck company’s website. 

How much does it cost for a moving truck rental in NYC*?

Type of MoveEstimated Costs*: Rental Truck
Local $135-$192 (plus fuel costs)
Nearby Out-of-State$597-$851 (plus fuel costs)
Cross-Country$1,200-$2,850 (plus fuel costs)

*Based on estimates from MoveBuddha for a studio to 2-bedroom household, costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific location, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. 

What are the pros and cons of using a rental truck to move out of NYC?

PROS

  • Usually the cheapest option, especially for small, nearby moves
  • Flexible moving schedule (based on availability of the rental truck)
  • Easy to price and book online

CONS

  • You have to do all the work yourself
  • You will likely have to ask friends or family to help
  • You have to do all the driving (and parking!) yourself
  • No storage option available
  • Driving a truck that others have used during a pandemic
Man with a packed moving PODS container

NYC Storage and Moving Container Options: PODS and PODS City Service

If you’re looking for flexibility, a portable moving container service like PODS is likely your best bet. PODS’ options are ideal for anyone who wants to move at their own pace, store their things for a while, or have a less stressful moving experience without breaking the bank. 

Depending where you are and where you’re moving, you’ll either need to check pricing for PODS standard service or PODS City Service. For local moves, you can get a quote online or by phone. For long-distance moves, you need to call (877-665-7637), as there are a few more details to cover. Either way, you’ll also receive a written version of your quote via email. 

You’ve got three different options if you use PODS service. Here’s a rundown of them all. 

1. PODS Standard Service — How it Works 

This is the traditional PODS service that’s designed for people who have a space  — like a driveway, yard, or special permits for street parking — where they can store a portable moving container overnight.  

What you can expect with PODS standard service:

  • A container is delivered to your current address.
  • You load it up with your stuff on your own schedule .
  • PODS picks up your container and either delivers it to your new address or keeps it safe for you in a secure storage facility, where you’ll have access to your belongings.  
  • When you’re ready, you receive your container and unload it at your own pace.
  • Once you’re finished unloading and all set, PODS picks up the container.
  • You can take up to 30 days for the moving and storage process or pay a monthly rental fee for more time

2. PODS City Service — How it Works

Available in NYC and other select cities, PODS City Service is very similar to PODS standard service, but it’s tailored for busy urban areas where you may not have the space to keep your container overnight. What you can expect with PODS City Service:

  • A PODS moving truck brings your portable moving container to your current location.
  • You load your stuff into your container while it’s kept on the truck — a hydraulic lift makes it easy to load at ground level.
  • You have up to four hours for loading, or can pay for extra time if needed. 
  • The PODS driver stays with your container to prevent tickets and theft.
  • After loading, your container is either delivered to your new address or taken to a secure storage facility, where you’ll have access to your belongings.
  • You receive your container and unload it while the PODS driver stands guard. 
  • If your new location is outside NYC, you may have room to keep the container on site, so you can unload at your own pace 
  • When you’re done unloading, PODS picks up the empty container
Carrying a sofa into a new home

3. Mix and match: Customize your move by combining services 

Since no two moves are alike, you can create your own custom move by picking and choosing different services to meet your needs. For example, if you’re moving from the city to a location with more space, you might use PODS City Service when loading up your moving container in New York City, but then take advantage of unloading at your own pace while storing it on site at your new location. Since this type of move has a few more details, you should be prepared to hop on the phone for a quote.

Other popular hybrid moves include: 

  • Using a moving container to help declutter or send belongings straight to storage and then hiring full-service movers for the rest
  • Moving personal items in a container and letting movers take care of the heavy or fragile items
  • Hiring labor help to pack and load – or just the heavy items — so it’s like a full-service move using a container
  • Using a container and then renting a truck to “finish” the move, using it for left-over or essential items for use in temporary housing.

How much does it cost to use a moving container for a NYC move?

