What's the best frugal way to move from CA to NY? I am not moving furniture and I plan on driving my car, a prius, across country. I mainly have clothes, shoes, some small odds and ends, and electronics (laptops, computer desktop parts). I've gotten quotes from moving companies that range from $1200-$1600 which seems way too expensive. Admittedly, I have around a closet and a half of clothes (115 hangers). And I am moving across the country. I have to pay for the move.

Items like kitchenware, bed, desk, and etc I am just selling and buying new. Specifically I am moving from the Bay Area to Bronx, NY. If this isn't the right place to ask this question, please kindly tell me and suggest a new spot. I'll move it!

Sadly, many moving companies (as in all that I have spoken to over the phone, 8), charge a minimum. Generally it’s volume-based pricing unless you have some exceedingly heavy items, then you get charged extra. The minimum is generally 200 cubic feet. I say generally because that is my experience with all of the companies I have thoroughly looked into.

Just what is 200 cubic feet? 200 Cubic Feet Shipment - basically a small storage unit.

Realistically 100–150 cf is all I need (with 150cf being on the extreme end). I can’t say I have done a rigorous analysis on the space I need. However, again, the main volume is just clothes that can be neatly folded, stacked, and packaged. Odds & ends + electronics, I am confident could fit in 3 large fed ex boxes.

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    You haven't specified if the electronics/valuables can all fit in the car. In which case vacuum seal the clothes and send that FedEx/UPS/USPS (or at least price that out). Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 3:17
  • If you just need at most 150cu feet, then couldn't you just tow the smallest uhaul trailer?
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 21:18
  • You cannot tow with the prius (well, you shouldn't to avoid damaging the EV system). Also, I was avoiding using the car to move items in because I was taking a road-trip/vacation as I drove through the country. I wasn't driving 3-4 days from CA to NY but instead took a 14 day trip.
    – redvyper
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


I used greyhound shipping, which is contracted out through this website: https://www.busfreighter.com/

14 medium sized boxes costed me $325 to ship across the country, took two weeks, and were delivered directly my apartment.


You could rent a trailer. That would probably be around $15/day, so if it takes you a week to drive across the country, that comes to around $100. I'm not sure what it does to your gas mileage. And if you want to be really frugal, you could see whether you can find anyone to share the costs with.

  • I don't think it would be a good idea to pull a trailer with a Prius.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 21:54
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    Also, for a one-way trailer rental, you can probably triple that price, even before you take the extra gas cost into account.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 22:03
  • You should definitely not pull a trailer with a Prius. Amtrak also has a very good shipping service but don't offer end point delivery.
    – redvyper
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 23:56
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    @Ben Miller: Pulling a small, lightweight trailer with a Prius should be no problem. Toyota even offers a towing package for 2016 and later models: digitaltrends.com/cars/… I don't know whether UHaul offers anything that light, though Harbor Freight has light trailers for sale (and you can find them used, pretty cheap). It's also going to cost for a trailer hitch.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 18:52

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