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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone had any gems to share about shipping one's worldly possessions over to the states? I'll be moving from Manchester, England to New York for a PhD so I expect to be there for 5/6 years at least. Has any one done or doing this? Any advice on who to use/ how much to bring/ mistakes to avoid etc?

Many thanks in advance!

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Depending on how much you're moving and how much you want to pay, you might look into your postal service. They're usually much cheaper than UPS, FedEx, etc. If you're moving kitchen tables and all, obviously this isn't an option. Also, if you have the ability to wait, you can send your stuff with Space Available Mail. This is usually much cheaper but it might arrive anywhere from 1 week to 2 months. Again, if you don't have much and can wait, you can't do better. If you intend on shipping couches, tables, etc. then obviously you need to look into other moving services. You might contact the American embassy and ask them if there are any companies their workers use....you'll have to ask "off the record" though as they're wary of giving advice and having you file a lawsuit for bad advice. Still, they'd be a good place to inquire from.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since you're coming from the UK, I'd also suggest looking into taking a cruise. I don't know when you need to leave, but cruises from the UK tend to arrive in NYC as their final port of call, and it looks like you can take the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton leaving July 24 for $945 (info here: http://www.vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=31269). I'm sure that's a lot cheaper than paying for airfare plus mailing your belongings, and you get to take a trip on THE Queen Mary 2!

My husband and I took a cruise back from Dover to NYC last fall after his graduate program, and it was so much cheaper than shipping everything. There's no weight limit on luggage (ok, maybe there technically is one but it's something like 300 pounds and they didn't check anyway). We had tons of books and all of our clothes, so shipping it would have cost a small fortune. Carting it around from train to taxi to ship worked just fine.

As for the post, I shipped one small box (about a cubic foot of clothes) through the post office, and it cost something like 90 pounds!

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nemo, have you come to any decisions about how to move your things to the US? I'm also in the UK and moving to the US this Fall. I'll have 3 or 4 pieces of luggage/boxes to ship and right now I'm fairly baffled at how I'm going to do it. It just seems so expensive any way I try to go about it. It doesn't help that I have to move out of my current residence at the end of July, but won't be moving to the US till the end of August (I'll be back home in Cyprus during that time), so I'll need storage as well.

I'm moving to Vermont, ideally I'd want a door-to-door service but they are really expensive. Wondering if it would be cheaper if I had my things shipped to a port (like Boston) and drove there and picked them up. I'll be sending over my guitar in a hardshell case, a suitcase with winter clothes, my desktop PC tower in a box and maybe a small box with other items. Quick online quotes I've gotten so far have been no cheaper than

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As someone who did the East Coast luggage haul many many MANY times, I would suggest shipping your stuff to Boston (or even better, NYC). It is almost always significantly cheaper. Not only that, flying into those two cities is also a lot cheaper. Only caveat -- make sure you're over 25, otherwise renting a car will be a huge pain. People tend to forget that Vermont (like most places in New England) is pretty isolated. It should take you about 4-5 hours to get from Boston to Burlington. And maybe about 7-8 hours for NYC to Burlington.

Edit: It's gonna cost you over ~$600 either way.

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Thanks.. actually I don't turn 25 till November. Will this be prohibitive? I've rented vans in the UK with no problem, only once I had to pay a very small surcharge. I've been driving since 2003 so I'm fairly experienced.

So which company have you used, and would you recommend them? Was this surface or air freight? Do you think I could possibly orchestrate sending my stuff over in mid July when I move out and picking them up at the end of August from Boston/NYC, i.e. could they put my stuff into storage for me there till I get back?

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So which company have you used, and would you recommend them? Was this surface or air freight?

Well, I have to ship my stuff from a good bit further away -- I wouldn't have great advice on this. My feeling is that the cheapest way would be to use regular parcel post. And as to surface vs. air -- ummm, is this for the NYC to Vermont bit? or for the England to the US bit? I have no idea what's the best way to go for UK-US shipping -- but again, regular post might be the easiest/cheapest.

Do you have any friends in the East Coast area who you could ship your stuff to? Cos storage could be a HUGE pain.

As for the 25 thing. Car insurance in the US is a massive pain in the bum -- and is significantly worse if you're less than 25. I donno if it'll make a difference that you're almost there. Many car rental companies refuse to rent to drivers under 25 -- especially drivers with international licenses. Call a couple of big national chains (Hertz, etc.) and ask them.

It sounds like, contrary to my own advice, it might actually make sense for you to go the UK-Burlington route. Unless you feel like navigating the rest of this stuff. I ended up carrying three suitcases and a box on a Greyhound bus across New England. Cheap, but NOT a fun experience in the least. Now that I'm no longer a bonny 18 year old, I'm thinking of putting some money out there and doing a more comfortable move.

p.s. on the excess baggage question -- CHECK with your airline before trying this. I once got charged $300 for being 4kg over the limit!!

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