Type of MoveEstimated Costs*: Moving & Storage Container
Local $529 – $1,600 (includes 1-month storage)
Long-distance$1,237- $2,999 (includes 1-month storage)

*Based on estimates for PODS and PODS City Service. for a moderately furnished studio to 2-bedroom household. Costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific location, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. For a detailed quote, visit PODS for standard local moves or call 877-350-7637 for PODS City Service or long-distance moves.

What are the pros and cons of using a moving container service to move out of NYC?

PROS

  • Affordable moving option with lots of flexibility
  • Load and unload at your own pace and on your own schedule
  • No driving a moving truck on NYC streets or searching for parking 
  • Option to hire help with packing and loading 
  • Your stuff stays in your own storage container and won’t get mixed up with someone’s else stuff
  • Convenient storage options on your property or at a secure storage center
  • No-contact option for moving during a pandemic

CONS

  • Most convenient option requires a driveway, yard, or dedicated parking spot
  • More work is required than with a full-service mover unless you hire help with packing and loading
  • You’ll have to estimate the size container you need
Woman hiring a NYC mover

Hiring a traditional, full-service NYC mover

Going with a full-service mover will leave you with the least amount of hard work, but that luxury will cost you a pretty penny. This is the most expensive option, whether it’s for a local, out-of-state, or cross-country move. However, for some people, hiring professional movers to do all the work — load up your things, drive them to your new location, and unload them for you — is worth the big expense. Some full-service movers also offer an option where they will pack and unpack your boxes, too (for an extra fee, of course!). 

You can get quotes from local NYC moving companies and national moving companies either online or by calling them up on the phone. Be sure to ask if they are insured, about any hidden fees, what they provide (dollies, moving blankets, etc.), and any additional services they may offer. 

How much does it cost to hire a full-service mover in NYC*?

Type of MoveEstimated Costs*: Full-Service Movers
Local $799-$1,751
Long-distance$1,780-$8,400

*Based on estimates from MoveBuddha for a studio to 2-bedroom household, costs don’t include insurance or taxes. Prices will vary based on specific location, dates, size of household to be moved, and available discounts. 

What are the pros and cons of using a traditional, full-service mover to move out of NYC?

PROS

  • Someone else does the driving
  • No heavy lifting
  • No need to ask friends and family to help
  • With reliable movers, this can be a less stressful experience
  • Potential option to have the moving company pack and unpack your stuff

CONS

  • Usually the most expensive option, plus potential for extra fees
  • May charge a minimum number of hours (not great for small moves)
  • Storage options may be scarce, expensive, or unavailable
  • Highest-contact option; in-home estimates are often the norm, plus movers will be coming in and out of your home and touching your things
  • Least flexible option for moving date availability or date changes
  • Higher possibility of damage to or loss of items, especially for long-distance moves (your belongings are often moved around and combined with other customers’ items during transport)
Man and woman moving in a city

Moving Tips: Things You Need To Know When You’re Moving In NYC

This is a city like no other — and that remains true even when you’re moving in New York City! Running into unwanted surprises during your move can turn a stressful day into a chaotic one. Here are a few key considerations to get you started: 

  • Your building or landlords may require hired movers to present a COI (certificate of insurance) before they can move anything in or out of the building. Be sure to check with your landlord, and if it’s required, let the moving company know when you call for your quote. 
  • Parking rules in NYC can be tricky and vary by block, so be sure to know the rules for your particular stretch of street. Get any necessary permits, and schedule your move around any hourly restrictions to avoid any tickets, fees, or a NYC moving violation.
  • There are rules and limits to what items the NYC Department of Sanitation will pick up and take off your hands along with the trash. Figure out which items you can dump on the sidewalk and which ones you’ll need to arrange to donate, sell, recycle, or dispose of on your own. 
  • Commercial vehicles are often subject to different rules than regular cars, so be sure to iron-out the specifics of what’s allowed and where on your street. 

Want more? We’ve got a whole collection of tips and tricks for NYC moves. Moving may be a challenge, but with solid prep and resources, you’ve got this!

After living in Brooklyn for eight years, freelance writer Katherine Alex Beaven was in the process of moving out of New York City as she wrote this. Her work has also appeared in Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, and Edible Manhattan.