U-Pack Moving offers flexible moving solutions for any need or budget. In this blog you will get moving tips and advice from the experts at U-Pack. These blog posts, infographics and checklists will help you plan a long distance move from start to finish.
It’s completely normal to leave a tip for good service. And if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant, gotten a haircut, had a pizza delivered or taken a cab, you’re probably pretty familiar with how it works. But if you’re hiring movers for the first time, you may be wondering if you’re supposed to give them extra cash for a job well done. Tipping movers is a great way to reward movers for exceptional service, but it isn’t required (and sometimes isn’t possible). Learn from Dustin Whinery, an experienced mover in Texas, to see what’s typical and what to expect.
To tip or not to tip
The first thing to figure out is if the company you’ve hired to help with loading and unloading has a tipping policy. Knowing this upfront will help avoid any situations where the mover has to refuse a gratuity. If they tell you their employees can accept them, it’s totally at your discretion. Dustin explained, “Tips are never expected, but for service that goes above and beyond, it’s always welcomed.”
Like in other industries, service that goes above and beyond may deserve a little extra. However, Dustin advised that customers shouldn’t feel obligated to tip if their expectations aren’t met. Examples of subpar service include:
Showing up extremely late without apology or reason
Carelessly mistreating items
However, if they provided great service and went above standard job duties, it’s fine to show that you noticed. Dustin says, “If you can say that a mover or crew made you feel comfortable during your move, a tip might be a good idea.” Service deserving of a tip might be:
Getting the job completed faster than expected
Handling items with extra care
Moving large, heavy, bulky or awkward furniture
Climbing excessive stairs (like to a third floor apartment)
At the end of the day, there are no guidelines for when or when not to give a tip. Give when you feel it’s deserved, and don’t feel pressured to do so.
How much to give movers
There’s no set percentage for tipping movers; it’s up to you. While some services have a standard percentage (like how it’s typical to tip 20% at a restaurant), using one for moving labor can quickly add up. Since they don’t expect anything extra, give what you think they deserve for their work. Any amount is a bonus, but these guidelines can help:
$10 per person for a half day’s work
$20 per person for a full day’s work
Feel free to give more if they had to work around difficult circumstances, like stairs, heavy furniture or bad weather.
How to give a tip to a mover
You can tip only those who provided the best care, or tip the whole crew if everyone did a great job. It’s best to tip them individually instead of giving the full amount to a supervisor or on the bill for the company to split out. By handing out separate tips, you’re recognizing the hard work of each person. Give tips at the end of the day, once the job is completed.
The easiest way to give is to place money (cash is preferred) in envelopes and give them to each crew member as you thank them. No envelopes on-hand? A handshake and a “thank you” works well, too.
Other ideas for showing appreciation to movers
If you don’t like the idea of giving cash (or the company has a policy against it), there are other ways to recognize the efforts of great loaders and unloaders. Dustin said, “Small gestures don’t go unnoticed. Even just offering water goes a long way.” Here are some ideas:
Buy them a meal if they work through lunch — Dustin says it can be tough to go back to work heavy lifting after a meal of pizza, so think outside the pizza box and go with burgers, sub sandwiches or fried chicken.
Have snacks and cold drinks on hand. If the cooler is packed and the fridge is defrosted, borrow one from a friend or get a one-time use cooler.
Give them a great review on consumer review sites or on their social media pages. This type of public praise helps them get future business. Dustin said, “Nothing is more valuable than a great review. It gives them better business in the future.”
Have an area set up for them to take a break. Either somewhere with a fan if it’s hot outside, or somewhere warm during winter. They will appreciate a place to rest between heavy loads.
Avoid giving out beer at the end of the day. It may be against policy to accept, and it can also a liability to you.
Need help finding a moving crew?
U-Pack is a “you pack, we drive” company, but we understand that some people want or need assistance. We refer customers to a company with pre-qualified labor available to help load, unload or both. Call a U-Pack consultant at 800-413-4799 to learn more about hiring a moving crew.
What do you think about giving movers a tip?
Do you have any other unique ideas for showing appreciation? Leave those in the comments below. We love to hear how you creatively say thank you for a job well done.
When it comes to an affordable and simple move, there’s often no better option than a moving container. They’re easy to load, and since you don’t have to drive, the experience can be more convenient than driving a rental truck. There are a lot of choices, though, so deciding on a moving and storage service that meets your needs may not be quite as simple. We’ll offer some assistance by comparing two popular options — U-Pack® and SMARTBOX®.
Side-by-side comparison: U-Pack and SMARTBOX
U-Pack and SMARTBOX are two commonly compared services that both offer long-distance moving and storage. Here’s how they stack up:
U-Pack and SMARTBOX moving and storage containers are similar in size, but the construction differs.
The U-Pack ReloCube is 6’ x 7’ x 8’ and sits at ground level for easy loading. It is weatherproof with sturdy metal construction and has logistics tracking inside for tying down your belongings to keep them safe and secure in transit.
Note: Your U-Pack quote may also offer a 28-foot moving trailer with flexible pricing — you can use as little as 5 linear feet or up to the full trailer.
The SMARTBOX storage container is slightly smaller than a ReloCube at 8’ x 7’ x 5’. It sits at ground level and is constructed of wood that is topped with a canvas covering.
Moving and storage service
Both U-Pack and SMARTBOX offer do-it-yourself moving — you load and unload, but don’t have to drive.
U-Pack’s transit times average just 2-5 business days (depending on origin and destination), and in most places you have up to three business days to load and unload — perfect for when you want a quick move! But, if you don’t want it quite so fast, you have the option to store at a local service center.
