The Best Long-Distance Moving Companies of May 2024

A move doesn’t have to be stressful. We’ve evaluated the best long-distance moving companies to help customers choose a reputable company for the long haul.

Best Overall

United Van Lines

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Best Moving Packages

The Best Long-Distance Moving Companies Option: Mayflower Transit

Mayflower Transit

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Best Customer Service

The Best Long-Distance Moving Companies Option: Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

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Moving is both a hassle and an adventure. There’s so much to do in so little time, yet there’s something exciting about moving to a brand-new place. Still, it seems like there are a million things to pack and load up, which can be an exhausting process. And those who are moving long-distance are also looking at a long and tiring drive. Moving companies for long-distance help customers take a load off by handling the most challenging parts of the move.

Long-distance movers are a valuable resource for those who are overwhelmed by the thought of packing and moving across the country. The best long-distance moving companies are qualified and licensed to pack up and move customers’ belongings across state lines. Ideally, they should have an easy way for customers to track their belongings and goods, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand rates. We’ve evaluated the best long-distance moving options based on these critical factors and more.

  1. BEST OVERALL: United Van Lines
  2. BEST MOVING PACKAGES: Mayflower Transit
  3. BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE: Allied Van Lines
  4. MOST TRANSPARENT PRICING: International Van Lines
  5. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: American Van Lines
  6. BEST MOVING TRUCK RENTAL: U-Haul
  7. BEST MOVING CONTAINERS: PODS
The Best Long-Distance Moving Companies Options
Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

It’s tempting to believe there aren’t many things to consider when deciding which moving company to use, but there are several important factors for customers to evaluate. These include checking each company’s total service area, price and deposit information, licensing, extra services, reviews, and customer service. The following are the primary factors for customers to review before choosing one of the best long-distance moving companies.

Service Area

This might seem like an obvious consideration, but several moving companies do not transport goods across state lines. Customers will need to review the service area before spending too much time looking at a company that can’t move their household goods to another state. Local movers often offer flat-rate fees, but long-distance moving companies have more extensive quote processes since it’s a complex project to estimate.

The biggest moving companies will offer service to all 50 states and even other countries. Some reputable companies can only service the lower 48 states in the country. Customers can enter the accurate destination information into the service’s online quote system to ensure it can deliver to the required destination.

Quote and Pricing

The best moving companies have easy ways to obtain long-distance moving quotes. Potential customers can enter all their specific details, and the moving company will call back shortly to discuss more details and provide a final quote. Quotes are based on the distance of the move, the number of rooms in the original home, types of goods, and whether specialty services are needed, such as packing or auto transport.

It’s difficult to estimate the cost of moving since there are a lot of factors, but the average long-distance moving cost is between $4,000 and $10,000. This will depend mainly on the distance the customer is moving, the size of the home, the type of goods being moved, the use of packing services, and any other extra services. Moving during the off-season (mid-September through April) and during the week (as opposed to on the weekend) might deliver some savings on the quote.

License and Insurance

Interstate moving companies must be properly licensed through the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are federal regulations that companies must adhere to, so they must provide their DOT license when asked. Anyone can search this number in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database to verify it.

In addition, interstate movers must also carry minimum liability insurance to protect goods against some damage. This insurance does not cover the entire worth of the goods, but moving companies often offer more coverage for an additional cost. If valuable items are being moved, it’s wise for customers to purchase this additional insurance or ask their existing provider about obtaining moving insurance.

Auto Transportation

Moving the items in a home is not the only thing cross-country moving companies can do; many of these companies are capable of moving cars across the country. This is a helpful service that can save the wear and tear on a vehicle and prevent the owner from driver fatigue during a cross-country trip.

Cars can be transported in an enclosed carrier (which is helpful for vintage or exotic cars) or in an open carrier the way new cars are delivered from the manufacturer to car dealerships. Open carriers are the most cost-effective way to move a vehicle. Customers can ask the moving service if they provide auto transportation at a discounted rate if a household move is booked at the same time.

