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Shipping stuff to college kids?
Old 05-18-2019, 05:38 PM   #1
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Shipping stuff to college kids?

Hi all,

My DS19, assuming he actually graduates from high school here in Idaho, plans to attend university halfway across the country in Oklahoma.

The plan is for him and me to fly there in the fall, and he can use all of his and my checked bag allowance to bring stuff. When we arrive, we'll make a run to a Walmart or Target or the like to buy dorm room stuff.

Beyond that, he has a computer gaming chair and desktop computer system that probably won't go on the plane as luggage. My initial thought is to ship these two items plus whatever else is large and bulky.

Going to UPS.com, it looks like they can get stuff from here to there in three days, but the charges were pretty high - several hundred dollars.

He has a car and we could drive it, but for his freshman year we think it's better if he leaves the car at home. Plus neither he nor I want to do a 22 hour drive.

Any recommendations for how to get big/heavy/fragile items there better/cheaper/easier?

Thanks!
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:47 PM   #2
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I have read that moving companies that are going your way will add small items on a truck that is not full for a reasonable fee.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:06 PM   #3
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Well JMO, but I might spend the shipping costs to get him a laptop..as for the gaming chair I would probably make him leave it a home for his first year.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
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I have read that moving companies that are going your way will add small items on a truck that is not full for a reasonable fee.
I have done this, and it has worked out well. The main disadvantage I see is that the timing of the shipment will be unknown until a truck with adequate space is going your way. This might be a good way to go if you are flexible on ship dates.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:15 AM   #5
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Check with Greyhound. Buses can ship large parcels.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:28 AM   #6
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Just take some time and go on a road trip. It’ll be fun. In general, college kids buy cheap stuff and throw it away after the year is up. Conversely, he can buy some cheap used stuff once he gets there. Still, I’d take the trip but I would also not take much stuff so that I could just leave it if called for. Remember, shipping good stuff is a round trip cost. Just not worth it.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:09 AM   #7
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Any recommendations for how to get big/heavy/fragile items there better/cheaper/easier?
I think you'll find that buying new and getting it shipped to him will save you lots of aggravation.

Also, how will you store his stuff between semesters? We rented a storage unit for daughter, and she let others use it, recapturing some of the rental fee.

I'm tempted to add, "let him figure it all out." This is what our son determined for himself. It worked in his favor, so we just offered assistance in $ when he needed it. In your case, in the first year, he may need more help.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #8
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Make sure there's really room for the gaming chair before sending it. If it's the sort with arms that won't tuck neatly under the small desks found in dorm rooms, there's probably not enough space for it.

If you do send the chair, check out uship.com. It's like AirBnB for shipping. My Mom used them to send some furniture to a relative about 150 miles away and it worked well for her. If you only send the computer, then UPS or FedEx should work.

For the miscellaneous "dorm room stuff" you can order online in advance and arrange an in-store pickup so you don't have to run around to multiple stores and hope they have everything you need. If you prefer to see what you're buying, Bed, Bath & Beyond has a service where you go around the store near your home with a scanner to create an order that you pick up and pay for at a time and location of your choice.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:18 AM   #9
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Awesome tips everyone! Thanks!!

A few comments:

He already has a laptop, but it's a Macbook Air because that's what works with his high school. He may get another laptop there; we're checking with the Mechanical Engineering department.

I was willing to do the road trip, but he decided against it. I'm OK with that because I'd rather he not have a car there his freshman year.

I'm letting him figure out about half the stuff. On other stuff I'm helping because I think the transition to college especially that far from home can be an effort; I'd rather he focus that effort on the actual school part of it.

No arms on the chair. The gaming chair is probably ~$400 in value.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:19 PM   #10
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^^^ So the desktop computer and gaming chair are so he can play computer games...?

I'd ship the computer via insured something, (but he should take out the hard drive and bring it on the plane).
The chair, no way because it will need to be shipped both ways, and it's just not needed, it's replaceable by a chair and a nice one costs $150 or less.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:07 PM   #11
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Tell him he will not have time to game. Get a laptop so he can work in the library or cafe when the room mate is making too much noise.

Signed, a college professor.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:47 PM   #12
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Tell him that he's going to school and does not need to take his entire high school lifestyle with him. The idea of a "gaming chair" makes me laugh to begin with. That there is a sense of importance in sending it off to college is IMO preposterous.

A lot of times we phrase questions in a way that precludes better answers. Instead of asking "What is the cheapest way to ship?" a better question is "How to minimize what goes to college?" Gaming chair ?!!?! Jeez.
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:34 PM   #13
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I've never figured it out.

I can get 50 pound boxes of dog food by UPS and pay no more than if I bought the food locally. But if I take small, light box to UPS locally, it'll cost me $15-20 to ship it. A very light box at USPS might cost me $10 or more.

Individuals shipping packages are getting taken advantage of. Corporations shipping out items get big, big volume discounts.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:42 PM   #14
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FWIW - just shipped 2 boxes from Chicago to Atlanta via FedEx ground. One was 50 lbs, the other 35. One the size of a microwave, the other a bit larger. Each insured for $1500. Signature required. Cost for both: $125

I agree small box shipments are a rip-off. I was surprised at how inexpensive the larger boxes were.

FedEx ground will take up to 150lbs per box.

I don't know, but suspect, UPS is about the same cost.
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