A SMARTBOX move includes a 30-day rental of the container, covering time for loading, transportation, some storage and unloading. Sometimes customers are able to take delivery of the container sooner, but the price does not adjust for early delivery. Both on-site and long-term storage are available after the first 30 days.
Service area and locations
U-Pack offers long-distance moving services in all 50 states (and Washington D.C.), Canada and Puerto Rico, with broad service area that includes both metro and less-populated areas. If storage is selected, containers and trailers are stored at the local service center — customers can also save money by loading and unloading at these locations.
SMARTBOX offers local and long-distance moving in 38 metro areas across 21 states (and Washington D.C.). Storage is available on-site or in these areas.
With both companies, prices are based on location, the move date and the number of containers used. Start with a U-Pack moving quote to compare rates. Both U-Pack and SMARTBOX offer “pay for the containers you use” pricing. This means that regardless of how many containers you reserve, you only pay for what you use. While U-Pack doesn’t require a down payment or deposit (you pay once the shipment is in transit), SMARTBOX requires a 15 percent deposit at the time of reservation.
Choosing best moving and storage container
If you have questions about how U-Pack containers compare to SMARTBOX, let us know! We’re happy to help.
SMARTBOX® is a registered trademark of SMARTBOX Solutions, Inc. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.
Are you ready for the adventure that awaits in Alaska?! Whether you’ve completed a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move before or this is a first, you’ll notice quickly that relocating to Alaska is a little different — with a few more things to coordinate. Namely, travel. Rather than just packing up your vehicle and driving straight there, a move to Alaska involves either flying (and shipping a vehicle), taking a ferry across the ocean or driving the ALCAN through Canada. Here’s help planning your Alaska military move.
According to Governing.com, there are 17,302 active duty military in Alaska (primarily Army and Air Force). So while the move may seem like a mammoth task, you’re not alone. Depending on your PCS orders, you’ll have the option of having goods moved to your new duty station through a government carrier, or you may be able to save by doing a personally procured move (PPM), which is a do-it-yourself move. It’s important to note that a PCS to Alaska is considered an OCONUS move (outside the continental U.S.), because this impacts PCS move entitlements.
As soon as you get orders, make an appointment with your base transportation office (note that what the government office that handles relocation is called varies by service branch). At this meeting you can ask questions to learn what moving options you qualify for, what your weight allowance is and what you’re entitled to financially, like lodging, per diem, mileage, a pay advance, etc.
Then contact the family center at your new duty station. They offer relocation assistance programs to help you and your family. And, if you live in government housing, make sure to contact the housing office to let them know when you’re planning to move.
Plan the move
If you like the idea of saving money, the PPM option may be the best — especially for a big move to Alaska. With a PPM, if there’s a difference between your allowance and the actual costs, you keep the difference.
A PPM also normally gives you the option of doing truck rental (driving it yourself) or a “you pack, we drive” move. For a PCS to Alaska, “you pack, we drive” is the ideal option! You save money by doing your own packing, loading and unloading, but can drive in the comfort of your own vehicle (or fly). In contrast, truck rental requires driving the moving truck through Canada on the ALCAN highway.
The shipment travels to Tacoma, WA and then sets sail to Alaska (transit typically takes 8-14 business days)
Once it arrives, we deliver it to your new home
We pick up the empty equipment
If you need to store your belongings, ask your U-Pack moving consultant about available options.
The Do Not Ship List
U-Pack has a list of items that are prohibited such as perishables, compressed gases and explosives. Make sure to go over the Do Not Ship list before packing. And since firearms aren’t allowed in the shipment, you’ll have to make other plans. If you’re driving, guns and ammunition aren’t permitted to enter Canada, however, if you’re flying or arriving by boat, review the TSA firearms and ammunition policy and the Alaska Marine Highway Firearm policy ahead of time. Read more about shipping firearms.
Once you know how to get your belongings to Alaska, make a plan for travel. Your PCS orders may outline the method of travel, and also, how you get there can depend on where you’re going. There are several military installations located in Alaska, including many sub units. Some of the larger bases are:
Air Station Sitka, Kodiak Base and USCG Juneau are all located in their namesakes. Eielson AFB, Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright are close to Fairbanks, while Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson are close to Anchorage. As you plan PCS travel, make sure to book lodging and transportation early. Depending on the time of year, there can be lots of tourists in both areas. Certain modes of transportation, like the ferry, can sell out. Your main travel options are:
Driving can be difficult depending on the time of year. The ALCAN highway is beautiful in spring or summer, but it may be best to avoid it during winter. No matter what time of year, we recommend picking up The Milepost, a helpful turn-by-turn guide for driving the ALCAN, and using the Alaska 511 as for driving conditions guide once entering Alaska. And remember, you’ll be passing through Canada, so make sure to have passports for everyone in the vehicle.
The main points of entry by plane are in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Many airlines offer free checked bags to active duty service members, so check with the airline. Read the TSA tips for military travel.
The Alaska Marine Highway sails from Bellingham, WA to several ports and the ferries have sleeping cabins, food, beverages and activities. It would be a unique way to get to Alaska!
No matter how you plan to travel, after arriving in Alaska, you’ll need cold weather gear. While you’ll have to move it, many recommend purchasing gear before arriving because it’s typically more expensive there.
Plan for your vehicle
In most cases, military members are authorized to ship one vehicle, with a maximum of 800 cubic feet, at government expense when moving. While U-Pack does not ship vehicles, we refer customers to Mr. Car Shipper®. You can contact them at 877-528-9627 for a quote.
If you’re trying to move a motorcycle, dirt bike or ATV, you can ship them with household goods in a U-Pack container — just drain the fluids first. Learn more about moving a motorcycle.