Specialty Item Moving

Many people have extra items that don’t fall under the usual category of standard household items. A long-distance moving company with experience in moving specialty items will be crucial if any of the following items need to be moved: hot tubs, ATVs, jet skis, safes, pianos, antique furniture, pool tables, heavy equipment, non-running cars, and more. These items typically cost more and might require additional space or equipment to load.

Cancellation Policy

Reviewing a company’s cancellation policy is always wise when booking a costly service. It helps prevent miscommunication and avoid frustration later on if there is a need to cancel the booking. It’s common for long-distance moving companies to have a limited period where a deposit can be refunded in full.

And it’s also possible that no refund will be given if the reservation is canceled just days before the scheduled pickup. This is often the case if the moving company has already scheduled the driver and the driver is en route to the pickup (even if the driver is still a few days away). Customers will also want to ask about the company’s side of the cancellation policy. The company likely has a clause about the circumstances under which it can cancel or change a customer’s move. Although it’s rare, it can happen.

Deposit

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a scam for a long-distance moving company to require a deposit at the time of booking, though some companies do not require this. If they do, it’s how they offset any lost revenue for cancellation while also reserving the customer’s place in the scheduling system. In searching for the best long-distance moving company, customers will want to evaluate the deposits required by each company to determine their up-front costs.

Deposits can also be a red flag if they are excessively high compared to the total price. For instance, for someone who has a multi-thousand-dollar move coming up, the deposit should be around 20 percent. Significantly larger deposits or full payments up-front are a red flag that the company is not legitimate.

Reviews and Complaints

It’s the responsibility of customers to evaluate online reviews and complaints regarding national moving companies to ensure they are working with a reputable and reliable company. The companies on this list generally have a high volume of happy customers, but checking existing reviews is still essential. While there are reviews that must be taken with a grain of salt, there should be plenty of reviews that can explain what to expect in terms of customer service, pricing transparency, interactions with the movers, and the handling of personal items. Customers are encouraged to always check reviews on more than one site to ensure various genuine reviews are evaluated.

Customer Service

Ideally, long-distance moving companies should have a customer service team available through multiple methods such as phone, email, or chat. There should also be a way to reach someone on weekends if there is a concern or issue that arises. Some companies even provide customers with a way to track their own shipment without speaking with customer service. It’s a nice touch that provides reassurance about the overall process.

Our Top Picks

Choosing the right company to handle the packing and hauling of personal goods can build confidence and ensure a smooth transaction. Our evaluation process reviewed deposit and cancellation policies, service areas, customer service, and extra services to determine the companies that provide the best ways to move long-distance.

Best Overall

United Van Lines

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Why It Made the Cut:

United Van Lines has a national and international service area, free cancellation, no deposit, and an easy-to-use online portal for customers.

United Van Lines has moved over 1 million households to over 500 locations during its long history as one of the oldest moving companies in the U.S. This company has worked hard to build a solid reputation by providing customers with various services and an online portal that’s easy to use. Though the company offers international moving, it also provides local moves. Tiny home or studio-apartment moving is available at discounted rates.

This full-service, long-distance moving company is a convenient one-stop-shop for customers to consider. United also offers unique services like cleaning, Wi-Fi network disassembly, and debris removal. Though customer support isn’t always the easiest to reach, customers can find answers to most questions on the website’s FAQ section or through the user portal. The portal houses checklists, contracts, and tracking in one convenient place. And best of all, there is no deposit required and no cancellation fee as long as the movers haven’t started packing a customer’s belongings.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Free cancellation
  • Deposit required: No
  • Customer service: Phone, email, live chat

Pros

  • 500 locations nationwide
  • Specialty and fragile items protected with custom crating
  • Free cancellation as long as no services have been provided
  • Add-on options like cleaning services or Wi-Fi network disassembly available
  • Discounts for small long-distance moving jobs for studio apartments or tiny homes
  • Checklists, mover contacts, and tracking conveniently located in MyUnited online portal

Cons

  • Somewhat challenging customer service experience

Best Moving Packages

Mayflower Transit

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Why It Made the Cut:

Mayflower Transit has over 90 years of experience moving goods nationally and internationally, and customizable moving packages make this company a top contender when it comes to interstate movers.

