Amtrak ships boxes for a low rate. It’s cheaper than shipping them your own, or even moving them. A perfect option for a long distance move or college student.
**All opinions are my own based on my experience. However, there may be affiliate links.
Saving money on moving
Moving companies are expensive to hire. That’s why we typically rent a moving truck. Even if you cut costs and do much of the work yourself, moving is expensive.
You can buy used boxes on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Many salesmen sell the boxes they receive with company product. Expect to pay $1 or less per box. Some boxes are more.
You can also buy discounted boxes through Amazon. We bought these, and they held up. They are not as sturdy as Home Depot boxes, but those boxes are much more expensive. When you need a lot of boxes, you skimp on a few.
Once you have your boxes, you are ready to move them. While you can put them on the moving truck or give them to the professional moving company, you may not have enough room or you may not want to pay the price for the movers. You should separate your boxes, and keep the ones with clothing to the side.
Most people are surprised to find out Amtrak is in the shipping business. The service is called Amtrak Express Shipping.
It’s a secret that will save you big bucks. Their rates are half those you’ll see at popular shippers like UPS, FedEx, or the Post Office even though they call their service “Amtrak Express Shipping.”
It’s super easy to use, and very economical. I dropped off ten boxes at my local station. The gentleman even grabbed a golf cart to make it easy to carry the boxes to the weighing station. To protect the items inside, I packed the items in black garbage bags. That protected the items inside if the boxes got wet.
The Express Shipping isn’t for everything. It’s great for soft and light items like clothing. Most items must be in boxes or suitcases, although bikes are acceptable.
- No furniture or anything breakable
- Ship between 100 cities
- 500 lb limit each day
- Boxes can only be 50 lbs each
- Box size limit is 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft
- No plastic bins
- Prohibited: electronics, antiques, artwork, tools, sharp objects, perishables, glass, food, chemicals
The cost varies depending on your origin and destination. You should call for details, but to give you an idea of a 1400 mile trip, the cost is $61 for the first 50 lbs or $75 for 100 lbs. For every pound after that, it’s 70-cents a pound.
Amtrak Express shipping
I didn’t know what to expect and feared the worst with Amtrak Express shipping. However, we had a great experience. Amtrak Express is a great way to save money when you’re moving.We simply didn’t have enough room in our moving truck, so needed 10 boxes of clothing to make their way to Kansas City on Amtrak. I expected a Post Office like
We simply didn’t have enough room in our moving truck, so needed 10 boxes of clothing to make their way to Kansas City on Amtrak. I expected a Post Office like trip. A simple trip to get stamps is always time-consuming and stressful with the long lines, so I feared that would be the same. I was shocked. It’s a simple process that takes a little bit of time to weigh and fill out the paperwork, but on both ends the employees were helpful and fast.
There’s no way I could have shipped my items cheaper any other way. These days, it costs a fortunate just to send a small box through the Post Office. I paid less than $10 a box, and that’s insured, and they were decent sized square boxes.
The boxes are stacked on pallets when they are delivered to the destination. Once they arrive, you have to pick up the boxes in a few days or you will be charged a storage fee.
Our items were dinged and dented, but everything held up great. I call that normal wear and tear of big, bulky boxes.
Amtrak Express is a great option for anyone moving or even a college student looking for a cheap way to move items across the country cheaply.