Plan for your pets
For dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 3 months, the state of Alaska requires a health certificate and rabies vaccination. Your current veterinarian can help with the requirements. All other animals entering the state are required to have a current Health Certificate, and certain species may require a permit. Read more about bringing pets into Alaska here.
Have questions about PCSing to Alaska?
With so many steps to this process, you’re bound to have questions. Let us know in the comments below — we’re happy to help. Whether you need assistance getting a U-Pack quote, booking a military move, making arrangements for vehicle shipping or anything else, we can point you in the right direction.
Even the best-laid plans can have bumps in the road. From nicking a door frame while carrying out furniture to dropping a lamp, accidents can happen when you least expect them. However, with some preventive steps, you can add an extra layer of protection on moving day. There are three main areas to consider: your home, your belongings and yourself.
Protect your home
Whether the goal is to sell your house or simply get your deposit back, it’s important to avoid causing damage while you’re moving out. Small dings can add up, but the good news is they’re easily preventable. Here are the common trouble areas to pay attention to:
Cover the walkway. Any areas that will get heavy foot traffic should be covered. Non-slip plastic sheeting and carpet film are usually the best options, but you can also use flattened cardboard boxes (secured so you don’t slip).
Keep cleaning products handy. Set aside cleaning items to be loaded last so you’ll have then on-hand in the event of a scuff or spill. It’s also a good idea to keep the mop and vacuum out so you can clean once more after loading is complete.
The walls in open areas are likely pretty safe (just use caution moving furniture), but hallways, stairwells and other small spaces are higher risk.
Cover small spaces. Protect corridors and other narrow spaces with spare cardboard, using painter’s tape to hold them in place.
Use care when navigating corners. Have a plan in place for turning corners with larger items. If it’s a tight fit, drape a moving blanket over the item when carrying it to prevent corners from scraping the walls.
Trim is susceptible to scuffs when items are carried through doorways.
Cover door frames. Use cardboard, moving blankets, professional door jamb covers or even foam pool noodles (cut in half) to prevent scratches.
Bannisters and Railings
These items are often found in tight spaces, like stairways, which means some tight furniture maneuvers.
Protect fragile spindles. Cover thin or intricate posts with Bubble Wrap® in case they get bumped.
Cover railings. Drape a moving blanket over handrails to protect the finish.
Protect your belongings
With proper packing you can help keep items safe in transit — using quality moving supplies is highly recommended. Check out the U-Pack Box Store for a variety of boxes and supplies.
Professional moving boxes
It’s best to use new, high-quality boxes. Though found or re-used boxes can be less expensive, the quality can be reduced after repeated use, causing them to crush or break down more easily.
Get a variety of boxes. Items are less likely to shift inside the box when they fit well. So, it’s a good idea to have a variety of boxes on hand.
Order specialty boxes. If you’re moving things like lamps, a large television or hanging clothes, you may want to consider boxes made just for specialty items, such as lamp boxes, wardrobe boxes and TV boxes.
These items are designed to protect your belongings, so have plenty on hand when packing.
Use the right supply for the job. Follow our packing tips to see which items to use when.
Here are some tips for how to protect things like dishes, picture frames and other breakables:
Use kitchen boxes. Divided dish pack boxes work well for cups, glasses, stemware and small knick-knacks. Wrap them well in packing paper or Bubble Wrap® and then keep them separate in the divided partitions.
Wrap in plenty of packing material. If items are too big to pack into a dish box, make sure to wrap them well and secure the wrapping material with packing tape. Fill boxes completely and use crumpled packing paper to keep items from shifting inside the box.
How you protect furniture depends on the finish. Wood and leather furniture should be wrapped in paper padding or furniture pads before covering in plastic wrap — otherwise condensation can collect under the stretch wrap and cause damage. Upholstered furniture doesn’t sweat like wooden and leather furniture, so stretch wrap is normally the best option to protect from dust.
Measure items. Before picking up heavy items, measure them to ensure they fit through doorways and other small areas.
Wrap them. Protect furniture using the recommended packing material, paying close attention to corners and other areas that could potentially be damaged.
Dismantle furniture, if possible. Remove legs from the couch, take the mirror off a dresser and remove any parts that could be damaged when loading, unloading or during transit. Protect the smaller parts by wrapping them in packing material.
The moving service
The most important step to take as you prepare for moving day may be finding the right moving company. It’s important to choose one with a great safety record and tracking capabilities — giving you the assurance that it’s being handled correctly and helping you keep track of it along the way. Also look for services that offer tie-down points inside the equipment (some call it “logistics tracking”) so that you can secure your belongings as you load.
U-Pack® fits the bill. Our transportation partner ABF Freight® is the only seven-time recipient of the ATA Excellence in Claims and Loss Prevention Award, offering the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing your belongings are traveling safely. We also offer online shipment tracking so you can see the status of your shipment along the way. Get a free moving quote to see how much your move would cost with U-Pack!
Heavy items, repetitive motion and long days can spell trouble. Take breaks when you need them, and consider following these safety tips:
Keep boxes to a manageable weight. We recommend keeping box weight under 40 lbs. This makes them easier to lift and carry. If items are heavier, use a partner or a moving dolly.
Watch your hands and feet
Check for trouble spots. Make note of areas where you could slip or trip, like thresholds or steps. Consider building a temporary ramp over entryway steps or using caution tape on thresholds to alert everyone that they’re there.
Wear supportive footwear. While it may be tempting to go casual in flip flops, instead wear supportive, closed-toe shoes (steel-toe shoes are ideal). Stubbing your toe or dropping things on your feet could put a damper on moving day.
Wear gloves. Protect your hands from cuts and pinching by wearing gloves. Look for work gloves with padding on the knuckles.
