Know the Difference Between Car Shipping vs Driving

The choice of whether to use car shipping vs driving when transporting your vehicle or driving to your new home depends on how well you gauge the advantages and disadvantages of each. Making the right choice is essential in order to have a successful transport experience.

The following are factors to consider when selecting whether to utilize car shipping vs driving.  

Know the Distance

Determine the actual distance of your destination prior to deciding whether to utilize car shipping or driving. Do not calculate the straight-line destination, instead, compute the road distance between point A to point B.

It is ideal to have a detailed map of the place you will be going to. As much as possible, assess the topography of your specific destination. Have a clear idea of its region, traffic patterns, road infrastructure, and roadside amenities. Then, be specific on the route you intend to take. Though it might not be the quickest route, it is critical that it is the safest, easy, and convenient way. Plus, don’t forget to compute the specific mileage you expect to be driving in. Being aware of all the above details allows you to know:

  • The quantity of fuel you need for the journey
  • The amount of money you need to pay for gas
  • The specific road tolls within the route you are to take
  • The travel time it would take you to reach your destination

This information is critical to helping you make an intelligent decision on how to move your vehicle from one destination to another.

Car Shipping


Consider the Time to be Spent on the Road

A trip across the country could take days or weeks. Moving from one coast to another or driving cross country requires you to make frequent stops as doing so ensures that your trip is safe. This is especially applicable when you are driving on your own and you are unable to rotate shifts with a different driver.

Car shipping is a better option compared to driving specifically if you are not able to take time off work. But if you have plans to go on a road trip, driving might be the better option than car shipping. You can include in your trip the process of setting up your new house as well as exploring your new environment.

But if your time is restricted or if you have commitments you need to urgently attend to, car shipping is the better option. However, if you have more time to spend, and if you actually love to drive in order to see more of the countryside, an enjoyable road trip is your best option. It also helps you relieve yourself from the stresses brought by having to move.


Determine the Cost

Know how much it costs to ship a car and how much it costs to drive. The difference between both is a significant factor in your choice. Still, driving is considered as the cheapest way to move a car. But this may not always apply in all situations. When computing the cost of driving, consider the cost of fuel as well as parking fees, and road tolls. Vehicle maintenance is also a main consideration when calculating costs.

To further save on money, you can bring along snacks. But a long-distance drive could require you to spend the night in a motel or dine in restaurants. You might even have to buy ready-made meals. But if you have plans to stay with family or friends, you could incur significant savings. 

When considering costs, including your vehicle’s mileage, and wear-and-tear. Don’t forget that a cross-country trip will add extra miles to your car. Expect the possibility too that you might get a flat tire or be towed, both of which could incur additional expenses.

Know that the cost of having to ship a vehicle across countries will largely be based on the weight and size of your car. Other factors that can influence the cost is the insurance you prefer to have as well as the shipping rates given by the auto company you select to have the car transported.

If you did choose car shipping, be aware of the other expenses you might incur. You might need to get on a plane or take a train in order to arrive at your destination. The cost of a plane or train ticket could set you back. While waiting for your car to be delivered to you, there might be a need to rent a car. Add in having to buy more personal items because you were unable to take most of your items with you – remember that the cost of moving items through lengthy distances is usually based on the shipment’s weight.

Related article: Know What the Best Options are for Shipping Cars


Know Your Options

If you are on the lookout for a less costly method of car shipping, it is best to know the slew of options available for you. 

  • Car shipping via rail is ideal for moving cargo in lengthy distances. Plus, a train is a cheap transport option compared to conventional truck transport. Car shipping coast to coast using this method could help you save $100. However, be aware of the consequences this shipping technique provides. For one, looking for an open slot on the schedule you prefer might be challenging because train transport is meant for car dealers who are moving dozens of different vehicles simultaneously. 
  • Hiring someone to drive a car across a country is another option. Professional driving services are available. Usually, students who have a need for additional cash are the ones who drive cross-country. However, this method poses some risk. In order to minimize any potential dangers, it is ideal if the driver hired for the job is someone you trust and personally know. Plus, ensure that your motor vehicle insurance will cover thefts or accidents in situations where someone else is driving. 


Prioritize Safety

Your vehicle’s safety is critical whether you opt for car shipping or driving. It is inevitable for cars to experience wear and tear when it incurs additional mileage. Factors such as high or low temperatures brought by weather, heavy rain, snowfall, icy roads, or thunderstorms must also be considered. Similarly include other events such as traffic jams, road accidents, car theft or car failures. When all these are added up, their costs could be expensive and even hamper what is supposed to be the seamless process of moving.

Note that car shipping could actually minimize the possibility of a vehicle’s wear and tear, as well as avoid hazardous weather conditions or accidents. Professionals who have been in the car shipping industry usually possess the appropriate equipment and are well versed in resolving issues and know how to provide necessary contingencies. They also have gone through specialized training to acquire a CDL certification. Their more than a thousand miles of driving knowledge and experience allow them to know which route is safe to take. Plus, they have sufficient insurance.

Certain auto shipping companies also provide additional protection to transport vehicles via an enclosed truck. Though this would require an extra charge, the enclosed truck would ensure a car’s protection from road dangers and the elements of nature. This is highly advisable if you are moving a high-end vehicle amidst heavy winter weather.

Car Shipping vs Driving



Moving vehicles cross-country is a complex process that requires efficiency and insightful decisions. It also brings anxiety. Planning the move, finding decent movers, packing cargo, and dealing with the required paperwork are just a few of the things one should do to guarantee success. 

There are benefits and disadvantages of car shipping vs driving. Consider each option carefully and make decisions based on the information you have available. Consider your experience and do not forget to take all factors into account. Any decision you make has challenges. Be prepared to meet all these head-on and choose wisely according to your priorities or the needs of your business.

Related article: How to Choose the Right Shipping Carrier?

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