Mayflower has a long history in the industry. Customers appreciate the online portal that allows them to see checklists, mover contact information, and tracking all in one place. Though Mayflower’s customer service is readily available by phone, email, or chat, it’s helpful to find information through the customer portal.

Mayflower Transit offers auto transport and several other customizable moving services to help give customers a stress-free experience during their move. Customers can leave the entire packing, loading, hauling, and unpacking process to Mayflower movers if they want a totally hands-off move. Customers who choose to pack on their own will need to purchase moving supplies separately, but Mayflower’s standout service offsets this inconvenience. And as a bonus, Mayflower gives back to the community by helping those who are moving donate their extra food to the Move for Hunger charity.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 24 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: No
  • Customer service: Phone, email, live chat

Pros

  • Customizable long-distance moving service bundles available
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the move
  • Checklists, mover contacts, and tracking conveniently located in MyMayflower online portal
  • Move for Hunger partnership helps customers donate food before a move

Cons

  • Customers are required to separately purchase moving supplies

Best Customer Service

Allied Van Lines

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Why It Made the Cut:

Allied Van Lines has a large fleet of its own for national moves. Plus, it doesn’t require a deposit and offers add-on services for a standout customer experience.

While some long-distance moving companies subcontract to other drivers, Allied Van Lines has a large fleet that it prioritizes using to ensure quality control during a move. This helps customers feel confident that their goods will be handled carefully. Allied’s service area extends internationally, and it can transport households, cars, and businesses. Allied Van Lines doesn’t require a deposit, and it offers free cancellation as long as no services have already been provided to the customer. There’s also no deposit required.

Allied Van Lines can also provide extra services like cleaning and Wi-Fi network disassembly, making the stressful parts of a move more manageable. However, if a customer needs to store their goods for a while, they’ll be charged for a minimum of 1,000 pounds. This is really only a problem if a customer wants to store one piece of furniture, as the total inventory of most households easily surpasses this minimum weight. While it would be helpful if Allied’s frequently asked questions had been updated recently, there is still valuable information to review there. Allied can also donate customers’ extra dry goods to the Move for Hunger charity.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Free cancellation
  • Deposit required: No
  • Customer service: Phone, email

Pros

  • Add-on options like cleaning services or Wi-Fi network disassembly available
  • Move for Hunger partnership lets customers donate food before a move
  • Free cancellation as long as no services have been provided

Cons

  • Customers are charged for 1,000 pounds of storage, even if they have less
  • FAQs have not been recently updated

Most Transparent Pricing

International Van Lines

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Why It Made the Cut:

International Van Lines has an international service area, easy-to-understand fees and rates, and discounts for flexible moving dates.

Moving can be expensive, but International Van Lines (IVL) does what it can to make the experience more manageable. Customers who can be flexible with their moving dates can earn a discount. IVL also publishes its fees and estimated breakdowns on its website, making budgeting for moving easier.

International Van Lines is easy to reach by phone, email, and live chat, reassuring customers who have questions. This is especially helpful since the online inventory system isn’t as easy to use as some online portals; however, it’s easy to reach a representative to get a question answered. There is a 25 percent deposit required, but this is generally a reasonable deposit for long-haul moves. And cancellation is free up to 48 hours before the scheduled move date. With service to over 180 countries, it’s easy to have IVL move goods to almost any location.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 48 hours before the move
  • Deposit required: 25 percent of quoted price
  • Customer service: Phone, email, live chat

Pros

  • Services available in over 180 countries
  • Readily available fee and estimate breakdown information
  • Discounts available for customers with flexible moving dates

Cons

  • Somewhat user-unfriendly online inventory system
  • 25 percent deposit required at booking

Best Bang for the Buck

American Van Lines

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Why It Made the Cut:

American Van Lines (AVL) offers discounted rates for moves between major U.S. cities, nationwide service, and specialty-item moving services.