Don’t wear yourself out
No matter what size home you have, moving can be tiring. Help yourself stay well during the process by following some of these tips:
Rest up. Don’t stay up late packing the night before moving day. Get plenty of sleep so you’re rested and ready to go.
Eat well and hydrate. Don’t get too busy to refuel! Check out our list of foods to eat on moving day, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
For a DIY move, it’s up to you to take steps to protect your home and belongings. Even if you’re hiring movers to pack, load or unload, it’s best to be aware of your surroundings and prepare accordingly (and go over the terms of your contract ahead of time). Have questions about things you can do to help prevent damage while you’re moving? Let us know! We’re always happy to help.
Somewhere between a do-it-all truck rental move and a full-service move is U-Pack®. It's a "you pack, we drive" option where we handle the transportation and you save money by doing the loading and unloading. Take a look at how U-Pack works from start to finish.
See a U-Pack move in action
This video gives a great overview of our service:
Moving Long Distance: How It Works - YouTube
How does U-Pack moving work?
We have two types of equipment to choose from: the moving trailer or ReloCube moving containers. We deliver the equipment, give you three business days to load your belongings, and then we pick it up and drive it to your new home. Most moves arrive in just 2-5 business days. Then it's time to unload, and we come back for the empty equipment.
Step 1: Start with a quote
Get a free moving quote by telling us a few details about the move (where you're moving to/from, move date, and size of the home). The quote will list several pieces of information:
The equipment types available
In most locations you’ll be able to select either the trailer or container for your move. Though occasionally only one option is available — usually due to demand or city restrictions (such as parking limitations).
The estimated transit time
U-Pack transit times average 2-5 business days. One way we help you save money moving is by filling any space you don’t use inside the trailer with commercial freight headed in the same direction. In doing this, we typically make stops at service centers along the way to unload freight. But, your belongings are loaded into the nose of the trailer and are not unloaded until you take delivery.
The amount of space you'll likely need
U-Pack rates are based on the space used, so the quote will give an estimated number of ReloCubes or the linear feet in a trailer we estimate your belongings will take. If you use more or less space than you were quoted, we'll adjust the rate accordingly.
Rates include the equipment, transportation, fuel, taxes and basic liability coverage.
If you have questions or want to speak with a moving consultant before getting a quote, we’re happy to help — just call 800-413-4799.
Step 2: Reserve the move
You can reserve over the phone or online (save $25 with an online reservation). We just need to know the addresses you're moving from and to, the date to have the equipment dropped off, and any special requirements (like storage, military moves, etc.).
A credit card is required for reserving your move, but there are no charges until after the shipment is loaded and picked up. Once you reserve, we’ll send you a Bill of Lading. Review all the details to make sure everything is correct, and then start planning for the big day.
Step 3: Prepare for moving day
Along with completing the moving checklist, there are a few important things to do. One of the most important things to do ahead of time is secure parking (at both the origin and destination), and make sure you or someone you have authorized is present to sign for the equipment. A driver will deliver the equipment and park it in the safe, legal location that you indicate. If you’re parking on a street, in an apartment parking lot or in an area with a home owner’s association (HOA), a parking permit or permission may be required. Find out more about trailer and Cube parking.
If you don't have anywhere to park the equipment, don't worry! We have solutions including loading at the closest service center. Read more about our delivery options.
Step 4: Load the equipment
In most cases, we provide three business days for loading, but let us know if you need the equipment picked up sooner. On moving day, follow our loading tips and tie everything down well. After you finish loading everything and install the bulkhead, call the local service center and let them know it’s ready to be picked up — they’ll schedule a pick-up appointment.
Step 5: Track the shipment online
Watch your shipment as it travels across the country with our online shipment tracking. When it arrives at the destination, contact the local service center to schedule a delivery appointment.
Step 6: Unload at your new home
In most locations, you have three business days to unload. Don't forget to arrange for parking at destination, as well. Call the local service center to have the empty equipment picked up when you’re finished unloading.
Ready to plan a move?
If U-Pack seems like a great fit for your family, and you’re ready to plan your move, start with a moving quote, or call us at 800-413-4799, and we'll be happy to walk you through the process. If you have questions that we didn’t answer here, leave a comment below. We're always happy to help!
Learn more about U-Pack
Want to know even more about how U-Pack works? Here’s additional info to explore:
You’re moving a small amount and looking for an easy way to move without driving a rental truck
You need to move belongings, a car and your family
You have too much stuff for a rental truck and need more loading space
If one or more of these situations fit your move, you may have considered renting a trailer. Keep reading to learn more.
What to consider when renting an enclosed trailer
No matter what they’re called — enclosed, cargo or box trailers — they’re all basically the same. For this post, we’re talking about fully enclosed trailers that people tow behind a personal vehicle or a rental truck. These come in many different sizes depending on the rental company. For example, U-Haul® offers four trailer sixes: 4’ x 8’, 5’ x 8’, 5’ x 10’ and 6’ x 12’, and the right size depends on the amount of stuff being move. Before signing the rental agreement, consider these things:
The towing vehicle requires the right style and size hitch, and this depends on the trailer type and weight class. There are two types of hitches: fixed tongue and receiver style. Fixed tongue hitches are permanently installed, and receiver-style hitches are removable. The most common hitch sizes are 1 1/4” to 2”. If you’re planning to rent a trailer, ask the rental company if your hitch will work with their equipment.
Tow chains and plugs are also needed. Tow chains attach to the vehicle and trailer for added security. Plugs come in different styles, from 4-way to 7-way, and having the correct size is necessary for the lights on the trailer to work.
When towing, it’s not unusual to experience trailer sway — a sort of fishtailing movement caused by the extra weight behind the vehicle. While some minor sway is normal, improper loading or driving habits can cause the driver to lose control or drift across lanes. Load most of the weight into the front half of the box trailer and properly inflate tires to avoid excessive trailer sway.
