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Old 02.08.2019, 11:45
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Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

To my wife's and my infinite surprise, our son got an excellent scholarship for a college in the USA. Instead of studying here in Zürich (or even in some exotic, foreign locality like, say, Basel), he'll be traveling to Philadelphia toward the end of August.

When I asked him to take care of booking his own (cheap) flight, I forgot to mention that he should look for an airline that is generous about checked baggage. Whoops - that one's on me! And ... he's ended up with American Airlines, where the cheap seats have to pay $60 for the first piece checked, $100 for the second, $200 for any following. (BTW, no upgrades available.)

If this were a "grownup" move, I'd be looking at at shipping containers and the like - but that's hardly necessary at this point in life. My initial plan was do go with three 23kg duffel bags and eat some extra baggage costs - but $360 for all three seems a little steep.

Do you guys know of any cheaper way of do a move on such a small scale?

(My hunch: Probably not. The shipping sites I checked were significantly more expensive - even than the $200 charge on a third bag. I'm guessing that $160 for TWO pieces is better than any other offer we're going to get, so he'll probably need to restrict his move to what he can fit into two bags + carry on. He's coming home for Christmas and will be able to haul back more then - if he even needs it ... )

Last edited by mikegray; 02.08.2019 at 13:26.
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Old 02.08.2019, 12:24
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

I haven't checked Right now but Maybe the Swiss Post (or the German Post if you drive over the border) might be an Option. You can send a parcel. If you take the ship route it's even cheaper but will take longer. Might be an Option if he does not Need everything Right away. Otherwise Limit it to two bags. Clothes are cheap in the US so he might like to do some Shopping with some amount that you Saved
well done and good luck to your son, sounds like an Adventure!
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Old 02.08.2019, 12:42
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

When I came to Switzerland for university I made it just fine with one big checked bag, a normal carry on and a generous “hand bag”. My family visited and brought me a few more things but it wasn’t actually all that necessary.

On top of that he can take advantage of US prices for clothes and such if a need arises
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Old 02.08.2019, 12:56
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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When I came to Switzerland for university I made it just fine with one big checked bag, a normal carry on and a generous “hand bag”. My family visited and brought me a few more things but it wasn’t actually all that necessary.

On top of that he can take advantage of US prices for clothes and such if a need arises
Heh.

Brings back memories of when I left home for college many, many, many years ago. I'm pretty sure I had a tooth brush along - DEFINITELY plenty of hair gel to impress the young ladies. Otherwise ... not so much!
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Old 02.08.2019, 12:57
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

For the price per kilo and the speed in which it's transported, I'd say go for two checked bags plus the carry-on. Two checked bags is $160. If you stuff them full to 23 kilos each, that's a mere 2.85 per kilo for transport.

As others have said, a lot of stuff though he might not need or can just buy there. Maybe stack things next to the suitcase he's considering taking, and "weigh up" the cost of bringing with vs. buying.

Note - if he's staying in a campus dorm, do not send bed linens. U.S. dorm beds are a unique size (twin XL) and he'll need to buy the sheets and blanket there.

Also if he's going to be in a dorm - definitely go with duffel bags if you can. Dorm rooms aren't huge so whatever he takes in terms of luggage he'll have to store in his room somehow. Two giant suitcases will take a lot of space.

Congrats! What an adventure for him and for you.
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Old 02.08.2019, 13:06
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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I haven't checked Right now but Maybe the Swiss Post (or the German Post if you drive over the border) might be an Option. You can send a parcel. If you take the ship route it's even cheaper but will take longer. Might be an Option if he does not Need everything Right away. Otherwise Limit it to two bags. Clothes are cheap in the US so he might like to do some Shopping with some amount that you Saved
well done and good luck to your son, sounds like an Adventure!
I checked post.ch, along with the other usual suspects (DHL, etc.) - pound-per-pound, it looked like paying the airline would be cheaper than sending a box. I also checked a couple of private German companies (we live in Winterthur - Jestetten is right around the corner!) - but they weren't much better. Haven't checked German post, though.

