Fly vs Drive: How to move computer, misc, & self across country? (LA - NYC)

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    Apr 28, 2011 4:59 AM GMT
    I'm oscillating back and forth between flying and driving from LA to NYC late next week. This isn't healthy. I can't figure out which is cheaper. I thought gas was around $350 but now people are telling me closer to $1,000? Which is the most realistic price? I thought shipping would be around $300 but now UPS is saying closer to $600, and it DOESN'T cover software in case my computer gets screwed along the way. And there's thousands worth of software that's accumulated over the years on that thing. Flights are getting more expensive, and I could have bought a ticket for under $200 just a week ago but I wasn't even sure I was leaving at the time because the place my part-time boss set me up with (for the month of May only) almost fell through, but apparently didn't now.

    I'm really having a tough time figuring out which is cheapest, which is best for my computer (staying with me or paying high end place to move it, along with the other tech-gear), and which will give me the most amount of time in NYC so that I can turn around and find a vacant room for June (and another job).

    As for the technicalities, here's what I'm definitely bringing:
    computer (big heavy Mac)
    monitor (24")
    2 speakers
    audio interphase
    clothes (one giant duffle bag)
    miscellaneous cables and toilletries (one giant box worth)

    And here's what I'm not sure if I should bring (or how much)
    pillows and blankets
    printer

    I wouldn't be in this situation but I had prepared for the worst which almost always happens to me in the past and looked like it was going to happen again this time. In early April I was informed I'd move out in May then for 3 weeks it was turning more and more into a "no, it looks shady probably won't happen but I'll get back to you." Then suddenly when I got back from visiting family on April 26th it's "Yup it's a go!" So now I have about 7-14 days to figure out how to do this.

    What are your thoughts? I'm looking for some good financial advice. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 28, 2011 5:26 AM GMT
    Alternative: get a new computer?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2011 5:29 AM GMT
    Don't drive unless you really want to do some sight seeing during your trip. Also, driving solo sucks. If you're not bringing 2 other people to take turns driving, then forget it.
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    Apr 28, 2011 6:08 AM GMT
    I'd be nervous about shipping a computer with so much valuable info on it as well. Could you not remove the hard drive(s) and take them along in your carry on, or get a portable hard drive backup to download it all too and take that on the plane, or upload all your files to one of those file server backup places. Can't remember the name of them..
    You could then ship the pc etc and not worry so much about losing the data.

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    Apr 28, 2011 11:46 AM GMT
    Well Jake I dunno who you'll be working for, but do they offer some sort of relocation pay? A lot of people don't think they exist anymore after the economic downturn in 08, but actually some companies still offer money for relocation, just to a lesser extent. It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is no. Even a couple hundred bucks will help. icon_smile.gif

    Driving. It'll take a couple of days. You'll need to stay at motels, you'll need to eat on the trip, etc. (and you'll be renting a car or Uhaul I guess?) That all adds up. But if you fly and ship the rest, you'll have the shipping cost to worry about icon_neutral.gif I dunno, it might be a wash at the end. (Do you have a couple of days to kill? If you do it's not a bad idea to drive across the country for at least once in your life. Obviously it won't work if you're a busy guy icon_wink.gif

    A side note suggestion: keep these receipt that you used for relocation. It might give you more $$$ on your tax return next year. (But I'm not an accountant so what the fuck do I know. I just think that if it has the potential to get you $$ that's yours, why not keep it?)
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    Apr 28, 2011 12:03 PM GMT
    Pack your shit up really secure, well padded, and locked.
    Ship it via Greyhound...really cheap.
    Then get a plane ticket to arrive around the same time as the bus so you can get your shit.
  • Doug688

    Posts: 29

    Apr 28, 2011 12:04 PM GMT
    I've driven across the country several times and never want to do it again. I drove from Portland OR to Jacksonville on I-10 in 4 days alone - total boredom. I drove San Francisco to NY on I-80 also pretty boring. Put your software on a portable external hard drive or get a laptop and fly. I did find a room to rent for a month on Craigslist to stay in NYC in July 2004 and it worked fine. Good luck and travel light (most anything can be bought in NY especially if you shop the bargain stores: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington). icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 28, 2011 12:56 PM GMT
    fly. no hidden expenses.
  • CAtoFL

    Posts: 834

    Apr 28, 2011 3:54 PM GMT
    Did the drive cross-country (CA to FL) late last summer and it was fun.

    About to do it again next week because I don't want to ship my bike (carbon fiber) and I want to take along my car.

    I don't think it's a big deal to drive. As long as you're not in a rush, it's actually kind of fun/interesting. I enjoyed it last time and I'm looking forward to it this time.
  • uclabuck

    Posts: 51

    Apr 28, 2011 4:09 PM GMT
    I've got a super powerful Mac I use to work on IMAX movies. I've FedEx ground shipped it a few times. It's the cheapest way to get it across the country and I've never had an issue. Hopefully you have your original boxes to ship with.

    You can ship almost everything on your list via FedEX ground. It's way cheaper then UPS or the post office and I'm now a big believer in it.



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    Apr 28, 2011 4:18 PM GMT
    After doing the drive from CA to Denver, 1200 miles later, I wouldn't mind driving the remaining portion. You know your stuff is there. Gas prices are variable across the country.