Decreased gas mileage
One of the most significant considerations for a long-distance move is the impact towing has on fuel efficiency. According to Fueleconomy.gov, every extra 100 pounds of weight on a vehicle decreases fuel efficiency by 1%. A fully loaded 6’ x 12’ cargo trailer could weigh over 4,000 pounds, causing a significant decrease in gas mileage. For example, a vehicle that typically gets around 30 MPG might only get 13 MPG when towing a fully-loaded trailer. And for a trip across the country, extra fuel costs can add up.
How to move without renting a cargo trailer
If an enclosed trailer rental isn’t the most convenient solution, you have options that don’t involve towing. In fact, it’s possible to move without having to drive at all.
U-Pack offers two great solutions: a moving trailer or moving containers. Both options are simple:
We deliver the equipment
We deliver to your new home
We pick up the empty equipment
Since U-Pack delivers door-to-door, you can travel with your family in the comfort of your vehicle without having to tow a cargo trailer.
U-Pack equipment sizes
How do U-Pack trailers and containers compare to enclosed trailers? Our moving trailers are 8’ x 9’ x 28’. And while that’s bigger than any cargo trailer rental, you can use as little as five linear feet or up to the entire trailer. U-Pack ReloCube containers are 6’ x 7’ x 8’ — use one or multiple, and pay just for what you use.
Compare U-Pack space to common box trailer sizes:
A U-Pack ReloCube has approximately 305 cubic feet of space
The minimum space in a moving trailer (5 linear feet) is approximately 360 cubic feet of space
Each additional linear foot in a trailer adds 72 cubic feet of loading space
4’ x 8’ trailer has around 140 cubic feet of loading space
5’ x 8’ trailer has around 208 cubic feet of space
5’ x 10’ trailer has around 230 cubic feet of space
6’ x 12’ trailer has around 396 cubic feet of space
With U-Pack, you don’t have to worry about selecting the right equipment size. We can deliver multiple Cubes if needed, or just use as much trailer space as you need — more or less space is available (down to the 5 ft. minimum). The price will reflect the final footage or number of Cubes.
For many moves, U-Pack prices compare to renting a truck with a cargo trailer — especially after factoring in extras like fuel and damage coverage. Click for a free moving quote to check prices for your move. Or call 800-413-4799 to get a quote over the phone from a helpful moving consultant.
Have questions about cargo trailers?
If you’re searching for additional information that we didn’t cover here, we can help! Just leave a comment below or give us a call.
With a population of more than 8.1 million people, New York City is the largest in the United States. But which other cities make the top 10? To find out, we looked at the populations of U.S. cities as defined by the 2010 Census. Check out the list below to learn which cities are the largest and what metropolitan areas have the most residents.
10 largest U.S. cities by population
U.S. Census Bureau data is reported from a national count and post-count survey, which are conducted every 10 years. The last Census data is from 2010, so those official counts were used for this list. All areas reported are according to the Census cartographic boundaries.
1. New York City, NY – 8,175,133
If you’ve ever visited the area, it’s likely no surprise that NYC is the most populated city in America. In fact, New York is so big that it’s over twice the size of the next largest city! Along with being a global power city leading the way in finance, it’s also a forerunner in media, fashion, technology and entertainment. Whether they refer to it as the Big Apple, the Capital of the World, or the Empire City, 8.1 million residents call it home.
2. Los Angeles, CA – 3,792,621
While the 2010 Census shows more people moving out of California than into the state (about 100,000 more), L.A. is still the second largest city in the country. If you’re into warm weather, entertainment, and sharing the city with 3.8 million people, the “Creative Capital of the World” might be the city for you!
3. Chicago, IL – 2,695,598
The Windy City’s downtown area is one of the fastest growing in the nation — more than 48,000 people moved to downtown Chicago between 2000 and 2010. Chicago is also home to the world’s longest continuous street (South Western Avenue, which is over 23 miles long) and the largest free outdoor food festival, the Taste of Chicago.
4. Houston, TX – 2,099,451
Texas is the biggest state (by land area) in the contiguous U.S., and Houston is the largest city in the state. If you’re looking for a city that is culturally diverse, you may be intrigued to know that there are more than 90 languages spoken among the nearly 2.1 million residents.
5. Philadelphia, PA – 1,526,006
Philadelphia is the second largest city on the East Coast (behind NYC), and the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With historical landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, it’s easy to see why so many people find this city such a fascinating place to live.
6. Phoenix, AZ – 1,445,632
Because the city has a total area of 517.9 square miles (about 2,797 people per square mile), the residents of Phoenix have plenty of room to move around! Perhaps a move to the Valley of the Sun will provide the city life you’re looking for without all the crowding. In contrast, New York residents have 27,012 people per square mile.
7. San Antonio, TX – 1,327,407
The second Texan city on the list draws visitors with attractions like SeaWorld, Six Flags, the Alamo, and its downtown River Walk. The 1.3 million San Antonio residents have plenty to enjoy! The area also has a strong military presence — Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB and Lackland AFB make up the Joint Base San Antonio.
8. San Diego, CA – 1,307,402
As the second largest city in California (behind L.A.), San Diego is known for balmy weather, beautiful beaches, and its U.S. Navy presence. If you’re craving sun, sand and adventure, San Diego may be for you.
9. Dallas, TX – 1,197,816
You have Dallas to thank for the Super Bowl. Dallas man (and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs) Lamar Hunt, called the 1966 NFL Championship the “Super Bowl” and the name stuck. Dallas is still a leading sports city with the Cowboys (NFL), Mavericks (NBA), Rangers (MLB), Stars (NHL), Wings (WNBA) and FC Dallas (MLS) soccer calling the city home. If you move to Dallas, you can pick a favorite team or cheer for them all.