But yeah, I expect he'll be more than happy to do a bit of shopping in the US!

We're a family of PC gamers, and I'd originally thought he could dismantle his PC, pack all the components EXCEPT chassis into his shirts and socks, buy a cheap chassis and rebuild it there - but we might skip that bit.
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Old 02.08.2019, 13:42
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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For the price per kilo and the speed in which it's transported, I'd say go for two checked bags plus the carry-on. Two checked bags is $160. If you stuff them full to 23 kilos each, that's a mere 2.85 per kilo for transport.

As others have said, a lot of stuff though he might not need or can just buy there. Maybe stack things next to the suitcase he's considering taking, and "weigh up" the cost of bringing with vs. buying.

Note - if he's staying in a campus dorm, do not send bed linens. U.S. dorm beds are a unique size (twin XL) and he'll need to buy the sheets and blanket there.

Also if he's going to be in a dorm - definitely go with duffel bags if you can. Dorm rooms aren't huge so whatever he takes in terms of luggage he'll have to store in his room somehow. Two giant suitcases will take a lot of space.

Congrats! What an adventure for him and for you.
Thanks, 3Wishes, that's A LOT of good advice. (Have you yourself sent a kid or two out into the great blue yonder??) I think the "double-duffel approach" is going to work fine.

(And yeah, it'll be a terrific adventure! He'll be going to a music school there, and he's super excited about discovering America - which is, apparently, infinitely cooler than pokey CH. I wonder what he'll think after a year or so.)
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Old 02.08.2019, 13:55
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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Thanks, 3Wishes, that's A LOT of good advice. (Have you yourself sent a kid or two out into the great blue yonder??) I think the "double-duffel approach" is going to work fine.

(And yeah, it'll be a terrific adventure! He'll be going to a music school there, and he's super excited about discovering America - which is, apparently, infinitely cooler than pokey CH. I wonder what he'll think after a year or so.)
If he's not 21 and likes to drink, he may find it rather stifling.
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Old 02.08.2019, 13:59
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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Thanks, 3Wishes, that's A LOT of good advice. (Have you yourself sent a kid or two out into the great blue yonder??) I think the "double-duffel approach" is going to work fine.

(And yeah, it'll be a terrific adventure! He'll be going to a music school there, and he's super excited about discovering America - which is, apparently, infinitely cooler than pokey CH. I wonder what he'll think after a year or so.)
No, but back in the day I was a college kid and I remember taking way more crap than I needed and having nowhere to put it all. Plus the novelty of shopping for new stuff once I was all "independent" and my parents couldn't tell me what to do.
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Old 02.08.2019, 14:45
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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We're a family of PC gamers, and I'd originally thought he could dismantle his PC, pack all the components EXCEPT chassis into his shirts and socks, buy a cheap chassis and rebuild it there - but we might skip that bit.
Depending on what parts and their age, he could consider selling it here (perhaps even swap parts with other PC's in the house first) and buy a new rig or gaming laptop in the US which also could be nice for college itself.

And really 3 times 23KG
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Old 02.08.2019, 17:22
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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If he's not 21 and likes to drink, he may find it rather stifling.
Drinking? My mother-in-laws's grandson?

Im shocked. Shocked!
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Old 02.08.2019, 17:41
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

I'll second what others have said: Travel light and buy once in the US.

But I mostly wanted to say: Big congrats to your son! A scholarship award is an achievement to be very proud of. Hope he enjoys his studies, and I wish him all the best in this exciting new chapter.
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Old 04.02.2020, 22:48
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Re: Very Small Scale Shipping: College in the US

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Congratulations to your son, successful year for him.
Why, thanks!

That was a year ago now, and he's been living in Philadelphia for about half a year now. My wife and I just got back from a visit. What an incredible chance he got!

And he more than enough room in two suitcases...
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