If you’re anything like me, the idea of living somewhere new is an intriguing proposition. New neighbourhoods, new cafes, new pubs, new parks, and new people! I’ve had the fortune of successfully moving across Canada twice, and I have to warn you that while it’s not the easiest thing to do, making that move can be a highly rewarding experience. In order to make that move a bit easier, I’ve compiled quick list of tips for moving across Canada.
We all own stuff. You rarely notice how much you truly own until you’re forced to box it all up. The whole process can be a bit overwhelming. Suddenly you’re stuck with 10 full boxes and a few pieces of furniture that you need to move from point A to point B. There’s several options for getting you & your stuff across Canada. Including:
U-Haul can be a great option for getting you & your items to your final destination. Their trucks and large ramps make moving fairly easy. While they may not be the cheapest option, they are fairly convenient. You do have to be brave enough to drive these rigs. If you’re a nervous driver you might want to think twice about this option. I personally went this route and consider myself a fairly good driver. But when you’re driving through Montreal rush hour in the middle of a snow storm, it’s easy to feel the stress. If you’re going this route, take lots of breaks and plan your hotel stays in areas on the outskirts of town to make getting in and out easy. Narrow and winding streets can be a nightmare with these trucks.
B) Book a Semi-Trailer
Many people don’t know this but you can talk to trucking companies and ask if they have a truck leaving from your point of origin that will be going through your final destination. Assuming you’re not moving to the middle of nowhere, there’s a good chance you can arrange something.
Most trucks you see on the road aren’t filled to the brim, so often times you can rent the back part of the trailer. Typically someone will provide you with an estimate based on the size and amount of items you’re moving. There’s a bunch of semi-trailer varieties to choose from – some companies will offer flatbeds, tankers, refrigeration units, I’ve even heard of some company that will fill extra space on empty horse trailers with living quarters. Your best bet is to just phone some local trucking companies and see what they’ll charge. With some careful planning you can book a flight while your stuff is taken care of by the transportation company.
C) Purchase a van
One of my cross Canada moves was actually done in a beat up camper van. I had it stuffed to the max, but only spent a couple grand on it. Once I got settled in my new location I put my van up for sale and parted ways with it. I only ended up paying for gas and insurance. On top of that, the van had a bed in it which allowed me to save a ton of money on hotels by just parking in Walmarts (They allow campers and RV’s to crash in their parking lot).
Yes, shipping by bus, train, airline, and even post office is an option. This is a great option if you’re only taking a couple of boxes. Check into shipping rates at your local airport, post office and bus company. Many bus companies sell off unused cargo space for movers. Again, the benefit of this route is you don’t have to worry about driving your own stuff.
2. Setup Mail Forwarding
Moving is a stressful time. No matter how great of a planner you are, when you make the decision to move across Canada there’s going to be some bill, some company or government organization that you forgot to update your address with. Head into Canada Post and ask to setup 6 months of mail forwarding. It’s about $50.00 from what I recall and can save you a tremendous amount of headaches. All mail directed to you that arrives at your old place will be forwarded on to your new location. Just be prepared to jump on updating those addresses and contact details within the 6 month period or you’ll be scratching your head when your mail stops showing up.
If you aren’t sure how long you’ll be out there, consider looking into storage space. Storage space can be surprisingly cheap if you’re not storing 4 bedrooms worth of furniture. Or better yet, if you have family with some extra space in their garage, consider asking them to look after a few of your things. When in doubt, ask if you’ve used these items you’re thinking about bringing along in the last year. If you forgot about them or rarely use them, consider just leaving them behind. Or consider the tip below.
4. Start Fresh
Chances are the particle board end tables and that ugly hand-me-down futon aren’t really worth all that much. Do you really want to spend money bringing cheap furniture and items that really don’t have that much sentimental value? Consider selling your stuff on Craigs list, Kijiji, or any other classifieds site. You might make a couple hundred bucks. If you’re not picky, you can easily refurnish a new place when you get there.
Yes, you might spend a bit more money, but think of the savings you’ll hang onto by not having to worry about all this “stuff” you don’t really love, and that you don’t really need. A suitcase, a backpack, and a few precious things are really all you need to start new. The rest can trickle in when you get settled. Watch for used items to furnish your new place with. A fresh start is sometimes the best and cheapest option.