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Advice about Moving Out of State

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Advice about Moving Out of State


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Near Cross Country move on a budget

August 2008

For many reasons that I won't go into here, my husband, daughter (17 mos) and I are moving to a small town in western Illinois while I write my dissertation. We are doing this because in a year my pay will go down and we won't have the means to continue living here. Thus we are trying to move as cheaply as possible. Is the cheapest way really to rent a truck and drive? We have two cars so will pull one behind a truck and have someone else (a friend or family member) drive the other. I would love to do something like the PODS or whatever they are called but then we still have the issue of the 2 cars. I don't think it would make sense to just sell mostly everything and buy again since we would lost lots of money (we have accumulated nice furniture etc. through good luck).

any suggestions for rental companies? People to help us pack some of the more fragile things like all the dishes or protect the furniture? Is it worth it to buy the actual moving boxes from a place like UHaul? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated as I have NEVER done anything like this before. I moved out here before I was married and with whatever I could fit in my jetta,. Now I have a family and lots of belongings! --Soon to miss the bay area!


First off...I would never suggest u-haul for a cross country move unless you are desperate. I've used them for around town moves and it has been fine. The thought of driving it more than twenty miles, though doesn't sound like a particularly enjoyable experience.

We did a cross country move about a year ago and used pods...we loved them. I think that it cost us just over $6000 for two pods from north Florida to Park City, UT. That includes a few months storage fees (we had access to them during storage, but didn't use them). The organization was incredibly professional, timely, etc. We set everything up on-line and received automated phone calls to our cells giving us pretty narrow windows for drop-off and pick-up (and they were on-time both times), so that we weren't sitting around all day waiting for a pick up. We packed and loaded everything ourselves with a little help from family.

I've used US based moving companies and been disappointed. Too much stuff getting broken (I feel it was revenge for me refusing to buy into the upsell for added insurance).

Go to U-haul.com to check on boxes. They have a part of their site where they let people give or sell their boxes to the next generation of movers. Apparently they build their boxes to withstand four moves. It is their contribution to the environment. I got nearly all of my boxes for free through u-haul.com. Otherwise, post on Craigslist. You will find plenty for free (or cheaply) on their.

Moving cars. If you pods it, then split up and each drive a car. I've done ten-hours jaunts with my young children without problem. You all will be tired at the end of a few days of this, but it will be fine (DVD players solve all problems). Another option would be to use a hauler. We got one of our cars from North Florida to Coronado, CA for $700 last summer. That wasn't our cheapest offer either. The service was perfect. Just ask for a top slot on the truck rather tahn a bottom in case someone is leaking fluids...my sister had a problem with that a few years ago. jana


We moved here last year- as a corporate relo- but nevertheless some suggestions:

Car: We used DAS- Dependable Auto Shippers. They were incredibly reasonable for shipping a car- as low as $600 for one of the cars and we had a longer move. With the gas prices, wear and tear on the car, and having to possibly fly someone one-way- this may be a good choice. Note: They'll try to sell you insurance. If you currently carry comprehensive insurance on the vehicle, you're probably covered if anything happens- but confirm with your insurance company. We used them for both cars, and were very pleased.

Boxes: After we got here, we were desperate to get rid of our boxes (brand now professional moving company boxes). I posted them on craigslist for free (and I wasn't the only one). Do a search for free boxes and see what you get. Post a ''wanted'' ad for free boxes. Or buy them from someone for cheap. I would definitely not buy new boxes- they're pretty expensive everywhere. Or buy the handful of special boxes that you need. Also check with local stores and ask them if you could come pick up some boxes after they get their next shipment.

Hope these tips save you some money. Happy my move was this way!


My husband and I moved across country 3 years ago and were on a tight budget and we looked into everything(pods, uhaul you name it). We decided on renting a portion of a MAC Truck. They charge by the linear foot and you have to pack your section of the truck, but you do not have to drive it. we then drove our car across with what ever stuff we felt we had to have in the car with us (my husband could part with his computer). We started packing way in advanced with stuff we did not need every day and it took some of the pain out of it. We did buy a few special packing boxes, one for china and one for crystal because they are reinforced and have dividers. other wise over a few months I saved things that make for good packing material (paper for a paper shredder is great stuff) and went to local stores like pier 1 for their used boxes. another life saver was this stretch wrap stuff it's like super large cling wrap we wrapped things that had drawers etc so they would not fly open and got plastic sheeting from home depot to cover our couch and other items we did not wan t to get dirty. I hope this is helpful good luck in your move. Been there

Moving stuff to Canada

Sept 2007

We're planning a move to Vancouver Island, and we were wondering if anyone has advice on the most effective/affordable way to get our stuff there. Thanks, David


