When you’re relocating to a destination like Alaska, Guam or Hawaii, you might think your starting location doesn’t matter much. After all, is a move from California to Guam that different from a move from New York to Guam? Other than a slightly higher cost, what difference do 3,500 miles make?

There are a few things you need to know if you’re considering a move to a Pacific destination. Check out these four things that can impact your move.

#1: Bulky Items Will Add Big Cost

bulky item carrying

If you’ve done some research, you may already know that your moving company should offer you:

  1. 1) An on-site survey (either in person or via video, which is required by law).
  2. 2) A guaranteed price per pound for your move.

(If they don’t offer either one, this might be a red flag to watch out for.)

So given that your move is priced by weight, you might be surprised to hear that bulky items that take up a lot of room can increase your moving bill. (And this is especially true if you’re moving from the East Coast since trucking plays a large role in the moving cost.)

Why? The answer lies in the way that moving companies pay their suppliers. When they contract with ocean shipping lines, moving companies buy space on a vessel. They don’t pay by weight.

As a result, when they calculate your price per pound, they’ll take into consideration any bulky possessions you want to take. During the on-site survey, your surveyor will look for large items that might take up a lot of space, including:

  • Sofas
  • King-size beds
  • Patio furniture that doesn’t fold down or stack efficiently

If the surveyor sees a number of these types of items, your moving company will ultimately quote you a higher price per pound. That way, they’re able to cover their cost on the ocean portion of the voyage.

If budget is a big consideration, talk to your surveyor about your bulkier items to understand your options.

#2: Protect Your Items Carefully—and Smartly

protect your shipment

What’s in an extra 3,500 miles? A lot of bumps, vibration, loading and unloading.

Long story short, the greater the distance your items have to travel, the more forces they’ll be subject to. The cross-country journey involves trucking to the train yard, transit by rail, then another truck ride to the port. This will be followed by an ocean journey—with all the loading and unloading in between. By the end of the trip, even a carefully handled load will be subject to a lot of movement. Think about this: your shipment could be handled up to eight times. That’s precisely why you want your goods moved in a lift van (crate) or a shipping container, not on pallets.

So what can you do to protect your items? Two things:

#1 – Pack your items extra securely—or simply trust the experts.

Many moving companies that offer services to/from Guam, Alaska and Hawaii include packing services and supplies as part of the price. When you hire a reputable moving company, they’ll send out experts to pack your boxes with the protection they need to arrive safely.

#2 – Invest in full-value protection.

Your carrier is required by law to offer you two types of protection in case of damage to your goods:

  1. Basic carrier liability, which will reimburse you at a set price per pound for any damage.
  2. Full-value protection which, as it states, will reimburse you for the full value of any items that are damaged in transit.

Although your level of coverage comes down to your preferences, consider that your items will be making a 3,000+ mile journey over land, followed by another journey of a few thousand miles over water. If anything happens to your items, only full-value protection will offer the coverage to replace your item. Basic carrier liability will only cover a fraction of the item’s original value.

We recommend checking with your current homeowner’s insurance plan to see if you’re covered or have a rider. If not, be sure to ask your mover about protection options.

#3: Choose an Expert for Faster Transit Times

choose expert mover

All moving companies are not the same, especially when it comes to long journeys. No matter whether you’re shipping a less-than-container load or a full container load all your own, choosing someone with experience in your destination will help get your items to your destination faster.


  • When it comes to smaller moves, the company you choose will consolidate your items with other shipments. An experienced mover will likely have a large volume of shipments going to your destination. As a result, they’ll reach a full load faster and get the entire shipment on its way quicker.
  • Even when it comes to container loads, companies that ship frequently to your destination can leverage established relationships. Your container is going to go through a series of logistics—from truck to rail to truck to port to ship, all the way to your final destination. Established relationships and experience mean that all these movements will go smoothly, resulting in faster shipping time for you.

#4: Experience Can Also Get You Better Pricing

choose experienced mover

In addition to getting you faster transit times, movers with experience in your destination can also help you get a lower price for your move. Existing relationships and a consistently high volume of business mean that experienced moving companies can often negotiate better prices on your behalf.

However, if you choose someone who’s not as experienced in shipping to your destination, it can show. They may not know how to effectively negotiate with the shipping companies and other logistics companies that will help your shipment gets where it needs to go. Additionally, they won’t have any kind of volume to leverage as a bargaining chip.

At the end of the day, when you have experience on your side, you’ll see the benefits in both speed and price.

The Considerations of Cross-Country Moving

We don’t need to tell you that a cross-country, Pacific Ocean move is a complicated one. If you’re considering it, you probably already expect some complex logistics. However, when you keep these four items in mind, you can eliminate potential surprises, protect your valuable possessions and maybe even save some money along the way.

Need help getting your items across the country to a Pacific destination? We’d be happy to help. Just reach out to us, and we’ll send out a Certified Moving Consultant to provide an in-home survey and provide a quote with a guaranteed price per pound.

We also partner with moving companies, RMCs and freight forwarders who need help getting their clients to Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Let us know how we can help.

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