West Coast to East Coast Moving Tips – Part 1


From Washington to Charleston…and all the details in between!

I had no clue how many of you would be interested in the logistics of our move, but I have received SO many messages so I thought I was due for a Q&A post for you. Keep in mind we are a military family, so some of these things the Air Force decided since we chose to let them move us as opposed to doing a DITY (move ourselves) move.  We were also working with some unpredictable timelines. I will also be breaking this into different topics, so be sure to check back for tips of flying, building a house 3,000 miles away, and whatever else I come up with!

Thank you Megan Montalvo Photography for the family photos before we moved to Charleston!

How did you ship your car from Washington to North Carolina?

So after about a million recommendations, we decided to post a bid for shipping the car on uship about 3 weeks before we wanted it picked up and let different brokers bid. We had a price point in mind and once we got there, we started talking with the different companies. To give you an idea, we wanted to stay  under $1200 and were able to do that – the starting price was over $1500 though, so definitely let companies bid down. It was also important to us to pick a carrier that would guarantee the final price. We heard horror stories of friends having to pay additional money come time for pickup. Thankfully we didn’t experience any issues with that and overall happy with Montway Auto Transport. 

The process was pretty easy. We had a 3 day window for pickup and was notified about 24 hours in advance of the driver coming. Once they picked the car up it took about 12 days to be delivered. One thing we learned is the 7-10 days for delivery is from the time the car leaves on the carrier, which was a couple days after it was actually picked up. We were updated along the way and then notified the day before it would be delivered. Delivery was super easy and my Dad was able to accept the car using a code we were given.

Note, if you are military and moving within the states, the military does not pay to ship your car. You will, however, receive mileage for that car, so make sure your sponsor is aware of that – we were not and it was a nice surprise! 

What company did you use to pack & move your stuff from Washington to Charleston?

We didn’t choose our company – the Air Force did that for us. Olympic Moving & Storage was the company that packed us and Mayflower moved our stuff across the country. Overall we were happy with how they packed our stuff. The only complaints we had were some of the packers smoked and some of our boxes smelled of smoke, and the communication was lacking. It took about 2 days to pack everything and then the following day they loaded the moving truck.

Our stuff did go into storage in Charleston for a bit and then a local packing/moving company delivered it.

Why did you decide to fly/drive?

We went back and forth on this a lot. I had always said there was no way that I was going to make the drive in two vehicles, so we prioritized shipping one car long before we ever knew we were moving. We were on the fence about flying or driving the dogs out for a while, but it all came down to being too nervous to let them fly. It did mean that my husband had to be a little more strategic with hotels along the way, but he didn’t run into any issues.

As for making the decision for Caden and I to fly, it came down to time and space. We knew that having a toddler would inevitably mean a longer trip and due to the uncertainty of when we would close on our house, we weren’t sure we would have that flexibility. Then there was the space issue. Although we have a SUV, it’s on the smaller side and we needed to have stuff for a month, so there just wasn’t enough room.

How was it getting on a plane and leaving Washington?

HARD. SO HARD. But thankfully I didn’t have time to think about it. We actually almost missed our flight due to several accidents along the way and a security line like I had never seen before….and I have flown a lot. Once we got to our seats, it all started to sink in. I have talked about this before, but it was the weirdest mix of heartbreak and excitement. We LOVED Washington and our life there and SO sad to leave it behind, but at the same time we could not wait to get to the East Coast. I think knowing that I am going back in a few months ultimately made it a little easier though!

The flight itself was a breeze…until the last 10 minutes! I am pretty sure Caden made up for it in that amount of time too! Several have asked for tips on flying with a toddler and that’s going to be it’s own post. We have made the west coast to east coast trip several times with Caden at different ages and I have definitely found ways to make it easier and also things I wouldn’t worry with again.

What would you do differently?

Not a lot, to be honest. As much as I researched shipping companies for the car, I think I would have done even more research and found the specific carriers. I don’t know how true it was, but the driver told us it would have cost a lot less as there were fees uship tacked on. However, I do not know that we would have had the same insurance coverage or delivery guarantee had we done that.

Any other questions? Email me at laura@lauraryanphotos.com or contact me here and I will do my best to help. Happy moving!

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