Sunday, May 27, 2012

Moving Long Distance on a Budget

I am in throes of packing with only five work days left before my job ends. On June 4th I will make the first trek to Vancouver Island by myself driving two days over the Rocky Mountains and taking a ferry to our new home. I will then fly back on June 17th we will drive a moving van we rented together over the same path with all our precious possessions. Most furniture has been sold off or left behind for the boys to use in the Alberta house(in a previous post recent news: adult stepsons who are attending college are living there for the next two years then we will try and sell it in a slightly stronger real estate market) with exception of a few investment and family pieces - a leather couch set, a large area rug, hubbys office furniture and a very old but not valuable dresser that was hubbys Ukrainian Grandparents from when they first came to Canada a hundred years ago. Then June 24th hubby will go pick up our second car and drive it on the same path.

The highway we travel is a dangerous one, lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife to avoid. Over a mountain pass and through hundreds of miles of bush, with no towns in site. An adventure, one I am a little more nervous about than hubby. We could have saved even more money by having me drive behind the moving van on one of the trips - but the trip can be hazardous and difficult to navigate alone once we get to Vancouver so I vetoed that idea. We each make two trips - the flights back were all purchased on those airmiles I collect every day on my credit card. Yes, we have had to pay air taxes of about $400 but have saved about $1000 in flight costs.

You tube video of the Coquihalla pass taken by some travellers

We priced out having a large moving company move us - we still would have had to drive the two vehicles ourselves. $6000 plus about $600 to get the two vehicles over! Yikes, hubby said no way. I was a bit fearful but have to agree - for the savings I would much rather do some upgrades on our new house or go travelling. So, we are renting a one ton van - for $900 one way. No drop fee and as hubby knows the owner of the franchise we got another $50 off the regular price! We have to pay insurance (auto insurance rider for rental vehicles does not cover commercial vehicles) of about $150, plus gas and a hotel half way but estimate total cost to move at less than $2000 including flight taxes, gas on moving van and two vehicles.

I am a researcher. I used to be a travel agent for 10 years of my life so have a few tricks up my sleeve to save money. Originally I researched a motel at a large city at approximately the halfway point. $120 per night plus tax and no meals included. We have our standards but are perfectly happy in any three star with good reviews on (a valuable resource even if you don't book your own trips) no matter where we travel. Then I researched a similar style motel one hour further into the drive in a small town - jackpot! For $99 plus tax a night it includes continental breakfast. If you can work at least one meal into your hotel costs you are way ahead when travelling. This particular continental breakfast is much better than most. A waffle station, fresh fruit, pastries, cereal, coffee and juice - we have stayed with this chain before and the breakfast reviews are good. You do have to be careful when choosing a hotel based on their breakfast as some motels have no separate breakfast room and see a day old muffin and hours old coffee as a continental breakfast.

For the last two weeks I have been raiding the mail room at work for boxes - as we are moving ourselves smaller to medium size boxes work best. Packing materials have also been saved for the last six months - newspapers and bubble wrap. Breakable items are being packed between clothing and bedding. We have an unpaid crew to help load (four strapping teens/young adults which we call "the kids") and are hiring one person at the other end a day wage of $50 to help unload the heavy furniture with hubby.

Hubby keeps asking me what are the first things I am going to do when we get there besides making our new house a home -go to the ocean nearly every day and planting - anything - everything. I have not been able to plant a thing this spring knowing we are moving and not taking plants with us. I want to do some container gardening and plant flower pots for the front of the house and start an herb garden. Fortunately the growing season on Vancouver Island is much longer and I still have time to plant some veggies and will get some results (thinking of some raised beds and cold frames for the fall and winter).

So that is my life in a nutshell for the next month. If I miss posting for a few days please don't worry, it just means I am off on some adventure or waiting on an internet hookup. This week, the packing continues and several get togethers with friends before we go.


  1. very exciting, can't wait to see what you do at the new place!

  2. Gosh, you have it ahead of you. Best of luck with the move. Planting, sowing, preparing veg beds are all great things to do when you get there. Connect with the earth. You'll never regret planting a tree or two either. Hope it all goes well.

  3. Its almost time to say Welcome to BC.

    You've picked a great area to settle in. You'll enjoy your new life style.

    I live in the Fraser Valley and visit Vancouver Island. Read for gardening (thats my brother, he lives up near Campbell River. He is an organic gardener and totally into making compost from seaweed as well as the regular composting materials.


  4. I think it's great to plan so well and make such a great move on a budget! Do you follow the blog Pondside? I think she lives there on Vancouver Island. Her daughter just go married this weekend I think. check her out here:

  5. Love reading your blog. We are hoping to make the same move in the future, from the Park to Salt Spring Island. Vacationing there right now as we do each year and each year, we get more and more serious about making this very big move and lifestyle change, now that our kids are grown. Eager to see how it goes for you. Good luck on your trek. The Coquihalla was fine on our drive her last weekend.


  6. Wow! To say you'll be busy is an understatement. Hope you enjoy the new home and everything gets there in one piece. Pamela from French Buttons lives on Vancouver Island. It looks like a beautiful place to be.

  7. Sounds so exciting!! We'll be doing the same thing in about 2 years but to the east coast instead! (a shorter growing season as opposed to your longer one :( but oh well!) I'm sure I'll be able to pick up some good and thrifty tips from your blog!

  8. Good luck with the big move!! Cheers Judy

  9. Now we can tell you what B.C. really stands for....
    bring cash.
    Welcome to Lotus land neighbour.

  10. Wow, exciting times ahead! Hope it all goes well. Good luck!

  11. I'm wishing you the very best! It's a HARD job but you'll be happy with the move!

  12. Welcome to the Island you will love it.I moved from Alberta 32 years ago and never looked back.Congratulations!