Hi David. I moved my belongings from Quebec to Arizona and I found, after examining numerous options, that the most uncomplicated way to make such a move is using a larger moving company. It is not a great deal more expensive to move cross-border than state-to-state this way. I used Allied and was extremely happy. Moving to California from Arizona, we will be using United (liked the sales rep better). I prefer to stick to larger companies because they know what they are doing - especially at the border, and have good policies on customer satisfaction. It may seem like a lot of money, but the lack of hassle (you are more likely to get hassled at the border than a well-known moving company, and if the mover gets hassled you don't have to be there to deal with it, they load and unload, and you don't have to figure out how to haul your stuff across on the ferry to Vancouver Island) is probably worth it. I don't know if PODS are available for cross-border moves, but I would avoid them unless you are planning to do long or short term storage. They are at least as expensive as a serviced move (based on prices for our latest move) and require you to do a lot more work. So, for a cross-border move, a large moving (Atlas, United, Allied) company is definitely your best option. Lisa

Renting trucks for a cross-country move

Nov 2006

Folks, My family (3 of us) and I are moving to new york from oakland, ca in june of 2007. My question is how do you move a family cross-country affordably? I checked out u-haul, penske, budget, etc and it's like $1800 plus gas. Is there another way? Any recommendations will be helpful. T.


We moved in June of 2005 back to the bay from Washington DC and found that the best price (and ease for our family with two small boys) was to load up Door to Door crates, they picked them up, transferred them, and stored them until we were ready, then delivered them. Nothing got broken, although I packed REALLY well. There were a few pieces of furniture with rub abbrasions, but that would have been solved by using blankets in hindsight. Then we all flew out here and took a mini vacation with the money we saved. You can also hire people locally to load and unload if you need to. Good luck! Sam

Never moved cross-country - hire someone?

April 1999

We will be relocating from Berkeley to Ann Arbor, MI, this summer. Since we have never moved across the U.S. before, we are not sure if we should do the moving ourselves or hire someone to do it for us. We would greatly appreciate to hear about the experiences of people who have done either, especially with respect to the costs involved in such an undertaking. We look forward to hearing from you.


June 1999

We had the reverse experience of moving from New England to the Bay Area.
I no longer remember how we picked a moving company (I just remember lots of
calls to the Better Business Bureaus and other agencies).  The one piece of
advice I have is from a friend who has moved many times who said "you should
always expect to file claims after any move and you usually will."  We did
not file a claim, but did have one piece of furniture somewhat dinged,
and I discovered a month later that my (unlocked) toolbox had been pilfered
of all the nice tools.

I do remember some of the details of the advice we got about shipping the
car.
1. You'd like a car shipper who has insurance.  In the old days this simply
meant they had an ICC license, but now that the ICC is no more I'm not sure
how you find out about insurance.
2. Your car will almost certainly not be shipped the entire distance
by the company you contract with -- it may get taken on and off a
truck several times.  It is highly likely that if your car is damaged,
it will be in some anonymous lot in the mid-West.  The issue here is
that if the car is damaged, the standard shipping contract will say
that the carrier is only responsible for the car while in their
possession, and you'll have to figure out in what place the car was
damaged in and pursue the relevant company or lot owner yourself.  The
better approach is to get your shipper to agree to be responsible for
the car from pickup to delivery (yes they will change the contract to
say this, at least, they did for us when we pushed).
3. We had been told that auto delivery companies will often try to deliver
in the evening or night, when the light is bad so you have a hard time
inspecting your car -- demand a daytime delivery.  What we did not expect,
but should have, was that the dealer (just like moving folks who mark
the inventory with every piece of furniture as "worn") would carefully
examine the car for any nick or scratch so that the car's value would
be lower if a claim was made.  I'd recommend at least getting your car
washed and polished, and consider taking photos of the car just before
delivery.  It will at least help your case if the car gets damaged.
Hope that's useful!

June 1999

We have moved across country twice in the last 4 years. Basically it is cheaper to have movers move you (due to the cost of renting a truck one-way, gas, food and lodging) than going with U-Haul unless you don't have much to move. We also had our car shipped for around $850. You can find car carriers on the internet or check with the local car movers since they will come pick up the car. Having it shipped thru car carrier is cheaper than including it with your furniture on a moving truck.

You should get at least one estimate from the bigger companies (just to get an idea) with and without books. They charge by weight so books are costly. We had around 40 boxes of books. Depending on the value of the books, shipping it via the post office is cheaper, but we have lost several boxes that way too (box fell apart, books were damaged. Some books could not be replaced). Another way is ship the less valuable books 3rd class, and ship the better ones via UPS or take them with you on the plane or ship them with the furniture.

If your budget is really tight, another way is to use a moving truck but you do all the packing and unpacking. Basically, you are renting the space on a truck. They do not offer blankets, padding. A wood partition is built after you load your stuff (to separate from other pick-ups). I don't know if they're still in business - Lowest Price Movers (1-800-453-1103) out of Arizona. The truck drove from S. Calif. to NJ in around 8 days (accurately estimated). Good luck. It takes a lot of planning and coordinating.


Here's a quick warning to those that are moving and are searching for a mover:

We just moved clear across the lower 48 with Allied Van Lines. We used their 'local' office, Peeters, in Dublin, to set up the move. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!! They were disorganized, unprofessional, dishonest (they tried to back out of their 'guaranteed price pledge'), and made our move a near-disaster. In general, Allied is fine-the 'home' office in Illinois rectified everything, and the SF office of Peeters seemsto be on the ball, but the folks in Dublin are clueless.

Andy (7/99)


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