Roadtrip: Indiana to Massachusetts
April 28, 2008 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Need to transport myself and belongings from Indiana to Massachusetts....but how?

I start an internship in rural Western Massachusetts (read: not at all near an airport) in October. I live in Indiana. What is the best way to get there? I do not need to plan the return trip.

I do not own a car, and I am transporting more than would be comfortable via airplane( bedding, all clothing, outdoor gear, sewing machine, books, etc), and the MA location is at least 3 hours from an airport, thus the car issue comes back into play.

Would a train or rental car be my best bet? I've never rented a car. Do you just rent it then drop it off at the destination? Is this cost effective?
posted by Etta Hollis to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One way car rental should be quite cost effective when compared to the cost of any other alternatives. If you need to rent a truck, I recommend Penske.
posted by gjc at 6:46 PM on April 28, 2008

i would ship most of my belongings via ups or, if you don't have an address and can't ship it to your internship job site, look into mailing a few boxes general delivery to the town's local post office.

fly to the nearest major airport with carry-on baggage and maybe one checked bag. there will certainly be some sort of commuter train or bus service available at the airport that will deliver you to your town (and probably a taxi or local bus once you get there).

alternatively, you may be able to rent a car from the airport, but you have to make sure there's a place to drop it off when you get there.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:58 PM on April 28, 2008

How long is your internship? Do you really need to bring everything? You can buy a new futon for $100 or less when you get there.

I'm trying to imagine somewhere in rural, Western MA that's so remote it's three hours to the nearest airport - Hartford International is maybe two hours from the most distant corner of WeMa, and by the time you're that far west, you're only an hour from Albany, NY, which has an airport.

That said, if you've got time to make the drive, do it. Depending on where you are in IN, you could do it in one very long day (12 hours+/-), or you could take two or three, and stop at cool local diners, and post the photos. Ship what you can, buy a bed when you get there, and take a leisurely drive. If you wouldn't feel comfortable driving a truck, and you pare down the amount of stuff you're taking, you might be able to rent something large that drives more like a car, like a minivan (uncool, I know - but hey! It holds a lot of stuff!).
posted by rtha at 7:20 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Where in Western MA? If it's near Northampton, Greyhound goes to Northampton (and a few nearby towns) and extra bags under 50 pounds are $5 each.
posted by plinth at 7:21 PM on April 28, 2008

Consumerist just had a post about shipping your stuff via Amtrak. Check that out and see if the station locations/prices/etc. might meet your needs. (Also check out the myriad of truck-renter-beware posts.)
posted by greenland at 7:24 PM on April 28, 2008

Ship your books via "media mail," USPS. Cheaper than UPS.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:17 PM on April 28, 2008

One-way moving trucks and vans tend to be more expensive than local or round-trip rentals. If you need that much room, I second the Penske recommendation. However, it sounds like you could fit all of your stuff in a rental SUV or minivan, which most companies offer.

Expect to pay more if you are under 25. Also, if applicable, call your credit card company and/or parent's auto insurer (if you are listed on their policy) to see if you have any insurance coverage for car rentals.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 8:33 PM on April 28, 2008

One way car rentals are possible. It's possible to rent a truck one-way from UHaul, Ryder, Penske, Budget... (And seconding the recommendation of Penske.) However, it is also sometimes possible to rent one-way from "regular" car rental places. Usually these are expensive, but sometimes not, so it pays to search carefully. I found an inexplicably great deal on Orbitz to take a Avis minivan one-way coast-to-coast.

Amtrak shipping is cheap, but you have to pick up your boxes from the train station, and I suspect the only place in Western MA you could ship to would be Springfield. But can't hurt to check.

If flying into Springfield, you can take Valley Transporter door-to-door, which will be cheaper than a cab. If flying, you want either Hartford/Springfield or Albany, depending on where you're going.
posted by itinerant at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2008

The internship lasts 10 months. No I don't need everything, but I have nowhere else to keep things of future importance, hence the sewing machine.

My housing in MA is communal and "furnished" based on the season, thus a bunk or a tent. I just need personal belongings, which happen to be large outdoor gear and other various odds and ends as stated above.

I'll be in the Kenneth Dubuque Forest and was told the nearest "big city" is Northampton.
posted by Etta Hollis at 9:35 PM on April 28, 2008

Good morning.

That sounds great - it's beautiful out there.

One more thing, though: If you're going to be living in seasonal housing like a tent or bunkroom, where is your stuff going to go? Can you not put things like the sewing machine (which you're not going to be using if you're in a tent, right?) into storage in IN, and collect it later?

Unless you're not going back to IN anytime soon - or later - in which case, find storage in Springfield (it will almost certainly be cheaper than in Northampton/Hadley area) and keep your stuff there until you're not living in a tent anymore.
posted by rtha at 5:59 AM on April 29, 2008

If you decide to fly, arrange your ground transport to this rural area in advance, don't expect you will be able to just walk out of the airport and find something. Call the place you are interning, they will probably have some idea of who you can call about ground transport or you may even be able to set up a ride with someone else driving there from the airport.

If you do indeed want to bring all this stuff with you instead of putting it in storage or selling it, rent a car. The smaller a car you can get away with, the cheaper the rental fee and gas will be. You will need to pay an extra fee for dropping it off ican a different location, this will be a large part of the rental cost but I find that this often makes the most sense. Don't rent a moving truck if your stuff will fit in any sort of car, they are miserable to drive even if you are used to driving. Some moving companies will have fullsize vans, these are easier to drive than trucks. This might be a good option if you are under 25. Many car rental companies will rent a car to someone under 25, or let you return it to a different location, but not both.

The car rental company will want you to buy insurance if you don't have any. You can save money on this if your credit car company provides car rental coverage, or you can try to get auto insurance through a company like Geico or Progressive and cancel it after you return the rental. You will need to tell the rental company when and where you will return the car, give yourself plenty of time as the late fees are quite high.

Another option would be to find someone else who is driving to this general area who would be willing to drive you right to your destination in exchange for some extra gas money, or find a friend who is up for a road trip if you cover the expenses.

You could also ship or store most of your things and take the bus, there tend to be stops in many small towns that don't have any other sort of public transport. You might need to arrange for a ride once you get into town. Don't expect the bus to get there on time, and don't check any luggage on the bus that you want to see again.
posted by yohko at 9:54 AM on April 29, 2008

When are you leaving? Julie and I might be able to give you a ride if you comp us for gas.
posted by ztdavis at 5:57 PM on April 29, 2008

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