Shipping a Car vs Driving it Yourself – what to choose and why

Automotive by  Ariana Smith 30 July 2020 Last Updated Date: 11 January 2023

Car vs Driving

Cross-country driving is surely one of the most exciting things to do – and a lot of worries, too. You are about to start a completely new life in a completely new world full of opportunities and adventures.

However, you will venture into the unknown and face challenge after challenge in transitioning to your new life – the first of these will be the actual move itself.

Before you can settle into your new house, explore your new neighborhood, and take advantage of all, it offers. The important thing is to reach there. You need to plan your move, find the right movers, pack your things for shipment, sort out the necessary documents, and so on.

Last but not least, you must find your way to get to your new city – get behind the wheel, fly, or take a train to a distant place that you will call home.

Deciding whether to take the car keys and make a road trip out of it or send your car across the country and take a short flight, train, or bus to your new neighborhood is difficult.

So, how to solve the cross-country driving versus car delivery dilemma? How do I know what’s best for you? If you desire to make an informed decision, all relevant factors should be considered.

Driving Distance:

One of the first things you should consider when you are wondering whether to drive or send a car across the country is the distance to your destination- not the distance in a straight line, but the exact road distance between the two locations- the old one and the new one.

For example, if you move to the nearest city – you might hesitate between self-driving and delivery. But if you think of how many hours is Georgia from Texas by car, it won’t take you long to realize that half a day’s drive is, probably, not worth it.

You should take a detailed map of the area you will be traveling through and study the region’s topography, road infrastructure, type of traffic, available roadside amenities, and other relevant factors.

Also, decide on the route you are going to take and calculate the exact mileage you will be driving.

After being aware of the distance to your new home and the exact route, you can evaluate it:

  • How much fuel will you need (considering the miles per gallon your car gets)
  • How much you will have to pay for gas (keep in mind that diesel fuel costs more than the national average) and road tolls (depending on the specific route you are traveling)
  • How long will it take to reach your destination (with an average speed of 60-70 mph)?

The numbers you get should help you decide how to transport your car across the country.

Seasonal Considerations:

When you move, the time of year will also affect your decision whether to send a car or drive across the country.

Adverse weather conditions in winter will make driving quite difficult – cold wind, heavy snowfall, and icy roads may cause you a lot of trouble, lead to significant delays and create considerable risks for your care and safety.

Moreover, being on the road for several days in a row at low temperatures may affect your health, and any fragile items, you carry in your car.

Shipping your car across the country is considered a safer and more convenient option in the colder seasons. It is because you will avoid any potential problems caused by poor road conditions and get to your new home quickly and comfortably. Make sure to check for professional vehicle shipping services.

Your car will be more protected from the elements if sent in a closed truck, and even the cost of delivery will be quite affordable since the shipping business is less busy in the winter months.

On the other hand, a trip around the country during the warmer months is likely to be pleasant and trouble-free. Therefore, if you move at any time between April and October, you may have a reasonably enjoyable trip to your new home. However, keep in mind that traffic will be weighty at this time of year.

Also, higher transport costs in the summer will provide an even greater incentive to travel around the country.

Time Considerations:

Driving across the country or moving from coast to coast is not an easy task. In fact, it can take anywhere between a week to a month. Other time considerations, which you need to filter in is whether you are traveling solo or taking your family along.

This will decide on the time frame you would need to complete a drive-down trip to your new home. If you are going solo, you might carry out longer driving hours, stop for shorter durations, and so on. However, if you are traveling with your family, you will need to stop very often, especially if there are young kids in the car.

Experts suggest that undertaking a very long drive down to your new home might not be in the best interests of your family. You can take the car, and send them via flights. How the weather is, the traffic, the permits, and legislations all are too diverse and uncontrollable elements for you to consider when driving your own car.

If you feel that driving down to your new home in a different city, is not going to be too strenuous of an exercise, it might be a great opportunity to spend excellent family time.

