What is my best option, moving from San Diego to Toronto?
April 7, 2008 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Moving from California to Toronto, how can we do it cheaply?

Got about enough stuff to fill a cube van, nothing big. Could potentially put it all in the back of a decent sized pickup truck.

I'm looking at car rental places, truck rental sites, none of them seem to let me put in a Canadian destination to drop off the van. Would it be cheaper to just hire a moving company to do the same thing?

Cheapest I found was $899 to go from San Diego to Buffalo using budget trucks, and then somehow make it the extra 2 hours through the generosity of friends or something.

Any ideas?
posted by geodave to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
UHaul does one-way rentals into Canada, none of the other major truck rentals do.

Mind you, they're bastards.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:58 PM on April 7, 2008

Although they do not appear to offer Canada as an option, I've had very good luck twice with providers found using uShip.com. Basically you post your move and trucker types bid on it. Using their guestimate tool a large 1BR household move from San Diego to Buffalo averages around $1,100. That includes fuel (and help loading and unloading) so would be significantly cheaper than renting a truck yourself. Once I used a guy who hauled windows from Indiana to North Carolina once a week. Because the marginal cost for him to carry something in his normally empty trailer from North Carolina back to Indiana was pretty small it cost me much less than renting a truck and driving myself.

It is unfortunate that they don't seem to support Canada.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:01 PM on April 7, 2008

Best answer: You could see if it's possible to drive the truck over the border then drive Toronto to Buffalo with an empty truck to return it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:39 PM on April 7, 2008

Best answer: i used upack.com when i moved a similar amount of stuff from SF to toronto in 2005. it cost $1900 after all the taxes and fees and so on. in retrospect i should have just sold everything in california that didnt fit in my car, and bought new stuff in canada. that's what i did when i moved back and it was infinitely better.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:21 AM on April 8, 2008

When we were getting quotes from moving companies to go from Rochester NY to Toronto, we found that crossing the border added about $1000 to the cost. They could have moved us to California cheaper than to the other side of the lake. We had more than we could reasonably load by ourselves so we ended up renting a Uhaul and hiring a moving company by the hour to load in Rochester and another one to unload in Toronto.
posted by winston at 3:58 AM on April 8, 2008

I swore off UHaul after using them twice and having two bad experiences, but then I used Budget and they weren't any better. If you can be flexible about your time and have low expectations about UHaul (like, don't expect them to have the truck you reserved on the day you reserved it), then you could have a successful move.

If you go with a rental company that doesn't allow dropoff in Canada, do they allow you to drive through Canada? It's reasonably on the way from California to Buffalo, if you take the route north of Lake Erie. You could drop off your stuff in Toronto, then return the truck to Buffalo. Greyhound will take you from Buffalo back to Toronto for less than $20.
posted by Dec One at 5:01 AM on April 8, 2008

Might cost a little bit more but it looks to me like your best bet is going to be getting movers. Have you been able to contact any in Toronto as I'd imagine they would be able to help.
posted by doorsfan at 7:23 AM on April 8, 2008

Also if you go through a Toronto mover i think you would also be saving some green paying them in local currency.
posted by doorsfan at 7:34 AM on April 8, 2008

Actually, the Canadian dollar's just under par right now, so I don't know about that, doorsfan.

I have no advice on moving cheaply. But I will say congratulations on the move... you're gonna love it here!
posted by bicyclefish at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2008

If you don't have large items, have you considered the cost of sending them through the postal system. They charge less than say FedEx.
There must be cheap airline fares. Save on gas and truck rentals.

I wish I was moving to California, frankly.
posted by alicesshoe at 1:24 PM on April 8, 2008

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