American Van Lines has only been around since 1995, but it has quickly made a name for itself as a reliable company for national moves, especially for military members. The company can also handle commercial moving and specialty items like antiques and pianos. A standout feature is that AVL offers a discounted rate for anyone scheduling a move between major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and more. This is a convenient and considerate cost savings for many who are moving.

Compared with other companies, American Van Lines has the highest deposit rates (between 10 and 50 percent), but it is a reputable company with an established, successful track record customers can trust. The cancellation policy is limited to 7 days before the moving date, but it’s not common to have to cancel so close to a moving date. Another feature that many customers like is AVL’s mission to incorporate sustainability initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint, as reducing emissions is a benefit to everyone. Finally, the company provides fixed pricing for some services to eliminate the guesswork of long-distance moving costs.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 7 days before the move
  • Deposit required: 10 to 50 percent of quoted price
  • Customer service: Phone, email

Pros

  • Discounted prices for long-distance moving between major cities
  • Sustainability initiatives aim to reduce the environmental impact of moving
  • Fixed-rate services, even for moving specialty items

Cons

  • 10 to 50 percent deposit required
  • Cancellation limited to 7 days before the move

Best Moving Truck Rental

U-Haul

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Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 24 hours before reservation
  • Deposit required: None for credit card payments
  • Customer service: Phone, email, live chat

Pros

  • Convenient Truck Share 24/7 self-service available to all U-Haul customers
  • 21,000 rental locations nationwide
  • Relatively affordable cost for moves under 100 miles
  • No deposits required for credit card payments
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the move

Cons

  • Per-mile payment structure may not be cost-effective for moves over 100 miles

Why It Made the Cut: U-Haul, a widely recognized truck rental company, has numerous branches across the nation, a well-established standing, and budget-friendly prices. All of these elements combine to establish it as one of the best moving truck companies. Arguably one of the most renowned names in the realm of moving truck rental, U-Haul stands out for valid reasons. With over 75 years of experience in the industry and an impressive network of over 21,000 locations throughout the country, it has solidified its position as one of the largest truck rental enterprises. Moreover, U-Haul offers appealing features that cater to customer preferences. Through the convenience of Truck Share 24/7, individuals can pick up and drop off a truck at any time, even outside of operating hours. U-Haul’s trucks are equipped with Gentle-Ride suspension, ensuring a smooth and effortless driving experience. Additionally, customers paying by credit card are not required to provide a deposit, and the company provides fuel-efficient cargo vans that achieve up to 18 miles per gallon (mpg), making them ideal for smaller relocations. Although the per-mile rate may not be the most cost-effective choice for distances exceeding 100 miles, U-Haul’s other attributes still make it one of the best choices for those looking to DIY a move.  

Best Moving Container

PODS

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Specs

  • Service area: 50 states, international
  • Auto transport: Yes
  • Cancellation policy: By 4 p.m. local time up to 3 days before container drop-off
  • Deposit required: Payment required 7 days before container drop-off
  • Customer service: Phone

Pros

  • Wide container size range with 3 options of 8, 12, and 16 feet
  • Relatively low 2 percent damage rate
  • Flexible contents protection plans ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 in value
  • Specialized services for city dwellers

