I've got my bags all packed and I'm ready to go...except...
August 28, 2009 7:46 PM   Subscribe

What's the cheapest way to move from Southern California to Portland, OR?

Asking for my sister, who is moving from Orange County, CA to Portland, OR in a week. She's got a job and a place to live, but is super frustrated by finding the cheapest way to get all her stuff there. She just bought new furniture (not knowing she'd be moving soon), so leaving her stuff behind or selling it is not an option. She is really only moving the things from her bedroom, plus a few items from the kitchen. Not a huge amount of stuff, really.

She is looking to spend somewhere between 600-700, but is a bit flexible (the cheaper the better, obviously). Everywhere she's looked (i.e. professional movers, freight trucks, rental cars, U-Haul, etc) is at LEAST 900-1,200. Has anyone done this move, have any tips or ideas?

Help a sista out? (Literally!)
posted by too bad you're not me to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Welcome to Portland! I feel like I am always the 'Portland is so great' person on mefi, but it really is, and she's lucky to have a job and everything lined up. I think she'll really like it.

However, I dunno man - U-Haul is about as cheap as they come, if she doesn't, say, have a friend with a truck. It really depends on how much stuff she has. You might try checking out Ride Share on Craig's list...there is a lot of traffic from SoCal to Portland, and maybe somebody has a truck?

Because its a move from one city to another (and not within the same city), and its what, like a 15-16 (?) drive? Its going to be a bit tough to do that cheaply, even with only a modicum of furniture.

If you can't find something on CL, maybe she could post something? The gas alone for the trip will probably cost upwards of (I'm guessing) $300; so if she could find someone headed there with a truck, she could chip in for gas.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2009

I've used Forward Air to move my stuff across the country and friends have used them for random big heavy things like a motorcycle. Your sister would need to crate her stuff (plywood & 2x4s will do the trick), haul the crate to the nearest airport and give the forward air people some money (I'd guess around $300 for one 4'x4'x8' crate), then pick up her crate of stuff at PDX a few days later. I'd expect any large freight company would be comfortably within her budget if she can deliver her stuff to them and pick it up again in Portland. I've found freight rates to be negotiable, it also doesn't hurt to bring the employees some cookies/beer/donuts when you pick up your stuff.
posted by foodgeek at 8:23 PM on August 28, 2009

Another option worth considering is to use a "moving pod".

The two big players in this area are:

a) Pods
b) U-pack

You can easily use their website to get a quote.

Good luck!
posted by jchaw at 9:15 PM on August 28, 2009

Forgot to mention, you can also use greyhound to ship boxes, e.g., books.
posted by jchaw at 9:16 PM on August 28, 2009

I just got an ABF U-Pack quote of $695 for terminal-to-terminal delivery via ABF U-Pack (she would have to haul her things to their terminal, load them in the truck, and then remove them from the terminal in Portland a few days later.) That means friends on both ends with muscles and pick-up trucks, but it's in her price range otherwise. This is assuming that she could fit all her stuff in an eight foot length of trailer space. Door to door delivery is $1056.

ABF also has these things called Relo-Cubes which are 6 x 7 x 8 feet. If she could fit all her things into one of those, terminal-to-terminal delivery drops to $566, door-to-door drops to $922.

I used ABF on a huge move from New Mexico to North Carolina, and was very happy with them.

The only other idea I have is this: my brother made a virtually free cross country move once by buying a used cargo trailer, making the move, and then selling it for the same price he had just bought it for a week earlier. But he owned a big pick-up, kind of essential to the plan.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:17 PM on August 28, 2009

PODs are actually pretty expensive. I just moved across the country, and I mailed quite a bit of stuff to myself with USPS. For $300 I sent pretty much my entire wardrobe, all of my art/decorations, a bunch of electronic equipment, and lots of other stuff. FedEx and UPS were both significantly more expensive, but the rates from USPS are pretty reasonable. It won't take care of your furniture level stuff though.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:15 AM on August 29, 2009

Don't even think about PODS, they are crazy expensive. Check out DoorToDoor though, same idea and much cheaper. I recently used them for a cross country move and their prices were very reasonable, and you can easily store your stuff with them in the meantime for cheap.

Driving is usually cheapest in my experience, but U-Haul will rip you off if they can. Check out Penske, Budget and Ryder. If you can move the stuff in a van or smallest truck, you can probably get in under budget, just watch out for gas and motel costs adding up. Don't forget though, you can subtract the cost of the plane ticket if you drive it yourself.
posted by sophist at 2:57 AM on August 29, 2009

i've moved cross country a couple of times, i have a couple of options for you -

a) penske is generally cheaper than u-haul for truck rentals. my buddy's move cross country was about half the price through them. you can get most quotes online, shop around.
b) if she has a car, she can get a hitch installed and pull a trailer herself. any car can pull a 5x8 trailer, that's enough for a small apartment's worth of stuff. Rent-wise this will always be the cheapest moving method (minus gas of course), and if she buys a trailer she may be able to resell it for the same price.

i just ran a quote from uhaul.com, one way la-portland for mid september is $330. it's going to cost another $200-300 to get the hitch installed, a one-time fee that's worth it if she ever moves again, even in-town.
posted by camdan at 2:58 AM on August 29, 2009

Thanks for all the suggestions. She actually ended up (reluctantly) selling her bed frame and renting an SUV for all her stuff. Not sure what the total cost was, but a hell of a lot cheaper than U-Haul or PODs. Thanks, though!
posted by too bad you're not me at 5:09 PM on September 5, 2009

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