    If there is bad weather, you risk additional costs of lodging.

    Time machine your mac, and have the backup ready should something happen.

    Take the items to UPS/FEDEX to have them packed, and insured. That way it is their packaging deals, not yours.

    Have a good Trip. I'm flying to NYC next week and then off to italy.
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    Apr 28, 2011 4:28 PM GMT
    Definitely ship a small amount of stuff like that and fly. UPS doesn't always have great rates. Shop around, consider rearranging in to smaller or larger packages to hit the sweet spot, and don't forget to check the post office rates.

    The last time I had to move approximately that much stuff (actually, about twice that much stuff) AND my ass (to Europe), the cheapest option was to take it as excess baggage. (The excess baggage fee varied according to the type of ticket and frequent-flyer status.)
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    Apr 28, 2011 5:04 PM GMT
    Jake since those items sound kind of irreplaceable I would probably drive regardless of the cost. Though I'd be weary staying in hotels when driving that someone doesn't break into your car and steal your shit so I'd make sure your car insurance covers that (that happened to my cousin traveling cross country).

    I am planning a move across country soon but am shipping my car, the only downfall is you can't have anything in the car which sucks so I have to ship everything still.

    When I figured it out it was gonna cost me like 500 for gas 100 for tolls 200 for hotels (3-4 nights) 200 to send my friend back who was going with me and prob another 200 for us to eat for the 4 days.....it is like 750 for me to ship my car. Have you thought of carrying on your computer even if you had to take a friend with you so you can take more carry ons and checked baggage. Just tell your friend ummm you can bring your tooth brush and one change of clothes haha.

    Good luck!
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    Apr 28, 2011 6:45 PM GMT
    Buy and external hard drive and make a copy of it- then you can just carry it with you- and have a back-up. Or remove your HDD- and carry that with you- you just need a screw driver- but if you decide to do this- you should also by a shock absorbing case to place it into.
    If it all fails- don't you still have the DVDs? -I'm assuming that you're talking about Logic Express/Studio and Final Cut Studio. If it's those two- or the pro versions- then you also probably purchased vst files- which can most likely be re-downloaded as long as you still have your serial number/code.
    I'd honestly go with the $600- It seems like you didn't factor in all of your other traveling expenses- you'd not only be spending money on gas- but also on food- hotel/motel fees- and car maintenance fees/tow truck fees if your car breaks down. You'd also be wasting so much time on the road-
    I'd go insane in that car... I can hardly manage to stay put for one hour... let alone several days.

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    Apr 28, 2011 6:46 PM GMT
    You can stop at Phoenix and come visit.

    It will probably take you 6 days if U drive 10-12 a day without sight seeing but it's an adventure. You may be sore for a couple of days an may experience isolation if you're not with someone.
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    Apr 28, 2011 7:09 PM GMT
    Driving sounds like the worst thing ever. I hate driving from HERE to NY, I can't imagine LA to NY. I agree that you should backup your computer on an external hard drive. They are getting cheaper and cheaper. I got a terabyte for less than $100 over a year ago, so I assume they are already way cheaper.
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    Apr 28, 2011 11:15 PM GMT
    Call apple, they may be able to help with the comp.
  • sumkindoflife

    Posts: 101

    Apr 28, 2011 11:18 PM GMT
    i drove me and my life from FL to WA....and it was one of the best, most rewarding experiences ever. it was time to be alone, think, see our beautiful country and was one of the most "free" times ive ever had.

    ....so i DEFINITELY recommend the drive!
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    Apr 29, 2011 2:03 AM GMT
    Anduru saidAlternative: get a new computer?


    Funny you're mocking what I said to you in a different thread but it's actually relevant. If my computer was a laptop it would be more convenient.

    I'm flying guys. Had a sit down with my boss and he was like "MAKE A DECISION." And I did. Remembered with my Continental miles flight could be cheaper. So it only cost me $80 to fly.
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    Apr 29, 2011 5:04 AM GMT
    If I were you, I would just take out the harddrives and sell the rest of computer on craigslist. Use UPS for your monitor, speakers and printer. That should be less than $50. Then once you are in NYC, use newegg.com to purchase computer parts and build your own computer for cheap. Anyone whose job field requires lots of computer usage should learn about computer hardware. It saves money and the hassle on moving. But if you want to pay UPS $600 for everything, that isn't a bad option either. Like I said, take out the harddrives. Put them in between your clothings, so they won't get damaged. Even if they do, there are services for repair.

    ... and here's your gas price calculator:

    http://www.newyorkstategasprices.com/TripCalculator.aspx
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2011 5:15 AM GMT
    JAKEBENSON said
    Anduru saidAlternative: get a new computer?


    Funny you're mocking what I said to you in a different thread but it's actually relevant. If my computer was a laptop it would be more convenient.

    I'm flying guys. Had a sit down with my boss and he was like "MAKE A DECISION." And I did. Remembered with my Continental miles flight could be cheaper. So it only cost me $80 to fly.


    You could've told me before I wrote all that!! On an iPad too! Do you know how long that took me?!

    (j/k; glad to help, Jake)