Ask LH: How Can I Move Interstate Cheaply?

Dear Lifehacker, Any hacks on moving interstate? Truck rental and removalists are very expensive. Any other options? Especially for a student with minimal furniture. Cheers, Busted By Border Budget

Picture by Meathead Movers

Dear BBBB,

While I spend a lot of time on the road, the last time I moved house more than one suburb was after I left university (in Armidale, NSW) and shifted to Sydney. A mate was moving at the same time, so initially we just threw the absolute essentials into his car and stored everything else with his mother. A month later and having scored jobs and permanent places to live, we hired a truck (which was much cheaper in Sydney), drove it down and picked up everything else. It worked pretty well, but I was lucky to have free storage options and to know someone else doing the same thing.

Because I can’t claim to have undertaken that kind of move more recently, I’m trusting that readers might kick in with some more specific suggestions. But given your description, I’m rather tempted to suggest: sell most everything you own and start again. One suitcase can hold plenty of clothes, and a notebook computer gives you work, study and entertainment options. You won’t always be at a point in your life when you have “minimal furniture”, so this could be a great way to keep your life as clutter-free as possible.

If you own a car, you can obviously take a little more stuff: just set aside a day or two to drive to your new location. If you don’t, ditching everything will be the simplest option, letting you jump on a plane (or, given the student budget, a coach). If you do fly, make sure to check out the excess baggage fees carefully, as you could end up paying more than you expect if you don’t plan well.

Presuming you do want to keep stuff and don’t plan on storing it, a standard bit of advice in this context is to try backloading: getting your items put into the back of a removal truck that’s already going to your destination but which isn’t full. (Google for ‘backloading’ and you’ll find plenty of companies offering the service.) That does depend on someone making that move, however — not a challenge if you’re going Sydney-Melbourne (for instance), but more difficult if you’re heading from Lightning Ridge to Townsville.

Other advice, readers? Share your best cheapskate moving tricks in the comments.


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