The Expenditure:

Many people feel that if they do not take help from professional movers, they will be able to bring down the costs. Most people feel that driving down with the car itself is a great way to save money. However, that is not the case.

The questions then arise is what is cheaper- using professional movers or driving down yourself? Fortunately, the answer to the same is the second fact, in 90% of the cases. While you may think driving is easier, it is not the case.

In fact, driving can be much more expensive than taking help from a professional car moving company. If you are calculating the cost of a trip there are several things you need to take into consideration. For example,

  • What would be the total amount of fuel you will be burning
  • What are some of the food costs and other overheads you will be incurring?
  • Will you need to spend some extra on getting permits and licenses from different states
  • What about the money you will be spending when you check into a motel at night

The above costs are for when you would be traveling solo. However, if you are traveling with your family, you can easily increase the same to 3x or 4x, depending on the number of family members you would be carrying in the car.

The more miles you are putting on the car, the faster is it depreciating. In addition, the wear and tear of the tires, the oil change required, and other damages, which might happen (unforeseen accidents), might make the driving trip a far too expensive affair.

This is why a safer option, would be to let experts handle the entire affair. Big car moving companies often ship multiple vehicles at the same time. This helps in reducing the charges and other overheads. In addition, they are experts and take insurance once they begin the journey, to prevent any accidental damage.


One of the primary things, which you need to consider, is the safety of all the occupants of the car. This is particularly important if you have young kids in the car.

When you drive around the country, you run many risks. Your car can break down in the middle of nowhere, fall asleep at the wheel, an accident can happen, and so on.

Extra mileage will cause a lot of wear on your car, and the adverse weather conditions can also be quite severe. Also, the car will be exposed to a range of security threats and problems – from road accidents to car theft.

Delivery is a much safer way to transport a car to the city where you live. Using reliable car transport services will limit the wear and tear of your car, minimize the risk of accidents, and protect your car from adverse weather conditions.

For maximum security, consider choosing an enclosed car carrier. Open-air trailers are exposed to the elements and vulnerable to damage and break-ins. Therefore, the extra costs might be worth it if you move in the winter or transport a high-end vehicle.

The delivery of your car will reduce the risk of damage to your car and the potential security threat to you and your family. When you send your car across the country, you will need to fly or train to your new city.

Air travel and train travel are usually considered much safer than car travel. The probability of a train or plane accident is significantly less than the likelihood of a road accident. Therefore, you will be safer during the trip to your new home.


If you are looking for convenience you need to be sure about the basics. One of the worst things that can happen during this time are you locking up the car keys inside the car and getting locked out. Trust us, when driving for long stretches and taking breaks, such problems are far more common than you think. This is where you would require the services of the fastest automotive locksmith to help you.

Once you have narrowed down the decision on shipping your car with a professional, you might want to understand why it would be a convenient affair.

Sending a car with professionals, while you take care of other important aspects might just be the best decision you will make when moving to a new home. With all the time, which you will be freeing up, you would want to look at the state of the construction, shopping for new furniture, enrolling your kids in a new school, and so on.

What we are trying to state is that taking help from professional car movers can be a very convenient affair for you and your family. While your car is being transported hundreds and thousands of miles, you can do so much more.

The experts take photographs when they come to collect the car, do an inspection. Before handing over the car to you, you can check with the photos to see if anything is amiss or not.

While your car is being transported, you can take time off and explore historical sites in the new city with your family. You can reduce the stress factor in many ways. Exploring the food culture, entertainment, games and other attractions within the city will help make the shifting process easier.

The Final Word

When deciding which is the better option, it is important to study all the facts and take stock of the existing scenario. You also need to sit down and discuss the same with your family members before making a decision.

While using professional car movers might be beneficial for some families, others might want to make it a memorable experience by undertaking a road trip. It is always better to weigh the pros and cons before deciding on taking your car or shipping your car.

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Ariana Smith

Ariana Smith is a freelancer content writer and enthusiastic blogger. She is a regular contributor at The Daily Notes.

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