- Do your homework – Yup, just like mom always says. Check out the shipping company you are planning on using. Look on the internet for reviews. There are a lot of “actors” out there that may improperly package your stuff and/or lose it in transit. Look for a company that is locally-based.
- Do look for a shipping company that has the option of either sending your items via ground (UPS or FedEx) or via motor freight. General rule is that if you have more than seven-eight boxes, your most economical mode will be shipping via freight on a pallet.
- If you are flying home to an international destination and have only a few things, do consider packing and checking them as extra luggage. If you have more than 7-8 boxes and you are not in a particular hurry, shipping via ocean is an economical mode.
- Do select your boxes well! “Moving boxes” sold by big box retailers and rental agencies are not great for shipping via FedEx or UPS Ground due to their thin-wall construction. They are okay if shipping via freight. Do use new boxes – old boxes are significantly less strong because of moisture absorption as well as wear & tear. Do use as many same-sized boxes as possible for easy stacking if shipping via freight and storage.
- Do let professionals pack your fragile items and electronics, and remember that the retail packaging (if you still have) your TV or computer came in is not suitable for shipping via FedEx or UPS Ground.
- Don’t over-pack or stuff you boxes.
- Don’t ship hazardous and/or flammable materials like alcohol, perfume, nail polish, or bleach. Check with your shipping company if you have any questions. If shipping liquids, make sure they are in break-resistant packaging and sealed in a thick plastic bag (Ziploc Freezer Bags).
- If planning on shipping via FedEx or UPS Ground, don’t use plastic totes as they tend to crack and shatter during transit and don’t seal very well. Totes are okay if shipping via freight.
- Don’t ask about student discounts until you already have a quoted cost. Some companies (not us) will inflate the cost if you mention student discounts at the beginning and then apply a bogus discount.
5. Don’t wait to the last minute (again as mom always says) to plan your shipping.