Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nuts and Bolts: Shipping the Car, and our stuff (a.k.a. Car Trouble Part 2)

So, we have decided to ship the car using a company that will ship the car in a huge crate, with our personal belongings stuffed inside. Think of a turducken. If you have never seen a turducken, then make it your goal for 2012, you have lots of time left. (Here's a hint: google it. Done. You're welcome.)

If you do happen to google it, then you may also come across this...

A *bacon-wrapped* Turducken...My first Thanksgiving in Poland may or may not include this little beauty right here. (Doesn't that just make your mouth water and your heart hurt at the same time?)  4. Count them. 4 different animals killed to remind us to be thankful for our lives.

The rest of this post has nothing to do with Turducken's or Thanksgiving or bacon...unfortunately.

Our car will be shipped in somethign like this...

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and hopefully nothing like this happens...

.. that would be horrible.

After many, many, many emails back and forth w have decided to go with Schumacher Cargo Logistics as our shipping company.  

Why we chose what we chose and what YOU might do if you were in our situation:

There are only a couple options for shipping your car to Poland (and possibly most other foreign countries that are not connected by land).

#1  Roll On Roll Off-  this is just as it sounds. You drive the car to the port where the boat is waiting to take it overseas. You cover the inside with sheets and other protection form mold and mildew. You empty it of all personal belongings that you don't want stolen and you leave it completely unlocked. It is driven into the bay of a huge ship along with hundereds of other cars and unloaded in 6 weeks time at the port of your choosing. Car companies ship their cars this way.

- cheaper - as the price is for moving ONLY the car, and nothing else... up to 25% cheaper than your other option
- possibly a faster shipping method

- can't use your car to transport stuff
- generally more prone to damage of the car or pieces missing from the car
- (in theory) a little more exposed to the elements (humidity,etc.)

#2 Container Shipping - this is the method where your rent room in a container (as pictured above) and can store personal belongings in the car. You can rent the whole container for your car and whatever else you want to go in there or you can simply rent room for just the size of your car. You package the items in convenient and easy to open containers, fully labeled as to contents* (for customs).You get your car full of stuff to the port. They load it up and it gets sent. Takes about 6 weeks.

- You get to ship your stuff in your car, if you aren't taking much, it cuts down on the cost of shipping your personal items separately... cheaper for "total move" costs

- more expensive
- possibly a longer shipping time if the other half of the container you rent doesn't get filled in a timely fashion. They don't ship half empty containers. Not a problem if you don't need your stuff by a certain date.

Let me start by saying that we do have stuff we are taking to Poland that does not fit in our carry on and checked luggage...obviously. Our airline allows you to check up to 10 bags per ticket. TEN. BAGS. For about a week or two, this was what we were gonna do. The price turned out to be cheaper than shipping it  through an international moving company or international shipping company ($1.25 per lb  vs.  $1.50 per lb). So our plan was to load up our 50 bags (5 tickets x 10 bags a ticket, 5 bags for free) pay the "extra baggage fee" and just make it work. Logistically, pretty crazy, transporting to and from the airport, checking it in and out at customs.. ugh...but doable...if we have to we have to. We asked the check-in lady at Air Berlin if this is something people do. Se said... "oh yes, all the time... when they are moving from country to country."  Hey! That's us! 

A couple weeks passed, Martin looked into shipping our car in a container and loading it with our stuff, and decided on that instead. No big light bulb moment, just a bunch of emails back and forth with the Roll On, Roll Off people and not liking them one bit, and stumbled across our guys at Schumacher.

Thank Goodness! - 50 bags, each weighing in at 50 lbs. each? Can you imagine?! 

So there you go. There are lots of companies, lots of options, but Martin always does his homework and chooses the best company for the job, as far as he can see. It's working out so far. 

So, in a couple weeks time, my car and all the possessions we will be taking to Poland, will be on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

* I plan on boxing everything in see through bins, which I already own. I plan on labeling each bin with a colored sticker and a corresponding sheet that that explains what is contained in each box by color (the company requires a list, the color coding is for their convenience). So a color coding system. My mother-in-law suggested getting those bags where you can suck out the air so you can fit more. A good idea but I have a feeling that at some point some guy (or girl) is going to open them and not have a vacuum cleaner handy to deflate the dang things again. So, bins and boxes and a color coded system. Here. we. go...

