Is a transporter too much to ask?
May 18, 2011 8:59 PM   Subscribe

How to get a van-load of stuff from Flagstaff, AZ to Kansas City, MO with minimal hassle and cost?

My mom recently fell ill unexpectedly, in the middle of a job search and trying to get back on her feet after the end of a relationship. She's going to be in skilled care and therapy for 60 days, at the end of which she'll be coming back to KC to live with us for a while. She was living with a friend before being in the hospital for the past 2 weeks, and has approximately a large pickup-load of stuff she'd like to get out of her friend's house and to my place in KC, preferably before I come to pick her up in 60 days to bring her and her car back. How can I get her stuff to KC in the cheapest and most expedient manner?

Option 1 is for me to drive my pickup (which gets crappy gas mileage) from KC to Flagstaff, get her stuff, and come back. This means about 4-5 days of solid driving, and about $550 in gas plus another $200 in hotels.

Option 2 is for me to fly to Phoenix, rent a minivan, and drive to Flagstaff, get stuff, and drive to KC. This is about $130 in airfare, $400 in car rental, $250 in gas, and $70 in hotels, and only 2-3 days of travel. (This is the favored option at this time.)

So what options am I missing? My uncle lives in Tucson, and would probably make the jaunt up to Flagstaff to do ... whatever needed to be done on that end ... if there was something to do. Something like PODS seems like an obvious answer, but they don't service Flagstaff, and annoy me by not giving quotes without calling. I suspect there's too much stuff to box and ship via UPS/USPS, though that might be an option.
posted by jferg to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Amtrak? $213 for a one way ticket and 24 hours for the trip. Rent a minivan in Flagstaff and drive to KC. The train ticket is more expensive than the airfare, but it will save you in drive time and mileage between Phoenix & Flagstaff (about 2.5 to 3 hour drive). Option 2 might still be cheaper and quicker, but the train should be minimal hassle.
posted by kbar1 at 11:08 PM on May 18, 2011

Apologies for questioning premises, but why do you have to move the stuff before you go to get her? Is it just that she wants the stuff out of the friend's house?

If that's the case, maybe you could rent some storage in the area and pay someone (the friend?) to move her belongings to the shed. Then you can pick it up when you pick her up.

Storage locker: $30-60 for a 10x20' maybe?
Paying friend to move stuff out: $150-200?
Time/money saved by only taking one trip out: 5 days
posted by carsonb at 11:12 PM on May 18, 2011

Oh, I totally read the question all the way through the first time! Before answering!

But somehow I missed the Uncle factor.

saved by using your Uncle instead of paying mom's friend.
posted by carsonb at 11:14 PM on May 18, 2011

SAIA is a regional LTL freight company in Flagstaff. You might want to call them up and see what they say. (They once shipped a mattress across country for a song, and the delivery guy couldn't have been nicer.)
posted by joshuaconner at 2:43 AM on May 19, 2011

ABF U-pack is similar to PODs but much cheaper - they have a "ReloCube" option and another to pay by the linear foot to put it in a semi trailer. We moved our entire household cross-country for sub-$1500; it worked out really well for a number of reasons. The semi option is probably overkill for your situation. I think their minimum is 8 linear feet, which is well more than a pickup bed full in a semi trailer.

Greyhound and Amtrak both have shipping services; USPS is actually fairly cheap, depending on what you're shipping. As a data point, I shipped two giant boxes of my student possessions cross-country for about $85 several years ago; mostly it was books, clothes, and some kitchen supplies.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:15 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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