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Logistics when flying to school

Peachpie9Peachpie9 36 replies11 threads Junior Member
So exploring colleges for D21. We live in New England and my preference would be she goes to school within a reasonable driving distance. But in our search to expand on college options, we are considering states that she would have to fly to as the distance is just too far. We are not folks who like long car drives so she would be flying. But thinking about all the logistics. I'm sure we could buy a lot of her things freshman year close by to the school or have them shipped to school but what about how do you get all this big bulky stuff home over the summer and then bring it back the following year-- the fan, the mirror, the comforter, pillows, the storage containers, etc. Just ditch it and rebuy? The mailing costs probably outweigh the cost of the items. Do schools have storage spaces you can rent for the summer?... And then there's all the cost of so many flights back and forth. Just even wondering if it's worth the hassle and any tuition savings may be eaten up by all these extra expenses. Any input? How did you make it work? I'm sure there must be a way! :smiley: Thank you!
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Replies to: Logistics when flying to school

  • Peachpie9Peachpie9 36 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @roycroftmom Thank you for the info!
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  • Peachpie9Peachpie9 36 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @thumper1 thanks for all these great tips!
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  • thumper1thumper1 76537 replies3387 threads Senior Member
    One added thing...our kid knew when she applied that trips home would be at Christmas and summer only. We did not fly her home ever for Thanksgiving (they had a full week off...but classes ended 10 days after...and we weren’t paying for two plane tickets that close together), or spring break (college offered a number of spring break experiences, plus we had relatives nearby).

    Two round trip flights per year...that’s it.

    Having said that...we did pay for two additional plane tickets over the four years. One was for a family wedding, and one was for her brother’s senior college recital (and that was the best because it was a total surprise to her brother).
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1655 replies22 threads Senior Member
    edited February 9
    College kids really don’t need that much stuff. A laptop and clothes. For bedding, unless she sleeps in a twin XL now, you can get it there. Don’t worry about something that has been done many times. 10-15% of the students are international. Your issues are easy. But you should factor the true transportation cost into the total cost.
    edited February 9
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  • TS0104TS0104 1123 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Pretty much ditto what @thumper1 said. The BBB "Pack and Hold" service was great; also you can shop online anywhere and ship to the dorm right before move in (the downside to this is that depending on the school, trips between the mailing center and the dorm can be far, and the mailing center is crazy during move in days).

    We made the mistake of mailing some pillows and blankets that first time, never again.

    Those of us traveling out with her (parents) packed super light, and brought her extra stuff in large duffles. We then took the duffles home or she kept a few. Much easier than suitcases and we didn't have to pay to check them on the return flight because we just put them in our carryon.

    There was an easy storage service provided by the school, they brought storage pods to a parking lot during move out, D shared with some friends, then the pods were brought back during next year's move in.

    Flights are expensive, especially Thanksgiving...there's just no way to get cheap Thanksgiving flights. It might be worth it to price your flights out now, to see what you are looking at. And, since you are in the NE, you have to take weather delays into consideration. That can add a lot of stress.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76537 replies3387 threads Senior Member
    When we did the move in, we used really old suitcases we had and bought an additional one at a consignment store. All but one went right in the trash. The fourth came back here with me, and was one of the bags we used for move out four years later.

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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3609 replies50 threads Senior Member
    Amazon offers a convenient service. Can buy all the bulky stuff online, and then ship it to his/her dorm room. Over the summer, I had my kid put all of the big items into some cardboard boxes and ship them via UPS. The remainder of the stuff he packed into his suitcases.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1903 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Our D teamed up with three our four roommates and friends to rent a storage locker for the summer. The local bike shop also does bike storage over summer if that’s needed.

    We drove out, but still bought a fair number of things at local stores on arrival. Assuming someone is flying with her, luggage should be able to take most of what’s really needed (clothes), and USPS and a few boxes can cover the rest. (Southwest’s free baggage does help here). Baggage fees and shipping costs are just part of the deal, and fairly minor compared to tuition, etc.

    After the initial Freshman year drive, we’ve never had much to move. I suppose the next need will be at graduation.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76537 replies3387 threads Senior Member
    @sgopal2 some colleges have a central location for package delivery and it is not the student room. In fact, it can be quite a distance from the room on some campuses and depending on the dorm.

    And Amazon is not an exception to this rule.
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  • maya54maya54 2400 replies97 threads Senior Member
    We used those services that sent boxes and then picked them up and stored them. Because our kids had intense finals schedules freshman year we would come to town the same day as the last final and help them pack up because they had to be out of the dorm the next day. We really enjoyed DD college town so we were happy to make it part of our vacation.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1653 replies33 threads Senior Member
    edited February 9
    I flew with my freshman with my own things in a backpack. We brought the new sheets and towels in the luggage because I wanted to wash them multiple times at home. We checked two bags (large suitcase and duffle) plus one rolling carry-on and each of us had a backpack.