P.S. Check back in a couple months after this whole ordeal is over, we have our car , and all our stuff is safe and sound and NOT at the bottom of the ocean. I'll let you know then how we feel about it. Fingers crossed!

P.P.S. Also, I don't even know if our stuff is going to all fit in the car. BOOKS! Homeschooling and books go together like fungus and feet. So many books. 

USPS "book rate" or "media mail" (same thing apparently)

- within U.S. - 70 lb. box of books = $27.00----- pretty awesome I must say
- internationally - 70 lb. box of books = $700.00-----that's us...no way.

I called the Post Office just to make sure I didn't read wrong on the website. It's true.

UPS- 70 lb. box of books- $ = an entire plane ticket-----------who do they think they're dealing with here?

I hope there's not a weight limit on that boat!


  1. This gives me heart palpitations just reading it, Olivia! And I'm pretty stoic when it comes to crazy plans....

    Praying for you!

    1. There is so much about all of this that is unknown. I can only move at "one day at a time" speed or I would drown. And I despise moving that slowly.

  2. Good luck with this. Our friends shipped their car to Poland last year from the US. If you have any other questions I'm sure they could help too. I know one thing they mentioned about their US car is that the headlights and taillights had to be altered to meet Polish inspections.

    1. Yes! We have looked into it, there will be changes, but nothing too crazy, thankfully. Thanks for commenting!

  3. We shipped out car the same way, in a container. And you know when I found out that you could put your stuff inside the car??? You guessed it - at the shipping office with my empty car. My car arrived on time and in one piece.

    The lights will need to be changed and maybe even other things depending on how picky your inspector is. Turn signals are yellow here, not red. It is much safer. You don't mistake someone breaking and releasing for an actual blinking turn signal. Now, I don't like the all red lights in the US. We got the best price for changing the lights from a mechanic specializing in American cars. Good luck! Poland is waiting for you :)

    1. Oh no, Chris! I can't believe they didn't tell you to pack stuff in your car!

      So far we don't think we will have to change anything except the headlights. Our turn signals are already yellow/orange, which I think is the regulation. We have a "neighborhood guy" who does this kind of stuff. Hopefully he will be able to do it all...

      So close!

  4. Shipping a car and transporting one is one of the most stressful things one has to go through and face when looking to relocate. The best bet would be to clearly have it shipped via boat, but that may break the bank a little. Remember not to have any fuel in!

    -Gloria Karmanites

  5. How do you ship a car to Russia?... With a lot of help from people who know more about this stuff than you do, and a dash of stre click here

  6. What the?! If ever that happened to my car, for sure, I'm going to sue that car shipping company. Nowadays, it's really hard to find a solid reputable car shipping company. This is why it's really important to run a background check on the company before hiring it. Also, knowing what services, terms, and agreements they have is important.
    - Rickie Scherer

  7. Hello, Olivia! How did the shipping go? I hope nothing like the last picture happened. Haha! That would've been really disastrous. I would go crazy if that happened to me. As for your options, I would've gone with option two. Yes, it is more expensive than roll-on roll off, but I'm fine paying more if that will assure me that my car will arrive safely.

    Renea Luong


  8. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the bestinternational moving services

  9. I thought those car (on the last pic) was yours. Thankfully it wasn't! Anyway, you have mentioned here a lot of tips when it comes to using a car shipping company. Everyone must look for safe direct car shipping reviews before taking any action. Well, this is worth reading and sharing.

  10. Hello there! First off, I'd just like to say that that Thanksgiving bacon looks absolutely mouth-watering! Now getting to the topic at hand. Congratulations on the move! I wish your car has been shipped safely, as well as your other possessions. And let's hope nothing like the last pic ever does happen. =) PEDRO @ PackCrateAndShip.com

  11. Make sure the brokers are bonded and that the carriers they assign are licensed and insured. Whichever company you decide to go with, familiarize yourself with their dispute resolution procedures as well. car shipping cost

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  13. I appreciate the advice that you gave. It was very helpful.

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  15. Hindsight being what it is and all that, you know what you should have stuffed in that container? A CLOTHES WASHER AND DRYER.... American style.

    and a whole bunch of JIF peanut butter!! (like a year's supply).

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  17. I've shipped a few cars to poland, and I've done it the right way and the wrong way. The wrong way was trying to do it myself, without a broker. That was a complete disaster. Then I used a couple different brokers, and ended up with my favorite broker A-1 Auto Transport, Inc.. Can't go wrong with those guys.

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