As you head to (or back to) college, you may be wondering whether the car that kept you mobile all summer long should come with you. If you’re leaning toward shipping your car across the country, people will probably try to talk you out of it. A car is just one more expense, after all. Parking can be tough on some campuses, and it might spend more time parked than on the road. But even given all that, there are a lot of good reasons to take your car to college. The freedom that comes along with having your own set of wheels is only one of the benefits.
As you consider whether shipping your car across country to your university makes sense, here are some of the things you should think about.
Needs vs. wants – consider both
When you’re contemplating transporting your car cross-country to college, your parents or other well-meaning people may ask you whether you truly need that car. And it’s a great question! The answer might be yes if you’re going away to school and living off campus, which means you’ll essentially be a commuter student.
Other considerations: do you plan to work or take an internship? Are the public transportation options near your college lacking? Do you want to be able to drive home for visits whenever you feel like it? Are there cultural attractions you want to be able to visit regularly? Your goals and needs outside of academics should also factor into your decision. Don’t automatically discount the utility of your car!
The cost of taking a car to college (or Not)
Shipping your car across country or driving it to college costs money. Maintaining your car, whether that means regularly scheduled checkups or fixing an older car, will cost money. Insurance and gas cost money. Parking permits on and off campus can cost money, too. Maybe your parents have said they’ll pay for you to take your car to college, in which case the financial side of car ownership won’t factor into your decision. Then again, if you’re paying your own way and worried about the cost to ship a car and the overall cost of car ownership, you may have misgivings about taking your car with you.
But wait! Have you considered that bringing your car to college may ultimately save you money or even help you make money? Car ownership can be expensive, but so is pretty much everything on a college campus. Campus shops and eateries usually charge premium prices simply because they can. Being able to go shopping for essentials at the closest discount supermarket instead of dropping big bucks in the on-campus cafes could save you a lot. Having a car can also mean that going home for the holidays involves road tripping, not flying or taking the train – both of which are typically much more expensive.
More importantly, having a car means being able to get an off-campus job. These will typically pay more than on-campus work-study positions, and you can even look for paid internships in your field of interest.
Going home for the holidays
Shipping your car across country doesn’t mean you can’t drive it home whenever you feel the pull. You may think you won’t want to visit home again for a while now that you’re headed off to college, but the stress of academic life can make the prospect of a few days with family seem pretty amazing. When you have a car, you can head home on your own terms… without having to work around bus or train schedules or the whims of friends with cars. Your parents may be surprised at how often you make it home when you have your car on campus.
It’s also about seeing the world. You probably went away to college because you wanted to see more of the country. Good luck doing that when every weekend away requires spending a bundle on plane and train tickets! With a car, you can see a lot in just a couple of days without taking a big bite out of your budget. Mini road trips get even more reasonable when friends pitch in and you all sightsee together!
A car can keep you safer
Most public transportation is safe, but when buses and trains are your only way to get around, chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time waiting around alone at night for the next one to come along. And if you miss the last train? Walking home might be your only option if you don’t have the money for an Uber. At parties, you may have to wait on rides home from friends who want to stick around when you’d prefer to leave or make tough decisions about riding with friends who may have been drinking.
When you ship your car across country so you have it at school, you’re in control of where you go and when. It’s comforting to know that you can leave an uncomfortable situation at any time and that staying out later than the trains run won’t mean a long walk home in the dark.
It’s about your time, too
College is a balancing act! You have this much time for classes, you work these hours, you have to study at least this much, and then you have to make time for homework on top of it all. And of course, you also want to have some semblance of a social life so the pressure doesn’t drive you nuts. Having to rely on public transportation turns this balancing act into a struggle. It’s hard to fit even simple errands into your day. For instance, buying a couple of personal care items can turn into a two-hour round trip if you don’t live within walking distance of a drug store and can’t bum a ride. And in bad weather, that’s a truly miserable two-hour round trip!
You don’t have to drive it there
If the main reason you’re thinking about leaving your car at home is that your school is prohibitively far away, consider shipping your car across country. Then at the end of the year, you can just ship it home. In between, you’ll have your car available for road trips, getting to work, shopping for necessities, and going out to unwind. It might surprise you to learn that transporting a car across the country can actually be less expensive than driving it yourself after you factor in gas, hotels, and other road-trip necessities.
The convenience factor
Having a car is just plain convenient for college students. When a friend needs a ride to the airport or you’re out of paper towels or you need party supplies, having a car is awesome. And there’s something to be said for not having to lug home a week’s worth of groceries on public transportation (especially in the dead of winter).
That said, before you decide that shipping your car across country is the best possible option, do your research. A few great tips to keep in mind are:
- Look for reviews of the parking situation on and off your campus. Having a car in suburban Kentucky is hugely different from trying to keep a car in New York City, where alternate side of the street parking rules still confounds longtime residents.
- Keep your budget in mind. Make a real, actual adult budget now to determine how much of your cash you can reasonably put toward gas and insurance. What expenses can you cut to make having a car at college fit into your finances?
- Consider using your car to make extra money. Your car can get you to and from internships and jobs in your chosen field, of course, but you can also take advantage of free weeknights or weekends to drive for rideshare companies.
In the end, only you can decide whether taking your car with you to college makes sense. Remember that it’s not just about whether you need a car and it’s not just a matter of weighing the financial pros and cons. Having a car on campus can be both a blessing and a curse, but the benefits of bringing your car to college will more than likely outweigh the drawbacks. As mentioned above, freedom is just one consideration but it’s a really big one. Going to college can be incredibly stressful and being able to get away from it all now and then thanks to your car can mean the difference between burning out fast and hard and persevering until graduation day.
Ready to learn more about shipping your car across country? Montway is your go-to auto transport company. Click the button below to get a free shipping quote, and check out what our customers are saying about their experiences with Montway at Montway Auto Transport reviews.