Cons

  • Prices may be relatively high

Why It Made the Cut: PODS stands out as one of the best moving container companies, and its reputation is well deserved. The company provides a range of container sizes and flexible plans to safeguard belongings, resulting in a notably low incidence of damage. PODS holds the distinction of being one of the original companies in the long-distance moving and storage industry, and its moving containers and supplementary services continue to make it an exceptional choice. With a remarkable track record of handling customer possessions, boasting a damage rate of less than 2 percent—significantly below the industry average of 20 percent—PODS ensures the utmost care and protection. To cater to varying needs, the company offers flexible protection plans ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 in value, ensuring comprehensive coverage for valuable items. Additionally, PODS provides containers in three different sizes, accommodating moves of various sizes. Offering unlimited loading time, the company is well equipped to handle both local and long-distance relocations. While PODS moving costs may be relatively higher, customers may secure more favorable rates by opting for a weekday or off-season move. Moreover, the company extends specialized services to those undertaking urban moves. PODS takes on the responsibility of securing all the necessary permits for container delivery in city areas, simplifying the process for urban dwellers. Furthermore, to safeguard against potential theft or parking enforcement issues, a PODS driver remains present with the container while the customer loads their belongings.  

Our Verdict

Excellent customer service, transparent pricing, large service area, and specialty services are some of the key components of the best long-distance moving companies. That’s why we chose United Van Lines as our best overall long-distance movers, with Mayflower Transit coming in as a close second. These companies put the customer first with easy-to-use customer portals, no deposits, and free cancellation, plus all the extra services needed to move across the country.

How We Chose the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

When searching for the best long-distance moving companies, the first feature we evaluated was service area and federal licensing. Since all cross-country movers must have a U.S. Department of Transportation license, we made sure the companies on our list had valid license numbers. Many of the companies we selected have also been in the business for extended periods, which means they know how to keep customers happy and provide the right service options.

We also reviewed each company’s website to determine how much information is readily accessible for customers who are obtaining quotes or have booked a move with them. At the same time, we also tested their customer service responsiveness and communication to ensure that there were working systems to help customers get answers to questions. All the companies on our list have proven track records and a high volume of positive reviews.

Before You Use One of the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

Long-distance movers should only be hired when moving a greater distance than 50 miles. Anything less than that is typically considered a local move to be handled by one of the best moving companies. Granted, a long-distance mover might offer local service, but there’s no need to use a company that only moves long-distance, as it might cost more.

Customers will want to obtain multiple quotes from the best long-distance moving companies and ask them about any extra services or fees that might be added to the estimate. This happens often, and some of the fees are expected; however, others are hidden and might not apply to every move. For instance, customers who live in a first-floor apartment shouldn’t be charged a fee for hauling goods down multiple flights of stairs.

Customers can also ask if the quote is binding or non-binding to give them an idea of whether the total price will change. It’s not uncommon for the price to increase, but it’s best to know how much. A line-item estimate or invoice can help customers determine what’s accurate and pinpoint any unnecessary extras. Speaking with a representative will also let the customer ask about the company’s licenses, experience with specialty items, and additional insurance coverage that might be needed.

Cost of Using One of the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

Moving costs are sometimes a moving target, but some basic factors help determine the cost to hire movers. These costs are based on fuel rates, distance, home size, weight of items, specialty items, insurance, and more. The average cost to move less than 100 miles away is about $1,700, but the cost to move long-distance could be as high as $10,000.

Professional movers usually cost $25 to $50 per hour per person, and companies will typically send at least two people. If it’s a larger home, they could send several more to get the job done more quickly, especially if the customer has many heavy items like antiques, safes, or garage equipment. These rates can vary based on location and the time of year since summer and holidays are peak times to move, creating more demand.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

Though the cost to hire a long-distance moving company might come with sticker shock, the overall cost is worth it for several reasons.

