A week ago today I began a 1300 mile , 20+ hour drive through 9 different states and taking place over 2 days. And I did it by myself.
Stressed was an understatement. 5 days prior I purchased a new (but more economical) car, 3 days after that it was side-swiped by a semi-truck and I was already behind on packing and loading up the car.
So how in the world did I get from that to Florida in a couple of days?
Lots of stress, a FedEx account and tossing everything else that doesn’t and can’t be shipped. When you’re moving across the country on a budget you have to treat your apartment like one of those houses on hoarders and just start tossing stuff. Unless you want to drive a U-haul and tow your car (I was NOT up for that), but if you have a lot of stuff and can do that, it’s hands-down the cheapest way to go.
I did extensive research on everything from those you pack it boxes to freight trucks to shipping stuff via train. All the price tags were more than my bulky stuff was worth, and a whole lot of hassle. For around $350 I was able to ship everything I couldn’t fit in my car via FedEx.
Friday, June 3rd was one of the more stressful days I’ve had. I woke up around 6 AM and finished up some packing, left about two hours later for my last day at work and started my drive around 2:30 PM that day.
I had about 600-700 miles to cover going through various rain storms. I was hoping to make it to Knoxville, but with a late start and all the rain an extra 2 hours just wasn’t gonna happen. On long road trips I don’t like to book a hotel ahead of time, which might make some people nervous, but this time I’m glad I didn’t. Around 11 PM I pulled into a gas station, filled up and booked a room through Hotwire in Johnson City.
Shameless plug for Hotwire: I absolutely love this app. I’m a huge bargain hunter. I can’t stand paying full retail price for anything, which is why I spent about 5 hours of my life negotiating a price on a car. Hotwire is also incredibly easy to use and rewards last minute booking. You won’t get the same luxury, five star, valued customer treatment but when you need something quick, Hotwire is such a great option. I was able to filter by star rating and recommendations so I could blindly book (saves a lot of money!) and still end up somewhere nice.
Unfortunately, I’m one of those people that sometimes has trouble sleeping in a hotel room on the first night so I didn’t end up getting to sleep until around 2 AM. If you ever get the chance to drive through Tennessee, do it.
It was the most gorgeous part of my drive and I still cannot get over driving through the Smoky Mountains and all of the beautiful hills and lush green scenery and clean air, something NYC doesn’t have a lot of (food places though, the food I will always miss). However, once I got past Birmingham, AL the drive was horrible. There’s nothing worse than 30 miles of a 25 MPH speed limit 1000 miles into your drive.
Overall, the 20+ hours by myself was not bad, and definitely not impossible.
So let’s break down the total expenses:
To recap: breakdown the cost of replace vs. take with you and that factor in the annoyance/hassle. It’s not as simple as paying $1200 to send furniture to a new location. You have to get it loaded up, and unloaded in your new place which also means having a new place already picked out when you move.
If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of stuff, shipping is the way to go unless you can haul a small trailer. FedEx and USPS have the best prices on shipping. Personally, I prefer FedEx as they’ll pack it for you and come pick up already packed boxes from your home for free.
Anyone else made a long distance move on a budget and have other tips?