    Rented a car and stayed a day or two before move-in. I had a few packages delivered to the hotel via Amazon Prime "Pick Your Delivery Date" and it worked out fine. After trips to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc, the rental car was packed to the brim just as if we had driven it from home. We put all the new stuff in large black trash bags for the move-in.
    edited February 9
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  • UGG2023UGG2023 250 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Peachpie9 my DD19 is 8-9 hour drive from home. For fall move in we rented a XL SUV 1 way. DD’s stuff completely filled the entire car. DD and I flew to school, husband and little brother drove all her stuff, then the 3 of us flew home. For the end of the year i have already booked Storage Scholars, independent student business that drops off free boxes and packing tape 1 week before move out day, picks up boxes from dorm room the day after move out, climate controlled storage for the summer, then delivers everything back to new dorm room in the fall. I know we will be paying for the convenience of moving and storage but it’s worth it not to have to rent a car again or ship all that stuff home for 3 months only to have to get it back.

    My DD was very particular about what things she wanted to bring from her storage drawers, hanging organizers, hangers, dorm headboard, pillows, sheets, comforter, mattress pad etc, we spent all summer taking our time making purchases. Once we arrived at school all we had to do is move in and unpack. We did not want to have to run around to different stores in an unfamiliar area (and retail stores were limited). It was an emotional time for DD and for us, and it was comforting to know she had everything she needed already.

    We also end up shipping out of season clothes back and forth UPS ground which is much less expensive than checking bags and easier for her to manage getting to/from airport by herself when flying. When she comes home for breaks she just has a rolling carry on and ships additional clothes.

    I’m assuming those with boys will find things much less complicated, LOL.

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  • thumper1thumper1 76537 replies3387 threads Senior Member
    3000 miles was too long for a move in drive. Here is how we divided our four suitcases.

    1. Linens...towels and bed comforter. I think we might have shoved in some underwear and socks too.

    2. Clothing- DD put her clothing in suitcase two...and

    3. Clothing- clothing and shoes in suitcase 3.

    4. Suitcase 4 was for desk supplies and bathroom supplies...think hair dryer, flat iron, toothbrush, school supplies, etc.

    My carryon had my things for the 4 day orientation move in trip (I spent an extra day visiting friends).

    Her carryon held electronic essentials...chargers, head phones, and other crap like that.

    Personal item for me was an instrument case with two instruments.

    Personal item for DD was her computer bag.

    We both put small purses/wallets in our carryon bags.

    When we loaded it all into the rental car, we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies without the rocking chair on top. Car was crammed full.

    Oh speaking of that...we needed to switch cars when we were picking up the rental. The trunk of what we rented was large enough to hold those four suitcases...well...maybe only two...but the opening into the trunk was NOT big enough to fit them in. So...keep that in mind when you choose your rental.
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  • Peachpie9Peachpie9 36 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Thanks everyone! Some creative tips here! : )
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  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 588 replies34 threads Member
    edited February 9
    We did the BBB Pack N Hold as well, it was super easy!!
    I would also high recommend NOT buying a dorm fridge. Just rent it! Sure, you spend a little more but I really think it's worth not having the hassle of transporting. Most services that I saw would drop it off in the room before move in (they even plugged it in for him so it was already cold!), and pick it up at the end of the year after move out. Added bonus, if it ever broke there was an online repair request he could place.

    This is the service we used. It doesn't cover every school, so you'll have to check your DD's school to see which business they prefer. https://www.bedloft.com/
    edited February 9
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23836 replies17 threads Senior Member
    My daughter is a minimalist. She had her own single room in a suite, but very little belonged to her. For the summer storage, everything fit in 3 rubbermaid containers and she stored those for the summer at a friend's house (friend owned the house and would be living there (with other teammates) over the summer and for the next year. The next summer and for junior/senior years, daughter was living in a house so moved her stuff in (again the 3 bins and maybe a little more) in May.

    My other daughter went to school about 2 hours from her grandmother's house, so we drove up with 6 duffel bags. A car full of stuff came back in May but only 2-3 bags went back for sophomore year. Less the next year and by the time she graduated, very little was left.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80199 replies720 threads Senior Member
    If you need to maximize volume in a checked bag, a cube shaped box may help. For airlines with a 62" L+W+H limit, a 20" cube box may work. But beware of weight limits.

    In some airports' international terminals, people checking cube or close to cube well taped cardboard boxes are not rare.
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2273 replies8 threads Senior Member
    We did pretty much the same as many above have mentioned, just to add that target do a similar thing to BBB where you can order and hold at destination target, and college students doing that get a discount (I don’t remember what it was - 15 or 20% I think). Warning: the nearest target on move in day is just totally crazy lol.

    We used the samsonite “tote a ton” duffel bags on recommendation of some on CC. My daughter packed everything she needed (not bedding or linens, ordered separately) with space to spare into 2 of them. Pros: they are very light, they fit a huge amount, they are (just) inside allowed normal checkin luggage dimensions, and they fold flat when empty so they don’t take up much storage space. Cons: they are pretty awkward to move/carry. If you’re just going luggage belt-luggage cart-car they’re fine, but they’re not fun to wrestle on public transport.

    She brought a pile of clothes home to swop out over fall and winter break.

    We will also be using storage for her stuff between academic years.
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