Author Topic: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally  (Read 3066 times)

B L I S S

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Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« on: September 24, 2016, 05:19:27 PM »
At the beginning of December I've got to move from the DC area to California. Simple enough task for any Joe Schmo, but I want to challenge myself to do this as cheaply as possible. In LA i'm going to be renting (unless someone has figured out someway to buy housing in LA -lol-). The one complication is that I'm not willing to rent a place sight unseen...meaning I have to move to LA without actually having an official lease. My plan was to just get an air BnB for one month and find a place in December. So i guess my questions are:

1. What is the cheapest way to move across country with 1 carry on suitcase, one giant suitcase, probably 2-4 large boxes of clothes, 1 26 inch tv, 1 large box of electronics, and 1 large full piano keyboard? Fly & ship boxes? Rent a giant truck?
2. What is a cheap way to store these for one month while i search for an apartment?
3. Just in general.. you think the plan is sound?


Thanks y'all! (<==gotta ditch that)

ender

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 05:25:52 PM »
Ditch the stuff which is a big hassle to move, such as a fairly worthless 26" TV.

You could probably sell that on CL for what it'd roughly cost to get another on CL out there.

Are you flying? Or driving?

Everything you listed would trivially fit into my car, which is why I'm a bit confused, unless "large boxes" implies something giant.

Syonyk

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 05:43:44 PM »
1. What is the cheapest way to move across country with 1 carry on suitcase, one giant suitcase, probably 2-4 large boxes of clothes, 1 26 inch tv, 1 large box of electronics, and 1 large full piano keyboard? Fly & ship boxes? Rent a giant truck?

Do you own a car?  Drive, optionally renting a small U-Haul trailer and getting a hitch installed, would be pretty cheap.

Renting a U-Haul one way tends to be somewhat expensive.  If you can fit it, you might be better off renting a large car or small SUV for the one way trip.

Quote
2. What is a cheap way to store these for one month while i search for an apartment?

"A friend's garage."

B L I S S

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 05:53:23 PM »
Truth be told I forgot about the friends garage option, I'll have to look into that. Any backup options?

Good point on the TV, I'll put that on Craigslist tonight. Consolidation is probably key.

I don't have a car so travel comes down to whether the advice is to fly out or drive with a giant truck. By large boxes I mean 3x3 I guess

Cyaphas

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2016, 06:15:50 PM »
Do you have someone who can delay/store the items/bins until you have a place?

Ideally I'd liquidate everything non-sentimental and then just get on the plane with a carry on.

Craigslist has fairly inexpensive furnished rooms for rent. Home away and VRBO are usually a bit more expensive options. I never needed more than 48 hrs to find a place to rent whenever I moved. (I've moved over 28 times in the last 15 years.) Though, I did have a vehicle when I reached the location. A few times I left my sentimental items with relatives to store for a bit, it was never more than a  few bins. Ironically, some of those things are still in those bins in the garage.

chasesfish

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 05:39:08 AM »
Most likely you should fly one-way via Southwest, use your two free checked bags plus a carry-on, then use FedEx ground.  You can get to LAX or John Wayne airport from DC, even if you have to connect through Dallas.

I had a friend who did this and got  a vacation-style VRBO during the offseason for a couple of months, completely furnished.  All I thought was that's cool and Orange County was damn expensive.

MayDay

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 07:08:15 AM »
I'm not sure why you couldn't fit all of that in your short term rental.  Why do you need somewhere else to store it?

purplepear

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2016, 11:48:32 AM »
I recently moved from TX to OR. We shipped most of our stuff through USPS and it wasn't too expensive. Flying is probably much cheaper than renting a truck, but you might as well price it out online.

Definitely sell the TV. We sold all our furniture on Craigslist but we thought we could move our TV in the car and it would be fine.

... The TV is the only thing that didn't survive the move. RIP.

Cranky

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2016, 12:04:37 PM »
Leave your boxes with a friend or relative. Do not haul a tv across country.

For maximum cheapness, take the megabus.

Have friend or relative mail you your boxes.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 12:30:30 PM »
Greyhound (or Megabus) sounds better than flying for you.  Also consider hostels for the first week or month of arrival.  I've used hostelworld.com with excellent results.

You can take a lot of stuff in the baggage compartment on Greyhound - I'd sell the TV, but a music keyboard (legs folded) and large duffel is common enough.  Compared to flying, you get free shipping on some of your stuff, plus a lower ticket price.  Ship the electronics box and remaining clothes (if any) to your initial destination.

For such a long trip, I think the key if using the bus option would be planning your food costs.  In the backpack that you bring onto the bus itself, pack travel food (raisins, almonds...  carrots/broccoli ...apples/oranges... bread/crackers/rolls).  Refill your water bottle using the tap in the bathroom during stops. If you haven't done 2 days eating out of your backpack lately with no cooking, practice ahead of time to calibrate your actual needs, so you won't use "I'm hungry" as an excuse to buy $5 convenience store foods instead of the $1 backpack meals. The bus will likely stop only near convenience stores, not grocery stores, on a routine basis. 

Check the routes and see if you have a friend en route, where you can stay over for a night.  Or if there's a stop in a city you want to visit, check the cost of hostels and Airbnb; you could grocery shop at a real grocery to restock while getting some low-cost tourism in.  These are more of an "extra fun for cheap" option, though, not an actual cost saver.

I have traveled on Megabus recently. It's cheap and usually excellent, but often arrives late FYI.  Not sure if you can carry as much in the baggage hold as Greyhound.  Check the rules for both lines because they often enforce them; for a cross country move it's worth devising a reliable plan.  Maximize the savings by allocating heavy things to the bus and light ones for shipping, then winnow your belongings strategically to get the right cost saving balance after studying shipping costs.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 12:35:06 PM by Bicycle_B »

Spork

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 12:45:46 PM »
Dear lord, unless things have changed considerably since I was a young lad, I cannot recommend a bus.  Maybe they have DC -> LA express buses.... but when I last took a bus, it had to stop at every single one-horse town between point A and point B.  A trip that would normally take 2 hours by car on the interstate would be a 4+ hour drive on back roads stuck next to a person that wants me to meet Jesus.  I'm getting PTSD just thinking about it.

VAR

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2016, 09:30:27 PM »
I've moved across the country twice and both times shipped boxes of items via Amtrak, very cheaply and very good experience both times. It can take 10days for things to arrive which may help even more.
There are some limitations but I sent all my clothes and sheets etc, pots pans and my bike. Put all my heavy books in my carry on and brought a big suitcase.

Cranky

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2016, 05:48:08 AM »
Megabus between Cleveland and Chicago - which I've taken several times - is faster than driving and cheaper than paying the tolls. That bus stops *once*.

Beriberi

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Re: Tell me how to move cross country, frugally
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2016, 09:54:35 AM »
Bus is at least $200, and 80 hours.  You have to eat gas station food for days, which isn't cheap.    Planes can be had for $110 and take 6 hours.   You can take more luggage on a bus (I guess?) but if you are shipping stuff anyway, just fly.