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Moving Cross Country

Category Moving
Finding the least expensive and most efficient way to move is a challenge. This guide is about moving cross country.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 1, 20060 found this helpful

I will soon be moving from VA to OR. All of my belongings will fit in my car, so it will be just me and my geriatric chihuahua. The longest trip I have ever taken alone was 9 hours away. I'm looking for tips to save money, be safe, and also things I should pack that I might not have thought of. It's gonna take me about 5 days (I hope) to get there.

Thanks,
Margaret from VA

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October 6, 20060 found this helpful

be careful. i moved from florida to maryland 5 years ago with my old dog and me. the car was a blinking sign that said i was moving. they obviously saw i was alone. i only had to spend 1 night out there. i ate at a reputable restarent. and brought a carryout bag back for breakfast. only fill up at very well lite gas stations. i bought a cb radio plus my cell phone both at the ready.

make sure people on both end of your trip have your itinerary. check in every night so they will know you are ok. one end could notify the other end each day.

if for some reason a police man wants to pull you over do NOT just assume he is who you hope he is. go to a busy and well lit area. then you and he will be safe.

praying for a safe trip for you. sandy

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October 11, 20060 found this helpful

One thing I always try to do is in the weeks leading up to the departure, I purchase some gift cards for restaurants along the way. Not any huge dollar amounts but enough to buy a meal or two. I do this in case I get robbed, lose my purse, etc. I keep them in my vehicle, one or two in my purse and so on. I've had a time where I had a car repair purchase and I had to pay cash (had no credit cards) this always makes sure I can eat on the road. I also make a master list of all items to go and things that have to be done and keep it on hand so I don't forget anything.

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March 1, 20070 found this helpful

First, take your car in for a tune up and oil change. Make sure tires are in good shape with proper air pressure. Is your spare in good condition? Buy a good cross country map. Map out your route before you go, decide how much driving you'll want to do before stopping and then make hotel reservations to stay over night along the way. Give a copy of your itinerary to a close friend or relative and notify them when things change. Take a cell phone and a calling card just in case. Stop at grocery stores along the way for food so the restaurant/fast food bills don't add up. Be prepared for changes in weather with warm/cold weather clothing. Pack a car safety kit with a flashlight, (batteries) fix-a-flat, first aid supplies and bottled water. Don't forget water/food for your pet. Fill up the tank before it gets dark and do not sleep at rest stops. Make sure you call your home contact daily with travel updates and your location. Take some travelers checks b/c if stolen, they can be easily replaced. If possible, it's always safer to travel with someone. Anyway, stay safe and enjoy the ride. Oh, don't pick up hitch hikers. If you don't know that, please fly! E

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May 16, 20070 found this helpful

Wow, there are some real worrywarts here.

Tune up the car, check airpressure, spare tire, and pack some extra Oil, Coolant, Water, and small toolkit, flashlight, jumper cables.

Buy a Road atlas at Walmart, because it shows every walmart within 2 miles of the highway and you can stop for nap breaks in the parking lot, food, or restroom.

I stopped at many rest areas across the country and found them to be very nice these days.

Pack some snacks and water, so you don't have to stop as often.

And one item that's really handy: Wet wipes, to keep you feeling clean and refreshed for the next leg of your journey.

I'd say the first day is the hardest, mentally, until you settle into a rhythm.

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May 16, 20070 found this helpful

I have gone from Seattle to Boston by myself (and my cat) and then back to Oregon with my husband, both driving separate vehicles. I've also made many road trips around the West Coast.

There are lots of good tips posted already. I wouldn't worry too much about the safety. I was a 29 year old female alone and no one ever bothered me. Just be prudent, stop in well lit areas and have a cell phone for emergencies and you will be fine. If your insurance has roadside assistance or you have AAA, that would be a safety net. My husband locked the keys in the moving van (still running) in Montana and that would have been more of a hassle without roadside assistance.

One thing that you may not have considered bringing is lots of spare change for the toll roads. I don't know what route you are taking but I was surprised at how many times I had to pony up a handful of change. If you can have a cooler of snacks and a comfy place for your dog, you will get into a groove. I wouldn't go more than 300 miles without a serious leg stretch.

Be sure not to drive too late at night or when you get sleepy and don't stay in your car. I found that Motel 6, although not glamorous, was cheap and clean across the US. Book ahead if you are traveling on the weekends but that will lock you into a time frame and you might be surprised at how much driving you do. I did Seattle to Boston and Boston to Portland, OR in about 72 hours. It was exhausting but I just wanted to get there.

