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Moving for med school - Any tips?


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2018
  1. Medical Student
So I'll be starting med school in 2 months.
I will be moving from the east coast to the midwest.
I'm non-trad so I have a 2 bedroom house to pack up and a 70lb dog.
I literally don't know where to start when it comes to moving (only ever moved from an apartment to my now house).
I've started downsizing, sorting out things to donate/sell.
I would prefer not to sell my all my furniture, specifically my couch, mattress as I paid a good chunk of money for them and I'm attached - They're pretty much the biggest things I have.

Any tips for moving cross-country?
I've been looking into PODS but heard they're expensive and would still have to hire movers to load and unload them.
I'm single and don't know anyone in my to-be new state - I also don't really have a lot of people who might be able to help me here, especially with COVID
Could also go with a moving company but likely to be even more expensive as well.
I also considered driving my stuff in a truck but not sure how comfortable I am driving a truck anywhere, much less across state lines (drive will be about 12 hrs).
I plan to drive anyway because of my dog - I think he might literally die if I fly with with).

Again, any tips from someone who has done it before would be great.


Full Member
Volunteer Staff
2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
  1. Medical Student
i never had to move that far, but my cousin moved from CA to NY, so the absolute best way, i am afraid, is to rent a truck, put everything in it, drive it, and hook up your car to the back. I know you hate driving the truck, it is scary as hell, but you will just have to do it. OR pay someone to drive it for you, buy them a ticket back, and follow on your car. I would give driving yourself a shot though. stay in the right lane, go slowly, and leave at 3 am, so that by the time traffic hits, you will be out of busy east coast traffic. It will be ok.
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Indoor Cat
2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2018
  1. Medical Student
Last year I moved from the midwest to the east coast. I ended up renting a truck and towing everything as it was the cheapest but it was also incredibly stressful. Driving a 16+ foot long truck is no easy feat although if you don't mind doing some night driver it'll probably be the easiest then. My recommendation would be to pair it down enough where you can get a box-truck or a trailer to tow behind your own car. Alternatively, my friend recently moved 2000 miles and he did it by getting one of those pod storage units. They drop it off on his driveway, he had a couple of days to put everything in it, and then the company came and picked it up, and delivered it to him at his new location a week later. I don't believe it was too expensive either so that might be a good option.
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Full Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2017
  1. Medical Student
I have made a few long moves in my time. The cheapest way is to rent a truck. Pods will be 2x-3x more expensive for the same amount of space. What you are paying for is the convenience of not having to drive a truck. That is something only you can put a value on. For me, I don't mind driving and would rather have the money. Here are a few tips:
  • Pack smart - don't load up a large box with a bunch of books so that you can't even lift the dang thing
  • Start packing now - not sure where you are in the packing process, but start now. Start packing stuff that you won't use over the next few months. Keep it in your second bedroom or get a storage unit. Most storage units have a deal where you can get your first month free or very discounted. My wife and I are doing this right now and it definitely makes our current space more manageable (no boxes everywhere).
  • If in doubt, pay to have movers help - they are much cheaper than you think. Usually about $200 for 3 people helping for 2 hours or 2 helping for 3 hours. They do all the heavy lifting and you just kinda direct. To make the most of this you need to have everything packed in boxes and ready to go.
  • Buy the rental truck insurance - 9 times out of 10 your regular car insurance WILL NOT cover a rental truck because most have a clause that over "such and such" weight they won't cover a rental vehicle. Just pay the extra $200 or whatever and save yourself $50k if you get rear-ended.
  • Drive at a comfortable pace - as others have said previously you don't need to drive fast. Actually it is very hard to drive a moving truck over about 65 mph. You'll get there when you get there. Get some good road trip food.
  • Get the right car trailer - if you are towing your car make sure you get the right kind of trailer. If you drive an AWD car then don't get the half trailer where your wheels are touching the ground.
  • Protect your stuff - if you have renter's insurance then it should protect your stuff anywhere in the world and that includes inside a rental truck. If you don't you can also get insurance through the rental truck company, but it is more expensive.
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2010
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Everything that was said here!

I was also attached to my couch and my bed so I couldn't just pack everything into my car and drive (like I did after college).

I HIGHLY recommend PENSKE. They're cheaper than PODS but more pricey than the U-Haul or Budget. On the other hand, they're reliable and have great customer service. Rent a truck and a trailer for your car and take a road trip across the U.S. with all of your stuff. I highly recommend bringing someone along for the ride. My dad came with me and it turned into a great adventure and good quality time spent with him.

Take your time on the drive. We drove probably 7 hours a day so we could see the sights, enjoy the food, and take in our surroundings. We left in the morning whenever we felt like it and found a place to stay whenever we got tired at the end of the day. We visited family, went to a rodeo, ate delicious BBQ. There's no need to rush since these trucks don't got more than 55-65 mph. So we embraced the journey and made the most of the trip.

We stayed in hotels and never had any trouble finding parking in the back of the hotel lot or on a random street by the hotel. It was rather fun trying to maneuver gas stations and tight corners with the huge truck + trailer.

And DEFINITELY hire movers to load and unload (pack the boxes yourself, though). Make sure you tell them you're driving far so they can stack everything properly and secure it well. Things move around during such a long drive and you don't want your stuff breaking. It also takes the stress off of unloading your stuff when you're already stressed from the drive and overwhelmed with arriving in a new city.

Good luck and congrats!
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