Originally published Nov 7, 2016
When we were planning our move of 1,500 miles across the country to go to law school, I looked into just about every possibility of getting our stuff from point A to point B. We weren’t surprised that a full service moving company was out of our small budget. As frugal DIY-ers, we didn’t mind doing it ourselves.
I got various estimates for one-way rental trucks, thinking they would be the most economical. In addition to the rental price, I made sure to estimate the fuel cost. At less than 10 miles per gallon, those gas-guzzlers are expensive to drive!
While we were willing to do whatever method was cheapest, we also considered reliability and convenience as we made our decision. We wanted to drive together if at all possible. We had a 9-month-old baby at the time and the idea of driving across the country separately was not an attractive option.
We also didn’t want some fly-by-night moving company running off with our stuff.
I was surprised (and thrilled) that renting a one-way moving truck and driving it ourselves was not the cheapest option. As it turned out, the cheapest option in cross country moving was also the most convenient and reliable. Let me explain!
We went with U-Pack, which we now consider our secret weapon to saving money on long-distance moves. After our very successful first cross-country move with U-Pack, using U-Pack again for our 2,000 mile move after law school was a no-brainer.
I’m excited to tell you about our experience with U-Pack. It was definitely a money (and sanity) saver for us.
I’ll get into more detail in a minute, but in a nutshell, U-Pack delivers a trailer to your home and you load it up within three business days. The driver picks up the trailer and drives it to your new location where you have up to three business days to unload it.
The obvious perk here is that you don’t have to drive a cumbersome, gas-guzzling moving truck. Since we were traveling such a long distance, it was really nice to be able to drive together in our car and stop along the way.
The less obvious (but equally awesome) perk is that you get (and only pay for) the perfect size. No over-estimating the size of truck you need and over-paying. No underestimating and running out of room.
It really is the best of both worlds– the affordability of DIY with the convenience of not having to drive!
How U-Pack works
The process is smooth and simple. It goes like this:
–> They deliver a 28-foot trailer or a 6 ‘x 7′ x 8’ Cube (or several Cubes) to your residence.
Pro-tip– ReloCubes are perfect if you live in an apartment or somewhere that a trailer would not fit. The Cubes fit in a normal parking space! You can get a quote for them just like you would for a truck.
–>You have up to 3 business days to load it.
Pro-tip— If you want more time for loading, order the trailer on a Thursday or Friday, so you get the weekend days included for free.
–>You tell them when you’re done and a driver will come take it away.
–>Professional truck drivers bring your trailer to your new location.
Pro-tip-– If you haven’t found somewhere to live yet, don’t worry. You can just tell them the city to deliver it to and you can update the address when it’s time to be delivered. (That’s what we did!)
–>You have up to 3 business days to unload.
–>You also have the option to store your trailer or Cube on a monthly basis.
Pro-tip-– This isn’t an economical long-term storage option. If you need to put stuff in storage, you can have your trailer delivered to a self-storage place. That’s what we did after law school when we weren’t sure if we were going to rent, buy, or live with the in-laws.
How much does it cost?
The price for moving with U-Pack depends on where you are going and how much space you use. You can get a quote online really easily. All you need to enter is where you’re leaving from, where you’re going, and what size residence you have.
They have calculators to help you estimate the amount of space you’ll need.
Don’t worry if your estimate is off. It’s mostly for your own budgeting purposes, as the actual amount you pay will be determined by the actual amount of space you use in the trailer.
All quotes include a price per foot that will either be added to or subtracted from your quote if you end up using a different amount of space.
There is a minimum or base price for using 5 feet of trailer space. That number is clearly indicated in your quote.
Is your stuff safe?
Your stuff is absolutely safe. They always bring a completely empty trailer. After you have packed all of your belongings, you put up a wooden barrier wall (that is provided) to block off all of your stuff.
No one else’s personal stuff will be in that trailer. The “wall” that you install after loading your stuff will remain in place until you remove it at your destination.
After your things are loaded and the wall is installed, the truck may be loaded with other freight that has a similar destination (never another household), which is why U-Pack can offer such affordable rates.
The only concern with the safety of your stuff is how well you pack it.
Making U-Pack Even Cheaper
My number one tip for keeping your cost down is to pack that trailer strategically! And of course that starts with packing your stuff well in the first place.
If you think packing the car for a family vacation is fun or enjoy a good game of Tetris, you’ll love packing your U-Pack trailer. I think my husband secretly loves this task.
With U-Pack you only pay for the space you use, so the less space you use, the less you pay. It’s like a game to us to see how little space we can use in the truck.
With our move out to law school (as a family of 3 living in a 1-bedroom apartment) we estimated that we would need 8 feet of trailer space and ended up using 9 feet.
After law school (as a family of 5 living in a small 3-bedroom house) we estimated that we would need 14 feet of trailer space and only used 13 feet.
In order to use fewer feet of trailer depth, you need to pack high! Plan to pack from floor to ceiling. As you can see in my pictures, a ladder was an important packing tool. For size reference, my husband is 6’7″!
My husband likes to start with uniform size boxes that stack nicely and then end with our mattresses creating a wall before the wall.
There are convenient tie-off loops all the way through the truck, so my husband would tie off the load periodically so that nothing would move in transit. As you can see, he is pretty amazing. Our loads arrived just how they left thanks to his mad packing skills.
Pay less and stress less
Not only were we paying less with U-Pack than if we had rented a one-way moving truck, we were comfortable on our cross-country journeys. In fact, we look at them more as family vacations than moving trips.
All in all, we were able to relax more and stress less about our moves thanks to U-Pack. If you have a long distance move coming up, I whole-heartedly recommend U-Pack (my real-life friends can attest to that!).
How about you?
- What’s your biggest struggle with big moves?
- What do you look for in a moving company?
This post contains affiliate links for a service we sincerely love. If you go through these links and decide to use their service, we will receive a small commission. As always, we only share the best of the best and what we use ourselves!
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