Each year, about 48 percent of American college students travel at least 100 miles to campus and 15 percent travel more than 500 miles. If you’re one of these long-distance students, using a professional shipping service will let you focus on getting the year off to a good start, rather than on wrangling half-a-dozen suitcases. Of course, you’ll still need to plan specifics, such as which items you’ll transport yourself, which ones you’ll ship, and which ones you’ll buy later. Here are four tips to help you and your belongings arrive on campus with minimal expense and fuss.
- Think seasonally when packing clothing and outerwear. Depending on the college’s schedule and local climate, you may not need winter clothing at all during the fall semester. Make sure you bring plenty of clothing for fall, but leave most of your winter clothing at home for now (unless your college typically experiences early, severe winters). Choose some winter clothing before you go and leave it pre-packed in an easy-to-locate place. Your family can bring it when they visit or send it when the weather forecast turns cold. Otherwise, plan to pick it up when you return home for your fall or winter break.
- Take advantage of your college’s ship-ahead policy. Shipping companies are likely to be extra busy during the back-to-school season, so get started early by booking your shipping services well in advance. Some colleges will let you ship belongings early, meaning you can schedule them to arrive the same day you do or even before. Check to make sure that the mailroom is actually open during move-in days before making your plans; if it’s not, be careful to restrict this option to non-time-sensitive arrivals. Alternatively, ship boxes to a relative or trusted friend if you have one who lives near the school.
- Use ship-to-store options to save time and money. Some items are less than ideal for shipping, and you may wish to buy new ones for your college apartment anyway. These include light-but-bulky or excessively heavy items such as:
- Mattress pads
- Sheets and blankets
- Area rugs
- Mini refrigerators
- Trash cans
The traditional way to obtain these items is to shop for them near campus after you arrive. However, you may be able to pre-select these items online and have them shipped to a store near campus if you shop at a large retail chain. This technique ensures that you’ll have a much wider selection of merchandise to choose from. It also helps reduce the time crunch on move-in day by allowing you to make your selections in advance. It may even save money, since in-store pickup often costs less than delivery when you’re shopping online.
- Take only essentials onto the plane and ship everything else. Airlines often charge surprisingly high prices for checked luggage, especially if you want to bring a second or third suitcase or one that weighs 51 pounds. In many cases, you’re much better off taking only the amount of luggage allowed for free (generally a purse or backpack, and a smallrolling suitcase or duffel bag, although this varies by airline) and having the rest shipped. Load your carry-on items with essentials such as:
- Your phone, laptop and their chargers
- Change of clothes or two in your carry-on luggage
- Your ID and money
- Anything else you expect to need before the rest of your luggage arrives
Back-to-school season is already hectic enough without the added pressure of trying to fit your whole life into two suitcases. Use these tips to make your shipping experience and your entire move-in day as stress-free as possible.
Author bio: Chris Crompton is Marketing Manager at Transit Systems, Inc., a moving services company located in Pennsylvania. TSI offers professional shipping and low rates on long-distance and small moves.