  • Relieves stress. Letting movers handle the packing or unpacking is a huge stress reliever since it’s hard to spend the time and effort while juggling work and family life.
  • Protects valuables. Having some liability insurance is better than none if a customer packs and moves their own goods.
  • Cost-effective. Professional movers might actually save money in the long run when customers consider the time, effort, supplies, fuel, food, and other expenses.
  • Saves time and increases efficiency. Those who turn over the move to the pros can focus on other activities such as preparing for a new job, shutting off services, and other moving tasks, which helps them be more efficient and save time.
  • Protects against injury. Reputable companies protect their workers with insurance in case of accidents. Individuals are on the hook if an accident happens to them or the friend they enlisted to help.
  • Convenient storage. Movers can also often store items if needed due to a time gap between moving out and moving in.
  • Peace of mind. Professional movers are experienced at lifting, moving, and wrangling heavy items, and they have all the right tools to get the job done safely.

FAQs

There’s a lot of information to consider when choosing the best long-distance movers. Customers can use the answers to the following frequently asked questions to help understand the best way to move long-distance and to feel confident in their decision to hire movers.

Q. What’s considered a long-distance move? 

A distance of more than 100 miles away is considered a long-distance move, especially if the move will cross state lines. However, some companies consider anything over 400 miles a long-distance move.

Q. What is a moving broker? 

A moving broker or brokerage is a company that doesn’t actually own its own fleet or has its own movers. These companies operate as middle-man to coordinate between customers and actual moving companies. Sometimes these are large companies, and other times they are individual drivers or small moving companies. The advantage of a moving broker is that it can streamline finding the right mover, but at an increased cost. There are also a lot of shady moving brokers, so it’s important for customers to thoroughly vet them and get the driver’s contact information to make sure things are properly coordinated.

Q. Do I need moving insurance?

Moving companies are required by law to provide basic value protection of a customer’s goods against damage. Some of these companies also offer additional coverage for a fee. In most cases, the basic liability insurance only protects up to $0.60 per pound per item and only under some circumstances, not including force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances) or acts of God.

It’s wise for customers who own a lot of valuables or unique items to consider purchasing additional coverage. The customer’s home or car insurance carrier may offer moving insurance at a better rate than the moving company.

Q. How much does a long-distance move cost?

There are a lot of factors to consider when calculating a long-distance move, so the average cost has a wide range. Long-distance moves typically cost between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on the distance and the number of goods being moved.

Q. What questions should I ask long-distance moving companies

Customers will want to make sure that the moving company is licensed to transport goods across state lines, and to check online reviews from several sources. Beyond that, customers can ask any of the following questions:

  • Do you provide a binding or non-binding estimate?
  • How much will the final price change?
  • Can I see a line-item estimate or invoice?
  • What is your deposit and cancellation policy?
  • How many movers will you send?
  • Can I get an exact moving day and delivery day?
  • What extra services do you offer?
  • Can you move my car, piano, boat, etc.?
  • How much do you charge to pack and unpack?
  • Are you a broker, or do you have your own fleet?
  • Who will my point of contact be if I have questions?
  • Can I track my shipment of goods?
  • Do you offer extra insurance?

Q. How do I find a reputable long-distance moving company?

Customers will want to work with an established company with a long history in the industry that offers several kinds of services. This ensures the company is qualified to handle their goods and any unique situations that might arise. Reputable companies also have a federal license and registration with the U.S. Department of Transportation. And checking online reviews on multiple websites will also indicate to the customer the kind of service the company consistently provides.

Suppose a company offers a quote that’s significantly lower than other larger companies. In that case, it’s almost a sure bet that it is a scam to hold the customer’s goods and require additional payment before releasing them. Choosing to work with a company with an average price range, solid customer service, and adequate service area is the best way for customers to ensure they have chosen a good moving company. The long-distance moving companies on our list meet those standards.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, Move.org

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Brie Greenhalgh

Contributing Writer and Editor

Brie Greenhalgh has been a writer and editor for BobVila.com since 2019, where she shares advice about home improvement solutions, service and renovation costs, and top home products. Additionally, Brie writes for and manages a team of writers at The Tour Guy, where she fills her travel plans with new places to explore, stay, and eat around the world. Brie Is also the founder of The Editing Academy, which empowers aspiring professionals with the necessary skills to become proofreaders and copy editors.

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