Jess

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August 1, 20070 found this helpful

i'm doing the same thing as you but opposite. i'm moving from california to Virginia Beach. My boyfriend and i will be driving across country in February with a uhaul truck. i've never lived on my own, let alone with a boyfriend, so i'm very nervous. he's 4 years older then i am and has done this before, but is very sympathetic of me. i wish you luck! and let me know how long it takes so i can have a good idea of how long it will take us lol

- Abi

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April 6, 20080 found this helpful

Another couple of suggestions:

Remember to eat extra fiber - hard to get in fast food meals on the road.

Pay cash rather than by credit card anywhere your card is out of your sight (like a restaurant where you pay the server). You don't want to find out in OR that your credit has been compromised by thieves enroute.

If paying by credit card, don't sign your mailing address on a guest book. Again, learned from experience...

Have a happy and safe trip!

Nance

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April 18, 20120 found this helpful

I'm moving from Kentucky to Fort Irwin, California. The problem is we are taking an airplane to get there. I have just a little bit of furniture and stuff we need to get there because our home is not furnished. How would I be able to move without having to come back to Kentucky?

By Cassandra

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April 18, 20120 found this helpful

You will have to figure out a way to have it shipped out there. Try calling the different moving companies and get some prices.

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

That company pods dot com that will deliver a shipping container thing to your driveway. Do your research on the best way to ship and pack. They come and move your pod. Then when you get to where you are going they bring it to you. Have no idea how much it costs, but must be loads cheaper than a moving company. check into it. It's what I figured I'd do if this comes up in me and hubby's future.

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April 20, 20120 found this helpful

I've used Pods, and they are wonderful. You have a Pod delivered to your old house, pack it up the way you want. I've been able to pack a bunch of stuff in there. Buy your own padlock and lock it up, call them and send it to your new house. Everything will arrive just as you packed it! I have used them to move and to temporarily store stuff while we remodled. What a great system, and everyone I talked to was polite, courteous and professional.

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March 12, 20130 found this helpful

Moving furniture is expensive no matter how you are doing it. If you really want to save money, time, and stress I think you should just sell your furniture. You can buy new furniture at your new place and save the $1000+ fee its going to be to move it. If you absolutely can't part with your furniture, then the pods or professional movers are your only choices.

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April 12, 20040 found this helpful

I am looking for some cheap ways to get my stuff to another state. I am moving to Alaska and have tried some of the Big name moving companies but they all say that it is an international trip and want $5200 for shipping. I only have a few items that are furnature, a couple bunkbed sets and 2 recliners. The rest is boxes. Any ideas?

Susan

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April 12, 20040 found this helpful

I would check to see if they have a Uhaul or Rider truck rental place where you are moving. I have never driven to Alaska but I believe their is a car ferry that makes it a pretty reasonable trip. The cost would come in well under 5200. Just make sure you try out the truck and have confidence in it before you hit the road. It's surprising what they send people out in. Ofcourse, I am in Washington, driving to Alaska isn't out of the question for me. If I lived in Florida I wouldn't dream of it.

Beyond that, seems like UPS ground can be pretty reasonable for boxes under 70 pounds. But you have to pack them VERY well if you want them to get there unharmed. We moved cross country and shipped about half of our stuff through UPS. We sold any furniture that we couldn't fit in the cars we were driving. It wouldn't be hard to estimate how much you boxes would cost to ship... just figure out an average weight and size and use ups' online shipping calculator. http://www.ups.com

Maybe sending the boxes UPS and then finding other arrangements for the furniture would work.

5200 seems pretty high, I would call around with that figure and see how much other moving companies might be willing to beat it. And consider shipping companies as well.

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April 12, 20040 found this helpful

For $5200 you could buy a used truck and drive it yourself. You could resell it when you get there.

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April 13, 20040 found this helpful

check out http://www.upack.com

They do the driving and everything. I think it cost me around 450 to move my stuff from So Cal to WA. You pack it up, they section it off from the rest of their truck (they use a semi trailer) and then they will deliver it on the day you need. Check it out. It may work out well for you.

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April 13, 20040 found this helpful

My sister used to live in Anchorage. I guess since they have to ship by air over some water, it is as expensive as an international move & so they charge you the same. Sorry to say, $5000 sounds about right. I bet UPS ground won't go to Alaska. You could drive, but it is REALLY far - over 1400 miles just from Vancouver to Whitehorse in the Yukon! Road conditions are not always good. Why are you moving? Is it for work? Won't they pay relocation?