10. San Jose, CA – 945,942
The “Capital of Silicon Valley” is the only city on the list with under one million residents. But those residents get to enjoy San Jose's 301 days of sunshine per year on average, which is why more and more people are moving to the city.
Check out the infographic below to learn more:
U.S. cities with over 500,000 residents
Now that you know the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., check out which cities come in next on the list. Here are the cities with 500,000 residents or more:
What is a metropolitan area? People sometimes assume it’s an urban hub and surrounding areas, but the Census Bureau has an official definition. They call them Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), and they are actually defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as areas with an urban core of at least 50,000 people (including one or more neighboring counties). There are 366 defined MSAs, but these are the largest:
1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – 19,566,471
Since New York was so much bigger than any city, it’s natural that the New York Metropolitan area is the largest by far. It takes a lot of public transportation to serve all those people. In fact, if the tracks of the NYC Transit trains were laid end to end, they would reach from New York to Chicago!
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA – 12,828,961
With the beautiful weather, it’s no mystery why so many people call the Southland, or Metropolitan Los Angeles, home. Fun fact: nearly 14% of LA’s energy comes from renewable resources and 80% of the city’s trash trucks run on natural gas.
3. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI – 9,461,550
The Chicago metro, or Chicagoland, holds about 75% of Illinois’ population, but only 3% of its land mass. This means the population density is 1,318 people per square mile. The area is also home to the largest public library in the world, the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago.
4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX – 6,426,241
This area is commonly called DFW or the Metroplex. It spans an area bigger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. The Metroplex is also home to the DFW airport, which is the second largest airport in the world, with 64 million passengers each year.
Residents call this area the Delaware Valley or “Greater Philadelphia,” depending on who you ask. It borders the New York metro area, giving residents many of options for careers and entertainment. There's always a game to watch, as this is the home of five professional sports leagues.
Greater Houston is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. When you combine this area with DFW, Austin and San Antonio, you get the giant Texas Triangle, or Texaplex, which is home to 70% of all Texans.
This is the largest metro area in the Southeast region, and it has a rich history. The Department of Homeland Security calls it the National Capital Region, while many locals call it the D.C. Area or DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia). There are over 140,000 government employees living in this area.
8. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL – 5,566,298
This region, called South Florida, includes the three largest counties in the state. If you want to move here, the market is tight, so shop around. In 2016, average home sales prices increased 39% from the previous 12 months.
9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA – 5,286,725
Metro Atlanta spans over 30 counties and is home to over half of the population of Georgia. With the world’s largest fiber-optic bundles, it’s the most wired city in the U.S. It’s also home to several TV stations, with CNN, Turner Broadcasting, and The Weather Channel calling this area home.
10. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH – 4,552,595
Most people call the area surrounding the city as Metro Boston, but the entire MSA covers most of the eastern third of Massachusetts. Many “firsts” happened here — the first public beach, the first subway and the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.
Check out the heat map of the 10 largest metro areas below. This graphic gives an insight into these 10 largest cities.
Do you live in one of the largest cities in the U.S.?
We would love to hear from you! Tell us what new residents should expect when they move to your area – just leave a comment below.
Many of the Penske® trucks you see on the road are commercial vehicles, but they also have a truck rental options for people planning a move. Let’s take a look at the services they offer along with available truck and trailer sizes and options, then see how they compare to U-Pack long-distance moving services.
Penske truck dimensions
Penske offers four equipment sizes:
According to Penske, this rental truck will hold 1-2 rooms of furniture and belongings, and has room and seatbelts for two passengers. It gets up to 12 mpg with a 33-gallon fuel tank. With interior dimensions of 12’ x 6’ 6” x 6’ 1”, the loading capacity is 450 cubic feet and it can hold up to 3,100 lbs.
This Penske truck can hold 2-3 rooms and 2 passengers. It gets 12 mpg with a 33-gallon tank. With interior dimensions of 16’ x 7’ 7” x 6’ 6”, there are 800 cubic feet of loading space, and it can hold 4,300 lbs.
This truck can hold 3-5 rooms worth of furniture and boxes has bench-style seating that holds up to three passengers. It gets up to 10 mpg and has a 50-gallon tank (using diesel fuel). At 21’ 11” x 8’ 1” x 8’ 1” (inside dimensions), there is 1,200 cubic feet of loading space, which can hold up to 10,000 lbs.
The largest Penske truck can hold 5-7 rooms and has a bench seat that holds up to three passengers. It has a 50-gallon tank and gets up to 10 mpg using diesel fuel. At 25’ 11” x 8’ 1” x 8’ 1” it has 1,700 cubic feet of loading space and can hold up to 10,000 lbs.
Which size rental is right for my move?
You can refer to the home size guidelines Penske offers to help determine what size truck you would need, but it’s also a good idea to consider how much you have to move from each room. If you have larger-than-average furniture or rooms, you may need a larger truck. Keep in mind that with truck rental, if you run out of space you may be faced with renting additional equipment or leaving things behind.
How the service works
Penske truck rental is a true “do-it-yourself” move. You pick up the equipment, load your belongings, drive it, unload it, fuel it and return it. There are two types of rentals: round-trip and one-way. Round-trip moves are typically local — you pick-up and drop-off the equipment at the same location. One-way rentals are typically long distance — pick-up and drop-off are at different locations. Prices for one-way rentals are based on a set number of days and miles (the amounts depend on the origin and destination), and extra days are available for an additional daily charge.
