Hello and Happy Monday!
Do you guys use Timehop? I love it! It’s such a fun reminder of the big and small things that have happened over the years. Last week Timehop reminded me that it has been exactly 2 years since Chris and I took a leap of faith and moved across the country from California to Texas. I honestly can’t believe it has only been two years. It feels like longer!
Reminiscing about our big move inspired today’s blog post. I did tons of research as we were preparing to move and honestly, there wasn’t that much information out there on the various ways to move across the country. I was overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get two cars, a dog, our belongings, and ourselves from one state to another. So, if you find yourself in the same situation, this blog post is for you!
In short, there are basically 2 ways to take on a long-distance move:
- Move your belongings yourself
- Ship your belongings
I have moved using both methods so I am going to explain each option in detail and share my first-hand experience.
Moving Your Belongings Yourself
This method of moving involves loading your belongings into a rental truck and driving to your new home. I did this the first time I moved across the country. I had just graduated from college and all of my belongings fit in a U-Haul truck. My dad and I loaded everything into the truck and towed my car behind us on a vehicle trailer during the drive from Texas to California.
This is a less expensive option. If you are on a tight budget and don’t have a ton of items to bring with you, this would probably be the ideal method for moving a long distance. It’s also great if you enjoy road trips and stopping to see the sights along the way. Definitely price shop the various truck rental companies to make sure you are getting the best price. They all have different rates depending on the truck size you need and if you are renting additional items, such as a vehicle trailer. Don’t forget to factor in gas and lodging if the drive will take more than a day.
We considered this option for our move from California to Texas but crossed it off the list pretty quickly. For one, there was not enough room in the cab for two people and an antsy German Shepard. We also had 2 cars which presented a problem. We could tow 1 car behind a rental truck, but what would we do with the other car? Ship it? Have 1 person drive the rental truck by themselves and the other person drive the car? It seemed like this option, although more budget friendly, would add extra stress.
Shipping Your Belongings
This method involves hiring a company to take your belongings to your new home. It is a more expensive option, but can be ideal depending on the number of items you need to move. Moving back to Texas was drastically different from my original move to California. I had acquired more furniture and belongings in that time, and I was also moving with my fiance (now husband) and our dog. So we had furniture, two cars, and a dog that does not do great in the car.
Once we decided to ship our furniture and belongings, I started investigating companies. The main ones seemed to be PODS and 1-800-Pack-Rat, although there are several others such as UHaul U-Box, ABF U Pack, and Zippy Shell. I spoke to each company about our move distance and dates in order to get a rate quote. I then compared rates and even told the companies if I had gotten a better rate somewhere else. This is a good tip because companies want your business. Don’t be afraid to share rates you have gotten elsewhere; they may match or beat them. That is how we ended up using 1-800-Pack-Rat for our long-distance move. They gave us the best rate in the end.
Another thing to consider when shipping your belongings is storage. Most of the companies I mentioned above will store your container as well if needed. Chris and I were staying with family for a few months while we house hunted, so we did need storage. After some research, I found that it was cheaper for us to get a storage unit in our new city than to have 1-800-Pack-Rat store our container. Granted, this was a little bit of a pain. We had to unload our storage container and move everything into a storage unit, but we wanted to save money, so we made it work. If budget isn’t a big factor, you may opt to have the shipping company store your container until you are ready to move into a more permanent home.
I think there are also options to have these company pack your belongings, but we packed everything up ourselves, with the help of family. If you are moving in a hurry or unable to pack for some reason, this could be a good option. There are truly a lot of options and flexibility which is what you want when you’re moving a long distance.
As I mentioned, Chris and I decided to use 1-800-Pack-Rat to ship our belongings from California to Texas. The container was dropped off in the parking lot of our town home on a Saturday morning and we spent the weekend loading up our furniture and belongings. We packed our storage container to the brim. I mean, that thing was FULL.
We had some family from Texas fly out to California and drive back with us to solve the two car problem. We didn’t want to spend the money to ship one of our cars, so Chris and I drove one car (with Lyssa) and our family drove the other car. Anything that we needed in the next 10 (or so) days we kept in the cars with us. Remember, you won’t see your container for a little while so keep that in mind when packing it. Sunday evening our container was loaded up, we said our goodbyes, and hit the road.
Monday morning, while we were en route to Texas, 1-800-Pack Rat picked up our storage container and it was delivered to us 10 days later in Texas.
Like I mentioned above, we unloaded everything and moved it into a local storage center because that was less expensive. Two months later we had bought a house and we finished the last piece of our cross-country move by emptying out our storage unit and moving everything into our new home. Overall, we had a great experience with 1-800-PACK-RAT. The rates were fair, customer service was excellent, and they were very flexible, which we appreciated.
It was a whirlwind, as most long-distance moves probably are, but we made it through! If you are moving soon, I hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to reach out to me with any specific questions you may have!
And remember to enjoy the ride! Moving is stressful, but an amazing adventure awaits you when you get to where you’re going! Don’t forget to embrace it 🙂