Friday, October 31, 2008

How to Move Cross Country

1- Take an inventory of your possessions, particularly vehicles and furniture (heavy things that take up a lot of room). How much are they worth? And if it costs more to ship it than to buy a new one, are you willing to let it go?

2- Take photographs to document everything of value. Be sure to get replacement cost only insurance. The other kind is literally based on paying pennies by weight, not value.

3- Research the cost of airfare. If you have any flexibility around your moving date, use the "flexible dates" or similar feature with online airfare sites to figure out when the cheapest flights are. While you're at it, look into how much baggage an airline allows you to bring along. In some cases, you can bring up to 100 lbs of luggage with you, and additional luggage can be checked at a reasonable price. This can be useful if, say, you want to bring your computer with you for fear the movers may ruin it. You can wrap a computer tightly in bubble wrap and pack in a suitcase as part of your luggage allowance.

4- Get quotes for trailers and moving trucks. If you rent a moving truck, how much will it cost to rent the size you need, and how many days and miles will that rate cover? If you have a vehicle, how much would it cost to pull the vehicle with a tow dolly? It might also be cheaper to do things the other way around: Drive your vehicle and tow a trailer. How much will that cost? When you consider gas consumption, it might be more fuel efficient, but you may have to pay to have a hitch installed on your vehicle. Plus, there are more dangers involved - see Warnings below.

5- Investigate moving companies. Find out how much it'd cost to hire a full-service moving company (this might be easier on your back and your possessions in terms of loading and unloading, see Warnings below). You can also look into "self move" services, which drop off a containing unit, let you load it at your leisure, and pick it up and transport it for you. Additionally, there are sites where you can describe your needs and people will make bids as to how much they'll charge to do it for you. As with the car shipping option, you want to ask how much it'll cost, how long it'll take, and how you're guarded against damages. It never hurts to ask around and find out which companies have the best reputations.

6- Investigate the possibility of shipping Books can often weigh a personal vehicle down significantly and can be shipped through the USPS at 'media rate'. Another often ignored option is using the greyhound shipping service which offers a huge discount to students. Both options allow you to pick up your items as much as 2 weeks later which is useful if you don't know where you are moving to!

7- Determine the reliability of your vehicle. Do you trust that you can drive it over two thousand miles without worrying about it breaking down on you? Does it need any major repairs before it can withstand such a trip? Most automobiles, reliable or not, should receive a major maintenance visit to the mechanic (with special attention to radiator, transmission, and brakes) before embarking on a cross-country trek. The cost of the maintenance could save thousands (literally) in emergency repairs, towing, etc.

8- Calculate the cost of driving your vehicle. Determine the fuel efficiency of the vehicle in question so that you can estimate how much the fuel will cost. Find out how many miles or kilometres your trip will cover, then divide that number by your MPG (miles per gallon) or km/l (kilometres per litre). That will tell you how much fuel you will need to cover the entire journey. Multiply that number by the current or expected price per gallon/price per litre to see how much money you'll be spending on gas through the whole trip.

9- Shop around for vehicle shipping rates. There are companies that specialize in shipping vehicles across long distances. Make phone calls and ask the following questions:

How long will it take?
How much will it cost?
How am I guarded against damages to my vehicle?
What is this company's reputation? You can usually find reviews online.

10- Make a realistic list of road trip costs, primarily food and lodging. How long will driving take? If you must stay in hotels or motels, how much will it cost you? How much will you spend on meals and snacks? Do you plan on sight-seeing on your way, perhaps tasting some wine, or visiting old friends?

11- Evaluate your options. By now, you've done enough research to be able to put price tags on all of the potential moving scenarios. Now you must compare your options not only by cost, but also by other considerations, like enjoyability.

Research: Wikihow