Penske rental trucks are available at Penske locations and at many Home Depot® stores across the country. You have to be at least 18 years old to rent, and you need a current driver’s license along with another form of identification.
What about trailer rentals?
While Penske doesn’t rent cargo trailers (for loading household goods), they do offer towing equipment for transporting vehicles. Note that they can only be used in combination with a Penske truck. Here’s what you can get:
A car carrier – designed for towing front-wheel, four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles with a maximum wheel base of 125 inches.
A tow dolly – for towing front-wheel drive vehicles with a maximum wheel base of 125 inches.
Compare Penske prices to U-Pack
Rates can change daily based on supply, demand and availability, so it can be tough to gauge whether or not a move is a good deal until you compare it to other companies. Take a look at this sample move from Kansas City, MO to Philadelphia, PA for a studio apartment. We priced Penske and U-Pack. You may be surprised at how affordable it can be to move without picking up, dropping off or driving the moving equipment.
Penske truck rental rates
For a small apartment, Penske recommends their 12-foot truck, at $791.10 (originally $879, discounted for online reservations) for seven days and unlimited miles. Other charges include: a $9 environmental fee, $421 for fuel (according to the rental truck fuel calculator), and taxes — local Kansas City taxes are 8.6%, coming at $68.03 for the truck rental. If you want liability coverage, they offer a Limited Damage Waiver for $175, In total, this move would cost around $1,464.13.
U-Pack recommends one ReloCube container for this move, at $1,531. This includes the equipment, transportation, fuel, basic liability coverage and taxes. If you prefer a little more space, the moving trailer option is also available. For 7 linear feet in a trailer, the cost could be $1,760. Either way, for just a little more money, you can move without having to drive or deal with the hassle of a rental truck.
Compare prices for your move
Compare prices to find the best option for your move. Get a free moving quote from U-Pack and compare it with Penske prices. Have questions or want to learn more about how you can save with U-Pack? Leave a comment below or call 800-413-4799.
What songs come to mind when thinking of a road trip? "Life is a Highway" or "Take it Easy" probably make the list for many people. There's a reason road trips are a common theme in music: they're iconic and fun! Whether you dream of hitting the open road for weeks at a time or taking the family to see the sights for a few days, there's something freeing about an adventure behind the wheel. While you can jump in the car and start driving, the experience is often better with just a little planning.
How to plan a trip
Even if you prefer flexibility, there are a few things to do before heading out. Use our printable checklist to walk through some things to do before you head out.
Check out road trip maps
Most people have a smartphone with GPS capabilities in their possession at all times, but it might not suggest the best routes for a road trip. Because GPS applications are normally used to find the quickest or most convenient roads, it may not help with finding trips with unique sights, state parks or fun activities. So, we’ve created a list of great road trip routes that break it down by season, sights and activities. These road trip maps are ideal for cross country trips, but if you’re looking for something shorter, just hop on and off at any point along the way.
Get the car ready
If there’s a choice of vehicles, take the one that’s most dependable, but also consider fuel efficiency and space. This car maintenance checklist helps ensure everything’s in good working order, or if you don’t want to do it on your own, visit an auto shop for a tune-up before hitting the road. It's also a good idea to clean the vehicle and stock it up with things like an emergency kit, phone chargers, and a travel trash bag. Don’t forget to plan for where the luggage will go, too.
Pack and plan
Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may want to limit each passenger to one reasonably sized bag (save space for the souvenirs everyone picks up along the way). Of course, each person should pack essentials like daily medications, toiletries and seasonally appropriate clothing, but also consider things like a travel blanket and pillow for comfort. And don't forget the snacks!
Traveling with kids? Make sure the car seat or booster is installed correctly (visit the local police or fire station for assistance if needed). Though this isn’t for everyone, if your child sleeps well in the car, consider leaving at bedtime and driving through the night. Give kids plenty of breaks and choose stops where they can play and let energy out. Pack a small bag with car-friendly toys, and try to stick to routines as close as possible for meal times and naps.
What about pets? If you plan to take a pet along, check out these pet travel tips to keep them comfortable. Finding pet-friendly hotels along the way may take a little more work — sites like bringfido.com can help. Keep a leash and bowls in the car to walk and feed them at stops.
Prep your home
Make sure everything is ready to travel:
Notify banks and credit cards that you’re traveling out of state
Ask your cell provider about roaming fees and nationwide coverage to avoid extra charges
If you'll be gone long, place mail and subscriptions on hold, and ask a friend or neighbor to check on your house
Turn on the alarm system (if applicable) and lock the doors and windows
Turn off water and gas to avoid leaks while the home is unattended
Get entertainment options
Of course, part of the fun is the drive, but you also may want entertainment options. How about making a road trip playlist, downloading audiobooks or podcasts, or having some road trip games ready to play?
Make a budget
Don’t forget to plan for gas, food, lodging, souvenirs and activities! Of course, depending on the budget, there are lots of options. Travel on the cheap by camping out along the way — just bring a tent and sleeping bags. You can also buy food at grocery stores before leaving (and along the way) to make sandwiches. Or, plan to spend a little more by staying at hotels and eating at restaurants while you travel. Regardless of food and lodging plans, figure out how much there is to spend overall and divide that by the number of travel days. Then, stick with the plan.
One expense that doesn’t change much is fuel (unless gas prices fluctuate). Check out these tips to lower gas costs as much as possible.
Another cost to consider is toll roads. Make sure to have plenty of change available. Round up spare coins and place them in a zip-top bag in the glove compartment, so it's handy at toll stops.
Get familiar with laws
While you'll be following the rules of the road when it comes to the speed limit and other traffic rules, each state has laws for things like wearing seatbelts and texting or talking while driving. Before hitting the road, be sure to look up the laws for each state you’re passing through. While not a law, it’s recommended to avoid driving more than three hours at a time without taking a break, and keeping it under 500-600 miles per day. This helps keep everyone alert and happy!