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May 11, 20040 found this helpful

I live in Alaska and we drove up the Alcan in 1995. We sold almost everything we had to do it. Granted, our things weren't worth bringing up either. If you have real nice things than it is worth it, because it is expensive to replace.

There are quite a few options of getting your belongings here. One, as someone else suggested, is to buy your own U-haul type truck or a closed trailor, horse trailor that can be closed off, snow machine trailor, etc. and sell it once you get here. There is NO LACK of someone willing to buy things of that nature in Alaska. I would HIGHLY recommend that it be a closed trailor or truck though. You never know what weather you will encounter no matter what time of year you move.

Some friends of ours recently moved to California and the company they used brought a shipping container to their home and parked it (it is on a diesel trailor) you pack your own things and they return at an agreed time and deliver it to the docks. They flew to California and within a few weeks they had their belongings once again delivered to their front door for them to unpack. If you are interested in knowing the name of that company I can find out for you. You can email me directly at tator2ter@worldnet.att.net. In fact they also had a vintage car they drove into the container as well.

Depending on where you are moving from, you can make your way to Washington and take the ferry the rest of the way. I had a friend move to Arizona two years ago and she was quoted around $1200 just for her van, herself and her four kids.

SOmething to think about also if you are driving yourself is you have to come through Canadian customs. They can and will search your vehicle and you need to know what is and is not allowed through the border. Guns and ammunition are VERY limited. If you have guns and ammunition that you want to bring with you, I would highly recommend sending it with someone that may be flying or send it with your items that is being shipped because you may lose it at the border. Also... fruit, plants, etc. are not allowed either. I would HIGHLY recommend you purchasing a book called the Milepost. This gives you the do's and don'ts, maps, businesses, it tells you where you can get gas, etc. It is the Alcan Bible as far as I am concerned! Also if you have pets, you MUST go to your veterinarian and ask them for proper papers, shots and identification for your pet because the Canadian border will ask for it. You cannot bring more than I believe one bottle of wine or alcohol through, you would have to verify what the current code is. Things that some may not think about and you can lose it at the border.

Like I said, if you want to talk more, you can email me directly.

Tawnda

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June 20, 20050 found this helpful

we moved from NY to Kansas ( a three bedroom apartment ) for less then 900 bucks - ABF - they are a commercial truck - you pack it they drive it, and deliver it to your door where ever you are ( it took a bout seven days ) but it was great - and we unpacked it too - but that price included taxes, gas and tolls

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December 12, 20050 found this helpful

I AM MOVING FROM OHIO TO WA IN THE SPRING AND AM LOOKING FOR THE CHEAPEST WAY TO DO IT. ANY SUGESTIONS? LIVESON480AOL

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0 found this helpful
May 18, 2014

I want to move from Boston to Texas. I have around 10 medium boxes that I want to post. I am wondering if it is possible to send them to a storage facility in Texas and later get it from them? Do you know any storage company to do that?

By zack2000

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May 20, 20140 found this helpful

Hi - do you plan to ship by USPS? If so, I think you can rent a post office box in your new city and they will hold your mail for a period of time. Not sure how long they will hold so you would have to check it out.

Shipping (by any shipping service - even the bus!) is really expensive so I hope you packed only what could not be "cheaply" replaced at a later time.

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January 3, 20120 found this helpful

Does anyone know of a cheap way to move some things cheaply?

By Lucille from Belmont, MA

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May 2, 20050 found this helpful

My husband is a teacher in CA. We are looking to move to the state of Georgia. He has job possibilies there. We are looking to move the most frugal way possible. We have two dogs , some ducks and chickens that we would like to take with us. Has any one made long distance moves with animals? I would like to have all the tips, on keeping moving costs down and traveling with animals, possible. We are planning to move in late July. We have lots of time to plan, but I believe in starting early. We do not have a very large budget so keeping costs down are very important.

Thanks,
Reva in CA

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July 23, 20090 found this helpful

I have carried ducks, chickens and cats in small animal carriers in the back of my pickup. I put a sheet over them to make them feel more secure. My dogs like to ride, so they were inside the truck. I stopped frequently so the dogs could do what they had to do, and made sure everyone had water.

Obviously, they were glad when I arrived, but all fared well.

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