Download road trip apps
Lastly, before hitting the road, think about downloading these apps for planning your road trip online. They might come in handy during the drive:
Google Maps — See maps with real-time traffic updates (will help navigate in new cities)
GasBuddy — Find the cheapest fuel close by
Audible — Download and play audio books
Yelp — Find reviews for local restaurants and accommodations
AccuWeather — Get up-to-the-minute weather forecasts
Waze — See info about community-based traffic and navigation to avoid potential road issues
SitorSquat — Find public restrooms
Along the Way — Find food, parks and other destinations along the route
Planning a road trip? Let us know!
We would love to hear about your upcoming adventure! Especially if the road trip coincides with a long distance move. Leave a comment and tell us all about it!
Whether you're looking to add curb appeal to attract buyers or just want to spruce up the front yard for the spring and summer seasons, there are multiple simple and inexpensive projects that can make a big impact. While many curb appeal projects take several days and hundreds of dollars, these ideas can be done in the evening or on the weekend, so you can create a new look without a ton of time.
Quick curb appeal ideas
Curb appeal is the way a home looks from the street. It can include the actual house, the front yard and the walkways — basically, anything you can see from the road. While there may be bigger jobs to tackle, like painting siding or redoing the roof, these smaller projects can make a big difference.
Supplies: Cleaning cloth, paint, paint brush, and painter's tape
A bright-colored door can pack a punch when it comes to curb appeal. Match the paint to your home color or choose something complementary, but bold. For example, red goes well with white, blue, cream or gray homes, while a bright yellow door can pop on both light and dark houses. A black door can pop against lighter exteriors, or blue can look great against white.
Supplies: New hardware or spray paint and tools to remove and replace old hardware
You can either swap old fixtures for ones with modern finishes (like satin matte black or oil-rubbed bronze) or paint the existing ones. To paint, remove all fixtures and place them on a safe-to-paint surface outside (a drop cloth or cardboard works well). Rust-Oleum® has a line of metallic spray paint in popular finishes, so you can quickly update light fixtures, door locks and doorknobs.
Add a unique touch
Time: Less than an hour
Supplies: Distinctive numbers and letters — either a decal, tiles or a DIY project
One way to set your home apart is to change the standard black and white number address stickers on your home. Most areas require the address number to be displayed either on the home or in the yard, so use this opportunity to show off your style. If you can't find anything you love at the store or online, make your own using these directions from the DIY Playbook.
Light it up
Time: Less than an hour
Supplies: Solar lights
Increase the curb appeal at dusk and dark by installing solar lights and spotlights. Buy lights at your local home improvement store and just stick them in the ground. Check out the impact this simple change made for The Morrisons!
Do a garage door makeover
Time: 1-2 hours
Supplies: A carriage door kit from a hardware store and tools to install it
For about $20, you can buy the hardware needed to update your garage door. The decorative pieces easily fasten to the existing garage door, adding appeal to this very functional part of your home.
Clean gutters and trim
Time: 1-2 hours
Supplies: A ladder, gloves and a power washer (available for rent at home improvement stores)
It's amazing how removing debris and cleaning the siding and trim can make your home sparkle. Use the power washer to blow leaves out of the gutters and then remove dirt and grime from all the key areas (around doors, next to gutters, etc.).
Hang a wreath
Time: Less than 10 minutes
Supplies: Wreath and hanger
There's something inviting about a beautiful, lush wreath on the door. It doesn't have to be holiday specific, though it can be. You can use an over-the-door hanger or a stick-on hook to hold the wreath.
Do-it-yourself front yard landscaping
After finishing the tasks around the home, don't neglect the front yard! When it comes to curb appeal, landscaping is important. Check out our DIY lawn maintenance tips to get a healthy lawn, and then add these landscaping tricks to make the home look great.
Add plush plants
Time: 1-2 hours
Supplies: Plants, planters and potting soil
Ferns and nicely potted plants around the doors and entry way can help liven up a home. Choose neutral planters with bigger plants, or go bold with bright planters and fresh greenery. Keep the area open and inviting by placing only one plant on each side of the door, or a few plants down a walkway. Too much clutter can be distracting.
Add edging and mulch
Time: 1-3 hours
Supplies: Mulch, edging stones, shovel, and gloves
Break up large areas by adding edging to walkways and around plants. Replace any old, discolored mulch with fresh — it adds visual interest to flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs. By taking a little more time on this landscaping task, your home will look polished.
Add interesting furniture
Time: Less than an hour
Supplies: New furniture or paint for old furniture
If you don't want to take care of plants or you live in a climate that's not ideal for growing, furniture can be a good substitute. Whether it's bright colored rocking chairs or an ornate bench and table, furniture on your porch or in the front yard can make passersby take notice.
Clean sidewalks and driveways
Time: 1-2 hours
Supplies: Concrete cleaner and a power washer (can rent them at home improvement stores)
Over time, walkways and driveways can get dirty and dingy. Clean these areas, making them look brand new. If there are grease stains or other hard-to-clean spots, use concrete cleaner along with the high-powered water spray.
Add fresh flowers
Time: 1-3 hours
Supplies: Flowers, potting soil, gardening tools, and gloves
Add colorful flowers anywhere you can — hanging baskets, ceramic pots or flowerbeds. Mix up the colors and textures of the plants for visual interest.
Share your curb appeal projects with us
We would love to see your projects! We especially enjoy seeing before and after pictures showcasing how these easy DIY landscape ideas and other home improvement projects made an impact. Share pictures with us on Facebook or Pinterest.